Once upon a time there was a young girl with flowing locks of chestnut hair, a sprinkling of (okay then, she was covered in them) freckles, slender (alright, spindly) legs and dreamy eyes of cornflower blue (or “dishwater grey” as some kind person once conveyed). She lived in a town, not far away and whilst her wishes were simple, she was quite convinced that one day they (come on, at least ONE, yeah?) would come true.
Wish one: To make her family proud by becoming popular and successful in her chosen ‘field’ (note: this ‘field’ changed with the seasons, or even quicker, depending on what TV programme she watched or book she was reading at the time. One day she’d want to be on the back of “White Horses” and the next she wanted to train to become a “Tomorrow Person”. Oh, and Julie Andrews had A LOT to answer for when it came to walking about wearing any white tablecloth handy after watching The Sound of Music one Christmas). And it took her parents a long time to convince her that applying to Mallory Towers really wasn’t an option.
Wish Two: To meet and marry the Prince of her dreams. And NOT have to go through a succession of ill-fated relationships that should have stayed in whichever nightclub they’d started at and not limped on dejectedly for weeks, sometimes months (one time 7 years) until she was ceremoniously dumped because she didn’t want to hurt the boy’s feelings. Esp. after losing her virginity. Somehow she felt she had to remain in the immediate vicinity of the boy who’d taken this from her. After all, he might have wanted to give her it back at any time. She could always use it again, no?
Wish Three: To have a gaggle of happy offspring, not dissimilar to the Waltons, the Partridge Family, or that family off Happy Days. Always laughing, always getting into scrapes and getting out of them before the programme ended, and always having somebody who jumps in and saves the day in the nick of time. But it didn’t seem to matter how hard, how loud, how long she cried for, nobody EVER seemed to leap to her rescue and come along to make her feel better and the only thing that stopped her sobbing was her mother’s threat that if she cried too much, the tears would make her eyelashes dissolve and then nobody would ever want her.
Wish Four: to be Doris Day (I might have mentioned this before). This was, of course, before Rock Hudson was Gay… being a whole PART of the wish.
Wish Five: to be “discovered” for a talent that probably not even SHE knew she had. These ranged, variously from 1.being an artist. 2.being a poet. 3. being a writer 4. being a designer. 5.being a chat show host 6. being a singer. 7. being an actress.
(shamefully, No.6 was tried and tested on a daily basis whilst under the shower with the bathroom windows well and truly open, whatever the weather, in the hope that some nice Music Producer would happen to be walking past and hear melodic strains wending their way down the street - the fact that she lived halfway round a Crescent would’ve meant he’d have to be either a local or lost Music Producer - and instantly recognise her ‘raw’ talent. The closest she got to this was when her music teacher put her in for singing lessons which tragically got cut short when her wicked parents stopped her from performing at the Royal Albert Hall one Christmas (although she was a bit grateful she didn’t have to sing about ‘virgin births’ to a room full of people) because she had studying to do.
The girl grew up … well, she got taller; but no wiser and her wishes became no less than they always had, although they turned more into hopes. And hoping doesn’t mean you have to stand naked, dangerously close to an open window singing the Happy Wanderer at the top of your lungs to get spotted. Well…. Does it?