I was born in the UK to an English mother and a South African father.
When I was six months old, we went to live in Port Elizabeth and I went to school as a boarder when I was just over two years old.
No one told me that this was supposed to affect me psychologically so I just enjoyed it and thrived on every moment of various convent boarding schools - especially being the only Jewish pupil !
My parents divorced when i was three and my mother and I returned to the UK when I was ten
and then went to New York for a year.
I LOVED NEW YORK.
It gave me my pushiness and drive and love of fun !!!
We returned to the UK when I was nearly twelve.
I had always wanted to be an actress and was allowed to go to drama school provided I got a teaching qualification, which I did, and then became a professioanl actress when I was seventeen.
During my time as a rep actress one of my jobs was at the Theatre Royal, Margate.
This was 1958 !
I played the juvenile in 'Waters of the Moon'.
Incidentally, a few years ago, I read for the part of the mother !
Not having another job after that, I persuaded the Artistic Director, Reginald Birks, to keep me on,
and I became the lowest of the low - an Acting ASM !!!
Another part was 'Daphne' in 'Sailor Beware'. I've toured in that -but this time playng 'Aunt Edie'
- the ancient crone !!
It was in Margate that
I met my future husband Harold.
We married and had three children in three years before I realised what was causing it !!
That was when I took up bridge !
Mark is the oldest.
Perrina is a manager in a casino in London.
When she was at school she did an aptitude test,
and a career in international banking was advised.
As she said to me recently,
'Casino careers are much the same as international banking so I found my niche !'
Some years ago, aged 35, she became unwell and had to have a variety of tests.
She was presented with the devastating news
that she'd had an early menopause.
She coped amazingly with this
and threw herself into her career.
At the age of 40 - being on HRT and in the care of a gynecologist -
she developed some unpleasant symptoms and had another barrage of tests.
On going for the results, her specialist appeared to be in shock
as he gave her the news that she was four months pregnant !!
She and her partner, Ray, were presented with a daughter, Georgie, on June 23rd, 1999.
Georgie is now seventeen years old, 5'9" , beautiful and wonderfully healthy, and has a very high IQ
but MORE IMPORTANTLY, she's a lovely person.
She wants to go into theatre and I've told her if she does I'll break every bone in her body!!!
She excels in maths and physics so why go into a profession where she'll have to face rejection all the time.
Well being her grandma I would say that wouldn't I ?
Her first report from senior school was A* in most subjects.
She has just spoken her first lines in a student film and discovered the true meaning of stage fright.
Isn't that a lovely story. And aren't I lucky.
She calls me Grandma I-see!
When she was a baby, I used to lift my glasses up and say 'I see'.
She loved the game - hence my nickname !
My youngest is Tania.
She is the only one
who followed me into the entertainment business.
She was fascinated by film and studied to become a cameraman (I REFUSE TO BE POLITICALLY CORRECT ! -
She's a cameraman, as Chairmen and Chairmen, regardless of their sex.)
Tania has done some fantastic jobs and worked with a variety of very important directors -
more than I have, I have to say !!
Infact, I was once in TV Centre, when I was stopped by someone who said 'Are you Tania Hoser's mother ?'
I replied that I was - but I also had a name in my own right !
How's about that for role reversal ?
I thought it was the kids who were supposed to be jealous !!
She filmed Alan Bennett's programmes on museums in Leeds, and through her he sent me his book of 'Talking Heads' in which he drew me a cartoon together with his autograph.
Her rwork has included an acclaimed short film 'Grandma' which is both touching and moving, as it deals with the delicate subject of how children deal with the death of a close relative.
While a short film, I believe it should be shown to all schoolchildren as part of the national curriculum.
She and her partner at the time, Carsten, produced my eldest grand-daughter, Alice.
Tania now divides her time between
film-making and teaching.
Some of her recent jobs were in Abu Dhabi and Barbados - .... How about that!
Of course, being a concerned mother I felt it was my duty to go over several times just so she wouldn't be lonely. (If you believe that - you'll believe anything!!)
Alice is now 19, going on 35
(Any grandparents reading this
will know EXACTLY what I mean!)
I love having her to stay over if I'm not working.
She's very different from Georgie-she's into the arts and humanities.
She writes very well, and her aim is to be a journalist. Well, it was until we talked about 'jet setting 'all over the world. But there's plenty of time to discover what she really wants to do.
I'm glad they are so different - they aren't jealous of each other.
I saw her in 'Godspell' at her school,
and what a singing voice ;)
Strong, powerful and complete control of the hand mic.
She reminds me of Helen Shapiro.
When they came for a sleepover, as I'm a grandparent who believes
in intellectual stimulation,
I do the only thing possible.
I put Cartoons on the telly, give them biscuits
and strict instructions to come back
'when the big hand's on the twelve and the little hand is on the eight !' .... Nuff said !
I've never been able to work out where my kids and grandkids get their varying talents from.
Mind you, I've never been short of the gift of the gab, and Harold was incredibly numerate, so I suppose the genes are sorting themselves out.
Also with us both coming from Eastern European stock - our grandparents fled the pogroms -they have a diversity of character.
Sadly Harold never saw his grandchildren.
He died in 1981 aged 54. A heart attack.
Many times people have asked me why I never remarried.
My answer ?
'Why make one man miserable,
when you can make a hundred man happy ?' Oops !
With Perrina's help, I carried on running the family business - gift shops -
and eventually decided to try to return to the theatre.
I did bits and pieces and in 1984, I was lucky enough to be cast as 'Pearl' in 'Last of the Summer Wine',
and the rest is history.
My interests and hobbies ?
Bridge, snorkelling, swimming and, computing.
One never stops learning about computers.
Sometimes I think I spend more time learning how to use the blessed thing than actually working with it !!
You'd think that, as I'm on the road so much, I'd prefer to stay put, but I enjoy other countries, culture and the people.
In 1995, out of the blue, I had a letter
from Equity, the actors union.
They enclosed a letter to me, which said,
'You have two half-brothers and a half-sister, who have been looking for you for 35 years !'.
I was gob-smacked.
I had no idea that, after the divorce,
my father had re-married
and had three more children !
He had told them about me
and asked them to find me one day.
I didn't want to get involved.
I don't believe in looking back -
it's only tomorrow that counts.
But life isn't a dress rehearsal.
This is the real thing and if we don't go for it,
we will never know, will we ?
So I went to South Africa to meet them...
They invited about fifty relations to a reunion
and we had a wonderful time.
The strange thing was that I liked them
and identified with them !!!
Three different parts of my character staring me in the face - incredible.
They've come over here several times and got to know my family
and I've been over there many times and got to know theirs.
We keep in touch frequently and I love them dearly.
The strange thing is that Perrina has the same look and temperatment as my brother's son Peter,
and Tania has the same looks and temperament as my other brother's son David.
Isn't life peculiar ?
You never know what's round the corner...