Staff Blogger: Rebecca Mullins, Advancement/Communications Intern
That is what came to mind when I first ventured down Cherry Avenue. Why? Because one of my favorite movies growing up was “Mary Poppins,” and the Banks family resided on 17 Cherry Tree Lane. While the street names are not exactly the same, the fun and wonderment held within is comparable.
Mary Poppins first arrives on Cherry Tree Lane on a very windy day, and I too arrived on Cherry Avenue on a terribly windy day. I was cruising along in a golf cart, the very first time I had ever driven one in fact. The wind was whipping my hair about, and the smell of summer was beginning to creep into the air. Cherry Avenue, compared to other streets in Lakeside, is steep and hilly. This specific terrain reminds me of my college, Ohio University, which is nestled in the rolling hills of Athens. So already I feel somewhat at home on Cherry Avenue.
Perry Park, on the northern point of Cherry Avenue, lies right on the lake and has a walkway from Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile leading to Second Street. This walkway would be a perfect place for Bert to draw his famous chalk paintings where Mary Poppins and the children use just a touch of magic to jump in and explore the fantastic world inside. If Lakeside were a painting, it would closely resemble ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,’ the famous pointillist painting by George Seurat. The serenity and laidback demeanor of the painting perfectly portrays a lovely afternoon here in Lakeside.
Upon exiting the chalk painting that Bert might draw, further down Cherry Avenue you come across a little fisherman statue and a fairy garden. Both of these inanimate objects would be ready to spring to life if Mary Poppins were nearby. Although they won’t be assisting Jane and Michael to clean up the nursery, you can still imagine them dancing and prancing down the street to play at Cherry Park all day. This park has animals attached to springs that can be ridden. But, hold on tight, because if Mary Poppins were around, the animals would be sure to take off and run around Lakeside just like the horses sprang off the carousel.
Before Cherry Park, there’s a white boat themed house, which would be perfect for Admiral Boom and Mr. Binnacle. I’m sure the residents of Cherry Avenue are prepped and ready to “man their stations” at precisely 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day when the cannon on top of the house explodes. A little further down the road at 537 Cherry Ave. is a white multi-story home, perfect for the Banks’ residence.
After walking all the way from the lake to the end of Cherry Avenue, there waits four colorful chairs perfect for weary children who might have just had a fun-filled day with Mary Poppins. I can see Jane and Michael sitting there nearing twilight while Bert and his chimney sweep friends dance throughout the street and along the rooftops, glad that the workday is over.
Mary Poppins, wherever she appears, brings joy to those who need a reminder of what it’s like to be a child again. Her magic seems to be able to do anything, but she doesn’t put on a show when using it. Compared to a fairy godmother’s magic, which is grandiose, hers is a kind of magic that is quiet and subtle. I love how it is secretive and a mystery, just like Lakeside.
Cherry Avenue and Cherry Tree Lane are comparable not only in name, but also in appearance. It is proof to show how universal Lakeside Chautauqua is. Within these gates, everyone can find someplace that sparks magic within them.