I think I was eight years old when I made the decision to become a writer…however, I had some other career aspirations in case that writing thing didn’t work out:
1. Mother of Twenty Children. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by large families…I think I saw the movie “Cheaper by the Dozen” (the original, not the lame remake!). Being eight years old and not aware of the facts of life, I thought you could just decide to have twins or triplets, and get them! If that didn’t work out, I would adopt them! Of course, I was blissfully ignorant of the fact that children didn’t just take care of themselves…I just wanted the fun of naming them! Isn’t that the important part of parenting? Looking back on the last 24 years, I’m really glad I only ended up with three kids and two stepkids!
2. An Elementary School Teacher. I had a really good first grade teacher named Mrs. Lannan. I wanted to be just like her! I visualized myself at the front of the class talking to the children as they hung on my every word. In reality, my teaching career would probably have lasted two days max, and ended with me being committed to a “quiet place” to calm down (picture a scene from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”).
3. A Doctor. When I was nine, I decided to become a doctor. I was smart, and they made good money! What I didn’t consider is that I sucked at science (I couldn’t care less about how things worked), and wasn’t really excited about the gross things I would have to do as a physician. I choke under pressure. I also need a lot of sleep, so would never be able to work the shifts doctors do…
4. A Singer in a Family Band. We used to live next door to a family band called “The Singing Post Family.” Their lives looked really glamourous to me. I thought it would be a great idea for my brother and I, and our neighbours, Jimmy and Dougie, to form our own band. What stopped us was that I was the only one who could sing or play an instrument, and that I was pretty much the only one who wanted to do it! We also didn’t have the money to buy speakers and microphones and other stuff we would need. Plus, it’s tough to find sequined outfits in Prince Edward County!
5. A Hockey Player. Growing up with boys, I did what they did. We played floor hockey in our enclosed front porch. I thought it would be neat to be a hockey player! Again, finances stopped me…new hockey pads would set my parents back more than $100…it just wasn’t in the budget. The fact that my skating was wobbly and slow probably didn’t help either!
6. A Crochet Designer. I learned to crochet when I was ten years old. I loved it, and would often design my own patterns. As a teenager, I dreamed about becoming a crochet designer. We got the Toronto Star, and I devoured the Saturday Fashion section, thinking how cool it would be to sell a crocheted sweater for $900! I designed a line of baby booties, and designed and crocheted my own wedding dress, but never went into the fashion business. That’s probably a fortunate thing, as I don’t have the personality for it, and I’d be even poorer than I am now!
7. A Genealogical Researcher. My other passion as a teen was genealogy. I am fortunate that many of my relatives have already assembled family trees for many of our family lines. I busied myself with attempting to update my dad’s paternal line. I sent letters to family members asking them to send me their personal details. Since I was working from addresses that were about ten years old in some cases, many of my letters were returned. I also soon came to the realization that even updating my own branch of the family could be a logistical nightmare, with all the marriages, divorces, remarriages, births, and deaths, that had occurred since the original family tree was compiled. Maybe I’ll get back to it later…I still love research of any kind! If somebody would pay me to sit in the National Archives all day, I’d so be there!
I guess it’s a good thing I became a writer/bookstore owner after all…I’m very much the “starving artist,” but wouldn’t trade what I do now for any other career!