Wednesday, June 13, 2012
In the early 60’s America was all about fitness. It was mandated by the President that all kids take a physical education class and I was no exception. However, I really, really, didn’t want to take this class. Not because I didn’t want my hair to get messed up but because I was really, really uncoordinated. I had never been good at any kind of sport and was actually told by my softball coach to, “Just let the ball hit you”. I was no fool, I knew my limitations and I respected them.
But, the President’s fitness program now required all of us to take physical education so, myself along with all the other 7th grade girls in my junior high purchased our gym clothes and gym shoes and showed up for P.E. There were so many things I hated about PE starting with the mandatory blue jumpsuit that depending on your stage of puberty either made you look like a pinup girl or a drowned rat. But the absolute worse thing about PE was the communal shower. There was a lot of peer pressure in the girl's locker room -- you knew who wore a bra, who did not, and who was well endowed. I remember trying to hold a towel up in front of myself with one hand while showering with the other. Maintaining modesty in the 7th grade locker room was almost impossible but I gave it my best effort.
Puberty had been good to me and I filled out my gym jumper like a WW II pin-up girl with adolescent acne. I had assets that I later learned to appreciate but were not so appreciated in the 7th grade shower stalls. I just wanted to blend in unnoticed but with my curvy 36 B chest it just wasn’t happening.
As if my physical attributes weren’t enough I was a total clutz on the gym floor. I had never played sports and certainly didn’t know the first thing about dribbling a ball down a basketball court. By the time the 1st six weeks of school came to a close I had been injured more times than anyone else in the entire 7th grade girl’s gym classes. Fearing permanent disability those in charge called my mother and suggested I be removed from P.E. for my own safety. I never took another P.E. class until college and by then my 36B chest was unremarkable.