Sixty-nine birthdays are behind me.
Each year that has passed I either gained weight or lost weight; rarely have I ever sustained any steady weight.
Looking back on the first nine years of life, I ranged between being a chubby baby, to a lesser chubby three-year old and then as a youngster I resembled a toothpick.
During my tenth year my sister and I spent a couple of weeks at our grandmother’s house in Illinois. Each night a big pot of pasta with sauce was held under her arm while she served a very hefty amount to eat on our plate. During the day, I often accompanied my uncle, who worked for Superior Coffee Company, on his deliveries. Each stop that he made at a diner the owner gave me a cheeseburger and a Milk Shake. Then my grandfather treated us to an ice cream cone in the evening. By the time, I got home I had gained over ten pounds.
From the age of ten till I was nineteen I was chubby or fat. There were many nights I sneaked in the kitchen for a peanut butter and velveeta cheese sandwich, or I might bring the cookie jar into the living room and eat almost all the cookies!
At nineteen, I became an inductee into the army (something that did not set well with me) and eventually went to Vietnam as an infantryman. I thought basic training was harsh, but the first day in the field in Vietnam, I was strongly told that I had to keep up regardless of the extra weight I carried. Fortunately(?), the pounds rolled off….walking daily with a heavy radio on my back and an M-16 in my hand.
During my last few months in Vietnam I became the clerk for my company. No one else had any knowledge of how to type. This was great, except that the mess hall servers allowed you to have as much food as you wanted. The buns dripping with butter always tempted me. Very quickly I knew the pounds were coming back on me. I fought against eating and started my first diet of Tomato juice, which I had morning, noon and night. When I left Vietnam I was thin, but not as thin as I had been.
My twenty-first birthday was in the states. My mother made the birthday cake she always made for me. It was delicious. In the winter of that year, I moved to Chicago and first stayed with my sister and her husband. Once again I felt I needed to lose weight and again without any knowledge of how to diet. I decided to only eat lettuce drizzled with oil and vinegar. To eat this way you soon learn you have a price to pay.
As I drove into Chicago for my first day of work, I stopped for a three scoop Bressler’s Ice Cream Cone. I arrived at work, changed my clothes and proceeded to go upstairs and begin work. When the manager saw me she called to me to introduce me to someone. As I reached to shake his hand I passed out. I opened my eyes, looked around and realized I was on the floor. I immediately got up and told everyone I was fine and to let me go on with my work. Later, I had to tell the manager of the truth. I think she thought it was something else! My actions were stupid to say the least.
After a few months, the manager went on vacation and left me in charge of everyone. When she returned she looked at me and screamed, “What the hell happened to you?” I let her know she had been unfair leaving a twenty-two year old to manage some thirty very determined staff who preferred to do it their way and not my way. In those days, there were still a significant differences between whites and blacks. I was white and the other thirty were black. My Charm, talents nor my hope for the days to quickly pass did little good: to them, the days were a test to see who would win. In the morning I stuffed one sweet pastry after the next into my mouth. Later I had a huge sandwich and more sweets and continued on eating until I could go home. I barely fit into my work suit, although, one good thing happened which was that the twenty-two year old youngster won over them!
From that day until I quit my job to move to Arizona, when I was forty-six, I gained and lost many pounds, but kept my weight somewhere between ten pounds more or ten pounds less thanks to tenuate dospan.
The next year I enrolled in college. I loved the idea of learning each day, although. I faced long days in school and long hours after class in the library studying. The hours caught up with me and I began eating candy bars, pizza, take out hamburgers and other fast foods. By the time, I reached fifty the scale was higher than it had ever been.
Chunky, chubby, fat from the college days continued until my late fifties. I took a break, went on two different diets and lost weight, which as always, I gained back most of the weight!
Seven years later we settled in Florida. At first I had difficulty in keeping the weight off. At sixty-six the world changed when I had a left lung lobectomy. At first, I thought I would pop back to who I was before surgery, but a course of chemo guaranteed many changes in me from the caustic medication that would linger for a long time.
Now, my mobility hinders most exercise by having a meniscus tear in each knee. One knee has a surgery day–to bad both couldn’t be done at the same time!
Unfortunately, I handle my life badly and run to the refrigerator appease my helter-skelter. So I eat……many times each day. I look at myself and understand what the word obese stands for: me naked in the mirror!!