Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Heroes and heroines.

Did you have a hero - or, indeed, do you have a hero now?

As a small boy my first husband's hero was Teddy Tail in the Daily Mail.   His father was a stern and very strict man.   My husband always wanted to read Teddy Tail before he went to school but he dare not touch the paper, so his mother used to stand by with the iron, so that if he disturbed the pages she could iron them flat again and his father would never know.

I suppose my son's first hero was probably Rupert the Bear as he read him avidly as a small child.   The good thing about Rupert was that you could 'get' the story without reading the text at the bottom of the page because it was given in outline under each picture in rhyming couplets.   The one that sticks in my mind was Rupert going over the garden where Mrs Bear is busy pegging out the washing:    I do declare said Mrs Bear
                  That's our Rupert flying up there.
My son still has many of his Rupert annuals, so maybe he still has a soft spot for him.

I don't remember having a hero as a small child.   But as I got older people began to tell me how like Jean Simmonds the actress I was.  And so I began to collect pictures of her, try to get my hair like hers, try (as far as I could) to dress in similar clothes.   I suppose one day I realised that whatever I did I would never ever have her willowy figure - I had far too many bumps in the wrong places - and so she began to wane.

Later on I admired Vanessa Redgrave - still do in many ways - again her slender figure, her leftish views, her independence, her way of dressing -  all appealed to me.  But by this time I was old enough to just see her as a figure to admire.

But what about today - what heroes and heroines are there around for young people?   Footballers, so called 'pop stars', figures in the media - all with far too much money and often with outlandish views, crazy clothes, weird hairstyles, tattoos - do young people try to emulate them?

Trends come and go just as heroes and heroines come and go.   But no longer are the pioneers seen as heroes.  I can't imagine many young people worship the men who go into space or the women who make it to the top in any field.

In today's paper there is an article about mid-life crisis which hits chimps as well as men apparently.  The article suggests that just as male chimps develop red bottoms when they wish to mate with the females, so middle aged men tend to wear red trousers (or maybe yellow or some other bright colour) when they get the urge to roam.
I put this to the farmer over breakfast - he wouldn't be seen dead in red trousers - and he merely replied, without taking his eyes of his own daily paper - 'no way!'    But then, he didn't meet me until he was a bachelor of 49 and we have only been married for nineteen years - so maybe his mid life crisis is still to come.   I just hope he is conservative in his choice of hero; I don't want him suddenly turning up in leather trousers, gold chains and tattoos!     


Tom Stephenson said...

My two heroes are John Aubrey (who was as much of a pain in the arse as I am now) and Winnie-the-Pooh, whose philosophical outlook on life I aspire to.

MorningAJ said...

My hero always was (and will continue to be, even though he's long gone) my dad. Unlike many fathers he worked shifts, and so was sometimes able to be around when we came home from school. We would do so much together: he taught me to read and we would sit together and share our story books; he showed me how to recognise animal tracks in snow or mud; he was a wonderful gardener and passed on some of his skills to me; he always let me use his best materials if I wanted to try my hand at painting or drawing.

I still miss him desperately and wish he could have met my darling K, who is so like him in many ways.

Gwil W said...

And here's me thinking they only ironed papers in posh hotels.

Heroes? I'll have to think about that . . . although like the great Ron Hill I think I admired the Tough of the Track whom I vaguely remember survived on a diet of pies and chips. A natural athlete could chase down burglars and rescue sheep and deal with snarling dogs and still have time in hand to win any and all his races - including championship cross country races through muck and morass and in his bare feet if he had to.

Heather said...

You are comparative newly-weds Pat, so I think you are safe for a while yet! As a teenager I can remember being in awe of the bravery of members of the Resistance, though I'm sure I could never have done what they did. You are right about today's role models - very few and far between.

George said...

As one who grew up in Mississippi, bearing witness to the horrors of racial discrimination, my heroes have been Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, and those other courageous voices who have risked everything, often their lives, in the noble quest for social justice.

megan blogs said...

I've had many over the years, and some came to me when i wasn't looking. For instance, when i decided to take up running at 33, i entered a few 5K races to give me the oomph to keep going and trying to improve. Near Hallowe'en there was a 5K race, and one of the runners had bottled red shoulder length hair, which she wore in two pigtails, one tied with thick orange yarn, and the other tied with thick black yarn. As she turned around, i saw her wrinkled face, and was shocked. She was named Becky, she was 76, and she had completed a half marathon earlier that year.

"I have so much fun at these events," she said to me, and still smiling broadly added, "I get to see so many of my friends." I noticed many of the other runners were saying hello to her and chatting with her.

Cloudia said...

I admire our President...and brown hares, of course

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Dave King said...

Taking your last point first, I've recently taken to red braces having been a life-long belt man. Do you think that's significant?

I think my first hero was Just William -- or maybe Dick Barton, Special Agent, I'm not sure which came first.

I stuck with them until I switched, quite suddenly, to Albert Schweitzer. He's still top of my hit parade.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting heroes in there - and interesting red braces too Dave!

Bovey Belle said...

Gosh, I've never given it much thought, tbh. I was an Only Child, which probably makes a difference, and I lived for horses, so I guess my "hero" was really a heroine, Pat Smythe, who was such a famous show-jumper back in the 1950s with Tosca, Prince Hal and Flanagan.

When I see the Antiques experts sporting red or bright pink trousers on tv next, I shall think of your post . . . (It was Charlie Ross had the pair this week!)

Crafty Green Poet said...

I used to love Rupert Bear. I think my favourite couplet was the one about the curtains that his mother would make a good pair of trousers for Rupert, she never did make those trousers though.....

ArtPropelled said...

As a child my husband loved Rupert the Bear but I preferred Winnie the Pooh and later I contemplated marrying Gerald Durrell (of My Family and other Animals fame). I was desperate to accompany him on collecting expeditions all over Africa and help him to run a zoo.