Sitting On It – Friday Fictioneers 27th January, 2021.

My agent was on the phone for the umpteenth time this afternoon.

“Have you reached a decision yet?” She pestered. “The clock’s ticking”.

“I’ve already told you. I’m sitting on it.”

Of course, this was counter-intuitive. Anyone else would’ve leaped at the chance to play Victoria in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats on Broadway. This was what I’d been dreaming and striving towards, ever since I put on my very first ballet slippers as a three year old. Yet, I knew that once I’d accepted, there’d be no turning back. That my life would never be my own again. Was it all worth selling my soul?

Or, did I even have a choice?

Of course not. I was the moth flying straight into the candle flame, but at least I was prepared.

I had my mum.


This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields PHOTO PROMPT © Marie Gail Stratford

Ruby and Eunice Gardiner in Sydney after their return from London.

At the age of 16, my grandmother, concert pianist Eunice Gardiner, won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. At the time, Eunice was a sheltered Australian school girl living in Sydney’s Bondi Junction with her family. There was never any question of Eunice travelling to London alone. Indeed, her father said he’d “rather throw her to the sharks in Sydney Harbour”. So,  on the 3rd December, 1935 she set off with  her mother on board the Esperance Bay.

As it turned out, Eunice’s father died of a heart attack back in Australia four months later, and Her mother never saw her husband again. Eunice never saw her Dad. Moreover, Eunice’s older brother made personal sacrifices to continue supporting the pair in London. It was a very challenging road and Eunice’s incredible talent also had an incredible toll, especially for those around her. Indeed, in 1948 she left Sydney bound for New York leaving her husband, three young sons and mother behind. She returned about 12 months later at around 2.00am in the morning on Christmas Day morning. Hard to understand, and yet there have been times on my own parenting journey, I could’ve joined her.

Best wishes,


20 thoughts on “Sitting On It – Friday Fictioneers 27th January, 2021.

  1. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Keith. Having much around sounds childish, and yet most performers who’ve made it have had supportive families and probably one parent who’s done all the running around.

  2. Rowena Post author

    My daughter’s dance teacher played Victoria in the SE Asian tour and was all booked for the European tour pre covid. That’s why I picked that musical.
    I’ve never actually been to see Cats either. However, I’ve done a couple of posts years ago where my dogs wanted a dogs musical. Thought Cats was unfair.

  3. Rowena Post author

    Yes. Usually the unsung heroes. Many careers would’ve grounded without Mum’s involvement, and family financial backing as well.

  4. Rowena Post author

    So true. You have to hope that the daughter’s wanting that goal as well.
    I was talking to my daughter’s dance teacher tonight, and telling her that as a five year old you could see the dancer inside the slab of marble just like Michelangelo and David.
    It’s a long way to becoming a professional ballerina, even from where she is now. However, even if she stopped now, she’s had that sense of starting to spread her wings.

  5. Rowena Post author

    Yes, Neil. We need to be pretty astute. I have a lot to learn but I try to have chats with her dance teacher when I can and soak up her advice. I know what it took to launch and maintain my grandmother’s career and it was like feeling everything they had into a hungry juggernaut, but somehow you’re lured in. There seems to be a sense of destiny. Meant to be. At least, that’s what it feels like for me.

  6. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Rochelle. I’m completely enchanted with Marcel Marceau now. I would love to have done one of his classes, even if my efforts were humiliating. I’m going to watch more of his work.
    Best wishes,

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