Keyi Cui

Loyal Readers — Mom, Dad, my dear editor: Regretfully, I cannot attest to the merit of any of the films nominated for Best Picture, or anything else, at the Oscars as you requested because I have never seen a movie. However, just a minute ago I did a quick Search on The Google Dot Com called “The Oscars 2018.” As a worldwide web ex-pert, I’m going to take a gander at what all the young folks are talking about. “The Shape of Water” is a haunting exposé revealing the polarity of water (Is it a metaphor? Or is it Bill Nye the Science Guy: Bill Bill Bill Bill?). “The Post” is a biopic about Al, my childhood mailman (Will he come at three today or fifteen past?). “Lady Bird” should be one word.

Where, where in the world does this creative genius come from? How can I come up with these plotlines full of childlike wonderment? Until the age of right now, I have been sheltered from the mass-produced-cheese-whiz-cotton-candy crap that is Hollywood. Oh, and TV and computers and also Cheese Whiz and Cotton Candy. My parents were enlightened, sonny. I was busy with other things, like sitting in my rocking chair, waiting for Al on the porch.

Why were our days so packed, you might ask? Well, for one thing, we were musicians. That’s right. My dad woke us up with a bongo drum, a recorder or a tambourine. My sister played the lute while my brother played the washboard and I yodeled. Our house was utter harmony, in a dissonant way.

Breakfast was at seven sharp, army time, which meant we had to get crack-a-lacking! Cows don’t milk themselves and flax seed doesn’t just arrive from Whole Foods without you driving there in your powder blue Prius.

With full, gluten-free bellies and nimble but uncoordinated hands, we settled down for crafts. Oh what fun we had! Each masterpiece we created was a square in a quilt of kindness we were wrapping around the world. My sister wove a blanket for a homeless squirrel. My brother whittled a pencil for illiterate children. I knit half a sock for Al.

After blessing the world with our creations, we headed off to our Waldorf Montessori preschool in a homemade organic wooden wagon — so our parents could pull us towards them, not push us away. It usually broke down on the way, so really we walked. We walked to school.

School was easy for me. I aced the knitting. Since that was our activity for the day, every day, I was pretty set. Recess was okay, too. While the boys pantsed each other and talked about Power Rangers and the girls pulled each other’s bra straps and talked about marriage, I got to keep all my clothes intact and tell everyone about this book we were reading aloud as a family by beeswax candlelight. Gee wiz was I ever popular!

It’s not fair to say that I never watched a movie. I mean, Disney was out of the question. We were not going to buy into that crap, we just weren’t. Also they were too scary. Making “Hamlet” but with lions does not make it child-friendly, people. But we did sometimes watch “The Longest Day,” which isn’t scary because it’s about a real war.

And that doesn’t even include the enrichment DVDs. There was the low-budget Russian Tsars documentary. For each dynasty it showed the same five-minute clip of a sleigh going through the snowy forest with some men in mustaches and fancy fur hats. The summer before senior year my dad made each of us watch “The Calculus Movie,” in which a car accelerated. Then there was the Yellowstone documentary that had us all pretty darn shook about the American sky filling with soot at any minute.

There was one movie, though, that I loved. “Caillou,” a French Canadian film about a bald baby. There was absolutely no conflict of any kind. Sometimes the mailman would come — not Al, but it was okay — but Caillou’s dad would help him answer the door because his dad and mom were just always home, which was comforting. You let me know when those Oscar people finally nominate “Caillou.”

Until then, I’ll be here, that kid with the whole-wheat goldfish, crocheting the Bayeux tapestry onto a scarf. I think I’m turning out just fine.

Daisy Massey