Thank Heaven For Dreams . . . that didn’t come true!


I confess: when I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up to marry Prince Charles. Elizabeth’s boy. Yes, fuddy-duddy ole Chuck with the taxi door ears. He was the object of my fondest daydreams. Or at least the vehicle for it. In my defense, he was a lot better looking– okay, somewhat better looking– when he was young. And he was an RAF (or was that Royal Navy?) pilot and had a jet-set life style. And a few palaces to ramble around in and and a crown in his future. He’s a year or so older than I and was also born in November. I figured we’d be a great match that would bring our two countries that much closer.

Actually, I was not so much enamored with him as I was keen to be a princess– a future queen. Hey, I can hear those snickers–but, I think I’d have made a marvelous queen. Gracious, compassionate, elegant, considerate of underlings and common folk, and stunning in a hat. Or a tiara. More importantly, I loved horses and corgis and being in the spotlight. I could fake a reasonable British accent and got straight A’s in British Lit. So in my mind, I was supremely qualified for the post.

Fortunately for me (not to mention the royal family!) I grew up, forgot Chuck, and fell madly in love with a Wisconsin farm boy turned scientist/professor. Never looked back. A good thing, too. The press would have had a field day with my figure. Charitably, a size 16. Remember how the press crucified the Duchess of York, calling her the Duchess of Pork? I’m such a “pleaser,” I’d have been bulimic in a heartbeat. And then there’s the opera–Charles is a big opera fan and I’d have had to sit through endless hours of Lucia di Lammermoor. Ugh. There would have been ghastly photos of me snoring away in the royal opera box. Then I would have had to pretend to be interested in polo matches and in “shooting holidays” in Scotland. And there would be long-winded dissertations on the hideousness of modern architecture and Sesame Street puppets over dinner. . . every blessed night. I don’t hold my liquor well; one glass of champagne and I’d be ready for a blankie and a nap instead of a gala ball. And imagine being caught sneaking McDonalds bags into Buckingham Palace–or bribing the Coldstream Guards into finding me a peanut butter connection. I shudder to think what our children would have looked like. Prince William should be sending rafts of prayers heavenward every night for his fortune in having such a beautiful and photogenic mother.

Meanwhile, I married well, had two perfectly American kids, and found peace and pleasure in life. I wouldn’t trade any of it for standing in Camilla’s shoes. . . which, I understand, are size 9 or better.

And then there was that dream of marrying “George” from the Beatles. And that dream of being on the Johnny Carson Show as the infamous writer of the book that topped “Valley of the Dolls.” And the dream of being an Olympic figure skater. And of course, the Esther Williams swimming dreams. There’s probably a theme, there, somewhere.

I had a few dreams that didn’t involve being beautiful and marrying rich. . . being a medical missionary in deepest Africa. . . being a great botanical researcher who finds a way to improve crops and feeds the world. . . encountering aliens from other dimensions or planets and introducing them to the world. . . curing disease and helping children grow up healthy, everywhere. There was also a brief dream of being a great Broadway star. . . which mostly involved belting out show tunes playing on the stereo. Now that I’m older and see how people in those professions and positions in life have to live, I’m not at all unhappy that those dreams didn’t come true.

Some of my most important dreams DID come true: finding love, making a family, finding a career that was fulfilling and interesting. Every time I heard the Beatles song “Paperback Writer,” I felt a twinge of yearning. I guess, I always wanted to write and tell stories. . . to have them published and know that they entertain people. . . maybe even educate people. The interesting thing is, when I was young, I would have given that dream about the same chance of coming true as the chance that I would marry Prince Charles. Who knew that someday I’d fulfill that dream in ways and to an extent I would never have imagined?

I’ll never be on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show,” (or Jay Leno’s). I’ll never feed the world with my discoveries or cure cancer or be a queen. But I’ve achieved my dream. . . I’m a paperback writer. . . and darn proud of it.

What about you? What were your early dreams? How did they inspire you? What would you say your dream is now? Are there some dreams you’re glad didn’t come true?

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10 Responses to Thank Heaven For Dreams . . . that didn’t come true!

  1. Lois Greiman says:

    Thanks for sharing your wit with us commoners, Betina. You’re right again, of course. Some dreams are just silly. I read a university billboard a couple days ago that said “some day you’ll wake up in your dream,” and I thought, which one.

