Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are You There, God? It's Me, Barb

Although I've definitely made up for lost time, in sixth grade, I was flat as a board. I had read Are You There God, It's Me Margaret about 42 times and could not be more anxious for things to get rolling in the puberty department.

We were in 6th grade (Miss Johnson's class) when we were notified that the "Scoliosis People" would soon be arriving to check each of us for the back ailment.  The woman testing us girls would be testing us in the classroom (with the door shut and windows covered, of course, and we would need to line up in a row in our "undergarments" for the bend-over-so-we-can-scope-out-your-spine test. Bikini swimsuits would also be acceptable.

What?! Our undergarments?!

I totally freaked out!. I obviously had the underwear thing covered, but I was absolutely mortified about the fact that I had nothing happening "on top" and therefore owned no bra. I also had no bikini; it was the dead of winter, for crying out loud. Only rich people had bikinis they hadn't outgrown by March; and besides, my family was more the one-piece type.

Two days later, my heart pounded as I desperately, desperately racked my brain for a way to get out of standing in front of my peers with no shirt on. (All that work to hide nothing--Kind of cracks me up now, but it was far from funny then.)

We were a quiet bunch, the line of girls towards the classroom walk-in closet (where we were to change in and out of our clothes and then get into the line that snaked through the classroom to the "examination area." Suddenly, I noticed my classmate, Amy (who had finished her turn) holding her adorable bikini top out to a friend. "If you want to borrow this, you can."

Fear and desperation, mingled with a flicker of hope, gripped me. Amy and I got along okay, but we weren't best friends or anything; there were many more girls closer to her league (in my low-self-esteem, humble opinion). Would she...? Could I possibly dream of being worthy to borrow the bikini top, too?   At that point, my anxiety was so high that I would have been willing to commit social suicide by begging Amy to borrow that top...

...but I didn't have to; the next person took it off and just turned around to hand it to the next person in line-- pathetic, terrified, pancake-chested, little me.

Of course I don't remember a single second past that moment. My anxiety had been relieved, and I lived to see another embarrassing moment, later that year....

My future sister-in-law Karen stopped by the house with a paper grocery bag, which she handed to my mom, who peeked inside and sang, "Well, you're just in time!"

In time? In time for what? I peeked inside the bag and wished I hadn't; it was a bag of used training bras that Karen's two younger sisters (a year plus younger than me!) had outgrown.

"Thanks," I mumbled, before escaping to my room (where I'm sure I high-fived Margaret Simon).


  1. omg, you had to remind me of that 7th grade ordeal. and that book, well I read it in 5 grade and had my girls read it too. I wonder why I didn't have my son read her boys book. LOL

  2. Thanks for reminding me of yet another reason I am happy I was born a man. LOL

    My daughter is only six but I am already dreading the day when we get to this stage...

  3. We had... "cough":

    I like pancakes.

  4. Ohhh my, talk about angsty memories we can all relate to. And it goes both ways, if you don't develop right in the middle of the pack, you're anxious.

    I feel sorriest of junior high boys though. Some of them are like little kids while others shoot up like weeds. It's gotta be tough. New voice, new gangly body, an appetite that never quits.

  5. At that young age things like that are more important than adults thought back then. What a great story that had a happy ending. It was so nice of the girls in your class to help each other. Sounds like some kind girls.

  6. This reminds me about a time Geek Son was in the sixth grade and I was helpin' out with a school party. I was waitin' outside the room with a friend (another mother) and watchin' the most well endowed sixth grade girls walk by. I said to the mother (oh my, sixth grade girls didn't lool like that when I was in school) My friend lookin' at her chest then mine said, " honey we don't look like that now!" Heeehehehe!!!!

    I so enjoyed your story!

    God bless and have a beautiful day! :o)

  7. If it makes you feel any better, I am still as flat as a pancake. 90% of the time I still don't wear a bra. I got sipped in the boob department....but got plenty of butt and thighs though.

  8. Great story! I could feel the anxiety. :0 So glad that it all worked out! xxxoo

  9. Ohhhh you had to do the test in PUBLIC? Yikes! Ours was done with clothing on, individually, in the nurses' office. Gah!

    But yeah... it took me a long time, too. A looooooong time.

  10. Who doesn't remember those really, really fun times?

  11. I sooo remember doing that test, up in the "attic" area at the Academy. It stressed me out because I was chubby and very self conscious, that stuff does traumatize a girl of that age:) Lisa

  12. tough times being so worried about looks and comparisons. I think some never stop worrying about those superficial things and waste money through out their adults lives too.

  13. Sounds like it was just training for the horrors of gym classes in junior high.


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