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TODAY's QUOTEThe secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
"Eyes of a Child"
Reviewing "Ragtime" at Woodland Opera House
#9 Call Bulletin
3 April 2004
I hadnt thought about the #9 Call Bulletin in years. The Call Bulletin was a San Francisco newspaper that my grandfather read. The #9 was the final edition of the day. My grandparents lived in an apartment about half a block up the hill from the corner where the newsstand was. My grandfather would sit in the bay window (in the same chair that now sits in my family room) and watch for the newspaper delivery. When the #9 arrived at the newsstand, my grandfather would give me a quarter and send me down to get a copy of the paper.
They lived on the second floor of the apartment building and there was an additional set of stairs getting from the street level to the first floor.
I would take the quarter and run down the stairs, then run down to the corner, get the paper, and run back up the hill (a small hill) again.
I still remember so vividly that every time my grandmother saw me run up the hill, when Id get to the apartment, shed yell at me, bawl me out. "Dont you dare run up that hill, Beverly! Its bad for your heart!"
Can you imagine???
On our walk yesterday, Barb and I passed through a city park which had been started by residents of the neighborhood, and which was then taken over by the city. Two and a half turns around the park equals a mile and there are various stations where one stops to do cardio workouts. We passed several people walking at a crisp clip, holding weights in their hands.
She and I compared notes on life when we were growing up. We shared the pain of being a fat kid. She didnt lose weight until she got into high school; I lost my weight when I was 10 and kept it off, more or less, until I became pregnant, but that imprinting during the early years stuck and, whether I was 135 (my brief stint of anorexia) or at my highest weight, I have always been, in my own mind, fat. (There was a time when I could fit into a size 10 and my uncle teased me unmercifully--I had to be lying; I was "too fat" to fit into a size 10. I laughed with him, but it hurt inside; I had starved the weight off and was so proud of being able to wear a size 10.)
We grew up in the "clean your plate" era, where it was a terrible thing to leave any food behind once you were full. I remember contests between my sister and myself about who could eat the most "hockies" (fried bread dough), each dripping with real butter. I remember taste tests, trying to choose the richest milk. I remember my father being furious with me for refusing to eat dessert because dessert was considered part of dinner and I was a bad person for being too full to have any.
It wasnt anybodys fault. We just didnt know any better. Despite the fact that my father at one time studied to be a physical fitness instructor, he didnt seem to have the kind of information that we now have about fats, about the importance of exercise, about weight in general.
We were from families where food was the central activity in any social gathering. Fixing food, serving food, dividing up the leftovers. Hors doeuvres, main course, dessert, snacks. We sat around drinking coffee or having a highball while we chatted. It was a revelation to me, as I got older, to learn that there were families in the world who played physical games on holiday occasions, who went for long walks in the woods on a Thanksgiving afternoon, who took skiing vacations over Christmas. Physical activity was always kind of an after thought. We lived in an area where you had to go out searching for something physical to do, so usually we didnt.
I dont even remember taking a gym class in high school. I think I did in my freshman year, but I was so embarrassed about my "fat" body (which wasnt then, but it was in my mind) that I hated the thought of having anybody see it and I managed to find a way to avoid all gym classes for most of the four years in high school.
When I got to college and learned I had to take physical education, I panicked until I found out that "social dancing" counted as a phys ed class, and so I took that. Doing the fox trot and the tango was much less threatening than dressing out and playing a game of some sort.
I knew I couldnt "move" anyway. I had been laughed at all through my younger years for being clumsy and each time, I became more reluctant to move at all if anybody was looking. Besides, I knew that physical activity was "bad for my heart." (!)
As Barb and I watched the younger people moving quickly while we sauntered along, me with my aches and pains, her with her physical limitations, we both agreed that we would like to turn back the clock and wished that we had learned the value of activity when we were young, and not trying to start out doing it in our 60s.
I guess the consolation is that starting is better than not starting, no matter how late in life you begin.
But it's nice to know that I was RIGHT about that run down to pick up the #9 Call Bulletin after all!
Weight Lost to date: