I was visiting four women; all of them professionals. I said something provocative about my son and they all reacted.
“What?” I said. “So he’s acting in a certain way. I bet if you thought about it every single one of you could come up with evidence… things you were doing when you were a kid that would indicate your career, what you wound up doing. You know. You’re five years old and it’s already happening.”
There was a moment of silence then a room full of nods.
When I was a kid they used to have these huge pipes on playgrounds. They made of concrete and you could climb on them or crawl through them. They were large (a small child could stand up in a large one) and you could go in there and yell and hear yourself echo.
I started first grade early and I had this friend, Mona. I was the youngest in my class. I’d just turned five, but Mona was smaller than me. She had big eyes and I pretty much thought was was the most beautiful girl in the world. In fact, having a lowly, Caprcorn nature, I couldn’t believe she wanted to be friends with me.
I felt big and lumbering around her though I probably weighed forty-five pounds. We used to hang out together on the playground and we liked those pipes the best. You could lie on top them. They’d be warm from the sun and it would warm or sometimes even burn your skin. One day she asked me to sit in the pipe with her.
Sitting in the pipe she confided her parents were getting divorced and proceeded to burst into tears. I didn’t know what to do. I barely knew what a divorce was. I may have been five years old, but I could read at a 7th grade level and I had read a hell of a lot of books! My mind scrambled, reviewing everything I knew so I might come up with the right thing to say.
I didn’t have much to offer. I wasn’t eloquent, that’s for sure but I sat with her as she heaved and sobbed. I stayed with her, even after the bell rang. You know I was a teacher’s pet so would never be late to class but what could I do?
Eventually, Mona, pulled herself together and we went back to class. She moved and changed schools not long after that. No doubt this was due her parents separation. I think this was telling as far as my future and my destiny.
I have never forgotten Mona and her big eyes crying. They experience was so bad for me… I was so pained to be so inept in providing her solace I wonder if I have not made it my business to have something to offer anyone might come to me.
If you think it about can you see how started training very early for what you have become?
Funny, mine started around age 5 as well. I noticed my mother kept a cardboard box filled with what she called “treasures”–mostly paintings, drawings, old report cards of mine, and photographs. I was so taken with collecting things and keeping them safe in boxes I started doing the same. I have saved nearly all my correspondence over the course of my life, photographs, old school exams, mementos all in boxes waiting to be archived properly. It’s no wonder I grew up to be an archivist.
I can remember being asked to help another 2nd grader with reading and I’ve spent a lot of time as the new kid, so early on I was very good at helping people fit in. The down side is they make friends and off they go…leaving me with a job well done, but rather lonely. So yes, I can see it in my past.
Well, I learned to read at age 4 (says the librarian). The best thing about starting school was that there was a library right there in the building!
Interestingly enough, I also remember being asked to help another 2nd grader with reading…and realizing then and there that just because I could do something, it didn’t mean I could teach it.
And I remember those pipes…did some of my best thinking in those.
I’d have to think about it, but in the meantime, I love this story.
This is the first post I’ve read about Elsa as a child and I LOVE it! More, more, more!
And the answer to the question is…Absolutely. In elementary school I was passing around surveys that I made … nosy surveys which asked people all kinds of personal quesions.. .
asking people to fill in their responses into the various categories according to the design of the survey, if they wrote in their answers in the correct slots, then it was easy to visualize the chart and get some very rudamentary statistics out of the thing (of all the people who answered that question, e.g, 50 percent of them list their favorite food as steak).
Saturn in the 8th in Scorpio (research, penetrating, nosy) opp Merc (organizing communications and information) conj. Sun in Taurus (note ‘what is your favorite food’ was always one of the questions on the survey.)
This started in about the 4th grade.
I remember those pipes Elsa, but don’t remember anyone being in them but me. I also remember climbing high in trees as being a great place to suffer also.
This is a wonderful story.
Ambition memory #1: What I now do for a living I have been doing since I was 2 or 3 but the thing is, I didn’t recognize my worth until I was in my late twenties. I didn’t think of what I was doing as something I was good enough to do “professionally” regardless of how many awards I won and how much praise I received. Inside I didn’t feel good enough.
In my 20’s something clicked into place and I realized I could LEARN and push myself to be better. Not for anyone else but for me. It was a Saturn Return thing I think.
