American actress Sandra Dickinson, 64, lives in London with her new husband, actor Mark Osmond, who is 20 years her junior. She has a daughter, actress Georgia Moffett, from her marriage to actor Peter Davison, and a seven-year-old grandson, Tyler. She says:
Here I am, aged five, at my first school - Twinbrook Elementary - in Maryland. They don't wear uniforms in America, so I'm in a little sailor dress.
On my first day I was brought to school by my older brother, and I was screaming all the way because I didn't want to go. But once I got there, I loved it. I was just ga-ga about school and fell in love with my kindergarten teacher, Miss Hemmelstein.
My father is Harold S. Searle, a famous psychoanalyst - he's still going at 91. My mother was a nurse when they met, and then she became a social worker - she'll be 91 soon, too.
My family is still in the US. My older brother, David, is the editor of a motorcycle magazine, and my younger brother, Donald, is a lawyer.
When I was a child we moved all the time - always in the Washington DC area - so I went to lots of schools. My mother liked to move house and, as my father's success grew, they moved into nicer homes. In one year I went to three different schools, which was quite difficult.
I was bullied a great deal as a youngster, because I had white hair and white eyelashes. Apart from my blue eyes, I looked like an albino.
My classmates would shout 'grandma' and throw stuff at me as I walked down the street. And in school I was ostracised and usually had only one friend.
I was a bit of a dweeb, I suppose. I was often the teacher's pet, though, because I was quite a sweetie, and very bright. But I could also be the teachers pet-hate, and I'd get punished for the smallest thing.
In third grade I had one of the horrible teachers - a Spanish woman with waist-length black hair. I retaliated by retreating into fantasy, and once decided I had 28 boyfriends and wrote down the names of every boy in my class. Well, you do what you can.
I remember being asked to take part in a class play. I refused. I wanted to carry on with the reading group; I adored reading.
I fought against performing so hard, which was funny considering I became an actress. I finally did a play when I was eight - Sleeping Beauty - in front of the class, but I began to like the idea of acting. Even so, I was so stressed about it I came out in a rash.
It was never an easy time for me at school, but I was really clever at being able to ignore all the bad stuff and carry on enjoying myself.
In the end, inspired by a boy called Robert, who dealt with bullying by making people laugh, it occurred to me that if I did the same maybe people wouldn't bully me. So, aged ten, I became the class comedian. It helped a bit.
When I was 13 I got a lot of hassle from some vicious girls at school, and was very lucky they didn't beat the hell out of me. I was in my really awkward stage, but also developing into a kind of mini-Monroe.
I liked wearing my favourite cute, tight skirt, but my mother had bought me sensible brogues for the walk to school. The combination must have looked strange, and these girls would follow me making comments. It was scary, but it didn't last long. My parents soon whisked me away to yet another school.
And still I loved my studies. I would so look forward to going back in September after the holidays. I loved buying paper and pencils, and my mother would buy me pretty dresses.
From the age of 12, I used to set my hair a week before school started because I was so excited. The curlers were in for a week! I was such a geek.
When I discovered mascara everything changed. I no longer looked like quite such a weirdo - I could cover my white lashes.
At 15, I ended up at a very good academic school - Walter Johnson High School. I had mascara and a boyfriend, and I became the toast of the school.
I came into my own. I was a cheerleader, joined all the clubs and, by my final year, I was voted the 'most likely to succeed' by my fellow students. Life had really turned round for me.
I was doing a lot of acting and won awards in competitions. By then, I was either going to be an actress or a French teacher.
From high school I went to the University Wisconsin in Madison, and then briefly to Boston University. It was the 1960s, and Madison was extraordinary, because it was one of the most outspoken universities against the Vietnam War and had the most demonstrations.
At university I began to lose my way a bit. I was studying theatre, and did really well, but I was so involved in acting that my other studies fell by the wayside.
In the US, you see, you do general studies along with your degree course. I was doing botany and all kinds of weird stuff.
Then I met an Englishman, Hugh Dickinson, and we fell in love. I was 19; he was 22, and doing his PhD at Madison. I married him at 20.
My father said he cried a river of tears when I left to live in England. Hugh and I had planned to stay in the UK for a year and then return to live in the US, but I never left - 40 years on, I'm still here.
I went to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and I was soon doing TV commercials. Earning money was great, and Hugh and I used to eat out all the time.
We ate everything I earned. We parted after five years - most amicably and we are still good friends. My career had taken off and it would have been crazy to go back to the US.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1211167/Sandra-Dickinson-bullied-fair-hair-school-life-turned-discovered-mascara.html#ixzz2Ku8Cg9y2
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Posted By: Rusty |
2/14/13 2:07 PM
Great story with a happy ending!