My first job failure was a Child Fashion Model, and of course,
these early memories are so powerful.
The bitter irony was that my mother and the modelling school teachers all
intended well with these fashion courses aimed at pre-schoolers. The point was to help us overcome timidity and shyness.
forget what they told us yet strong images remain.
At the end of each class, we waited around the doorway, which oened onto
a long stairway of several storeys. It was an old Montreal building where we had to walk up two or three flights of
waxed wood steps.
I sat with my friends looking up at the top of the stairs, at the star child models. They were two girls, with
hair that so blonde it was almost white, and they were identitcal twins as well. Their white hair was done in SHirley Temple
ringlets, curling like sausages half way to their choulders. They always wore matching coats and dresses, to drive home
the point to the rest of us more commonplace children just how plain and pedestrian we were.
What was it I thought?
was happy. I did not envy them. Their hair almost white reminded me of the hair of grandparents, very old people.
Yet they were the adored pets of the teachers and the school That was clear to the rest of us. I looked at them with
I myself had dark blond hair, and loathed having my mom give me Toni Home
Permanents, though I remained quiet to get the free Toni The Twin paper dolls that came in the box, with the ammonia
and rubber curlers.
A second happier memory was the back stage introduction to theatre make
up. I remember the smell of the waxy red crayongs the teachers rubbed on our cheeks, and explaining, that "The camera needs
Yet disaster struck on the final night, when I came out, wearing a blue winter coat, with three buttons on the front
of it. I had been told to unbuttong this coat, to show how simple it was for a child to unbutton it.
now that I look back, I was unable to unbutton this coat. I remember standing there, for what seemed like forever. I
could not follow instructions, only four years old, yet did not want to stop trying.
After what seemed like forever, a
kind hearted mother in the front row realized what the problem was, and moved up to the stage, and helped me to unbutton the
I did not cry, nor did I run off the stage. With the help of the young mother, life left the falsified world of CHild
Modelling, and returned to my daily routines of 91 Rue Lapalme, where children were not glamourous nor independent, but need
the help of adults in many small routines.
It would be some time before my mom sought to help me cure my shyness!