The first time I remember realizing that I was not a slim girl was in Mrs. Johnson’s third grade class at P.A. Walsh Elementary School in Morgan Hill, California. I was EIGHT years old, for heaven’s sake. For some reason… maybe we were learning how to measure things??… she weighed and measured everyone in the class. AND she wrote the results on a L A R G E chart for all to see how they measured up. Here we are in all of our 1974 glory.
That’s me in the back row…second tallest…with the tasteful mustard-yellow sweater dress …. without the glasses. On the larger side of the scale is where I fell… heavily. Pun intended. The number 101 sticks out in my mind. I weighed 101 pounds. The only other kid in the WHOLE blinkin’ class that also had three digits on the chart was Raul. He’s the kid in the back row on the far left…. we never said it aloud… but in our minds he was the fat kid in class…. the chart didn’t lie. We all liked Raul and would never hurt his feelings, but kids do notice extremes and differences…. and triple digits on the chart. Raul weighed in at 103. Slightly more than me. Me and Raul…. the only kids over 100 pounds in Mrs. Johnson’s class. Did the other kids consider me the fat girl? It never dawned on me until this moment. I don’t know. Hopefully they simply considered me “good German stock”… without a trace of German heritage.
Ok, but I WAS TALL for my age! Height counts for more weight, right? Right! And our size didn’t dictate who are friends were at that age. The girls I remember sharing tootsie-pops with while we swung on the bars were Johanna (pink shirt, top right), and Michelle (in a dress with white socks, front row). If my fading memory serves me correct, the three of us enjoyed spending time with the three boys to the right of the teachers, Tony, Frankie and Jesse. I could probably pick up each one of them and swing them around over my head. I was tall AND strong.
The first time…. and sadly not the last time… I remember weighing more than everyone in the room. Thankfully, that is over now. Forever!