She grew up in a small town, Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Born in 1945, Marie Smith, youngest of seven children, didn't know television until the late 1950s. Prior to television, one of the things she did have was comic books with their advertisements for Disneyland.
Newfoundland had joined Canada in 1949, and for the little girl in Corner Brook, any news about Canada or the United States seemed so far away. As she gazed at the ads for Disneyland, Marie wondered what the place was really like, what people did there and she imagined riding in the teacups. Not in any dream of her future did she ever imagine that she would get to Disneyland.
Years later, Marie and her son Jeff, traveled with her brother Fred to Disney World in Florida and later to Disneyland itself. The dream of the child in Marie was real now and she rode the tea cups. Standing in the hotel and looking over the Disney sites was a surreal experience for her. The little girl growing up in Newfoundland could never have imagined such an experience.
Then one day in Mississauga, Ontario, Marie, having therapy on her knee, struck up a conversation with the physiotherapist. Mississauga is a culturally diverse city, with residents coming from all over the globe. This man was from Vietnam originally and came to Canada as a child after the Vietnam War, leaving in a boat with his family and thousands of others to escape the wave of communism spreading southward.
As a child, he too saw the Disney ads in the comic books in Vietnam. Never, in the turmoil that was his life during that war, did he ever imagine that he would get to a Disney Park. Living in Mississauga at this point in his life, he planned to take his family to Disney World that Christmas. His dream was to have his picture taken with Mickey Mouse ears on his head. One can only imagine what that experience was like for him and his family.
Today there are children all over the world sharing similar dreams of things they cannot even imagine. But...