Thursday, November 12, 2009

Body Trouble

April 7, 1984 Saturday 56 days until school is out

Dear Ophelia,

"My lesson was cancelled until tomorro
w because the roads are too icy to bring the pony down. Here are our punishments for smoking. No TV for one week, go to our rooms after dinner for one week, write a report about smoking, no computer games for one week and they won't even think about leasing the pony till May. Well I gotta go, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer. P.S. I'm not happy with the punishments. I don't think we deserve them."

Smart parents! They would get a whole week of quiet and alone time after dinner! (I will have to remember these punishments :)

The irony--Jennifer remembers being furious because her step-dad delivered the punishments while smoking his cigar!!!! Talk about do what I say, not what I do!!! He said it was different because he didn't inhale....hmmm, some politician would steal that line many years later...

Lastly, her parents dealt with the health aspect of smoking and the fact that Jen and Joel were minors. But Jennifer and Joel already knew that it was illegal for them to smoke and that it was unhealthy. The real problem was that they were bored and unsupervised and around bad influences.

Jennifer understood why they couldn't reward her with her life long dream of having a horse (even if it was just a lease) after they caught her sneaking cigarettes. But I can't help but point out that spending every spare moment at the barn would have been a better deterrent against smoking than writing an essay! (smoking is not permitted at barns anyway for obvious reasons!)

April 8, 1984 Sunday 55 days until school is out

Dear Ophelia,
"I met the pony today. Her name i
s Expectations but they call her the Pone, Pone for short. Pone is light brown, sort of red. She is ten but going strong. I rode her and she is very responsive. Doreen says that Pone loves to trail ride and will go anywhere I ask her and jump anything. She is my kind of horse. I think she's perfect.

Alicia might get lessons too. My lesson went pretty good. I have to work on strengthening my leg.


Guess what? Tonight when I was walking Josh, I heard meo
wing. I checked it out and the cat was Pumpkin!!!! I tried to grab her but she ran. I followed her voice (it was dark). She was under some stairs. I called her and she came out. I brought her home and upstairs. Mom was there. When she saw Pun she gasped and we cried a little. We called Joel and he was so happy. Then we showed her to Jeff and I think he cried a little. Pun purred the whole time.

Josh was so ha
ppy to see her. Josh and Pun were playing and they missed each other. I don't know how Cocoa feels about it. Pun is kind of skinny. Well I gotta go, bye Ophelia. Jennifer. P.S. we went out to dinner before I found Pun."

Wow! Pumpkin spent 23 days alone in the Alaskan wilderness. Hey, Anchorage is pretty wild!! And if the animals don't get your lost cat, the roads might. This was a cat that didn't even have claws. Jennifer remembers that Pumpkin smelled like the wild--earthy and boggy. Josh was the family poodle. He adored Pumpkin. Cocoa was Jennifer's cat. Cocoa was unimpressed with her feisty roommate and was probably disappointed with Pumpkin's return to the condo.


Josh and Pumpkin--best friends!

April 10, 1984 Tuesday 53 days until school is out

Dear Ophelia,

"Here are my classes for Bartlett High Scho
ol: Honors English, Algebra I, Biology I, World History honors, P.E. and typing intermediate. I'll be in ninth grade.

I am going to tell y
ou something. I am around 5 foot 4 inches. I weigh around 98 pounds. I'm really skinny. My hair is curly but layered. I am not tan. I have freckles. My legs and knees are not pretty. I do have a lot of friends considering my looks etc. I have friends that are boys but not a lot. Although I surprise myself. Yesterday I had no homework. Well I gotta go, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer."


Bartlett High School. Anchorage, Alaska

Jennifer's body image for the next twenty years was set around this age, 13. She was not plump or rounded, she didn't have shiny straight hair or tan skin, she didn't have hips or boobs, she didn't have self-confidence or a cool wardrobe. Her cute little rear was behind her where she couldn't see it. She rarely ever wore make-up until she was in college, even though other kids wore it. She believed that make-up was only for going out on dates or going to work. Jennifer remembers those were the only times her mother wore make-up (another example of how children really do learn from what their parents do--good or bad!).

