Long Haired Lover from Liverpool
I had a whole story for myself when I was a kid about the way things were going to be, and hardly any of it has worked out that way. Although if things had worked out the way I planned when I was a kid, I would nowadays be known for heating pies and be referred to as Mrs. Jimmy Osmond.
The first thing I ever remember writing was a poem about Jimmy. A newspaper in Scotland called The Evening Times was holding a competition - the prize a life-size cardboard cutout of Little Jimmy Osmond. (Who at that point in time was admittedly only about 4’ 5”). To win, entrants had to write something interesting or draw a picture of Jimmy. I’ve always been dodgy with the illustrating so I wrote a poem instead. It went like this:
For Jimmy O.
He’s great, he’s fab, he’s number one
He’s Mrs. Osmond’s youngest son.
Unsurprisingly I didn’t win, but I was cool with that, because I had other plans. Ever since seeing him on Top of the Pops at Christmas, singing his number 1 hit, ‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’, 7-and-a-half-year-old me had decided on marrying him - not making do with a cardboard cutout.
My strategy at the time was not that complicated. I just repeated that I was going to marry Jimmy Osmond over and over again with the conviction that just repeating the same sentence over and over again means that makes it true ( Basically an early form of Trumpism - though in my defence I was 7 and a half and not a grown-assed man.)
The way I saw it, Jimmy and I were to spend our weekends at our very own caravan in Arbroath, and weekdays we’d travel between Cumbernauld and America. Jimmy was too short to drive so we’d have a chauffeur driven Vauxhall Victor. At night we’d dine on such luxuries as roast potatoes and Fray Bentos pies. All vegetables would be banned. (apart from potatoes obviously and peas which were ok.)
Sometimes I’d lie awake at night thinking of the house we would have: I figured we’d have to have an actual dining hall to be able to feed all of the Osmonds and all of the Fergusons at the same time. And that the hall and the dining table should be purple. I’d calculate how many family-sized Fray Bentos steak pies we’d need to feed everybody, and speculate whether we should get new-fangled, double-glazing for all the windows to help drown out the sound of all the girls screaming for Donny.
I figured we’d adopt children as I planned on being a mother but I wasn’t going to go through any of that ‘taking off clothes’ nonsense with boys in order to get them. (I absolutely knew Jimmy would understand.) And we’d get a dog. And some more guinea pigs.
Almost half a century later, I am happy to report that thankfully repeating something over and over again doesn’t make it true. Jimmy and I never got married, which was undoubtedly for the best.
And it's been a long long time since I've imagined any sort of life as Mrs Jimmy Osmond, though I do still occasionally find myself lying awake making up stories. Because I’m traveling to Scotland tomorrow, mostly my head is full of lists.
What if the flight is cancelled? What if I miss the connection? How long will I be jet lagged for? How easy will the tech rehearsal be? When will I get settled in digs? Are the posters out? Are the leaflets out? Will people come?
Lists and lists and lists. Of a whole load of stuff I have at this point absolutely no control over - especially at 3 o'clock in the morning.
Last night, completely out of the blue, my mind wandered over to Jimmy, and I smiled a giant Osmond-sized smile.
10 year old me had no concept of computers or the notion of living abroad. I couldn’t imagine anybody would actually want my opinion about anything, or that I’d ever be able to survive the death of my Guinea Pig whenever that happened.
I had definite plans how I wanted my life to be, but my vision was limited by my then experience.
If my life had turned out exactly as 10-year-old me had had my heart set on, it would be pretty horrific. Similarly, if my life continually turns out exactly as I plan it to be, it will be equally kind of disappointing.
What makes life interesting is the unknown. What gives life energy is facing challenges. Getting what you need is not always the same as what you believe you want.
Though it can be impossible to believe it at the time, you really can grow to enjoy vegetables other than potatoes and peas. You really do survive the death of your guinea pig. And that thing of taking off clothes with boys is not all that bad.
Life is experiential, not a row of tick boxes. As much as I might eternally want it planned out, life arrives on life’s terms and I'll have a much better time if I go with it.
I considered if The Evening Times were to run a competition for a life-sized cardboard cutout of Jimmy Osmond nowadays, I might write something like this:
Thank you for your bad sweaters, your smiley smiliness and your terrible Christmas number 1. Thank you for never being my long-haired lover from Liverpool (via Utah) but turning out to be an inspiration anyway.
Not your Sunshine Lady from LA (via Cumbernauld) Lynn
Obviously I wouldn’t win, and that would be a good thing. Though a life-size cardboard cutout of Jimmy Osmond could keep Mr Tweddle company while I’m gone.
Scotland, I am coming for you, and I'm so looking forward to the ride.
Till next week xo
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Well hello there, my wee NFTV kitcheny pals,
I am glad to say that
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