When I was growing up, there was not the intensity of planned lessons and activities for children that there is today, and I was left to amuse myself much of the time. But I was rarely left alone, as my father had an almost paranoid fear of my imminent dismemberment or death. (There was always a governess or companion in my life until I was about eight years old.) As a result, I never learned French or how to play the piano, nor did I become an accomplished tennis player, sailor or equestrienne...though I dabbled in all of the above on my own terms. My father bought me a half-size violin, which I never played. He gently pushed me to take piano lessons. But living with a father who played by ear, I was not content to start from ground zero with scales, for heavens sake, and gave up very early in frustration. The photo above is wishful thinking, shall we say.