Monday, May 20, 2013


Me, aged 9, ready for a 'hobo' party.
I liked the tie and jacket a little too much.
I turn 40 on 26 May. That's in less than a week. And as the birthday approaches, I've been thinking more and more of other decade birthdays and who I was back then.

I like the ten year old me most of all. The me now, too, but the ten year old me was fucken awesome.

I had some odd interests. I loved reading The Unexplained magazine. Even though it was 1983 and we had a TV since 1981*, I still listened to Springbok Radio, waiting patiently for Jet Jungle and the Chappie Chipmunk Show. Back then there was such a thing called a 'radio play' and you'd listen to the stories unfold each day or in some cases, each week

I read about meditation in The Unexplained. So I tried it. One break time at school, instead of going to the field, I sat outside the classroom, cross-legged, trying to meditate. I liked it so I tried it some more. My mother freaked out when I told her I was trying to meditate when she asked me what I was doing in my room, so quiet, just sitting there with my eyes closed. After that I tried to meditate in private.

I also read about telekinesis in The Unexplained. I then proceeded to try to bend spoons like Uri Geller, and to move pencils across the coffee table in the lounge. USING ONLY MY MIND! These experiments were less successful than the meditation.

I spent a lot of time lying on my back in the grass trying to see shapes in the clouds, (officially) but I was looking for flying saucers (the real reason). To this day, day or night, I still look up at the sky... for flying saucers. I also spent a lot of time indoors writing short stories. (I've been writing short stories since I knew how to write a sentence. I was 6 years old at the time.)

My favourite TV programme was "I am Joe's heart/liver/lungs/whatever". Which both my parents thought was a little grim, but allowed me that one indulgence because I had been telling them I was going to become a doctor when I grew up. (I was also going to be a ufologist, a writer, a singer, a cartoonist, a parapsychologist, ghost hunter. ALL AT THE SAME TIME.) And there was Magnum PI and once in a while my sister would let me sneak into her room to watch Dallas.

My friends were a group of boys. I was the only girl. I didn't like any of the girls in my class. They were... 'ew - girls'. Little princesses who only played dolls and had no interest in playing cards or making weird shit out of tin foil. The only girl I liked was Cheryl C, who was a brainy kid and had cool toys like Operation. And her parents were doctors. (Turns out that both Cheryl and I are gay. Interesting.)

The books I took out from the library were mostly L Frank Baum and the Oz stories. And, interestingly, our school library had a stash of UFO books. Those came home with me several times a year.

Ten was also the time the migraines started. And I had the bitch-cunt teacher for Std 3 (Lauren Saldzman nee Stone. Yes you. Google your name and find this. I dare you.). Miss Stone destroyed my confidence. I hated her. We did a presentation on what we wanted to do when we left school. I did the cartoonest-writer-doctor-ufologist shpiel. As I stood there, in front of everyone, she yelled at me (yes, yelled) that I was stupid and would amount to nothing in my life. Yup. I still carry the scars.

I was still a cool kid, though. And there's a lot of that curiosity and anything-is-possible attitude that I would like to import into my second childhood (which starts now). Because if I ever did have a chance of having a kid, I would have been proud to have had a kid like me.

* TV only came to South Africa in 1976. The government of the time believed it to be the work of the devil.