The Suitcase Lady


November 2, 2011, 12:50 am

“Lifetime fitness” was not a phrase that had been invented when I attended a Polish, Catholic grade school in the 1950’s. Gym classes were nonexistent, but we did have Health. In Health Class we learned two things: everything is covered with vicious germs, and all boys have evil intentions.

To make matters worse, I was an only child growing up in a neighborhood of retirees. Needless to say, I never learned to kick a can, throw a ball or climb a tree.

I attended my first gym class in middle school, and agony doesn’t begin to describe that experience. Of course, nobody wanted me on their team. Who wants a kid that ducks when a ball comes her way?

Things got worse. My one and only high school gym teacher was an obese, chain smoking, ex WAC sergeant.

My chosen college required lots of physical education, and I was mortified. But then Miss Crane came into my unfit life.

From the smorgasbord of phy. ed. choices, I picked “Square and Round Dancing”. On the first day of class our instructor, Miss Crane, walked in the door and crossed the gym floor to start the class. That’s all she had to do, and I was hooked on a life of fitness. Miss Crane was about seventy years old with gray hair and a dancer’s lithe, trim body. She had a working knowledge of every one of her muscles. Wearing a simple black leotard and a long ballet skirt, she was grace personified.

From my first class with that amazing woman, I knew that fitness was not about competition, winning, being first or beating my body to a pulp.

Everyone who knows me realizes that I am not a bit graceful. But thanks to the elegant Miss Crane, I take great joy in having muscles, joints and tendons that are exercised every day.

We learn what we see.

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