(Formerly published in this blog with the title: Dreams, the GRE, and Shirley Temple.)
In my dream I was taking the GRE, the examination for applying to graduate school. There was an endless list of multiple choice questions, in a booklet that had many pages. I kept looking to the back pages, trying to determine how many questions there were, and how long before I could expect to be finished. There was a time limit, but it apparently was far more time than needed.
The GRE dream was part of a more comprehensive dream in which I was, on another level, preparing a WordPress post with the creative opening phrase: “The thing I like about blogging…” played over and over in my dream, but never got to the point–or if it did I don’t remember it.
I dream every night, and those that I recall in detail after I wake up, tend to remain with me indefinitely. In fact I still remember dreams I had as a child. One such dream was actually a nightmare, when I was coming down sick with flu symptoms. The dream consisted solely of a giant, twirling bullseye…and the theme was Dick Tracy. Remember him? He was a comic strip character back in the 1940s, a police detective with a dark fedora hat and a face with sharp-chiseled features.
Another disturbing dream was when I was quite young, and I was in grandfather’s garage and God was chasing me around a wicker doll buggy. I was terrified, and when I close my eyes I can picture the scene. I had the impression that it was God, but he looked more like an old Father Time persona, complete with white robe and long, flowing white beard.
In that same era my little Self also experienced a beautiful dream, which presented like a suddenly-technicolor scene in a Disney movie–with a colorful panorama of flowers and little animals cavorting in a pastoral setting. This impression of the movie screen changing from sepia to brilliant Technicolor, was used effectively in the movies produced at the transition period when the use of color was new.
These dreams of seventy-some years ago, and the fact that I remember them so vividly, may have had something to do with my general fear of the movies. I was petrified, scared to death. Maybe because the theater was dark, and the screen was enormous–the size of a wall, creating images of real actors who were literally gigantic.
My well-meaning grandparents were hell-bent on introducing me to the delightful and adorable child actress, Shirley Temple, who was the cutest child in the world at the time, (according to her legion of fans,) and would have been nowhere near as terrifying had she not been presented in giant proportions on screen.
Just the thought of that dark cavern with the giant people and booming sound makes my heart freeze.
It was years later, when I was about twelve, that I could finally attend movies in a theater. And yes, that was back in the day when television was finally getting to the masses, but my parents didn’t get TV until about 1950, and by then those movies were not near as intimidating on a 12-inch screen. Matt Dillon (Gunsmoke) was my parents favorite, and they really wanted me to share the excitement and charm of Gunsmoke and other “shoot-’em-ups.”
Just think about how scary some of these modern horror movies would have been on the giant screen….I’d still be hiding!