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Tale as old as time plays out in real life

By JOHN LORSON Columnist Published: April 1, 2017 5:00 AM
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During 1991, a quantum shift took place in the Lorson household as two free-wheeling 20-somethings saw their large and limitless post-college universe of concerts, movies and weekends away shrink to a tiny orbit around our firstborn child, Charlotte. What we had seen as a world of endless wonder now seemed a little bit flat, entirely too large and not nearly as awe-inspiring as watching our own baby coo, giggle and fling peas across the floor.

Tastes change when you become a parent, and whether most folks are willing to admit it or not, things that you never would have imagined enjoying "pre-kids" slowly work their way into your soul. If you'd have told me that one day I would become a fan of a giant purple dinosaur named Barney, I would have said you were out of your mind. (And history would have proven me right. I hated that big, over-stuffed dope from the get-go and still do!) But if you would have suggested I would one day fall in love with a witty peasant girl in a blue smock with a penchant for books and an eye for adventure you would have been dead on. Her name was Belle and she would grow up to marry a beast.

Disney's animated "Beauty and the Beast" hit theaters before Charlotte was old enough to know the difference between night and day, but by the time it came out on video tape she was all eyes and ears. In the ensuing years, we watched that movie together so many times that I could transcribe the entire script across these pages from memory. I know every word to every song, and I could easily sing the whole soundtrack for you even to this day. (You'll want to take a pass on that one, however. My memory might be golden but my voice has never gotten much beyond the rasp of dented tin.)

Such was our dedication to the film that I actually named my favorite bicycle "Belle" which, of course is French for "beautiful." I suppose it should be noted that Charlotte and Kristin liked the movie pretty well, too. It easily remains our collective favorite.

When it was announced that Disney was about to roll out a reprise of "Beauty and the Beast" in live action, the question was never if we would see the movie, but rather when. Kristin and I shared a tinge of sadness, however, in knowing that we wouldn't be seeing the debut with Charlotte who had, just like her most-loved movie heroine, sought a far-away world of adventure, tamed a strange and mysterious beast (sorry, Andrew) and magically end up married to a prince. The most incredible parallel of all is that the nametag on her Army uniform now reads "La Belle."

It's a well-established fact that little girls grow up and head off into the world. To borrow a title from a certain soundtrack, it's a "Tale As Old As Time." But how many little girls grow up to actually become their favorite Disney Princess? That's too crazy for even a guy like me to make up!


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