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From the album of life

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Snapshots of inspirational people in chronological order.

Posted with gratitude.

Mum and Dad circa 1946

1. Mum and Dad; For life itself, and for showing me their sound moral and ethical raft upon which to float through life.  It was not their fault that I kept falling off it.

Walt Disney

2. Walt Disney; For inspiring a life-long interest in geography and nature, and a fascination with foreign cultures and customs.

Enid Blyton

3.  Enid Blyton; The Famous Five series of books encouraged my childhood love of reading.  Her books transported me from the dry, harsh, Central Victorian goldfields to magical places in the countryside with mountains, fog, mist, springs and babbling brooks.
The man then went on to live his boyhood imagination.

Patty Duke

4. Patty Duke; My first teenage unrequited love. She fired the starter’s gun to begin my marathon race to discover the mystery and wonders of the opposite wotsit. Has anyone seen the finishing line?

The Beatles

5.  The Beatles; Who energised, motivated and redirected an entire generation, and remembering especially the quiet and talented George Harrison (centre at back) who always remained grounded in reality.
Oh yes, and they showed me a radical new hairstyle that I retained for 30 years until all my hair started falling out.

Peter Cook (L) with Dudley Moore

6.  Peter Cook; Gifted British comic genius. I will continue to laugh at his short sketch “One leg too few” (here) until the day I die.

Sidney Poitier

7. Sidney Poitier; The former dishwasher and janitor who succeeded in life despite all the overwhelming obstacles that were placed in his path. Poitier’s character in the 1967 film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” forced me to seriously consider racism and segregation, for the first time in my life, from the recipient’s point of view.
Now in his Autumn years, Poitier exudes with Mandela-esque gentility the qualities of dignity, wisdom, forgiveness and compassion.
If the good Fairy of Fate could arrange for me to spend a day with just one celebrity in this world, I would select Poitier.

John Denver

8.  John Denver; For his music, and contagious enthusiasm for life, the environment and the universe.

Sadly only four people from this list of twelve are still alive.

I hope all twelve found peace and contentment in their lives,
for their contributions enabled me early in life to find my own.

Some random lines from this musical meditation.

The days they pass so quickly now
Nights are seldom long
And time around me whispers when it’s cold
The changes somehow frighten me
Still I have to smile
It turns me on to think of growing old
For though my life’s been good to me
There’s still so much to do.

And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
And what about tomorrow
And what about our dreams
And all the memories we share.

(John Denver 1943-1997)

So, disregarding lust as a driver, which celebrity would you most like to spend a day with?

About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

53 responses »

  1. I can sing that John Denver song along whilst reading the lyrics. I think I have just about all of his songs memorized.

    This is such a good thought provoking and entertaining post. (Opposite wotzit! BAHA!)

    I am the worst at choosing one of anything. Favorite this, that, one person.

    When I think about myself actually spending time with someone personally I think I would be all tongue-tied and self conscious. For me it would be more interesting to be able to view the person working in their laboratory without knowing I was there. (Thinking of Einstein…) or listening to them speak. Helen Keller would be someone I would love to witness her writing her bits of wisdom.

    Ooo, I just thought of another group. Wouldn’t it have been fascinating to listen in on Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Payne and other founding fathers as they debated their views?

    Carl Sagan I would feel comfortable meeting in person. 🙂

    • Thanks Lauri,
      I always admired John Denver and his music. I have a video of him just talking to camera about the various events which inspired him to write songs and it is one of my most valued possessions.
      Like you, I would be overwhelmed at actually being in the presence of someone like that, and would just be happy to sit back and listen while someone else asked all the questions.

      The Jefferson, Adams, Payne discussions would be great to eavesdrop on. I had enough trouble limiting my list of “interesting people” to the ones who lived during my time on earth.
      Going back into history is another mind-stretching exercise altogether.

  2. Lovely, GOF……thank you!

  3. You, GOF…
    (My aspirations have never been very high ;0) )

    • Ps, we’re not in Cairns any more, and judging by the sound of our car, won’t be able to make it back for a while, at least. Was looking forward to catching up too… :0(

    • Well thank you Tina….you know it’s never too late to seek higher aspirations in life. 🙂
      One day our paths will cross….it might help if you do a Basil Fawlty and thrash some sense into your car with a tree branch.

  4. my mom taught me to play piano to john denver, and he always reminds me of her. 🙂 So in a way, he would be on my list as well.

    • That’s a nice story. I like the simplicity of Denver songs, and there are a couple that I also enjoying playing on piano…..especially “Annies Song”. He sure knew how to write a love song from the heart.

  5. Thank you for another thought provoking post, GOF. It will come as no surprise to you that Max Erhmann easily tops the list for me.

    • Thanks Snowy. When thinking about this I decided to restrict myself to people who were still alive….there are just too many contenders otherwise, but I equally like your suggestion of Max Ehrmann, and Lauri’s idea of Carl Sagan. It would be a challenge thinking up the right questions to ask any of them.

  6. No lust? What is this, a day of chastity? LOL

    First of all, love the photo of your Mom and Dad. What lovely outfits they are both wearing. They look like a power couple! I imagine you as a loyal son to them (as Inga is a loyal daughter – it’s obvious).

