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Dream catcher snags many wishes large and small

What do people really want?

The question was answered in hundreds of different ways on New Year’s Eve at First Night Spokane, on a giant “dream catcher” set up at the Spokane Convention Center. People wrote out their wishes, hung them on the dream catcher and launched their hopes into the new year.

I have hundreds of those wishes in front of me right now and it turns out they can be divided into several basic categories, beginning with funny-whimsical-cute (keeping in mind that some of these come from children):

• “That the Star Wars people come to life.”

• “Someone to build me a time machine.”

• “To go to Sonic World” (an imaginary video game world).

• “I wish we could fly.”

Some kids had more achievable wishes:

• “To ride a bike without training wheels.”

• “Learn to read.”

• “To get a real kitty.”

• “To get a puppy.”

• And slightly less achievable, “I want my puppy to stay little.”

Some dreams, from older kids or adults, were almost as fanciful, including:

• “For the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl next year.”

• “I want everything free in 2011.”

• “Get abs by June 23.”

• “A smaller body.”

• (In fervent handwriting) “Make my wife ‘romantically enthusiastic’ again.”

Except he, uhh, actually used a far more vivid word than “romantically enthusiastic.”

And one of my favorites:

• “I’d like to have a rockin’ body and be an award-winning director. Boo-yah!”

Dozens of people wished for generic “peace,” “love” and “prosperity.” One wish, in youthful handwriting, captured that idealism perfectly:

• “Make all the poor people in the world richer.”

Yet he (or she) couldn’t resist adding that he also wanted “a Robosapien V2,” a toy robot that lists at $200.

Most people stayed away from politics, although one person wrote, “Never vote 4 a liberal” and another, presumably from a different side of the aisle, wrote, “Health insurance for all.”

One of the most popular categories was the self-improvement dream. Some were inspired by the Great Recession:

• “To pay off our credit card and put another $2,500 in savings by this time next year.”

• “To sell our house successfully in a timely manner.”

• “I wish Mary would win the Lotto.”

• “Start performing, start a band and make it to ‘America’s Got Talent.’ ”

• “To get snowboard gear, learn new tricks, start college and build credit.”

• “Enter five paintings into art shows (first, I need to paint them, too!)”

• “To become a Lilac Queen and better Christian.”

Probably the biggest category of all was the love-and-marriage category, which included these wishes:

• “For a girlfriend.”

• “To meet a guy who actually is a nice person and truly cares about me.”

• “To fix the friendship I ruined.”

• “To make (name deleted) the one and only Mrs. in my life.”

• “To get pregnant.”

• “To stay married.”

And finally this short and direct one:

• “To make it legal.”

And then there’s the final category. Let’s call it the poignant and heartbreaking category:

• “That my son could walk unassisted.”

• “That my family would still be friends and would stop fighting.”

• “To never know the pain of methadone withdrawal.”

• “To get a job so we don’t become homeless.”

• “To have my own house for my family.”

• “For all the animals to be OK.”

• “No more ADHD.”

• “I don’t want to be sick anymore and I hope that my husband, that died in April, is in heaven.”

• “That we don’t have a divors” (in a child’s misspelling).

• “To remain cancer-free.”

• “That our neighbor stops going to the ER.”

• “That my husband, father to our two small children, doesn’t deploy.”

• “That my husband comes back safely from Iraq and retire from the Army Reserves.”

• “To get my kids back, get into school and have a strong family relationship.”

• “Not get deported.”

• “For my brother to be clean, drug-free and come home to his family.”

• “That when I leave my house, everything will be OK.”

I didn’t get a chance to hang up my own message on the dream catcher, but if I could, here’s what it would be: That this final batch of wishes could come true.

Some of the other ones? Well, let’s put it this way. That boo-yah person needs to choose either “a rockin’ body” or “to be an award-winning director.” From what I’ve seen on awards shows, you can’t have both.

Reach Jim Kershner at or (509) 459-5493.


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