All my life I’ve felt different to other people. It’s not because I have distinctive skin colour, ethnicity or appearance, it is more about my thoughts and attitudes. As a child I remember wanting to be like other children but never feeling completely at ease with who I was. I was happy but felt I was looking in from outside the circle.
I think children’s television shows in the 60s and 70s should take some responsibility for my confusion. My child self didn’t fully comprehend that these shows were make-believe and subconsciously my life didn’t measure up to the exciting lives of my television idols.
Everyday after school I’d watch television and imagine how great it would be to live in America and belong to one of my tv families.
The Brady Bunch, the antics of a blended family with three perfect boys and three perfect girls entertained me every day. When I first started watching I desired Cindy’s cuteness but by the end of the series I craved Marsha’s popularity. And if only I could have close brothers and sisters like the Bradys (*sigh*).
The Flying nun; The nuns in the convent San Tanco had fantastic adventures and made me wish I was religious so I could join their sisterhood. But more than anything else I wanted to fly like Sister Bertrill and to this day I often still dream I am flying like her.
I Dream of Jeanie and Bewitched were favourites shows that had me secretly practicing twitching my nose or making genie arms to create magic and travel through time. Sadly I never managed to make anything happen, not for the want of trying.
Everyone had a dog or a cat but I dreamed of having a talking horse in my backyard like Mr Ed or a pet dolphin like Flipper. I couldn’t understand why this wasn’t possible even though I lived in the suburbs.
As a teen I dreamed of hanging out with Richie Cunningham and the Fonz at Arnolds after school and going to the high school proms I saw on Happy Days.
But my all-time favourite show was Little House on the Prairie about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s. My dream was living the simple country life of Laura Ingalls.
Now I’m older I know tv families and characters are make-believe, animals can’t talk and people can’t fly or change situations with magic. The funny thing is that all these years later I still wish I could live in that little log cabin in Walnut Grove just like the Ingalls family. (*sigh*)