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Growing Apart

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend my sister’s welcome home party, and I was struck by the melancholy realization that the older we get, the more and more quickly things change.  I’ve known Wendy for literally as long as I can remember, and for so many years, whether we liked it or not, my siblings and I were inseparable.  Dozens of photo albums’ worth of important milestones came and went in the blink of an eye, and I watched my siblings grow up so gradually that I was scarcely aware they were changing at all.  But after she’s spent a mere 6 months, Wendy’s made herself a new life in New York City, filled with a cast of unfamiliar characters, and that realization has forced me to come to grips with just how much I’ve missed her.

Of course, Wendy isn’t the only person guilty of moving on.  It’s shocking how quickly Neverland sans Wendy has become the new status quo, for all of us.  Michael stepped in to replace Wendy at Dear Darling.  Wendy’s duties as surrogate mother to Michael have fallen to me.  Our friend Lily even took Wendy’s place as Peter’s girlfriend.  The circle has closed, and everyone in it seems perfectly happy.  And yet, I wonder how much of that is a carefully crafted self-delusion that we all share.

I’ve been so excited about Wendy’s book and all that that means for her that it’s blinded me to the reality of my own feelings about the void she left in all our lives.  Much to my own surprise (and dismay), the reception Wendy received from both Michael and myself at her triumphant homecoming was downright chilly.  And the bizarre notion of Wendy being a visitor in Neverland just brings out in stark relief how off kilter everything’s been in her absence.  I’d hoped her return would bring us all closer together, but instead some things have come to light that threaten to drive a wedge between lifelong friends.

Now, change isn’t always a bad thing.  I recently wrote an editorial about how Neverland’s own Jas Hook pulled himself up by his bootstraps and improved almost every aspect of his life.  Though, in his case, he did have to move away and leave everything he knew behind in order to do so.  And, to be clear, I don’t in any way begrudge Wendy her desire to forge her own destiny; she’s amazing, and I’m truly thrilled that the world at large is starting to see that.  I just hope that Michael, Father and I factor somewhere into that success.  And that our family and our friendships can stay the course in these stormy waters.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 16, 2015

Neverland Underground

More than 240 years ago, our great nation declared its independence, severing its ties to Great Britain.  But the road towards stability was fraught with discord.  In 1861, a bitter divide between the north and the south plunged the United States of America into Civil War.  And this couldn’t have come at a worse time for the city of Neverland; our town had only been in existence for two short years.   Neverland was so nascent it was even money whether or not it was even going to survive, and suddenly our entire nation was torn asunder!

Only two minor battles were fought on Ohio soil, but that didn’t mean that our proud State was about to stand on the sidelines.  The State of Ohio distinguished itself in a number of ways during the War Between the States.  For one thing, Ulysses S. Grant, General-in-Chief of the Union army, was, himself, Ohio-born.  What’s more, some 320,000 Buckeyes enlisted in the Union Army, making Ohio third behind only New York and Pennsylvania in total manpower contributed to the Northern war effort.

But Ohio, and Neverland specifically, made another indelible mark on our nation’s history, in the years leading up to the war and beyond; it was a haven for runaway slaves.  The one-time pirates that founded Neverland with J.M. Barrie built a shelter that came to be called the Underground Home, which was, as the name suggested, literally underground.  Former pirate Samuel Hook, ancestor to Neverland’s own Jas Hook, and a fairy by the name of Liberty Bell were the driving force behind our town’s involvement in the Underground Railroad.  Liberty and her fairy friends acted as beacons, leading runaway slaves to their underground haven.

Of course ultimately, our town and our nation endured.  But I’m going to take today to remember just how hard fought our independence really was, and how close we came to letting it all slip away.  Our state’s significant contribution during the Civil War is just one more reason why I am, as ever, proud to be an Ohioan.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 6, 2015

A Good, Right Hook

I mentioned last week that my sister Wendy now works for JH Media in New York City. Well, this week we’re going to take a look at the man who puts the JH in JH Media, Mr. Jas Hook. Jas, née James, was born and raised right here in Neverland. Tragically orphaned at a very young age, James was raised by his father’s sister, Emily Hook. Now, at this point in time, the Hook family was far from well to do, and James faced more than his share of adversity. James, at the time, was a boy of considerable girth for his age, evinced a youthful stutter, and was the butt of many a joke in his schoolboy years. One boy his age, a boy I know quite well, was particularly unkind. It got so bad that when James was 18, he went to live with a cousin in Berkshire, England, finishing out his senior year at Eton College. James subsequently went to Balliol College, where he earned a master’s in Business and Economics, and interned for two years with the world-famous Edward Thatch.

After receiving his master’s, the young entrepreneur, now called Jas, took out a loan to purchase L.J. Silver Pictures, a struggling film studio on the verge of bankruptcy. Renaming it JH Media, Jas turned the company’s fortune around in a mere two years. And making JH Media into a successful film studio was not the apex of his ambition; the company subsequently expanded into television, music and games, becoming nothing short of a media empire. And Jas sits at the helm of his media conglomerate at JH Media’s corporate headquarters in New York City.

And while Jas was building his empire, he was also busy reinventing himself on a personal level. He managed to shed those extra pounds through healthy living, and overcame his childhood stutter. Our town founder J.M. Barrie is one of his personal heroes, and Jas fancies himself an explorer, both literally and figuratively. He forged his journey to England and back again, overcoming personal and financial adversity in a true rags-to-riches story. And so committed is Jas to the idea of transparency and fiscal responsibility that he’s recently installed cameras all over JH Media’s headquarters, laying his entire corporate structure to bare. Jas went from being a troubled, bullied orphan to one of Forbes’ top 100 most influential people for the past three years running. I believe Mr. Hook’s unparalleled success and irreproachable integrity is indicative of just how fruitful a crucible Neverland can be; his is a success story the entire town can be proud of.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 15, 2015

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  • 10:00 pmAsk Wendy Live!
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  • All DayOpenWindow Launch
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