Why I Won't Be Rewriting History; as a Survey of Over-50s Reveals That Many Dream of Writing Their Memoirs, JOAN BURNIE Takes a Look Back at Her Life So Far

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), September 5, 2013 | Go to article overview

Why I Won't Be Rewriting History; as a Survey of Over-50s Reveals That Many Dream of Writing Their Memoirs, JOAN BURNIE Takes a Look Back at Her Life So Far


Byline: JOAN BURNIE

APPARENTLY I've now reached that point in my life where I want to write my memoirs or, alternatively, rewrite it to include all the stuff I wish I had done.

Or, according to a recent survey, I should. Well, maybe. I've never been one for looking back. It's a cliche but Sinatra said, or rather sang, it all for me: "I Did it My Way."

Not, I'll admit, always the RIGHT way but definitely MY way.

Regrets? Perhaps I have a few. I'd have worked harder at school. Spent more time revising for exams instead of chasing dreams. I was, you see, going to be a great actress.

I was, as someone said, good at acting but, as my mother added, I had neither the looks nor the talent. 'I take a certain pride in the fact So I joined a newspaper and the rest is history - or rather, my history - and I didn't become Judi Dench. I've done it all on my own' Or more likely a bit player in River City. But if I'd been an acting Dame I might have got on Strictly.

I would love to be able to dance - proper dancing, not just jigging around and embarrassing my kids.

I would also love to have made Wimbledon but I never did master the serve or, for that matter, the lob or the volley, except in those dreams.

One thing I shouldn't have done was to marry, not only when barely into my 20s but before I had ever lived away from home.

Crazy. But it was what most girls did back then. Your father "gave you away" and you became a wife.

So one minute there was my mother doing my washing, the cooking and cleaning and the next I had to do it.

And swill out the lav as well.

Real men in those days didn't do the domestics. It was women's work even though I was working full time.

Then I had two children in rapid succession. I remember my mother standing at the end of my bed after my son was born, 14 months after his sister, waving leaflets about this new wonder contraception pill at me.

I think she had visions of me popping out a babe a year.

The pill wasn't only my salvation but my generation's too. The pluses far outweigh the minuses.

For the first time, women were in charge of their own fertility. As for me, the swinging 60s largely meant swinging nappies. There was no maternity leave. Like the majority of my contemporaries, you left work and became a full-time mum with an allowance from your husband, so you had to ask if you needed new shoes. …

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