  2. Kirsten says:

    Fun post, (a long time ago) I dreamed of marrying Tom Cruise and I am SO glad that didn’t happen 🙂

  3. michelehauf says:

    Love hearing about your dreams, Queen Betina! And really, it seems the dental work in that country is appalling. Would you really have wanted that? 😉

    I look back over some of my dreams and go ‘whew! glad that one didn’t come true’. Maybe dreams are a necessary part of life, that shouldn’t always come true? Because if we didn’t constantly have a dream, then what would we do with ourselves?

  4. Leanne Banks says:

    Betina, so true about those young, childhood dreams. I wanted to marry Davy Jones. Not now! I also wanted to be a princess and dreamed I could fly. Still working on both of those!lol

  5. susan wilson says:

    My dream for the last 15 years has been to marry George Clooney, funnily enough it has never went away!!!

  6. You’re royalty in my book, Betina. There’s a star in your crown for every wonderful story you’ve written, along with myriad empty settings waiting to be filled.

    Remember that Garth Brooks song, something like “I thank God for unanswered prayers”? We’re at a point in our lives where we can look back and see where the road less traveled took us from the vantage of being where we are, and it’s nice that we can say, “I did the best I could with what I had and what I knew,” and “Boy, I really dodged a bullet that time,” and “Gee, I’m glad I went this way instead of that way.” And then because we’re writers, we can’t resist wondering, “But what if…” What a springboard those words are!

  7. Keri Ford says:

    I would love to be a princess! and then queen! I would still take that crown…so long as my family came with it. those dresses are fluffy enough, I bet those McD’s sacks could be tied on your thigh like a secret agent. 🙂

  8. Kylie Brant says:

    Oh Betina you make me laugh 🙂 I wanted to grow up and have five kids (did it, but not exactly because it was planned, LOL) and to be a psychiatrist. I figure having five kids and being a special ed teacher I’m pretty close to that occupation, too!

  9. Betina Krahn says:

    You guys rock! It feels so good to be back!

    Lois, if I were queen, I’d want you for my Prime Minister. The way you balance a million things at once. . . and diplomacy. . . nope, I couldn’t do it without you!

    Kirsten, I think Tom Cruise was a phase with quite a few of us! I remember thinking. . . if he weren’t quite so short. . .

    Michele, at the time, I didn’t know about the abysmal dental care in the country. I doubt it would have made much of a difference to me, lol. I just loved the carriages and fancy uniforms of the guards and the thought of living in palaces and having everyone address me as “your highness.” Now, I think that would be like living in a straight jacket. No wonder poor Diana had such a rough time of it.

    Leanne, davy Jones? Really? Well, he was a heckuva lot cuter than Charles! And good luck with the flying thing. Let us know how that goes!

    Kathy, you’re such a dear friend. and I DO remember the Garth Brooks song called Unanswered Prayers. It came out at a time that my son was going through some tough stuff and it became his mantra for a while. I can’t hear it without feeling a little ache around my heart. I think it resonates with many of us for the same reason– we’ve seen the wisdom in those words. Sometimes we don’t know what’s good for us– and we sure hope there’s someone or something bigger than us that has a better handle on things!

    Susan, George Clooney. . . ummmmm, some tasty morsel. I love him in his more comic roles. . . like O Brother Where Art Thou and Men Who Stare At Goats. He’s turned out to be quite the actor. You might have to arm wrestle a few thousand of us for dibs.

    Keri– what a hooot! I just about split laughing at the image of somebody sneaking into Buckingham Palace with Micky D bags tied on her thighs!!! Too good! You ought to be a writer. Har, har.

    Kylie, in my ecological activist days, I used to wear a button that said “Stop at Two.” Little did I know that I would have to do just that– we got two kids and no more. It was fun trying for #3, though. And now that I have granddaughters and see how much fun it is, I still wish I had had a daughter. Congrats on surviving 5!! I bet they’re stellar, every last one.

  10. Liz Flaherty says:

    I just read this, and enjoyed it so much. However, you should understand that George was actually MY Beatle, and although I gave up dreaming of him (and others who shall remain unnamed), I still wept at his death.

    Thanks for this–it was such fun!

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