Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Peeling Noses Go So Well with a Goddess

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Peeling Noses Go So Well with a Goddess

Article excerpt

AS I write this, on August 17, 2011, my earliest romantic crush, the red-haired woman responsible for the first sexual stirrings in this eight-year-old boy, celebrates her birthday. Hearty congratulations, Maureen O'Hara.

How easy it is to recall the summer Saturday afternoon when I first gazed upon her creamy skin, flaming hair and a because all this flesh and hair was being flung about pretty vigorously a feisty demeanour.

The sun beat down on the picture theatre's tin roof and my cronies and I sat sticky and spellbound, absent-mindedly peeling the sunburnt skin from our noses and eating it, washed down with Fanta, as Maureen (if I may be so bold) swashbuckled her way through Sinbad the Sailor.

I hadn't been so impressed by a female since my folk-dancing partner Elizabeth G., with whom I visited the Camptown Races (adoo-da, doo-daa) every Friday afternoon on the public-school veranda, broke the head-stand record. (Elizabeth stayed upside-down on the playground gravel for an entire lunchtime, until she froze in position, blacked out, and an ambulance was called.)

The fact that Maureen was by no means out-swashed by Anthony Quinn so impressed the front rows of deck-chairs in Mr Palmer's theatre that he made the projectionist halt the film until everyone stopped the noise.

Wolf-whistling, stamping and cannibalising ourselves with excitement, we were in no doubt Maureen would approve of the hubbub. No simpering June Allyson, Doris Day or Debbie Reynolds, or schoolmarmish Katherine Hepburn (a boy's least favourite actress), Maureen liked a good stoush. She certainly didn't share their sexlessness. She had, well, abosomsa.

Maureen was brave and strong and a the only word we knew to describe our nascent sexual urges a aprettya. Maybe a we also didn't know the word aFreudiana back then a because she was motherly as well. …

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