Saturday, May 15, 2010

Through the Glass Ceiling but Vaguely

My own first brush with the "Glass Ceiling" was as a ten-year-old baseball player!!

I have often thought that if the world had really, really wanted to get the best of me, I should never have been allowed to hit that first base-ball! It is difficult to make anyone understand the feeling of utter power that came to a skinny ten-year-old girl with the painful vibration up that old wood bat and watching that ball get tinier and tinier. I loved it!

Thanks to a baseball-loving brother-in-law, I could catch anything, no matter how hard it was hit or how much it stung. I could and did hit a lot of balls clear into the tree line on the playground at Munger Elementary School. Being small and wiry, I could run faster than any of the boys.

But then one day Ms. McPike, the fifth grade teacher and Ms. Bruns, the fourth grade teacher, both short, homely women and extremely kind, they in their rumpled suits and comfortable school teacher shoes, clomped across the grassy ball diamond we had laid out to tell me that I couldn't play ball anymore. It had something to do with me acquiring a top similar to Jane Russell, a very breasty movie star famous in those 1950's days.

Their reasoning was pretty confusing and it really didn't make much sense to me. I don't think it did to them either.

After all, Ms. McPike was the one who taught us all the really hard games like "Red Rover Red Rover" and "Prisoners Dare". Moving among us, over the clumps of unmown fescue, cheering us on and demanding that we run faster and try harder, she was the one who spun me quickly one day, redirected my skinny ten-year-old body to an empty path towards the goal line...and whispered to me, "Go..go..., Janie..go hard".

And I burst from her grasp full of the power the day gave me..and it didn't matter at all that I was clobbered and stomped and eventually, although graciously momentarily, smothered by the bodies..all bigger and heavier..of my schoolmates.

And it didn't matter at all because I thought for sure next time I would win...because Ms. McPike was whispering..."Go...go...Janie...go hard"

P.S. Nobody ever did mistake me for Jane Russell.

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