|Marilyn Jones & Garth Welch...Australian Ballet Company Circa Early 60s.|
|The legendary Margo Fonteyn|
Even after decades pondering this difficult, massive, life-altering decision I still haven’t a clue what I want to be when I grow up. Like a grasshopper, I jump from idea to idea. Do I really have to make my mind up today?
Once upon a time long ago, inspired by many visits to circuses, to be a trapeze artist flew high on my list; but after a few practice sessions, that idea came crashing down with a thud.
After reading articles and watching newsreels about prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn, and following the graceful en pointe techniques of Australian ballet dancer, Marilyn Jones, a prima ballerina I would be. In reality, what was the point? There was little chance of that particular dream coming into fruition because my ballet lessons lasted for about a year only – not enough time to fulfill my dream. I was devastated when I discovered I’d need more than 12 months’ worth of lessons to reach the dizzy heights of Fonteyn or Jones.
Pirate movies stirred the urges to become a cutlass-brandishing pirate-girl while wearing knee-high boots and a flouncy pirate’s blouse, minus eye patch. Thoughts of running away to be a pirate still linger.
Being a cowgirl was considered; a desire heightened regularly by the westerns shown at Saturday matinees. If given a choice I’d have chosen to be an alluring, glamorous Hollywood-version of Annie Oakley or Calamity Jane, rather than one of the dance hall girls; although I did love their captivating gowns; so to be a dance hall girl did have its attractions, too. I could have been tempted if a handsome, gun-twirling, whip-cracking cowboy strolled into the bar....
Any thoughts of being a pirate pillaging and plundering on the high seas, or a cowgirl riding the ranges soon changed when I saw “Elephant Walk” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Peter Finch.
Liz met Finch in a bookstore. It was a case of love at first sight when they set eyes on each other. Oh! The romance of it all! It was then I decided I wanted a job in a bookshop or library when I grew up; or become a movie star. For a while my head floated aloft amongst the ethereal clouds when dreaming about either plan.
Perhaps I should’ve frequented more milk bars. At only 16 years old, Lana Turner, one afternoon after high school, was discovered while sipping soda in a milk bar/drugstore; but, as mentioned in a previous post, I wasn’t fond of milkshakes, or of hanging around milk bars, thereby limiting my chances of being “discovered”. Also, I didn’t like wearing skin-tight sweaters or twinsets. In particular, I was never a member of the “twinset” set; skintight or otherwise; and, I wasn’t a pearl sort of girl.
At the age of 17 I had a “light bulb moment, but it soon dimmed. A nurse! That’s what I’d be – a nurse! I’d go to Brisbane; to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, where I’d do my training. Brimmed with excitement at the thought, I raced home from work during my lunch hour to inform my mother of my momentous decision. Time was of the essence; and I didn’t want to waste it. Mum was sitting before the mirror on her duchess, applying make-up in readiness to go to town or to work. She listened, showing great interest as I breathlessly prattled on at high speed. When I finally gasped for air, without hesitation and not missing a beat, my mother agreed it would be a wonderful idea. Her acceptance without argument of my plan immediately deflated me. Her agreement to my plan burst my bubble; my balloon. I never did become a nurse. Reverse psychology worked at its best!
Similar happened when I came up with another new, even brighter idea. I’d join the Air Force; but that meant I’d have to live even further away from home; and although the idea of leaving hearth and home was a thrilling prospect in my daydreams, the reality of doing so was an entirely different scenario, particular when I was, seemingly, being pushed out of the nest so eagerly by my mother without her even ruffling a feather!
After reading the romantic, sentimental novels written by Aussie novelist F.J. Thwaites I fell under the spell of his brooding, mysterious heroes. In all his books, the handsome, rugged protagonist always had a stray, wayward lock of hair falling wantonly and carelessly upon his broad brow. He’d suffered emotional damage in his past whether through his own fault or that of others. He of the wayward, errant lock was in need of redemption. His tortured soul desperately required healing; his broken, battered cold heart screamed out in silence wanting to be mended and warmed. Who better to up the heat, than the innocent, young governess from the city to cure all his ills; or the new teacher at the local country school?
The author took the reader to exotic places, not just to Australian outback cattle stations, but to the mystic East; to tropical islands; to the sands of the Sahara;across to the Alps in Switzerland and beyond. No matter where the locale, the hero was always a wounded, tormented soul; and the brave heroine, not one to ever give up, fought to the end to mend and win his heart. She always succeeded in her endeavours; and they lived happily ever after. F. J. Thwaites most certainly was the precursor to Mills and Boon.
It was Thwaites' fault I toyed with the idea of becoming a governess way out west. For all I knew, there in the hot, dusty outback my knight in shining armour could very well have been waiting for me to rescue him. I never became a governess, so the poor fellow is probably still waiting, but as I've taken so long to venture out beyond the Great Divide his once shining armour is now rusty.
Of course, distance was also why I didn’t follow up being a movie star. Hollywood, with all its glitz and glamour beckoned, but it was too far away!
Call me a chicken, I don’t mind. I was a spring chicken then; now I’m just an old chook!
I often dreamed of being a singer - without the twerking, of course - wowing audiences far and wide. A dampener promptly put paid to that brilliant idea. When I sing in the shower the water runs, screaming, back up the shower head quick smart; a fair indication there is no future on the stage for me. I’m no “Singing Budgie”; I’m more an “Off-Key Galah”.
What to be when I grow up is an important decision to make; one not to be taken lightly. Until I know definitely what I want to do when I grow up, I shall remain in pondering mode. There is no hurry….
Moroccan Chicken Soup: Heat a little oil in large pan; add 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped carrots; cook 5mins; add 1 chopped garlic clove and 3tsp harissa spices; cook 1min. Stir in 125g barley, 800g canned chopped tomatoes, a sprinkling of chilli and oregano and 1.3ltrs cold water. Bring to boil; then simmer 15mins. To pan add 50g chopped dried apricots, 410g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, 140g cooked roast chicken, cut into bite-size pieces and chopped parsley. Cook 10mins.
Chicken-Filled Potatoes: Preheat oven 180C. Prick 4 large, unpeeled baking potatoes; bake whole, 45mins. Heat 1tbs olive oil in fry-pan; cook 160g roughly-chopped bacon, 5mins; add 140g cooked roast chicken, cut into small pieces; toss 1min to warm through; stir in 100g small-leaf spinach and 50g grated cheddar. Make a cross in each potato; ease open. Fill with mixture; top with more grated cheddar. Heat under hot grill until cheese is melted.
Chicken-Potato Pie: Preheat oven 200C. Thinly slice 4-6 medium, unpeeled potatoes. Dice 1 onion, 1 capsicum, halve and slice 1 zucchini. In pan fry onion in a little oil; add the capsicum and 3 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks; cook until chicken is lightly browning; add 2 crushed garlic cloves, zucchini, 1tbs smoked paprika and 1tsp dried thyme; cook 2-3mins; stir in 600g passata, a squirt of tomato sauce and seasonings. Simmer 2mins; transfer to ovenproof dish. Top with sliced potatoes, working round and layering as you go. Bake 25-30mins. If desired, sprinkle with a little grated cheese; melt in oven before serving.