Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Middle Name is Grace

My legal name is Catherine Grace, named in part for my grandmother, Grace Wakefield Bowbeer, who WAS a graceful lady in every way.
Grace & Paul Wakefield
Unfortunately the name has not manifested itself in my life.

I'm sure part of it has to do with my vision problems which began when I almost lost my eye at age 3, had a cornea transplant the next year, and had to wear an eye patch for "lazy eye" (which didn't make the vision come back, unfortunately).
Me with eye patch and my more graceful cousin Brenda
I tend to trip over my own feet, always fell out of my grandpa's hammock, and never could get the hang of our skateboard—even while trying to sit on it.  I couldn't play any games where a ball came AT me because my depth perception was off and I couldn't coordinate myself to catch it.

My father filmed me with his 8mm movie camera when I finally (sort of) learned how to ride a bike at age 8.  I haven't seen that movie in years, but I still remember, cringing, how I wobbled all over the place and stopped the bike with my shoes instead of the hand brake.
1st day of 3rd grade--what a dork!
I was the awkward kid who was always picked last for teams in P.E. because I couldn't run, couldn't throw, couldn't kick, etc.  I didn't make the all-A honor roll one time in junior high because I wasn't able to turn a cartwheel, and the P.E. teacher thought I wasn't trying hard enough.
Me & my little sisters
I did manage to do pretty well in high school marching band.  At least I have a good sense of rhythm when it comes to music. 

But I remember one day in seventh grade when I was trying to run while carrying my books, and I tripped and fell in the grass in front of some eighth grade boys (cute ones, of course).  When I stood up, my knees were green, and one of them said, "Green knees never made it in Hollywood."  The rest of the year those boys called me "Green Knees."

I used to dress up in my mother's full slips, pretending to be a princess.  So I was thrilled when I joined a Spanish club in high school and we got to go to a convention in San Antonio AND I got to wear one of those beautiful Spanish dancer-type skirts.  Several of us were walking along the sidewalk to the convention center when I stepped on a grate and the air currents WHOOSHED that full skirt up over my head.  A taxi driver nearby gave a wolf whistle.  I must have turned three shades of red.

A similar incident happened before one of our symphony concerts two years ago.  About 30 minutes before each concert, we're given finger sandwiches, fruit and bottled water.  Most of the musicians eat outside behind the stage.  I had my hands full and stepped outside, forgetting that I had a very full skirt and it was a windy day.  Ooops!  I did a "Marilyn Monroe" right there in front of a whole lot of men. The principal trumpet player was standing right in front of me as I dropped my stuff to grab my skirt.  He started laughing and saying how my face was SO red.  Then the piano player started laughing, too.  I said, with as much dignity as possible, "Just call me Marilyn."  And then I prevailed upon the trumpet player to save a damsel in distress and carry my food back inside while I held my skirt in place.  Just before the concert began the piano player looked at me and started laughing again.....he sits waaay too close to me.

I admire graceful, coordinated people.  Long ago I gave up trying to be more like them.  My talents lie in other areas, and I'm finally okay with that.  I just try to be vewy, vewy careful, especially around tripping hazards. . . .



  1. Given all of the amazing things you've achieved so far in your life, your physical grace or theoretical lack thereof is irrelevant.

    1. LOL, I wish it was "theoretical" but I have too many scars to prove otherwise. :) But thanks for the encouragement! You're a sweetheart!