Jennifer would spend the next twenty years believing she was too skinny, too plain and not very well-dressed. At the age of twenty-three, Jennifer finally invested in a pair of boobs herself. By then it was clear that what she had was all that she was going to get. She began to enjoy wearing make-up in the daytime and she began to invest in clothes now and then.

As an adult, she finally made some of her childhood longings come true. I don't think it's a bad thing. I do think it's better overall not to become insecure in the first place! (Now that Jennifer is pushing 40, married and the mother of three--she's pleased to shout out from the dressing room at Macy's, "Do you have these jeans in a size One?").

People who think girls grow up to look like this need to pay a little more attention at the public pool! It happens but it's not the norm and it doesn't last!

April 12, 1984 Thursday 51 days until school is out

Dear Ophelia,

"Hi. I had a dentist appointment today. No cavities. Yea! I already have four. I'm going to get braces soon. Maybe. Wednesday night I went to a 4H meeting. It was fun. Debbie was there.
My lesson is Saturday and I'm going to work on Sunday. Tomorrow is a school dance. I'm going. Well I gotta go, bye Ophelia. Your friend, Jennifer."

Jennifer doesn't even remember joining 4H.

April 18, 1984 Wednesday

Dear Ophe
lia,
"My lesson went okay Saturday. I was on a lunge line and I worke
d on strengthening by leg. I jumped a little too. I worked Sunday. It was so fun. I helped lunge a horse named Macho and cleaned tack and groomed the Pone and lots of other stuff.

Chevy showed me around. We are good friends. I'm going to spend the night at her house Friday. Yeaa. After school on Monday and Tuesday I worke
d at the barn too. It was fun. I love the Pone. Debbie is going on vacation until May 1, 1984. Darn. Saturday I might go trail riding with Delanie for my lesson. Fun! Today I didn't work.

Pun is gaining weight. Yea!!! Did I t
ell you Josh got his hair cut. He looks really funny. Breakup started awhile ago but it snowed again. Now it's clearing up. This week we've had ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills). Yuck!

Here is some useful info. My measurements: chest 32 inches.
Waist 24 inches, hips 34 inches. My chest needs to catch up! I'll try to get my height and weight tomorrow. Well I gotta go. Bye. Your friend, Jennifer. Pepsi, Cocoa, Josh, Pumpkin are fine!"

(I guess there was no Alaska Test of Basic Skills, so Alaska borrowed from Iowa. Makes sense.)

Jennifer worked hard and often at Diamond H. Her parents mentioned to her that they thought Debbie was taking advantage of her. Jennifer denied it fiercely. Now Jennifer sees their point. She worked for hours a few days a week and rarely ever got to ride outside of her lessons--which she paid for! Debbie dangled the riding carrot over Jennifer and Chevy--both girls worked for free.

Now Jennifer has her own horses and if any girl comes over to help her out, she rides that very day!! Jennifer would never allow a child to work for nothing in return--even though a horse crazy girl will insist that she doesn't mind. This was Jennifer, she didn't mind. She was just disappointed that she didn't ride as much as Debbie had led her to believe. Sometimes Jennifer's heart breaks for her younger self.

Was Jennifer a volunteer? No. Volunteers help and expect nothing in return. Jennifer loves to volunteer and always has. In her life she has volunteered at an animal clinic, a hospital, for the humane society, for the NAADA, for the Peninsula Actors Ensemble, the PTA, her Pony Tails Club, in classrooms, for her kids' soccer teams and at her church. She was the President of the English Undergraduate Association at U.C. Berkeley and she is now the president of the PTA where her children go to school. Jennifer's favorite saying is, "If you pay me, I'll quit!"

What kind of work would you happily do for free?

1984
The Soviet Union withdraws from the Summer Olympics in the U.S.
President Reagan is re-elected
Median household income in the U.S. is $22,415 (USD)
L.A. Raiders win the Superbowl against Washington (38-9)
The Cosby show debuts
Band-Aid releases "Do They Know It's Christmas?" to raise money for starving kids in Africa.
Miss America is Vanessa Williams
Apple introduces the Macintosh personal computer!

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