Hello! For this week’s list of ten, the topic is 10 Things You Thought You Would Do/Be as a child. Like our lovely hostess, Stasha, I just celebrated a birthday. While I just looked back twenty-five years between now and 1988 and explained the differences (like a Commodore 64 then vs, the iPad now), this topic came at the perfect time when I’m in the mood to reflect back upon those days of yore.
Okay, ’nuff of that babbling. Here is my list of 10 things I wanted to do/be as a child.
1. Singer. When I was a little kid in the 1970s, the variety show was a staple of television programming. I used to picture myself as a singer, wearing the most sequin-y, rhinestone-y, disco-y dress or pantsuit made from the most unbreathable, unnatural synthetic fibers ever. We even played “variety show” and my microphone was the red plastic handle at the end of my jump rope (because microphones had cords back then.) When I grew older and realized that I couldn’t sing, I rethought this idea.
2. Operating room assistant. For a very brief time, I flirted with the idea of becoming a surgical assistant when I perused a course catalog from the local vo-tech. It would be eight to ten years before I’d be old enough to go to school for this, but along with the program offering, my desire to look at blood and guts in a surgical setting disappeared.
3. Drummer. When I was in the fifth grade and it was time to sign up for band, I wanted to play the drums. My parents said no, because “girls don’t play drums”. They said this in spite of the fact that I’d seen older girls in the school band playing drums, not to mention the appearance of a certain all-female rock band who went by the name “The Go-Gos”. While I didn’t get to take up the drums, this remark did awaken the feminist within me.
4. Runner. When I was in 7th grade, gym class had a form of torture known as “Exercise Day”. For the entire period every Monday we worked out. Push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, squat thrusts, etc. Tuesday was “My Muscles Are Killing Me” Day. I had second semester gym class, so the bulk of this exercising was done over the winter. By the time spring came around, Fridays were “Jogging Day”. Because I was now in pretty darn good shape, I discovered that when we did our running on Fridays, I did pretty well. In fact, I was keeping up with the kids who were going out for track. I began giving some serious consideration for going out for track myself. But yet again, my parents dashed my dreams when they refused to sign the card and take me in for the physical.
5. Musician. Okay, so the drum thing didn’t work out. I was in band. I played the flute, but I sucked at that, so I switched to clarinet, which I was good at, but it was not what I wanted to play. I wanted to play tenor saxophone. Clarinet was one of those “cheap” instruments my parents would pay for. Seriously, though, the difference between the clarinet and tenor sax was six lousy bucks.
I dreamed of playing something, anything else. I certainly had musical talent. Around the same time I started band and learned to read music,we obtained a piano, courtesy of my grandfather. As soon as I found where Middle C was, I became a self-taught piano player. At the age of 11.
During the early 80s, more and more female musicians were on the scene, which fueled more dreams of taking up the guitar or the saxophone. I had a girl crush on Joan Jett when I was 12 and I seriously wanted to be like her; a tough, kick-ass female who did not take crap from anyone.
Guess who rained on my musical parade?
If you’re sensing a theme here, you’re correct. I probably would not have quit band after 9th grade if I were playing what I wanted to play in the first place. Saxophone players got to be in jazz band, which was an offshoot of the full band.
I’m sorry if this list is depressing you. I didn’t intend for it to happen. But such was my childhood. I have stories about joining Brownies and how that went, but that’s for another time.
6. Figure Skater. I blame Dorothy Hamill and her wedge haircut because she was the one person all the little girls wanted to be like when I was a little girl. But mostly I wanted to jump like I saw them doing on TV. I had a pair of ice skates and I hit the rink in the winter, the outdoor rink, but it went no further than that. I enjoy watching it for what it is: sequins, glitter, drama and a bit of camp.
7. Kick-Ass Sci Fi Heroine. Blame Star Wars and the cartoon, Battle of the Planets. They all featured tough, kick-ass heroines. I think I wanted to be Princess from Battle of the Planets more than Princess Leia. Princess from Battle of the Planets could fly.
Battle of the Planets was actually a re-do of a Japanese cartoon called Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, which was more violent than the American re-do and didn’t have the über-annoying robot 7 Zark 7. They put in some different music where there was silence in the original show and tried to make it like Star Wars, so they set it in space. The original show was not set in outer space. 7 Zark 7 was invented as filler to cover the parts that were deemed too violent and subsequently cut out. He had a robot dog and he always flirted with Susan at the Early Warning Station on Planet Pluto (which was a planet then). Susan, curiously, had a breathy voice much like Marilyn Monroe.
My mom thought this show with the bird people and all that was the dumbest show ever.
I’ve since watched some BotP as an adult and now I can see why my mom made fun of it then. It’s pretty cheesy, and the Zark-Susan flirting was actually kind of raunchy, but I enjoy it for what it is, warm-fuzzy childhood memories, even if that robot annoys me. The original Gatchaman cartoon gets dark at times, one of the main characters dies at the end of the series and the main villain is a gender-shifting mutant. Yeah. Now you see why they had to edit it for American audiences.
Battle of the Planets celebrates its 35th Anniversary this year.
8. A pioneer girl. Blame Laura Ingalls Wilder. After I read the books, I wanted to be like her. I wanted to live in the 1800s on the prairie and travel in a covered wagon. I wanted to live in a claim shanty on the homestead. Although I would have made a terrible pioneer girl because when I was a kid, I had no interest in sewing, knitting or crocheting. I didn’t want to butcher and deal with guts of any kind. And if I had been a Victorian era young lady, I definitely would have been a suffragist. And if I happened to know a girl like Nellie Oleson and the opportunity came up, yes, I would have led her to the muddy part of the creek where the leeches lived.
9. Rock Star’s Girlfriend. Indulge me in this bit of silliness, but as a teenager, I wanted to be John Taylor’s girlfriend. Age of consent be damned!
Yeah, I’d still do him.
10. Writer. Although it took many more years than I ever expected and it nearly didn’t happen, I am happy to say that I achieved this dream. I’m a regular contributor to Plains Magazine, I’ve had poetry published in a literary magazine and I have a new gig writing about agricultural issues for Dakotafire.net. I have a a rough draft of a novel in the works and I have all kinds of ideas for other stories.
My editor told me that I should apply for a journalism fellowship because she thinks I’m that good of a writer. Not too shabby for someone who doesn’t have a degree in journalism.
Oh, and by the way, I did grow into a tough, kick-ass woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone else.