Once upon a time . . . a little girl was enchanted by a book called “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame . . . which became a Disney animated feature called “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” . . . which became a popular attraction at the Disney theme parks . . . and now presenting . . . .
“The Wind in the Willows” book and “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” animated film provided the inspiration for this week’s column.
Patricia Hamilton’s Classic Everywoman’s Tale comes to life in this outrageous tragio-comedic saga filled with danger, high-spirited antics and adventure! Bring the whole family along on MS. PATRICIA’S WILD RIDE, a live-action faux-fantasy adapted from the pages of her classic THE CALIFORNIA WOMAN, and commemorating the unforgettable encounters with Ancestors and Family, Friends and Teachers, Husbands and Children, Bosses, Mentors and Clients.
How It All Began
“The hour has come!” said the Badger with great solemnity. “What hour?” asked the Rat, uneasily looking around. Mole busied himself with travel preparations. “Why, Ms. Toad’s hour! The hour of Toad! We’ll teach her to be a sensible Toad, to drive her powerful Limousine of Life, set to begin in Surprise Valley this very day, March 30, 1946!”
They reached the lane to Toad Hall in Cedarville, California, to find, as Badger had anticipated, a shiny new life, known hereafter as Ms. Patricia Hamilton. She received her own unique genetic nature from 23 pre-Revolutionary ancestral families, and was being nurtured by well-meaning parents who really hadn’t a clue. Ms. Patricia came carried down the steps, sucking on her thumb, and before they could counsel anyone, she was whisked away in a Hudson Hornet, off on her uncharted road of a life less traveled!
Trapped in the Ancestral Family Car
The Ancestral Family car proved powerful beyond belief! Farmer Father was at the wheel, Genteel Mother by his side, seven children hanging on for dear life. Father’s pioneer genes sped them wildly along country roads, stopping briefly in small towns up and down the West Coast, seeing sights, making friends. Careening with Mother’s own literary genes, they crashed into libraries, showering Ms. Patricia with a love of books and a curiosity for all things.With no real supervision, the car repeatedly spun out of control—she fell out of one speeding car; Father ran over her with some farm machinery; she nearly drowned in a water reservoir. Narrowly escaping preachers of hellfire and damnation at every turn—in order to survive AND to hope to thrive—she retreated into her own confused, yet determined and powerful inner world, with her genetic bent for happiness intact.
Taking the Wheel
Bailing out of the Family car, Ms. Patricia boarded a Greyhound bus to California, right back where she started from. Now at the wheel of her new Toyota Celica, unwittingly taking a left turn, she flew at high speeds past bosses, crashed through all glass ceilings, and rolled over every husband. Life was going too fast, and during a powerful tsunami, she lost the grasp of her daughter’s little hand and the car began to dangerously drift sideways.
Safe Harbor at Last!
A happy ending to life’s wild ride: Patricia Hamilton with her grandchildren, Grace and Zack McCoy.
Awakened by recent events, she made a sharp right turn and took off in a new and quite different direction. Ms. Patricia headed for an ancestral safe harbor and created a new family of friends in Pacific Grove, a seaside paradise. Ms. Toad’s Wild Ride came to an end and her sensible life began at last. Ms. Patricia shed that erratic car and took to walking the Recreation Trail. Life experiences were examined, lessons were learned, college degrees earned, and travel to Ice Age ancestral sites undertaken. Transcendental meditation, mentors and sea air enlivened her and refreshed her spirit. She established her own book publishing company and welcomed her daughter, son-in-law and two glorious grandchildren to share in her good fortune. And she always followed the advice of her good friend Leonard Epstein to “Give thanks and expect more!”
And She Lived Happily Ever After
“Very well, then, Ms. Patricia,” said the Badger firmly, Rat and Mole looking on. “You’ve learned to be a sensible Toad, to nurture your nature and to confidently drive your powerful Limousine of Life. We knew you would!”
And Now It’s Your Turn
Get Creative! Bring your own personal story to life by using a favorite fairy tale, adventure story, or even a theme park ride as your guide. We want to include your story in “Life in Pacific Grove,” the book of true-life tales by and for residents and visitors, to be published in October to benefit the Pacific Grove Public Library. Go to LifeinPacificGrove.com and follow the simple directions to tell your own story. If you’d like to get further involved or have questions, contact Patricia Hamilton at 831-649-6640, email@example.com
Columnists Patricia Hamilton and Joyce Krieg offer professional book editing and publishing services through Park Place Publications.
Pic 1 – A happy ending to life’s wild ride: Patricia Hamilton with her grandchildren, Grace and Zack McCoy.
Pic 2 – “The Wind in the Willows” book and “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” animated film provided the inspiration for this week’s column.