by Zolton in New Illustration on Sunday 16 July 2006

Dear Miss Helena, one time host of children’s show Romper Room, you have a lot to answer for. Yes, squeaky clean Miss Helena of wholesome blouse and values, I have not forgotten those childhood years spent patiently glued to the television waiting for you to call out my name through the magic ‘looking glass’ — that portal to ‘good’ children everywhere. But not once amongst the John’s, the Michael’s and the Leroy’s (Leroy? Seriously!?); the Gavin’s, the Craig’s and the Philip’s was the name Zolton ever uttered. Was I wrong to expect you to see me there, just inches from the screen? Was my incessant stream of threatening mail a little over the top? Ah, the pain cuts deep. Yet I was never deterred. Despite the false promise that each new dawn offered, I would still rise in hope, my little heart pounding in anticipation that this might be the day that I join my generically named friends in the realm of ‘goodness’ But it never happened. Instead I was relegated to the world of the unruly, typecast as a troublemaker — a rabble-rouser. Personally, I blame it more on the Pepsi and sherbet diet I enjoyed at the time. But if I can hold a grudge for my ill disciplined adolescence then I will. And a bird-like television host seems as good a target as any. Yes, Miss Helena … the shame, the shame. [illustration by Skwak]