Saturday, March 25, 2006

Naughty Miss M.

When I was a kid I loved Enid Blyton (who didn't?) and I went to bed each night with my cup of hot chocolate and read my book until I fell asleep. The Naughty Amelia Jane series was my absolute favourite, even more so than the Magic Faraway Tree or Famous Five.

It was about a group of toys who came to life when the boys and girls weren't around. I fancied my toys doing that also, so it wasn't a big stretch for my rather active imagination to see my own cabbage patch and eeyore toy doing the same thing. In the stories Amelia Jane was the ring leader and biggest trouble maker of all the toys. She was a rag doll, which explained a lot really (apparently rag dolls are loose and from the wrong side of the tracks..oh Enid, you're a gass really!). She would rile up the other toys and convince them to do naughty, naughty things so much so that the faires would have to come and save their sorry arses before the kids came home and realised that their toys were actually alive and sold them to the local circus or something.

Mum used to say that I was like Amelia Jane, because as the older sister I would lead bro into trouble. In fact, now that I think of it I'd get blamed for a lot of things that he did, even when I wasn't involved. When I'd say that it wasn't my fault I'd get "well, you're the older sister and you should look after him and make sure he's behaving" and I'd get into trouble anyway. That's a shitty deal - damn those younger siblings and their angel wings. Thanks mum - this explains much about the perception I have of myself as flawed in every way (save that for the mental health entry)...

I thought Amelia Jane was a little misunderstood. She knew that she was naughty but it was like a compulsion. Afterwards she was always so very sorry to have lead all the good toys astray and promised to be more like them in everyway. You see, Amelia Jane wasn't one of those new fangled factory made toys, she was held together with the evil, evil threads of home making. Poor Amelia, you could hardly blame her. Besides she was the one who always paid the most for her crimes anyway. err..anyway

Although I was painted as a naughty Amelia Jane at home, I was an absolute angel in public and especially at school, people couldn't believe that I wasn't mute. I was so shy I'd run and hide behind the paisley (yeah, you read right) couch when we had visitors that I didn't know and would have to be coaxed out of hiding with ice-cream or threats (both worked well). But I suppose if you had to twist my arm about it then I was a bit like Amelia Jane when I was comfortable. Yes, I knew as the oldest sister and cousin (that we associated with) that I could make my younger brother and younger cousins do what I wanted. Most of the hair brained schemes ("let's jump on the couch!", "let's use Dad's saws and nails to build a cubby", "it's not really stealing if noone knows it's missing", "let's make $50 worth of prank calls") were my brilliant idea. Hey, I was the outgoing, outspoken persuasive one (what the hell happened?) except when I was in public. Maybe I'd already been labelled as naughty and there was nowhere else for me to go.

I came across a piece of writing I wrote here, and saved as a draft. I may have posted it in lookingsideways but honestly I can't remember anymore. I keep being reminded of it as an example of my Amelia Janeness:

My cousins lived in North Fitzroy until I was about 5 or 6 years old. When I was 2 I took my best cousin T (who was almost 2) by the hand and led her down the driveway out onto the busy road and down the street and almost under a tram. This sounds exactly like something I'd do. I probably looked like butter wouldn't melt and my teachers wouldn't believe you if you swore black and blue about it but I was trouble. Probably still am.. I've heard this story a million times. Mum was 9 months pregnant with my brother and when she realised we had gone missing she ran down Liverpool St. holding her pregnant belly with both hands and racing for Nicholson St. There we were, stepping onto the road when she grabbed us both by the collar and pulled us back to safety. I spent many years after that leading T into this forest or down that overgrown pathway. She always followed and I played on that a lot. As the older cousin by 8 months I was hard to resist. This bizarre story has been reconstituted many times, so now I have hazy memories of myself on unsteady feet waddling along the road dragging T behind me. She is wearing a red wool-knit sweater, which I have seen her wear in photos of us when we were toddlers. I don't know whether to trust these memories or not. As I said, the story has been told and retold as folk lore until my brain has absorbed them as visuals.

You know, this entry was going to be about The Fonz. No kidding.