It was in the papers again. Even in England the Lindbergh kidnapping was front page news. The arrest of the suspect and the subsequent trial were discussed every where in London. Jack, who was now a welcome and frequent visitor to the Banks household, was bothered by it more than he liked to admit. The discussion of ladders and second floor windows brought up the one troublesome memory from the whole adventure with Mary Poppins. And there wasn't anyone he could talk to about it.
That night when he had climbed onto the balcony to talk to Mary Poppins it had felt natural to follow her into the house when they heard the crash in the nursery. Only later had it occurred to him that he, a complete stranger, had entered the children's bedroom, without the knowledge of their father. The memory made him cringe. He could have said that he was there with Mary Poppins knowledge and approval, but he knew instinctively that Michael wouldn't have seen it that way.
It was unlikely that the children remembered. He was pretty sure they believed the adventure of the Royal Doulton Bowl was a dream. But the fact that no one was likely to know didn't make him feel better. In fact, it made him feel worse. That he would never do anything to hurt Annabel, John or Georgie didn't change the fact that it had been way too easy for him to enter the nursery. There was only one thing he could think of to do.
Jack had offered to help Michael with some of the small repairs needed in the house. That fall morning Michael had descended from his studio in the attic only to be met by a cold draft emanating from the nursery. Thinking that one of the children had left a window open he hurried in to shut it but was stopped short by the sight of Jack by the balcony doors. They were open and Jack, on his knees, appeared to be working on the door knobs. Michael realized Jack was installing a very sturdy lock. Higher up on the door Jack had also installed a heavy draw bolt.
"Jack what are you doing?" asked Michael. Jack appeared to be searching for words and finally said, "Well, with all the news in the paper I thought it might be a good idea to make the nursery a bit safer."
"Don't you think you're overreacting a little?" Michael seemed amused. "I've lived in this house for over thirty years. This has always been a safe neighborhood and the nursery is on the second floor."
"No," said Jack firmly, "No I don't." He looked up. "Michael, today is Ellen's day off. She always locks the door when she leaves. Aren't you curious about how I got into the house?" He gestured towards the second balcony where Michael could clearly see Jack's ladder propped against the railing.
"Oh," said Michael. He could feel his mouth forming a perfect circle, just like a codfish. He snapped his mouth shut and looked over at Jack. "What about the windows? Do they make locks for those too?"
"Over in the bag," said Jack nodding towards a sack by the fireplace. He smiled and went back to work.
Charles Lindbergh Jr. was kidnapped from his second floor nursery in 1932. A homemade ladder was used to access the window. At the time of the kidnapping the baby's parents and nurse were in the house. No one heard a thing. The baby simply vanished. A suspect was arrested late in 1934 and the trial took place in January and February 1935. The Lindbergh kidnapping is still considered by many historians to be the crime of the 20th century.
I loved the movie but was a bit stunned at how easily Jack entered the nursery. I figured that when he had time to think about it, Jack might have some misgivings too.