We ask people in the public eye to share some memories and snapshots of their childhood. First up is singer and actress Maria Tecce, who recalls the freedom of growing up in Boston in the 1970s. Maria (40) has lived in Ireland for over a decade now and has built up a reputation both a singer and actress of note. She is currently working and touring with Irish musical comedy outfit, The Nualas.
From Cowgirl to Carlow to Certified Citizen!
Maria says: “If you had told me years ago that I’d go from moonlighting as a cowgirl in the wilds of Wyoming to suddenly being whisked off to Ireland by a Carlow man and subsequently finding myself as an international singer and actress in Europe, then I would have said that you were crazy. But that is what happened and, after 10 years of campaigning for my citizenship, I am now a passport-carrying, fully-fledged Irish citizen and resident of Stoneybatter in Dublin.
“Over the last seven years, I have toured Europe and the U.S.A., producing and performing my one-woman shows. My main gig was jazz for years, but I’ve recently been working with different genres, including guest spots singing with the RTE Concert Orchestra, hosting my own show on RTE Radio 1, touring my new show, Strapless, acting with The Gate Theatre and on BBC and Channel 4 television and now working with Irish musical comedy outfit The Nualas.
“One of my first acting jobs in Ireland was on Fair City in 2002 and my first singing gig was at Cork Jazz Festival. I’ve since shared the stage with artists as diverse as Dionne Warwicke to Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion that things are really only just getting started…”
Snow Storms, School Days and a Stuffed Horse Called Charlie…
1) Whereabouts do you come in your family?
“I am the second to youngest out of five.”
2) What is your earliest childhood memory?
“One of my earliest childhood memories is of building a snow fort in the big blizzard of ’78. I remember the clean, soft smell of snow. The roads were impassable so we had to sled to the grocery store and get our 1 gallon of milk that was rationed to each family. The snow plows had built up a 5-6 foot mountain of snow at the end of our driveway, so we made a fort out of the snow drifts and pretended we were Arctic explorers.”
3) Did you have a favourite toy as a young child?
“I loved my stuffed horse named Charlie.”
4) What are your memories of your school days? Were you a good pupil?
“I wasn’t fond of school and skipped out to be with the horses at our local stable more than once. I was a very shy. I got A’s in music and English but D’s in science and math. I loathed math.”
5) Who was your best friend growing up?
“I was a total Tomboy growing up. My best friend as a kid was Skipper Arbuckle, a blonde Nordic wunderkind that lived next door. We got up to all kinds of mischief together and caught many a frog down at the streams around our neighborhood.”
6) What was your favourite food/snack/drink as a child?
“I loved grape juice and peanut butter crackers.”
7) Did you have any pets?
“Yes indeed: we had a dog, 3 cats, a squirrel, and a semi-tame racoon that hung out in our backyard.”
8) What were your favourite games to play outside with friends?
“Tag or hide-and-seek. We also invented a game called ‘Kill the Carrier’, which involved trying to kill whoever was carrying the ball.”
9) What did you want to be when you grew up?
10) How do you think childhood now compares to childhood back then?
“We were a bit more innocent for slightly longer, I think. Back then, we would shoot off on our bikes in the morning and not return home til supper, go on all kinds of adventures, and no one worried about us. My mother was probably delighted to have us out of her hair for a few hours, to be honest. By the time I was 13, I was thinking that I knew it all and was so very worldly – I doubt that’s changed very much!”
View The Nualas performing the hilarious Yummy Mummy Blues!
Did you grow up in the 1970s and do you agree with Maria that kids had more freedom back then?
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