Monday 7 November 2016

Oh, how did I Become so Boring?

At the age of seven and a bit, my parents sent me to spend a  rather long holiday with my  mother's sister and her family and my great Aunt and Uncle, away from the coast, where they hoped my health would improve.  I had a whale of a time! No school, (which at the time, I disliked and found very dull) and in it's place, music lessons with my great aunt, who was a concert pianist!  This great aunt was the family's "character". She was very eccentric... a laugh a minute when she was in a good mood, but get her on a bad day and you could do nothing right. 

However, she loved to entertain and had many "famous" friends.   So there I was one wonderful evening, in my smartest dress, a pale peach coloured satin and organza party frock, which looked good with my curly auburn hair, my black patent leather shoes and little white ankle socks, sitting on the knee of none other than the very well known and greatly admired Noel Coward, whilst he sang and played risque songs, on great aunt's Steinway Grand.  I remember that many of the words sounded weird to me, but all the adults were rolling about with laughter, so I considered it quite proper to laugh too! 

Then he put me down and made me sing a song which I think was called "Rum and Coca Cola", which had the audience laughing even more.  As an encore, I sang "Take good care of yourself",( I think that was the title),  taught to me by my aunt.  I could sing very well in those days, I am told. Unfortunately, there was no such thing as "South Africa's got Talent", or I might not be where I am today!

Later, my aunt took to the piano stool and sang some of her own compositions.  I remember listening in awe, as I had no idea she could compose, croon and play like that! Of course these songs were quite unsuitable for a child's ears in 1949/50, having titles like "I'm still so in love with you" and "Pretending".  We were so innocent in those days, perhaps as children ought to be.  But I had a ball!

Those evenings with my great aunt gave me a glimpse of what life could be, and then I was whisked away back to my parents and brother and the relocation of our family to Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, as it was then. Back to being a little girl again, I suppose, and later after attending seven schools in my short little life, I was sent to boarding school in Johannesburg.  That was an exciting time, so I ask myself why, after all years, and quite a bit of travel, do I think of myself as boring? Where have all my stories gone?  We all have them, I know, but is anyone else really interested?  Why did I spend 25 years of my life teaching, when all I really wanted was adventure and fun.  Not that I was a "bad" teacher and I did love the children, but deep down, if I let myself think about it, I knew there was "more".  Perhaps that is why I am a bookworm. My love of reading is a wonderful escape into so many other worlds - none of them boring, so why am I?
R.A. Kahn

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