Alyssa Sellers

Life is What Happens to You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans

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June 2012 ~ Me, Dragon, Eva

I fell in love with George Gershwin when I fell in love with Mr. Holland.

In high school I adored the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus”. I watched it incessantly and cried enormously each time. I loved Mr. Holland’s world. It was land filled with the arts taught in public schools. A land where high schools had annual musicals featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin.  A land with roundabouts and old auditoriums. It was magical and unlike any world I’d ever known.

I never imagined I could possibly visit, let alone live in, that make-believe world of Mr. Holland. I’m sure my parents made mention of it being set in Portland, Oregon,  they lived here for a bit in the 1970s, but from where I stood on the movie theater steps in the coatless warmth of January 1996 in Louisiana, Oregon was a fantasy land on the other side of the Rockies with four distinct seasons-not hot and less hot. The likelihood of me inhabiting that place seemed inconceivable.

It’s funny how life works out. 

In June 2004, while wearing a coat, I stood in a parking garage on SW 10th Avenue avoiding the ever present Portland rain and saw a marching band play “Louie Louie” in my first Grand Floral Parade.  This rather infamous song was recorded by Portland based band The Kingsmen in the 1963 and is played by the high school band Mr. Holland directs as they march ahead of a Portland fire truck in a parade during a pivotal scene in the movie.

June 2012 ~ Grand Floral Parade ~ Portland, Oregon

 “Huh…so I ended up in the Land of Mr. Holland after all,” I thought.  I hadn’t really realized until that moment that I had indeed been an inhabitant of that once magical make-believe place for 9 months and I was certain I would be one for another year, but most likely not any more.

This June, I once again stood in a coat on SW 10th Avenue and I realized that, just as Mr. Holland signed and sang,  John Lennon was right, life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.


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