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Age 9 - Junior High

  When I was 9, the public school system got a new orchestra teacher, and my parents, wanting very much to turn me into a little white girl, (spell that, "have all the advantages we didn't when we were your age"), enrolled me for tryouts for the school system orchestra.  I don't think anyone ever failed the tryouts, but the maestro needed to know who had what degree of talent, so..
  The cost of renting an instrument was too high for my folks, but they knew someone who had a very nice German violin he was no longer playing, & he agreed to rent it to me "for a concert a year".  So for several years, I had to do a concert - which for me, was pure torture.
  Not only was I the only Ndn kid in town who refused to try to pass as white, I was 'a brain' & I was different in size.
 Until I was 6, I was under 3 feet tall, & 'everyone' worried (out loud) that I was going to be a midget.  "Or worse, some said, a dwarf!"  There was no political correctitude back then..  They worried out loud in front of me.  Really good for a kid's ego, folks..
  For anyone out there who is a 'dwarf' - don't let the dummies get to you.  Your feet still touch the floor; your head still touches the clouds - just go your own road & don't let anyone bully you.  You are the way God made you.

  Anyway, all the bullying I got, including from my birth mother (who was an alcoholic, spiritual cripple, & otherwise not particularly nice people) resulted in my being on the 'see food diet'.  I ate everything I could get my mouth on, looking for comfort.
  I have a theory about people who do that - I wonder if their mothers, like mine, fed them every iota they could stuff in when they were infants - or the flip side, deprived them of 'enough'.  The net result is the same - it can be a lifetime job defining "what is enough".
  When I was 9, I was 4'11" tall & I weighed 144 lbs.  I did not want to be seen.  And my birth mother would hand me a cook pot of leftovers & say, "Here.  Eat the last of these mashed potatoes & gravy, so the dog doesn't get fat."  A few minutes later, she would say, "Oh!  You are so0o fat!  I can't imagine how you can eat anything!"  This is child abuse, folks.

  I still have an intense dislike for mashed potatoes & gravy.  Even more for 'instant food'.

  And I'm no longer fat.  Stocky - but I'm built that way.

  Anyway, it turned out I have tremendous talent for sight-reading music, along with perfect pitch.  Not only did I make the symphony, I made First Chair of all the violins.  Luckily, I had a couple of friends who also had talent - although they had to practice to keep their talent sharp enough to beat me, & all I had to do was read the music & play it. 

  Except for the few solos I had to do, I really enjoyed being in the student symphony.  The bigots in the area claimed I got First Chair because I'm an Ndn - & that wonderful man who introduced me to the symphony, Martin Feldman, was    a    Jew.  They were wrong, of course.  But he was my mentor in many things, & I am forever grateful to him for that.

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Reader Comments  (2) | May 2nd 2012 at 1335991976

It always amazes me just how mean some adults can be. You rose above it. Oh, and this is a marvelous and much needed blog.
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C Two-Eagle | May 2nd 2012 at 1336001184

Ota pilamiyaye! / Many thanks! The worst thing is, this kind of stupidity still occurs! In "The Age of enlightenment". Obviously, we need to light more candles. ;-}

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