When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up? What are you? Are the two connected?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us DREAMS.
When I was 10? Like in the dark ages when I could hop, skip and jump without thinking that one day it might all slow down. I had my thoughts and my ideas, but they were all involved and influenced by the television. Not the large colourful monster of today with hundreds of various channels showing us the world of dreams, but a small object encased in wood and a screen just about as large as an oversized magnifying glass. We even believed that the television people were coloured black, white and 50 various shades of grey.
Broadcasting took place from 5 to 6 in the afternoon (children’s hour) and from around 8 in the evening for the news and adult programmes. Being 10 years old I would sit in front of the TV already at 4.45 in the afternoon, not wanting to miss anything and watched the pre-moving pictures. Music accompanied by little characters dancing around a large clock. Then the programme began and there I was glued to the screen watching characters like Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger and The Cisco Kid.
They were all cowboys, so what chance did I have. I imagined myself as the heroine being whipped up by Cisco, rescuing me from the murderous hoards of “rustlers” as they were known as then. I think they were gangs of uncowboys that snatched cattle. Each cowboy had his faithful Sidekick although they were not as good looking as the star cowboy, and mostly a bit dumb to go with it. The Lone Ranger even had an Indian (who were usually the bad boys), but Tonto was OK. He never did anything stupid and just obeyed. The Cisco Kid had Pancho, a Mexican who looked at Cisco with stars in his eyes and seemed to grasp every word that Cisco uttered. Do you think…. No, that sort of thing did not exist then. Later Rin Tin Tin arrived an Alsation dog belonging to a skinny kid who had been brought up on a fort by loads of blue coated soldiers. Then I progressed, I wanted to grow up in a fort as well.
In the real world, my ideas and ambitions were not taken so seriously. Mum packed me off to school every morning after she returned from her job as an office cleaner in the City of London. She would leave around sixish in the morning and cleaned the office of some city gent so that he had a nice shiny desk top and empty litter basket when he arrived at work. In those days money was scarce and the wife worked to earn a little where she could. She had arrived home to get me out of bed, washed and ready for school. That was reality. I would walk to school wondering if when I turned the street corner Cisco or Hopalong would be there waiting for me. No chance, just my teacher and the classmates, their heads probably also filled with being dressed in cowboy clothes.
There was one guy, The Lone Ranger, who lived his life behind a mask. I do not know why, but sometimes I was the only cowgirl that knew why he had the mask and what he really looked like. Oh, the dreams of youth.
I never went in for being a singer or dancer, although Bill Haley had started to Rock Around the Clock and the only dancer I really knew was Fred Astaire. I think Elvis Presley had just left his Heartbreak Hotel and being All Shook Up at the time. That was imposing, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry having a rival.
By the time I was 11 daily television hours were longer and the first horror serial started on TV, Quartermass, so instead of riding the range I was peeping behind the sofa at space monsters. I was no longer faithful to Cisco and the others. I remember my mum telling me that all those cowboy actors were famous in her time. That was parental child psychology and destroyed all my hopes of becoming a cowboy bride as I realised that “in her time” was sometime during the war years when I was not born.
Now I read that a remake of The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp has been/is being made. No, I do not think I will bother. It will definitely destroy my childhood dreams and there is something else of importance. I know what Johnny Depp looks like behind the mask. What a spoiler that is.
What am I today? A retired export clerk, with two adult children and 2 adult step children. A cook, cleaner, laundry worker, gardener and speak 4 languages fluently (English, cockney, german, swiss german) and 2 languges almost fluently (French and Italian) with some Russian thrown in for good measure. Basically a golden oldie, going towards the platinum stage.
Mr. Swiss is not a cowboy, but he helps to look after our three felines. Does that count?