I remember the first time I thought of what I would be when I "Grew up"...
A NUN! Even Moms and Dads seemed to be in awe of them. "Yes Sister, No Sister"... Never heard anyone say "Why me Sister?" or "It's not fair Sister!" You never actually saw them walk,,,they seemed to roll silently.
They got to wear some snappy duds too. Long black dresses with a thousand secret pockets, starchy white things around their face and a sheer black veil on top of that. Hanging off the belt like a sidearm was that 5 foot long rosary with beads the size of jawbreakers. I was sure that would be me when I grew up.
Then came the late spring and the weather warmed up and the Nuns looked a bit...(Dare I say?)
Movie Star. I saw Shirley Temple and she looked like a kid like me. There were other kids in the movies but she was the most well known. I figured I could go to school to learn to sing and dance. I wouldn't need to know any arithmetic because Movies Stars don't add or subtract. There was the question of hair though.
Her head was just packed with golden glossy curls that bounced in time to the music. That must've taken days! I know what sheer hell it was when Mom shampooed my hair and then combed the snarls and twigs out of it. One night she put my hair up in curlers. They were metal with alligator teeth and had a wire clip that snapped them to your head. I just knew I was going to wake up with blonde bouncy curls!
By the morning I had about four that were still in place and my hair was still brown.
By the ripe old age of 8 I knew what I was destined to be...A Detective! Just like the girls and boys in the books I read. They got to do all sorts of exciting things. They could manage to get out of the house late and sneak around to see what the weird neighbors were REALLY doing in the woods. I convinced Donna down the street and Howie and Janice to meet me after dark by the ditch. Donna got caught trying to sneak out of the bathroom window so she never made it. Janice got there to tell me that if my Mom caught me I would be sent to that convent school in Switzerland that she had warned me about when I got a bit cranky. Janice snuck back in to her house. Howie and I stood there by the ditch and made believe that we were looking for clues. The only clue I saw was a large spider that landed on my neck.
Put paid to that career.
When I hit about 10 yrs old I wanted to be an artist and live in Paris on the Left Bank. Didn't know for sure where that was but I had an idea that it was probably not in New Jersey. I had already invented the "INCREDIBLE CRAYON MELT" by leaving my cigar box of crayolas sitting on the heat register in the dining room ....the one right over the coal furnace. (Years and years later I saw that someone had stolen my idea and was probably making a fortune on it.) Mom was really understanding and spent a lot of time getting me books from the library about painters and sculptors and Paris. She then took the time to explain how it would work. I'd have to be old enough to be through with school and have a job to support me because Mom wasn't going to move to Paris to do my wash and ironing and make me dinner and such.
Put that one on the back burner....
By the age of 13 I had discovered BOYS! Could that be a career? I didn't know about Bawdy Houses then so being a Madam wasn't in the cards. My Mom swore that if chasing boys was a job I would be on overtime. I put the idea of what kind of career I wanted off the back burner and onto the shelf. I just wanted to be Marilyn Monroe or Liz Taylor. Not to be in the movies, just to be GAWJUSSS DAHLING!
I helped my girlfriends do their hair, I learned by trial and error just what kind of peroxide turned you into a blonde,,,sort of. Also found out that putting a rinse to turn your hair into Raven's Wing Black should never be put over that white blonde color. Although I was ahead of my time....I had a fetching shade of green hair and it wasn't even St. Patrick's Day. They were taking the class photos in a week and here I was...looking as if I was wearing a lettuce on my head. Mom paid a fortune for the professional dye job that turned it into Liz Taylor Black. I toyed with the idea of Cosmetology for a while. Then I found out that you were expected to do all that other deadly school stuff along with it. It almost worked until I found out that people who went to the Beauty School to get their hair done very cheaply....were extremely PICKY! You had to call them "Ma'am" and be real polite while they squawked and expected miracles. I'd still do my own hair and my friends but no one elses.
People have cooties...Moving on now...
My friend Mary and I got summer jobs in a factory..Well. they really weren't summer jobs. We started them in the early spring and by the time Memorial Day arrived...we took a lot of time off because the beach was calling. We were unemployed but had beautiful tans.
When does growing up start? Didn't see it coming yet.
Got a job in the place where they made my glasses. I sat at a desk and answered the phone and just looked like Audrey Hepburn. I had been hired because the Gleek & Howard Opticians were YEARS behind on sending out postcards to remind people to get their eyes examined. Wanting to impress them with what a wonderful choice they had made, I worked my butt off and caught them up with thousands of notices in a week and a half! I was pulling down the Queenly sum of $1.00 an hour! WHOA!
Worked myself right out of a job.
My Uncle John had a friend who owned a sign company. He spoke to him and I went in to let him see my cartoons and "Artistic Stuff". He agreed that if I learned to do lettering he would hire me. I signed up to attend night classes at Newark High School for the Fine and Industrial Arts. HOT DAMN! It wasn't Paris but it didn't involve boring stuff like math or social studies. Then I really messed it up. I fell in Love or something like it.
Next thing I know I'm marching down the aisle....This was going to be a JOB!
12 years and 3 kids later...I figured out what was causing them and got a divorce.
Also got a General Equivalency Diploma because I never did finish High School
I was tested to see what type of job I should try for. I failed the manual dexterity test because I lost track of what end was supposed to be pointing up. BUT...I did real good on the reading comprehension. They sent me to Nursing School. (?????)
While in Nursing School I did a few little things for a few bucks...I painted designs on T-Shirts and that was fun. There was a group of guys who were police officers who wanted a specific type of design on the shirt.
I won't go into details here....but they seemed to be very conscious of pictures of certain body parts that would be depicted as being draped over the shoulder or wrapped around the neck. Hey..I was in Nursing School and body parts of all types were not exactly a big surprise.
The other thing I did once in a while was bartend. Talk about a perfect passive-aggressive job? You could love me or hate me but I was the one pulling the beer tap. I also found out that bartenders are very advanced in the art of psychology. I heard more than I ever wanted to know about peoples problems. The best advice I could offer was ..."Wow! That's rough."
Graduated and now I was a nurse who could paint a picture on a shirt or draw you a beer while taking your vital signs....But I wasn't sure I was "Grown Up" yet.
Now I'm 66 yrs old....done a lot....may still do more....but,,,,
I'm still not "Grown Up" enough to decide what I want to be....And that feels GREAT!