” ‘That stupid birthday cake,’ she said, ‘is just another cake; and you’ll have all the cakes you want. But the candles are a fairy ring. And you will never again in your whole life have just that number to blow out.’ ” ~Beatrice Welles, on her deathbed, to her son Orson on his ninth birthday.
The book Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu, Volume 1 (by Simon Callow) is like a treasure box. Each time I open it, I find another gem of a glimpse into Welles’ childhood. Welles states that the greatest mistake he made was that night. He forgot to make a wish before he blew his candles out. 4 days later Beatrice died at Chicago Memorial Hospital in 1924.
If a feature film is ever made of his life, it would be a crime to omit his mother’s influence. She wanted someone with whom to discuss fine art. He thought he disappointed her according to Callow’s book. I hope not. With Mother’s Day fast approaching, it’s hard to swallow that the young prodigy ever disappointed woman who shaped him.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that from her position deep inside him, she dictated his actions and influenced the course of his life up to his own death, more than sixty years later.”
As all our mothers do.