Sunday, August 06, 2017

On being small and other nonsense

The other nonsense should be first, I suppose. People tend to assume way too much from what they read. Remember the post with Aunt S’s childhood photo and the comparison painting of a distant ancestor? Some who read that were surprised. At least two said they thought my “blood relation” was to Uncle B. [I removed one of those comments.]            
            In fact, both are related to me by blood. They’re cousins, though with enough ‘removes’ to make the relationship somewhat distant. Uncle B’s family connects to my German, Austrian and American bits. Aunt S connects to my Bavarian bits and to the Austrians. There is a Norwegian connection there too I think, but as those things go, the connection isn’t mine. This is not uncommon among my ancestors. I am my own first cousin six times removed. So, now, are you confused? Or is this all perfectly clear?

            Other stuff:

            Goat Boy regularly reminds me that I’m not the world’s mother. The world should be pleased I’m not. Whole populations would be grounded, spanked, frowned at and regularly sent to their rooms. Entire countries would have their privileges revoked. His last reminder was prompted by our new neighbors. They moved into the two-story Federal style house across the street and up one. [It’s painted a nauseating blue.] They have an eleven year old daughter. I see her riding her scooter up and down the street. She has no friends and doesn’t make eye contact with anyone. So, I worry. But beyond saying hello to her and her mother and being totally ignored, I have no plan. My husband says I shouldn’t have a plan. He says that we have enough worry with our five … and boys … and stuff.
            My medication causes deep body aches, so I have trouble sleeping. I wake up every two hours or so. Sometimes I just vegetate in my chair for a while so I don’t keep the pet man awake. Last night I turned on the little lamp next to my chair and read a book I’ve read before. It was written in the 1940s by a Presbyterian minister turned sociologist. In his case both professions were a joke. His source of authority is usually a literary quotation, and he attributed views and words to others they never spoke or wrote. But it is still useful, sometimes for the very nonsense it contains.  So I read it through again, taking some notes that I’ll revisit in a few days.
            My coffee mob has mostly scattered through the summer. We don’t fill up our usual coffee shop. We usually don’t get more than six or seven. Kinda sad, really. But as summer ends and people return from vacations, conferences and such, we should see more.
            I spend more time in bed than I should but don’t seem to have much choice. Everything is an effort. I managed to clean out the pantry. But my front garden needs attention. I’ll pin down one or more of my daughters and get them to pull the weeds. The gardens used to be fun, a distraction. But they aren’t now.
            Night before last I toddled off to the kitchen, heated up left over coffee and sat on the front porch watching bugs buzz the street lights. The moon is full or nearly so. As hot as it is during the day, the nights are cool. My mind wandered from place to place and time to time. Some memories make me smile.
            Most who read this blog know I’m a very small person. My husband [aka Goat Boy] is tallish, almost 15 inches taller than I am. That has its advantages, but we won’t go into that. Some of you would blush. After we were married his dad gifted us with an older but not antique Lincoln which was really nice because he was newly employed and I was pregnant and sick and mostly confined to bed. Consequently, I wasn’t working. We had little money, though things were improving financially. Goat Boy got his first raise and a bonus. Good. Even with insurance, medical bills were increasing. Not so good.
            I begged for him to get me out of the house, and, despite his better judgment, he took me to McDonalds for breakfast food. It was a nice change. We left eventually, and at the car he gave me a very nice, rather passionate kiss. Nice, right? Well I thought it was. But … An older woman, maybe in her mid sixties, confronted Goat Boy for kissing a little girl. My husband is not easily flustered, but he was then. How dare he kiss a child like that? And there was a meaningful look at my belly bump. …
            Goat Boy took a step back, then another, trying to explain. She didn’t let him - Cut him right off. I can enjoy discomfiture only so long. How old do you think I am? I asked. She looked me up and down with her steely gray eyes. Way too young to be pregnant, she said. I’m twenty, I said quietly. She was apologetic. She need not have been. It is rare for someone to confront what they see as a wrong especially in public. Oh, many make snide, stupid, trolling comments online, but few interject themselves into a real life situation. She though I was twelve or thirteen at the most.

