The Misconceptions of My Youth

When I was 8, I wanted to be a prostitute when I grew up. I was watching a television programme: there was a nice lady and there was a soldier. They climbed into bed together – which seemed to make the solider very happy – cut to the morning (it was the 80’s) and the lady was alone and there was a wad of cash on the bedside table. Gees, I thought. What just happened there? Luckily, someone was on hand to enlighten me – I can’t remember what they said, but what I heard was: She is a prostitute – her job is to go to sleep with men. Easy peasy thought I, that’s the job for me! Unfortunately, I made the mistake of telling my sister of my intended vocation and she spent the next 7 years calling me Prossy.

My other nickname as a kid was Dumb-Beck – a title I received from my favourite Uncle. It wasn’t that I was thick – I did ok at school; mainly, I just didn’t listen. I was too busy day dreaming – dwelling more in the realms of the imagination than in factual reality. As a result, I frequently misunderstood incoming information, which made me prone to wild misconceptions.


By the time I was 10, my dream of hooking had fizzled out; I decided instead that my life would be better spent fixing the famine in Ethiopia. Extremely upset by the evening news reports, I lay awake at night wondering what could be done, and eventually decided that 100 boxes of Belgium Biscuits should do the trick – I’d bake them myself, take them to Ethiopia and hand them out to everyone. Of course, Bob came up with Live Aid before I had a chance go into production, so my dream of feeding the starving jam filled, cinnamon flavoured biscuits with pink icing came to nought.


My favourite person as a kid was my Nana – the following photo, with Angela sitting on her knee, shows just how much I adored her…


My second favourite person was my cousin Steve. Awesome fun and a hit with the ladies, I decided when I was 5 that Steve and I would marry – unfortunately, we didn’t grow up in the hills of West Virginia, so, to this day, we remain unwed.


Not to worry, by the time I was 6 I had moved on to greener pastures. My new love was Lee Mason – he was good at drawing, had jet-black hair and reminded me of Poncho from CHiPs. Although not as cool as Cousin Steve, Lee Mason did to have excellent prospects, as his folks owned a Dairy (Kiwi for corner shop/store); which, in my mind, meant an unlimited supply of lollies (Kiwi for sweets/candy). Sadly, I was torn away from my true love when my family and I moved towns. I was gutted. And, had Lee Mason known he was my boyfriend, I’m sure he’d have been gutted too.


In my day, young children weren’t taught the facts of life. As such, I was under the impression that babies come from peaches – an easy mistake to make.

You see, when I was 5, we had some peaches; when I asked Ma what the knobbly thing in the middle was…she said it was a stone. Around the same time, Ma announced she was going to the doctor’s to have a stone removed (actually a cist). Around the same time, my little brother appeared – ergo: babies come from peaches.

You can imagine my shock – not to mention horror – when I eventually discovered the truth. I felt personally affronted by all the hoo-ha involved and thought peach procreation was a much better idea.


Looking back, my general take on physiology was a bit iffy. For instance, there was the time Angela and I went to a Horse Farm with our cousins David and Steven (yip, Cousin Steve). We were having an awesome time…until Angela fell off a horse. She said her arm hurt, so she sat in the car and cried. And she didn’t stop. So we all had to go home – much to the annoyance to David, Steve and myself. When we got back to Nana’s, Angela was still crying, so they took her to the doctors. Turns out she had broken her arm…quite badly.


Now, I remember exactly where I was when I was told the news – I was sitting on Nana’s porch eating a lemonade Popsicle. I remember it so clearly because the news was so utterly shocking; you see, in my mind, there was some confusion as to what a broken arm meant. Indeed, I had only one point of reference for such an affliction.

The waiter from Robin’s Nest…


…whose arm was clearly broken.

You can imagine my relief when I saw Angela sitting in her hospital bed with two arms. My surprise soon turned to fury when I saw she also had a whole pot of Tangy Fruits all to herself!!! Actually, the whole debacle turned out to be source of envy…what with the attention, time off school and cool cast that everyone wrote on.


We come now to the most painful misconception of my youth: the belief that I could sing. I liked nothing more than singing at the top of my lungs…and frequently did. Now, it’s terribly cute when a 3yr old belts out Mary had a Little Lamb, off key, in a crowded shop. Not so cute is a 12yr old butchering the National Anthem in the school choir…with her friend asking “Is that you?” Mortified, I spent the rest of the concert lip-sinking.


I could have been spared such trauma if I had believed Mrs Pyatt – my Primary School Teacher – when she told me, some years before, that I wouldn’t be in the School Concert…because, well…I couldn’t sing. I was completely shocked by this revelation, I had sung my little heart out for her and had even recorded myself on a cassette tape and had visions of a Grammy when I played it back. I cried when she told me. Then I thought: silly old cow, what does she know?

Ah well, at least I can dance…


So there we have it, the misconceptions of my youth.

Of course, there were many more; some of which I probably still labour under to this day. However, while I may not be a hooker, have a knighthood like Sir Bob, be married to my cousin, have a peach pit baby, a one armed sister or a hope in hell of winning a Grammy, I did have the best Nana in the whole world; of that I am absolutely certain.

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