What do you want to be when you grow up?

Now there’s a question. I have just been listening to an interview between Tony Hancock, one of the UK’s best-loved comedians, and John Freeman for a T.V. programme called ‘Face to Face’ many years ago. In answer to Freeman’s question “Why did you become a comedian?” Hancock replied “I’ve wanted to be a comedian for as long as I can remember”. This set me thinking and remembering when I was a little girl, I wanted to be an archaeologist, digging up old things that have been buried a long time. Interestingly, although I didn’t realise that exact wish, I did end up in a job that involved me resurrecting and revealing the decoration on furniture that had been neglected and covered in grime, sometimes even paint, and restoring it to its former  beauty.

I don’t know where this idea came from. Many children aspire to have  a career in the same field as their parents , so a child who wants to be a lawyer, judge or doctor might have parents who follow these career paths. I have a friend whose father was a G.P. her mother was a nurse, she became a nurse, one brother an aneasthetist another a G.P. and her sister a nurse. Her sister married a doctor and her son is studying medicine. fairly consistent aspirations in that family I think you’ll agree.

I’ve always had an interest in history and art so ending up as a decorated furniture restorer covers both interests you could say. My father was a tailor , his earlier aspiration was to be an engineer and the war disrupted his studies. To construct sartorial elegance, a certain amount of engineering is required. After a client has been measured for a suit, those measurements have to be translated into a pattern that will, when used to cut the cloth, be turned into a suit which will fit that person like the proverbial glove.

My sister, interestingly, became an architect which requires engineering knowledge. My brother, after studying furniture design at art college, became a kitchen designer, also requiring an ability to turn many measurements into an aesthetically pleasing structure.

Of course the manner by which your parents earn a living does not necessarily  represent the whole of their talents or interests and my father loved to read and indeed later in life took up creative writing which he enjoyed enormously. Maybe when I wrote Androula’s Kitchen I was reflecting this aspiration of his?

What did you want to be when you grew up and did you?


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