            I continued to look like a child well into my twenties. An evangelist knocked on our door when I was twenty-seven. Many from that church know me, but he didn’t. I’d never seen him before. His first words were something like: “Hi. Is your mother home?” I told him I was the mother. Sometimes it’s fun to watch grown men blush. 
            I no longer look as if I’m twelve, but I don’t look my age either. [I turn 40 in November.] I still have it! Sick or not. I was ‘carded’ [asked for my ID] last week when buying a bottle of rum. [The good, dark sippin’ kind.]
            Our wedding was in my parent’s house, the house I grew up in. [Long ago sold so they could move here.] There were about 30 guests, but a large reception afterward. [A compromise with the mothers.] I had almost no sleep the night before and no chance to nap before the wedding. I fell asleep during the reception. And herewith is one of the advantages of being short and scrawny. When it was apparent I was really ‘out,’ he picked me up as if I were a small child and carried me off to our car and then into our apartment. Nice, huh?
            There are disadvantages too. I had trouble carrying my birth children to term. They were all premature, and that was related in part to my size and to difficulty with weight. I couldn’t maintain a ‘healthy weight.’ So Elizabeth was born at 34 weeks and weighed 3 lbs 14 oz. My biggest baby was Annie who weighed just under five pounds. And she, sweet and mild child that she is, perversely broke my tailbone and ruined my urethra coming out. My butt still hurts on occasion. …
            Then there’re kitchen cupboard issues. A folding ladder works best or simply calling for Goat Boy to reach things down. And clothes … and shoes … I wear very small sizes. Probably none of the men who read this blog ever wore a ‘training bra.’ But the women who read this blog know what that is. I can still wear one. I wear a girl’s size 2 shoe. Small sizes are easier to find now than when we were married, and I can find girls’ clothing that doesn’t make me look like a preteen. But not so much when we were first married or before that. Pants? Oh, yes, let’s not forget the adventures buying or simply looking for girls size 12 – 14 that I can wear and not look silly. Finding something that fits and doesn’t look little girlish isn’t as iffy now as it once was. My weight bounces between 86 and 88 lbs drippin’ wet. When I was teaching, most of my students were taller than I am.
            Another drawback is that some people think it’s alright to touch small people. It’s not, but some think it is. It was always worse when I was pregnant. And when I was in high school there was an incident. I threatened him with six kinds of death and loss of an eye. Okay maybe not that extreme but he never tried to lift me up again.
            I like my size, even with the drawbacks. Goat Boy can give me a piggyback ride without keeling over in pain. That’s nice. And I’ve gotten used to looking tall people right in the belly button and not flinching.


  1. Rachael, I've read your article. I am always enchanted from the story of your life and family. You make me smile and think over lesson of life at the same time, it is not easy. I picture you like a heroine. Well, after all you are a pixie, a sort of most powerful heroine.
    Nice day to you and family, Princess!

  2. An occasional reader11:40 AM

    Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio was short. John Stewart (fellow member) regularly ribbed him in live performances.

    Among the one-liners I have on tapes of live shows:

    Nick hurt himself yesterday - he fell off a rug.
    He’s not really that short, it’s only make-up.
    Nick was on the stretch-bar reading his copy of “Sex and the Single Dwarf.”
    He punched me in the knee.

    All very politically incorrect, but they were great friends in real life. Stewart had his ultimately fatal stroke while visiting Reynolds’ home.

  3. Anonymous8:30 PM


  4. You are so cute!

    I used to be short, but during puberty I had a massive growth spurt. I have some not-so-fond memories of sitting in the bathtub with ice on my knees.

    I learned that running helped with the growing pains. So in high school I was all Forest Gump. Run, Anthony, run!