Heidi at Along the Brandywine created a monthly link-up for movie and book prompts called the Inklings, the July prompt was a cliff scene, and the first one I thought of was the scene from the 1993 Heidi two part series. I adored this film/tv special, and watched it over and over and OVER (I was an obsessive child). This was such a HUGE part of my childhood, as big as Little House and American Girls, just less all encompassing because it was just this film, not the book, and there weren’t any official extras like all the bonnets, dolls, cookbooks, etc. that went with the others which are basically franchises.
Because of copyright I’m just going to link to photos. Apparently this film wasn’t such a big deal because there aren’t many photos. I don’t really know how to find a photos of the particular scene I want. Maybe if I watch it, I can screenshot it.
There are so many memories and associations I have with this film.
- Switzerland has a special place in my heart in major part because of this story (and Treasures of the Snow, and learning my grandfather’s direct line and our closest tie to Europe is here, I should get a photo of one of the documents we have).
- We have always called milkmaid braids, “Heidi braids” because that is how this version of Heidi wore her hair (I didn’t know the Shirley Temple version was probably more well-known and could barely even start to watch the sacrilegious version)
- I had boots that I called by Klara boots. You can see them here, barely, doesn’t seem anything special, but I’ve always adore historical fashion, and I just loved those boots and the contrast with the white stockings of which I had a similar (to my mind) pair.
- My first memories and knowledge (unknowing knowledge) of Latin came from this as I realized in my college Latin class.
- I (of course) had a HUGE crush on Peter. A few years ago, I tried to track down the actor, but he’s disappeared off the face of the earth apparently.
- I loved ever little detail about this, from certain food/milk scenes, from the kittens in the tower, from Fräulein Rottenmeier (Jane Seymour)’s particular way of reviving Klara from a faint (I feel like we may have reenacted that part).
- My grandfather on my dad’s side always had white hair and a beard, also, I was rather afraid of him although it is unfair to characterize him as quite the crab as the man in the story.
- I think Heidi herself looked like my best friend at the time or maybe it was her sister. I don’t remember wanting freckles myself, but somehow they seemed to be a big deal, I remember one of my sisters really wanted to be freckled (her best friend was the sister of mine, so that may have had something to do with, the things kids want sometimes).
And of course, the falling of the (probably) ledge in the mountain meadows. Actually, I think Klara pushed Heidi or threw her kitten or something (actually I think that was Treasures of the Snow or was it both? Need to rewatch both of these films), and to my child’s mind if seemed like a cliff, although it probably wasn’t that steep to an adult, enough to be really dangerous though to a child.
Oh, the drama for a child. I remember Peter grabbing for Heidi’s hand, I remember him telling Klara to hold his legs, and she has to grab her legs in her hands in order to move near enough to him. It is hard for me to explain how much an impression this made on me. I haven’t watched it in over a decade (and it had been years before that to the previous watches) but I remember how important all this was, so many of the details of this scene.
I know we reenacted this scene on our old school metal slide on the swing-set in the backyard, I’m almost certain it featured wearing my “Klara” books, possible also white stockings like hers as well.