Former Intern For Sonny Fox, Marian Baylin, shares a heartfelt letter to Sonny describing what Wonderama meant to her and other Wonderama Kids.
Thanks for sharing the Observer article with me. It was great hearing you talk about Wonderama and about snippets of some of your life experiences sandwiched before and after the show.
Currently, you speak more about other subjects now in your lecture series and talks.
So I did shep some nachas, reading again, about this particularly nostalgic period.
(Then I applied an ointment to the affected area)
I know how well versed you are on the impact adults have on children by what they say and how they listen. You are keenly aware of your personal impact as the host of the most popular children’s TV show in the tristate area.
But I also know you cannot fully understand, what it meant to all of us, on the receiving end, to feel so heard, respected, important, loved and appreciated.
Our parents, good or bad, had no manuals or open discussion TV shows like an Oprah or Phil to even share or hear about other parenting experiences, and this was at a time, when parents did not share what was happening within their families to friends and neighbors.
The majority of us, never had an AUDIENCE like you. We were not heard, listened to, celebrated and laughed with on any regular basis.
Our parents were busy. Discipline and or school seemed the priority, but dreams, wonder and our unique perspective and understanding of the world, were not given much “air time”
You gave us that and made us feel safe expressing it to you and proud to be whom we were.
The experience was so powerful and indelible, that we can remember the minutest details, as you know, because these very special, fun and intimate moments we shared with you, on masse, are imprinted into our collective psyche.
This is why a million 50+ kids light up just hearing your name today, although they can no longer remember where they left their car keys or why they entered a room, they become flooded with very detailed, lucid technicolor memories, emotions and even smells of those precious moments with you, immediately, even though they have not thought about for them half a decade.
It is also why, like myself, upon contact with you, we regress to acting or talking like we were 5 years old.
It’s an absolutely a hypnotic state of complete happiness and childlike purity.
All learned pretenses and masks seem to instantly melt away and we can’t talk fast enough to you about Simon Says or what you said or what joke we told you or anything else, like children returning from a class trip.
You, alone, imparted to all of us, the most precious of all gifts, the permission to wonder.
If we become giddy, over enthusiastic, and out of breath trying to remind you of these millions of personal moments, we are just trying in our own way, to say, collectively, thank you.
Just One in a Million
(Marian is on the left in the red dress with the black bow-tie.)