I used to love watching the crowd of dancers, and cheerleaders dance through the streets of my local town parade. I was 4, and every year that I could make it (which was a hit or miss between weekly hospital visits) I would on with wide eyes asking my mum to let me join, but she never really took me serious, or at least that was my perspective. Little did I realise that she was just being protective of her daughter who had many health challenges to fight. I still remember moments of being in a blue light ambulance having the paramedic fuss all over me, with masks and needles, and all kinds of medical tools. One time my mother go so worried whilst waiting for the ambulance to come that she was running around calling neighbours, and family members, and in and out the kitchen. She had me sit on a kitchen chair, in the small narrow hall, right at the front door, with the door open and the hospital prescribed nebuliser on, waiting on the ambulance to arrive. This was pretty much the norm for me, but I believe this was one of the serious occasions where the asthma attack got so bad my lips were turning blue. Isn’t it funny how I have the memory of sitting out in front of our door, but I don’t remember much about feeling unwell? Ironically, I think I was rolling my eyes at the fuss everyone was making. Much to my ignorance this was no laughing matter. My mum, she was just doing a her job and taking care of me.
Despite my regular blue light journeys, I spent most of my time dreaming, and dancing and singing. Besides watching Bananas and Pyjama’s, and Button Moon there were little much to do from a hospital bed, but dream and wait to be back dancing again. In fact I still briefly remember my debut performance at the age of 4 in front of an audience at Aber foyle’s caravan park. I began my solo career with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and I remembered every word and verse; there were three verses!
One of my favourite times of year was Summer. Getting to attend our town civic week parade was the best part for me. I’d cry if I missed it. Watching the decorated lorry vans, and dressed up children drive past a crowded street of families with their children, grans and granddads. It was a family occasion. The stream of dancers in their matching suits, and some with bustling pom pom’s would follow suit, right before the chosen queen and her maids. I was magical, and I guess you could say it was our very own disney parade (without Mickey and Mini).
Whenever we would visit my aunt, I used to play with the other little girl visiting her gran in the house just behind my aunts. She used to dance in that very same parade. We’d go to watch and cheer her on. Often we’d meet her proud gran in the crowd. I remember we became great friends. We used to love playing with our collection of polly pockets, and eat alphabet chips, which I just thought were the most exciting thing since sliced bread – Her gran’s house would be my first port of call as soon as I reached my aunts, but there were times were I would visit her own home too, (which was all the way over the other side of town). This girl had the coolest Sylvanian Families doll house I had ever seen, and her own swing out in the garden. Her mum fed us munch bunch petit poilu yoghurts that came in bright red, orange and pastel pink colours. I just loved everything about this girl and her home.
I asked my mum every year, ‘Please, take me to dance class?’ I even got down from her arms during the parade just to jiggle and copy the girls as they performed down the street. I do it partly for her attention, and also just to move my feet. It was fun. For obvious reasons I know understand why she wasn’t too keen on that idea, but I kept on asking. I asked for 5 years.