Ambition memory #2: I wanted to be a vet. I wanted to help animals. My parents tortured our family dog and this really affected me (… I still get teary thinking about it) 30+ years later somehow I find myself working in dog rescue and raising funds for dog rescue with my artwork …and I am glad I didn’t become a vet and that I can do what I do now.
The realization that childhood feelings of incompetence and unworthiness forced me towards certain destinies… this still feels surreal to me. But it feels right.
At 11 years old, I started my own “business” because I did not want to be financially dependent on my parents. I also did not like the idea of having a “boss”and I’ve been wanting to run my own show for so long. Also, being made fun of for not looking pretty and being one of the “have not’s” in an all-girl rich school did not feel so good.
I rented out my paperbacks and had quite a wide customer base because I was able to read at a high school level (and probably beyond).
Having my own business is still in my dreams. It’s just a matter of finding that one thing I’m truly passionate about.
There are a few key things that pop into mind but almost drowning when I was a child after going into the deep end of the pool (when told not to) was something I’ve never forgotten.
That and watching my mum wave benignly to me (she thought I was waving at her) when in fact I was going under. I felt very peaceful slipping under.
As for who I am today…still disobedient and still going in the deep end while ignoring warnings. And I like to drink and dance my heart out.
(12th House Neptune trine 8th House Saturn)
I also had an incident like that as a child except it was a friend laughing as I kept going under the water. she was about 3 feet away from me.Finally I just let the water take over.it was peaceful !! My friend realized I was not coming back up and grabbed me.12th house scorpio sun.
When I was very young I used to teach my sister to sing. We would sing together.I loved watching movies and dreamed of being an actress.The closest I cam to any of those was taking drama in high school and singing in a band in my late teens.
I just wanted to add that the respect you have for your children gets at me so deep inside. I wish I had that as a child.
I’ve been fascinated by the shape of the alphabet since before I could read them. Lots of books and magazines lived next door at Aunty Lily’s house. When I got to Mrs.Quon’s School, in those days the valley kids walked around the block to this tiny place, I fell in love with the sounds alphabets strung together could make. Words made pictures I could see in my head. I was four and my fate as a storyteller was set in motion.
“I just wanted to add that the respect you have for your children gets at me so deep inside. I wish I had that as a child.”
Kashmiri – You said it perfectly. I totally agree.
P.S. I am the opposite! I had drowning “nightmares” as a kid. Like I was going to die. I am still nervous about the deep end of the pool or swimming in the ocean. One of these days I should take snorkeling lessons or something 🙂
I used to make books called This is Your Life. I made them for my family members like my mom, my aunt and my grandmother. I would write stuff like This is how you were as a baby, this is the first man you kissed, This is what your father looked like. And then on each page I would either glue or a draw a picture of the people. I am a graphic designer and astrologer.
I used to pretend to time-travel a lot as a kid. But that time machine I ordered never arrived. 😉
I didn’t really dream of any particular profession as a kid, all I remember wanting to do when I grew up was live alone, come and go as I please, answer to no one and travel. Oddly, I got the exact opposite.
Elsa, you are Capricorn sun right? My daughter is a tripple Capricorn (sun, moon, venus) and she is the ULTIMATE teachers pet. I have lunch with her every Friday, and her classmates (this year AND last) always say “I got in trouble today for____…..but Asia never gets in trouble.” Last week she got her clothespin moved to yellow for not lining up when they blew the whistle at the playground. PURE DEVASTATION!! She cried on and off for the rest of the evening. Aye, she is such a worry-wart it worries me.
shell, no I am a Capricorn rising but I can relate. I’d have had a conniption fit over that as well. And then look what the universe? Sends so many people to criticize me I become immune!! 🙂
Hi Elsa–great post! I loved drawing, painting, and building things from small pieces: little Flintstone houses, seed mosaics. I also went through a brief, crazy period when I spent hours observing and herding and messing with (but not harming) ants. Now I’m an astrologer and mosaic artist–for me it’s all about putting the little pieces together (or maybe herding them around!)
I talked to everyone. I remember being five or six and we were having a garage sale…some woman there was carrying on a real conversation with me, then asked “how old are you?” When I told her I was six, she turned to Mom like WHAT? Mom laughed and said I was six going on thirty.
I was the kid in Sunday School who gave the teachers fits. Always asking the questions the church in general would rather people just ignore. Stuff like “how was Noah sure he didn’t get two girl giraffes?”
I was an old soul with a lot of knowledge of things simply born in me. No explanation for knowing them; I just did.
That hasn’t changed. Can’t say I can make a living at it, but it is who I have always been.
