Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How do you get here?

When I was a kid, I had this book for recording my school memories. I think it was called "School Memories;" clever, huh? It had space to record your teacher's name and your school friends, your favorite subject and what you wanted to be when you grew up. Because it was the 70s, there were professions for girls and boys. The boys' choices included things like policeman, fireman, doctor, and baseball player. The girls' had teacher, mother, and nurse. Even then (kindergarten) I didn't like these gender divisions: I chose teacher (specifying art teacher) and baseball player. And I really believed I could grow up to play baseball.

Sure, Title IX was in the air (and we know how far that got us), and feminism was part of the zeitgeist (and then there's Maude!). But it wasn't like all the little girls were lining up to play Little League. (They couldn't until 1974, but it was a trickle down effect rather than a floodgate.) Later, I was a cheerleader because playing football was out of the question.

I'm not, you may have gathered, a baseball player (I'm not even an art teacher). But all that thinking about boys and girls did get me somewhere--one of my degrees is in gender studies. Isn't it funny how these things work out? What about you? Can you trace who you are back to what you were? (I have another one, the one where my mother tells me to go outside and play instead of reading all the time that leads to the PhD in English literature...but you should go next.)

6 comments:

Barbara said...

I remember at various times in young childhood (under 10) wanting to be a downhill Olympic skier, a trombonist in Lawrence Welk's band, and a football player for the Rams. I've enjoyed all three activities at various times, though never professionally. ;) But ever since my mom bought me a typewriter and desk when I was 5 to 'make up for' my little brother, I have wanted to be a writer. And that is how I earn my daily bread now.

Melissa said...

For as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a writer. I've had a lot of different jobs: hardware store clerk, receptionist, dental assistant, data entry operator, lab tech, the BBQ Pit, but writing was the one constant. Now at 43, that dream is very close to becoming a reality.

As far as what I was--I was that dorky kid that wrote plays for her Barbies, wrote my own General Hospital/Days of Our Lives weekend cliffhangers, would read Harlequin Romances during the day while laying out and then at night try to write my own, would even write out conversations I wish I could have with whatever cute boy I had a crush on at the time. Yes, DORK, that's me.

Linn said...

I wanted to write and to create with my hands. It took a longterm end run but I finally got there. I was one of those girls who had a workbench with small tools (not toys) and helped build my tree house. Then I sat in the tree house and stitched and read. From age 8, I wrote the class play every year. I did manage a minor in art history and one in English lit.

Cheryl in DC said...

I clearly remember the day in junior high when, after taking an aptitude test, the guidance counselor told me that my skills indicated that I should become a secretary. Even as a conformist, non-confrontational ~12 year old, I thought something along the lines of "Heck, no. I'm going to college." College and secretariness being, in my limited experience of the time, two mutually exclusive options.

Little did I know that the same organizational skills and attention to detail that got me the "secretary" label are some of the same aptitudes necessary for a very good archivist.

valerie said...

I am a psychiatric nurse never even came into my head when I was growing up. friends always called me aunty val thow and came to me with all the problems so maybe it was destiny

Val

Sarah said...

I love books and can NEVER give them away - to anyone. I don't even like lending them to others. I think this stems from when I left my bag on the tube after visiting my Nan in hopsital. I must have been about 7 and it had a lot of Ladybird books in it which I remember vividly. Weird isn't it?