Here it is the last day of June, and we are writing about snow? About twenty years ago I ran a 10k called christmas in July, so I guess we can make our days anything we want them to be. Well, it just so happens that I was writing about father’s day a few days ago, and happened on a letter from my father dated 12/19/70, whom I will let write for me: “Still, there are some things I would like to share with you — the fact that the whole countryside is covered with a thick blanket of snow. That a few nights ago, I was driving through part of the town and everywhere people had christmas lights on trees and bushes around their houses and inside many of them, christmas trees were all beautifully decorated and glowing with lights of different colors. Or, when it starts daylight in the morning, my bird-feeder is almost covered with cardinals, blue jays and several other types of birds. Those bright red cardinals are especially nice against the white snow. Here and there are pine trees, really loaded with snow and looking like the picture out of a book of christmas stories. Things such as these I would like to share with you.” I notice that SNOW has the word NOW in it, and now, today, it is July fourth, America’s independence day, one of my dad’s favorite holidays, as he was born in Germany, came to the USA when 17, became an American citizen, and fought against his Hitler-run country. Our family would attend the yearly celebration at Cornell University’s football field, where marching bands played and fireworks lit up the sky. And bangs would pound into my heart as does this memory. As the marching bands filed off the field, everyone would stand up to honor the American flag. My father was a polite and kind man, so I was surprised when he tapped the man’s shoulder who stood in front of us and said, “Please take off your hat in respect of the flag.” Today, there are two just-hatched Junco birdlings in the nest she made in my hanging basket, where multicolored petunias hang over their heads. I wish I could share this with my dad in the sNOW. My daddy died in 1977, and his footprints follow me everywhere I go, not just where he gathered his three children to cut down our christmas tree every christmas eve.
I can see myself walking down the hallway stairs at Boynton Junior High school, when I hear Jim Clark’s voice just below, “Hey Pancake,” as he looks up at me. I can’t help but feel embarrassed. I know he is referring to my chest, my lack of breasts as an eighth grader. Other girls are developing while I am wishing I was. I can’t even wear a padded bra as my mother has forbidden me with her words, “You don’t need one.” When I am fifteen I am courageous enough to buy a bra on the sly, and place kleenex in a 34B cup, when I am an A. And that is no grade to be proud of! I was also awarded the nicknames: string bean (at first I wrote green bean maybe because green is now my favorite color as it is the color of love according to some Buddhist traditions), or skinny. Since then I have been trying hard to create a more curvaceous figure, because I do have a small waist and lovely ass. Also, I am 5 foot 9 inches of long legs of which I learned to be proud after Miss America models were mostly that height and some boys grew taller than me. Once I became a freshman in college, I put on 15 pounds the first semester, mostly in my behind where I needed it least. What to do with my self image? I was already a wall flower, but not wishing my chest to emphasize such a wallpapering. I had to buy a girdle, not only to hold up my stockings, but you know what to hold in. I still have the broken spider veins, only in my left thigh, to mark that girdle-era when I was 19. Becoming a nurse, psychotherapist and married woman helped me to accept my small breasts, but I still felt inadequate in a bathing suit. I was most happy with my body while nursing my two daughters, when milk-filled breasts gave me 34-24-36 shapeliness. I no longer needed padded bras. I was for real. Of course that was a short-lived part of my life and when plastic surgery became more common, I researched the best way to have breast implants telling myself I had accepted my body, and could now enhance it to be more in proportion to the American way of beauty. That was 1990. Most people would never know I’ve had such surgery because I am only a 34B. Being athletic I didn’t want big breasts which can get in the way; I just wanted to look feminine, not like a boy. Later, after years of deep-feeling tear-filled therapy, I want to trust that I would not have this surgery now, yet I truly feel accepting of myself as is, my chest muscles embracing the silicone-saline implants for 22 years without troubles. I like trying hard to BE ME.