My parents remember me squalling at the slightest injustice as a child, ranting “It’s not FAIR!” which was pretty much my catchphrase.
….Guess who went to law school? Heh.
When I was in kindergarten, I used to walk the 3 or 4 blocks home with my first friend, Harvey. Somedays I was alone, though, and once I picked several of someone’s roses; I took them home and placed them in water in the garage, trying to root them (as cuttings, fully flowering stems just don’t get it, who knew?). Anyway, I ended up being in horticulture for about a third of my adult working life. A more social activity that I remember really actally liking was catching and cooking grasshoppers on tin can stoves. (yes, I believe we did eat them, too) Then I did cook and work in restaurants for several years as a young man. I wouldn’t know what signalled my eventual consuming and enduring interest in languages, learning and teaching them. Maybe it was just hearing the occassional person speak with some thick foreign accent (and being intrigued).
I told my preschool teacher I did not like her and that she was mean. She had a meeting with my mother ad my mother did not know what to say.
I was a very shy quiet child so as my mother said if she came out and said she doesn’t like you then she really must not like you.
I was 18 this teacher came into a gas station I worked at and she remembered me and I remembered her. She knew my name. She wore a lot of heavy eyeliner and had the same short hair cut, I still had long hair..It was creepy.
I don’t really know what that equates to as a career…LOL…
Yesterday, I heard about someone’s son. When he was 6, he told her that he did not want to work for anybody. People took notice of his entrepreneurial spirit and told her he needed to be around mentors and like-minded people. At 8 years old, he became Incorporated running a lawn mowing business. Amazing.
As for me, I don’t know yet.
What a fascinating post, and comments!
Like Julie, I observed ants, noticed how one would stop and “meet” with others when traveling back in the opposite direction of a long line. I’d even move scoopfuls of sand with ants to different anthills to watch them scramble around in surprise and find their way back.
Exploring, nosing around, a rebel at home, upsetting the apple cart, passion for old houses, antiques, exotic places, books, animals — all still true.
Between the ages of 6 and 8, I drew these offensive comics just for myself. Turns out I liked story telling. Then I one day I realized that I didn’t like to draw that much, but I subtracted the drawing and it turns out that I like story telling.
Well, I always wanted to be onstage, but nothing and nobody in my real life encouraged that at all. I was always considered “the worst” in everything. So…I dunno on this.
I’m onstage now, albeit in bit parts, but at least I’m finally in! I’m just saying I had the urge early on but it wasn’t something anyone thought was good about me.
Hi Elsa, I’m a reader for years but have never commented but holy crap! I have this memory of sometime in elementary school. My brother and me and some neighbor kids playing store with our cash register and fake money in the carport area at a neighbor’s house. I work retail now; caah register and all. I can also see some other truths that came out around that age as well. Clear memories.
Nice story Elsa. Have a good Saturday.
Well, my mom had a house full of kids , my sisters too.I think I fit
Easily into groups, women very easy I have a propensity to admire
Men, maybe in the a sense of. My work has been all over the place
Truly think I most attracted to books mostly the weight of them
Small furniture , the sky when dark it’s invite to, unimaginable
That was, men in the absence of
As a kid I imitated everything I saw. Loved trying to memorize whole sections of dialogue and recite them, voice inflections and all. I remember my sister and I using my old stereo as a make-believe monitor while one of us was playacting a mother in labor and the other was keeping an eye on the monitor (creepy for KIDS to do that, I know, but
that’s how it was).
I also have other odd memories like trying to turn a rock into a caveman flinthead, and crawfish hole mud into pottery. Had no understanding that you can’t use ordinary material to do these things. I saw a wasp nest in the backyard playground and them Mom got rid of it. I didn’t grasp why such a beautiful thing had to be destroyed.
As a kid I was drawn to musical instruments and jigsaw puzzles. Had a knack for solving smaller puzzles quickly, and teaching myself how to play some instruments. Guess they call this self-taught.
Not sure how this translate into what I do now, at all. Just a bunch of random stuff. Nothing much to do with healthcare at all.
Nice to see those pipes again ?. I had almost forgotten how they featured in the playground at my school as well. They appeared much bigger to me when I was small. I remember friends saying “meet me in the pipe” to do some confiding.
I’ve always been a good listener and helped people with their problems. Ever since I remember I’ve loved analysing people’s behaviour and been curious about what makes another tick. It was quite obvious that psychology was where I’d land.