Gertrude O. Breck and My Dad

One ponders much whilst planting zucchini. Today’s topic? The Natural Body. In the United States of America, we loathe all things natural which occur to our bodies. We spend an inordinate amount of money, an obscene portion of our income, on getting rid of: freckles, stretch marks, wrinkles, age spots, gray hair, leg hair, underarm hair (and don’t let’s forget back, nose, and ear hair)


come on, join in:

cuticles, moles (benign little flat round ones, famous models get to have them but “we”, the great unwashed, do not), eyebrows…

yet we also create new bodily sensations to add to those which we disdain – tattoos, holes in our ears, nose, eyebrows, navels, and other places too perverse to mention – and years later spend $$ to remove those bodily sensations as they become droll, out of date, or faded. That was Part #1 which led my thinking around to Part #2.

Back around 1966, my father went to a labor meeting in Chicago. As he always brought me some tidbit prize when he went on trips, I was really looking forward to his return. I’d gotten more and more bold in my requests and he’d complied each time. I still have the teaset, the 007 Aston Martin Matchbox Car and other gems he produced upon disembarking. But this particular time, he didn’t listen to my request for a Madame Alexander doll. Upon his return, he handed me a booklet. Somewhat abashed, a bit embarassed, he said, “I got this autographed for you.”

I looked down at the title and saw the small pink book was about “growing up, the changes a young girl goes through” and it was printed by the Breck Company. We were both kind of embarrassed then. “Look inside,” he said.

In old lady handwriting (you know, like your grandma has, that formal even kind) “You are a very fortunate young lady to have such a father. Good luck,” and it was signed, “Gertrude O. Breck”

Ain’t that that something? I still have that book around here somewhere.


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