I post this in celebration of my dear friend David Chacko (also a fine writer, by the way! check him out on Amazon.com…), who last week took up residence in Amsterdam.
But unlike Peter Pan, David did not wind up in the Neverlands.
My student wasn’t thinking of Peter Pan either; she was writing about someone who had left the U.S. to avoid the Vietnam draft. He went, actually, to the Netherlands. But if your knowledge of European countries is scantier than your knowledge of children’s fiction, and if you’re unfamiliar with the adjective “nether,” meaning “below”—or “low,” as in the Lowlands, as the Netherlands is referred to in folk songs—you might hear “Netherlands” but think you hear “Neverlands.” Of course to think that a person could avoid the draft by hanging out with Peter Pan, who flew to Neverland on fairy dust rather than by airplane, takes a certain stretch of the imagination…
I hope David doesn’t meet up with any pirate captains, although he might enjoy making the acquaintance of an Indian princess or a mermaid.
Meanwhile, I invite you to check your maps. From Newport, RI, where he was living up until last week, David could get pretty close to Amsterdam by traveling “straight on till morning.” Well, more or less.