Saturday, September 15, 2018

Outdoors Gym Class

I don't remember people going to gyms when I was growing up. Oh we had gym class in school when I hit the 7th grade. I've included a photo of what our gym suits resembled although we weren't quite as sophisticated looking in them as the mannequin with her red lipstick! I never liked gym class; especially going into the locker room and changing into my gym suit. It was embarrassing at that age to change clothes in front of your peers when you hardly knew most of them.

As far as gyms go I really don't recall any gyms where you'd join to go work out. But you never miss what you never had. Growing up in the country was like owning our own private gym open twenty four hours a day seven days a week free of charge; free of dealing with strangers in your space. There was no waiting; that is if parents allowed us being outside day and night. They most always did.

When I think about it me and my cousins and siblings  were working out all the time just by running, jumping, skating, sliding. We swing bats; climbed ladders; crawled along an old wooden bridge connecting the haymows in our grandfather's barn; held on to a rope tied to a massive tree and ran to the edge of the creek from high atop a drop-off and took a leap of faith hurling ourselves over the creek and hopefully back around to the other side of that massive tree and hopefully landing on a massive rock. We pulled wagons loaded with littler ones; climbed trees; dangled from tree limbs and finally falling to the ground. There was a pipe that transferred water from a pumphouse to the barn. We'd try to hold on tight to that pipe which was tricky to do in the summertime because the pipe sweat in the sun making it hard to hold on to but we tried with all of our might to hold on tight and shimmy along the pipe as far as we could-dropping to the ground when our arms were aching so much we had to let go. And then there were the walks we'd go on down to a river or a pine groove.

There was always something going on that required moving-running-skipping-jumping. Our gym did not require fancy machines or name brand outfits. Our gym was run by Mother Nature and our imaginations-Free of Charge!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Sweater Dress Disaster

I had my favorite sweater dresses. The one that comes to mind had long sleeves. It was a heavier knit with a simple neckline and three brown buttons on the left shoulder. The dress was an oatmeal color. It came above the knee; perfect for my over-the-knee boots my older brother gave me for  Christmas. one year

I can remember the first time I wore the oatmeal sweater dress. It was late August. I’d gone back to college a little early to see a guy I hadn’t seen all summer. He had a blue Chevy Impala that he was anxious for me to see. I was anxious for him to see my oatmeal sweater dress. It didn’t take me long to get ready once the day arrived. I couldn’t wait to wear the dress. With my hair up in a ponytail and a fake braid wrapped around it and my over-the-knee boots on, I was ready to go. He was early. I guess he was anxious to show off his car which turned out to be brand new; quite appropriate for my dress.

It was good seeing my friend. But he surprised me by taking me to a carnival. If that wasn’t bad enough, I’d been so wrapped up in wearing that dress that I never bothered to check the weather. I ended up at a carnival in 90 degree weather in a heavy knit sweater dress with long sleeves; my hair sporting a fake ponytail and those over-the-knee boots. I was so hot (not the kind of hot I’d hoped for) that I went on rides just to cool down. But the more rides I went on the more my fake braid slid out of place. Of course the faster the ride, the more the braid slipped until I was on one ride and I had to grab it before it flew away. My favorite sweater dress ended up feeling like a thermal blanket and electric blanket combined. My heavy Cher-like eye make-up was melting down my cheeks. I looked like a raccoon dressed in a winter coat.

I could tell my friend was glad to get me back to the dorm. Saying good night was quick. I think I scared him away. Maybe it was the fake braid I was carrying or my face covered in black eye make-up or my dress with long sleeves that looked like a winter coat while he was dressed in madras shorts in the 90 degree weather. Whatever it was, that was the last ride I ever took in his new and blue Chevy Impala. But I did get to wear my favorite sweater dress again and again when snow was falling and all the carnivals had packed up and moved on.