Failed dreams

January 16, 1996|By Lucille Bjanes

IN 1921 WHEN I was 10 years old, my ambition was to grow up and have a bosom like Mae West's.

When I was 15 and living in Manhattan, I yearned to ride a horse in Central Park. Riding lessons were expensive and at that time a riding habit was a necessity. Girls may ride in jeans now, but they didn't wear pants then (except underneath). On a salary of $15 a week it was an impossible dream.

Later I envisioned myself as a dancer, willowy and graceful, in beautiful flowing gowns, dazzling an audience with the intricacies and perfect execution of my choreography. I would have a handsome partner, there only to catch me and show me off to my best advantage.

Straight beads

My bosom never even approached the glory of Mae West's. In fact my beads hung straight down, the envy of full-bosomed flapper friends who were forced to bind their chests to acquire the same effect.

The only horse I ever rode was a farm horse who plodded patiently along with me astride in baggy bloomers.

The dancing I did was with callow youths in Chinese restaurants on Saturday nights. They perspired profusely and stepped clumsily on my feet when I wasn't tripping over theirs. I vowed then that I would never marry a man who did not love to dance. So far I have married two such. Maybe next time!

L To end this sad tale of unfulfilled ambitions, let me tally:

* No bosom to speak of.

* No horseback rides in Central Park.

* No ballroom dancing.

These are the failed dreams of my life. There were some compensations along the way that I never dreamed of at all. Three of these are my children, and six more are their children.

2& Lucille Bjanes writes from Towson.

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