My third and final drawing in the series. I wrote my second short story to go along with it.
I think I was born tall! I have a twin brother and until we were about 16 years old I was taller than him. We went to a Catholic grammar school. At our 8th grade graduation the students had to process down the church aisle in pairs boys on the right, girls on the left. Myself and two other eighth grade girls marched in last, three abreast, because there were no boys as tall as we. I was the tallest, walking between the other two. At 14, that was embarrassing. I felt like a gawky giraffe.
I remember my mother constantly nagged me “to stand up straight - shoulders back - head up”. This annoyed me to no end. She threatened to make me wear a shoulder brace. Thankfully, that never happened. She just didn’t get it - I was too tall!
I remember going to the local pizza parlor when I was supposed to be at the library studying. This is where the cool kids hung out, drank cokes, joked with each other and danced to the music on the juke box. The few times I was asked to dance, I would take off my shoes and slouch so that I wouldn’t be taller than the unwitting boy who invited me onto the tiny dance floor. It’s a memory I wish I could forget.
Trying on dresses one day at a local department store in the mall - I had already graduated high school by that time - I looked at myself in the full length mirror. Really looked at myself and was appalled. In my head I could hear my mother telling me to “stand up straight - shoulders back - head up”. So I did. What an eye opener - the dress looked so much better. I actually felt pretty. I didn’t feel gawky at all.
Somewhere along the way, the men I dated grew up. No more reasons for me to slouch. My mother was so wise. I wished I had listened to her sooner.
Oddly, now that I’m approaching 70, I find that I’m not as tall as I once was. I’m not too happy about it either. I continue to try and stand up straight - shoulders back - head up AND hold my stomach in!
Now I preach this mantra to my granddaughters and they just roll their eyes...