When we were nine…

In a few weeks’ time I have been invited to attend my friend Cath’s 34th birthday party. The party has a theme, as all good parties should, and that theme is based on what our nine year old selves wanted to be when we grew up. Which is proving trickier (and less fun) than you might expect to realise…

From the age of seven I wanted to be a writer. I would write and illustrate little stories and hand bind them with a combination of masking tape and the cardboard rectangles that came out of my Mum’s tights. Pod the Pea, my first publication, sparked a whole series of fruit and vegetable themed picture books, whose aim was to share my accumulated knowledge of where food came from. When, in first year juniors (now year 3), we were asked to write about fears, I wrote a piece about why I wasn’t afraid of the dentist, which was lovingly printed out, laminated and presented to my dentist, Mr Burbridge, on my next visit. When he sent me £7 worth of W H Smiths vouchers as a thank you I considered it my first paid writing job.

I’ve a feeling that, age 9, my idea of a “writer” translated roughly to C S Lewis, Arthur Ransome, Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. Having inherited a lot of books from both my Mum and my cousin, I had devoured every Blyton volume I could lay hands on. So, I suppose dressing up as Enid Blyton would pretty much fit the bill exactly, as well as providing a great opportunity to go all-out vintage/retro:

It is, however rather dull.

Thanks to my love of all things Blyton, and especially the Mallory Towers/St Clare’s book, I think I also rather liked the idea of being a boarder at an all girls’ school. They seemed to get up to such fun, and tales of midnight feasts, sunny tennis tournaments and summer gymkhanas (I think I also thought all boarding schools had their own, warm and sunshine-filled micro-climate) had filled my head with mistaken ideas about what boarding school might entail. I was struggling with friendships at this age, being bullied quite horribly, and I think I had ideas about escaping into a world where everyone loved to read and spoke “posh”, enjoyed drawing and painting and nibbling meat paste sandwiches, and most importantly, where wanting to learn and working hard in class were something to be proud of and praised for. I was such an idealistic little girl…

Images from The Enid Blyton Society

So, I guess the school girl look could work for me. Except as an adult with somewhat womanly curves it’s hard to work this look without looking a bit sluttish. And I don’t have a lacrosse stick.

At age 9-10 I had one brand new obsession, in the form of the Redwall books. I though Brian Jacques was a genius, and read about Martin, Mattiemeo and Mossflower until I dreamed about woodland creatures and abbeys. But it wasn’t until Mariel of Redwall that I found a true (if rather mousey) role model. Plus, she got to switch between running about the countryside in medieval frocks and leading her woodland friends to victory in more fight-scene appropriate garb, and you know I love a good wardrobe change. Ok, technically the book wasn’t actually released until I was 10, but it’s not that far off… and a giant mouse in a mediaval frock is definitely the best costume I’ve come up with so far…

What about you then dear readers? What did you want to be when you were nine?

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4 thoughts on “When we were nine…

  1. I loved the Mallory Towers & St Clare’s books! Like you I longed to go off to boarding school. I did get my wish and boarded for 2 years in the 6th form. And in reality? It rocked!

  2. I wanted to be Anne of Green Gables when I was 9, but sadly the long red hair and elegant nose were not to be mine! Mind you, I still don’t really know what I want to be so I think I would be scuppered at this party! x

  3. I don’t think I had a particular profession in mind at that age but I do remember wanting to be a policewoman (upholding the rules definitely appealed) or a doctor (I wanted to make people better). As soon as I realised I needed to be a) fit and b) good at science, I gave up both dreams.

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