Imagine you’re a ballerina…

Last week I happened to attend my very first book opening which happened to be for one of my friends from primary school. As she sat reading a few chapters out to her captive audience, I was thrown back 30 years to the days I knew her in Primary School.

Casey B Dolan was in my eyes the strongest girl I knew. Full of confidence, over-flowing with life and just magnetic to be around. She feared nothing. She stood up for what she believed and was always looking for her next adventure.

She was in fact completely opposite to me. I was shy, nervous and insecure. I was terrified of speaking in crowds; I hid behind the other girls and would never voice my opinion. I felt safe around her. She made me laugh. She protected me. Being told at one of her birthday parties to imagine we were ballerinas all day has stuck in my head forever.

Our school trip to Cape Town when we were 10 years old. (We didn’t do selfies in those days, I was taking the picture).

Our school trip to Cape Town when we were 10 years old. (We didn’t do selfies in those days, I was taking the picture).

The same trip where I sat on an ostrich. This photo was taken 3 seconds before the bird turned around and pecked me so hard I cried in front of all my school mates.

The same trip where I sat on an ostrich. This photo was taken 3 seconds before the bird turned around and pecked me so hard I cried in front of all my school mates.

I lost contact with Casey after primary school. I had seen her pictures in magazines. I listened to her on 5FM. So reading her memoir “Appetite for peas” totally floored me. I had grown up believing that this strong, confident friend of mine had grown up where the world was her oyster. But for those who have read Casey’s book, you will know that behind the beautiful smile lies a very sad past where she writes a raw, open & honest account of her abusive relationships and struggles with family.

Our perceptions of people and what we imagine in our heads of what their lives to be like are sometimes so far from reality. All that glitters is not always gold.

Holding her new book, “When the bough breaks” in my hand and hearing of how she has just recently won the Best Actress award for her role in “Konfetti” at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival Awards made me smile. This is her world. This is exactly where I expected to find my old friend. In the limelight she loves and where she can shower others with her massive smile, her catchy laughter and her love for the arts. Well done Casey!

"When the bough breaks" book launch at Annica's.

“When the bough breaks” book launch at Annica’s.

 

I’d much rather forget about those first days back at school, thanks.

I can still remember the smell of the pencil shavings. The smell of my school bag and freshly polished school shoes. I remember setting out all my school clothes the night before and the excitement of the first day of school. Yet, if I have to be totally honest, excitement is not exactly the word I’d use to describe my feelings of going back to school…

You see, the first day back at school was never pleasant for me. Not only was I a very shy, reserved child, but I have some pretty awful memories which make me shudder every time I think of them.

Three in particular that I recall…

The first was when all the Grade 2’s were waiting for their names to be called out by their new teachers. Someone insisted they heard my name, and so I excitedly followed my new teacher to my class only to find that my name was not on her list. I frantically raced back to the other children, but they had all left. I was stranded and had no clue where to go.

The second memory was Std 2 when the teachers were calling out the names of the kids for their new classes and instead of calling Bronwynne Loots (my maiden name), my teacher called Bronwynne Boots. Laughter ensued and I was mocked for many years to come by all the cruel boys (and girls).

My third memory is Std 3 when a good family friend who was in Std 5, dared me to run across the athletic field and if I did so, he would give me R5 (trust me, in 1985 this was a hell of a lot of money!) So I did. I ran and ran and ran! As I got halfway across the field, I heard the school bell ring for the start of class. But this didn’t stop me. Unfortunately, as I got to the other side and turned around, I saw that everyone was gone. GONE, including Roger and that when I finished my run and got to my class, I got detention. Roger still owes me R5!

Oh how I sometimes wish I could go back to school with what I know now! The first thing I would tell myself is that silly little events like these don’t matter. That in life, there are much bigger things to worry about. In fact, it’s the attitude and coping when things don’t go the right way that has made me the person I am today!

Good luck boys and girls!