Grace Buchanan of Weaver Grace commented on my story about puberty and the emotional turmoil I experienced while “coming of age”. OK, maybe a bit thick on the turmoil part, but yeah, it was not without occasional upset. Undeveloped boobs triggered my particular brand of angst. I wanted to wear a bra, which meant, according to my mom, that I needed to wear a bra. Hold your horses, she said.
In Grace’s story, she wanted a girdle.
The slutty girl who sat next to me in homeroom on the first day of 7th grade talked about wearing one, so I just had to have one. My mother had ones that smelled like old rubber bands. I was sure that that was not the kind that the girl had in mind. My mother was shocked and horrified and told me to put it out of my skinny little mind.
Boing! (You know – “boing” – the sound your brain makes when you remember something. A sound just like…well, smelly rubber bands. Boing.)
Ah yes, the issue of the girdle. My mom made me wear a girdle. I was 9 or 10. A skinny scrawny 9 or 10. I did not want to wear a girdle, or garters, or crinolines. Well, maybe crinolines. I liked the crunchy noise they made. But a girdle was torture!
She was forever after me to “pull in your tummy.” We had lessons. When that didn’t take, she escalated to hardware. The smelly rubber band kind Grace talked about. What is particularly revealing, hindsight and all, is that mom would have had to buy a girdle. As in “spend money”. This is significant. Jean did not part with coin for just any old reason. Up to this point she was all about hand-me-downs or remodels.
Mom was not a glamour puss, but she was a pleasant-looking woman. She did not spend time with makeup or hair styling. Lipstick and face powder and she was good to go. But she certainly was pre-occupied with MY looks. This obsession with my flat tummy foreshadows the moment seven years later when she insists that I have corrective surgery to fix a deviated septum.
This recollection stuff is unsettling. It ranges from poignant to bizarre. I find it has been cathartic, in some cases. In this instance though, I can’t help think that my mom was a bit INSANE! What the hell was she thinking? What mother does that to a child?
Honey Boo-boo, darlin’? I feel your pain.
Categories: Mom and Dad