    John Denver. Sigh – great and sincere music. I have to admit that Poitier, Cook and Duke look terribly familiar. I’ll have to look them up. And Five on a Treasure Island (I googled Blyton) sounds familiar as well. That would be a question for my Mom. If she saved any of my childhood books!

    • I had to put in the “No Lust Clause” to protect this pristine bloggery from being defaced by a couple of my long-term and greatly appreciated blog friends Emmy.

      But far be it for me to demand a lust-free day for you youngsters…..go for it!

      Poitier in recent times I saw interviewed on Oprah. One of the most moving interviews I’ve ever seen. He is a gentle fountain of truth and wisdom.

      The Peter Cook and Dudley Moore partnership was a role model for a whole generation of British comedians……but I am not sure if they ever achieved much popularity in America.

      The Patty Duke Show in the 1960’s….she played dual roles in the half-hour sitcom… twin being a goody two-shoes, and the other a slightly wilder sister. (It’s so long ago that my recollection may not be all that accurate.)

  7. I think I remember my sister going out for gigs (she was a singer) and taking her little sister (me) and also Mom / Sis going out to see friends, then driving back late at night, hearing Denver crooning on the radio as I fell asleep in the back seat, windows open during the summer, crickets singing. What a memory. I thank him for that.

  8. I was kissed on the cheek by Sidney Poitier. This was years and years ago when I was too young to realize what an honor that was: but I wish I’d never washed that cheek ever again, looking back on it.

    I do remember that my toes curled when he kissed me, however. 😉

    • Sounds like you have some respect for the man too HG…..and I’m assuming “toe-curling” is a pleasant response to being kissed by him. 🙂

  9. Love the list, it’s interesting to see where the being we know as GOF has come from…myself I’d like to meet someone of history’s powerful women to see what made them tick, Boudicea, Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria. I’d also quite like to meet Henry VIII when he was young to see if he really was all that and also when he was old to compare the difference. You can’t trust the portraits because the painter was always too worried about being made a whole head shorter to paint the truth.

    • Have you ever seen Henry’s suit of armour in the Tower of London, Vicola? I’d say the armourer was out to curry favour with Henry also.

    • Thanks for your list too Vicola of people who were influential characters in history… Henry VIII……everyone who dealt with him must have done so with extreme caution.

  10. Elle Macpherson, obviously.

    (Did I get it right?)

    • You’re almost deviating into the realms of lust here k9. Thank you.

      “(Did I get it right?)”

      Everything, EVERYTHING, about EMc is “right”. 🙂

  11. Lovely post. I’m a George Harrison kind of girl.

    About the “celebrity,” the only person I can fathom giving that much of a shit about sitting next to is the Dalai Llama.

    • Great selection MT….the Dalai Llama regularly visits Australia for speaking engagements (despite the strenuous objections of the Government of China)

      And, yep, we’re both great fans of George Harrison.
      His, and Denver’s death left holes in my life.

  12. I can barely stand to spend a day with a “real” person, much less a celebrity. I suppose it would depend on what we were doing.

    I wrote a long time ago, though, that if I could meet any 10 people (just to pick a random number), I’d like to meet with 10 people from around the world who were all born on the same day as me, and compare lifestyles and our views of things.

  13. I love the photo of your parents GOF – what wonderful posture your mother has. I also like your little icon photo!

    • Thanks Emjay…..Mum, along with several other older members of extended family were always urging the little GOF to “head up, shoulders back, stomach in”. I obviously took no notice. 🙂

  14. I love the icon photo, too!

  15. Living legend. An audience with Paul Keating.

    Demised. (and I don’t want to qualify for a face to face just yet) Albert E. Anyone who can work out time warping due to gravity has to be special. And just as long as he doesn’t ask me any questions.

    • Keating would keep me entertained Pete. As for Albert, I suspect I wouldn’t understand much of what he was saying unless he had a unique ability to “explain down” to my scientific dimwittedness.

  16. That is a fantastic photo of your parents!

    This is a great list, but a tough question. I’m not great at picking favorite things. I want to say people like Mandela and the Dalai Llama, but I don’t know how honest that would be. Poitier is a good one.

    I think that maybe I’d like to spend a day with Maya Angelou for a multitude of reasons.

    • Thank you for introducing me to Maya Angelou, Erin.
      I’ve just been Googling and reading about her life, including
      “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”
      I will read more about her life.

      And Mandela…what an extraordinary human being to have so much forgiveness after all he suffered.

  17. The mum and dad photo is still my favorite.

    I still can’t think of a celebrity whose company I would prefer to family and friends (like those here) but I bet the Canadian folks from Red Green would be a barrel of fun, and Sharlto Copley just because he’s my favorite actor.

    • You’re right Emmy….family and friends are more important.
      We’ve just had Inga here for 6 days… better company (when she’s sober) 🙂

      • Ha! Well, have a drink for me, okay? And maybe some day we can all sit around a table sharing drink and stories. I promise I’ll keep the snow away if it’s you who visit here. 😉

  18. I know I have been ill, but you could have emailed a request for my photo, I would have sent it….

    • I know that you prefer to hide your light (and sexy pink legs and feathers) under a bushel FD, so I decided on this occasion not to bother you. 🙂


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