Monday, August 18, 2014

"Go, you chicken fat, go!" #atthegym

LUCY BURDETTE: The scene. Junior high school gym class. The action. The gym teacher tells the class to drop to the floor and give her 50 sit ups. (Or was it 100? Could it have been 100?) We do our crunches and one by one stand back up. I know I didn't do 50, but I'm hoping she won't notice. The gym teacher hisses: “I know you people didn't do 50. If you didn't finish drop now and finish.” The class freezes, not a rustle. When I can no longer stand the agony of knowing that I lied, I drop to the ground and students around me begin to drop too. So that's my first memory of gym class. 
Love the girls watching!

My high school gym days weren’t much better. I think we could have won hands-down for the most hideous uniforms. They were one piece salmon jobs that snapped on and off. And white wool socks. And white sneakers that had to be polished with white shoe polish to pass inspection.

And I was no high school athletic star either--though I partly blame this on the pre-Title 9 days, when women were cheerleaders and men, athletes. All that aside, my only “D” in 12 years of school was in volleyball. (Hey, I was short back then!)

Lucy dancing
The only way I finally got to wear a cool uniform was by joining the Highlander dancers, who performed with the only All-Girl Bagpipe band in the whole country!

How about you guys? Gym rats? 

HALLIE EPHRON: What I remember about my first gym classes is having to line up. Endlessly line up. Alphabetically. Or in size places. The teacher (Mrs. Downey of the black pageboy and flesh-colored opaque hose) picked two girls as team captains and they chose teams. I wasn't popular but I was a good athlete, so I did not end up getting picked last, but it was excruciating for the girls who did. It was a shaming ritual.
Ball skills?

Then we practiced something called "ball skills." Lining up (again) in teams and tossing a single ball from a girl on one team (who then ran to the back of her line) to the girl on the other team (who ran to the back...). There must have been a ball shortage. Oh yeah, we also played dodge ball, but all I learned from that was how to duck.

By high school there were quasi-real sports, like a version of basketball where you could only bounce the ball 3 times before you passed it. Insane girls' rules.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I can't recall gym classes much before high school, though I remember my dread in junior high during the winter, when it seemed we girls had to play volleyball every day. I have depth perception issues due to my wonkey vision, and I was unathletic to begin with, so I was always getting nailed with the volleyball, which seemed to appear from out of nowhere right before it smacked me in the face.

In high school, we had a fabulous phys ed program: diving, square dancing, cross country skiing, kayaking. I loved it, except for the mandatory showers, which meant a mob of girls five deep around the dryers and outlets (this was in the days of Farrah Fawcett hair; no self-respecting teen would be caught dead without at least fifteen minutes of blow-drying invested in her hair.

The Boy and Youngest, who've gone through our public school system (Smithie went to an all-girl's high school) have co-ed gym classes, which are also not called gym classes any more, but "Lifetime Physical Activities." Interestingly enough, Youngest has no qualms whatsoever about being seen by boys looking all sweaty and disheveled. This may be the ultimate triumph of Title Nine!

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: There was something so sadistic about gym class, starting with the teachers, who seemed to love to trade in shame.. There was the shaming if you didn't bring your gym uniform or swimsuit. There was the shame of being picked for teams (even if you weren't picked last, you felt sorry for the girl who did). And then there was the pain of being hit in dodgeball, where all kinds of aggressions were unleashed. Then there were the showers, where every new development of an adolescent body was commented on....
This is why I do yoga now!

I'm sometimes the class parent for the kiddo's gym class, and I'm glad to say it's a mostly happy time for them. Maybe because it's co-ed now? After running around the track eight times (one mile), they get to choose their activity—basketball, relay races, volleyball, or soccer. Having a choice seems nice.

what Rhys looked like on pommel horse:)

RHYS BOWEN: I have to confess that I loved gym, loved sports. We had a well equipped gymnasium at my all-girls school and I was quite good at flying over the horse and walking along the balance beam. 

On rainy days we played this great game. All the equipment was placed around the gym and we weren't allowed to touch the ground. one girl was IT and had to catch the rest of us. When we were caught we also became IT. It was  huge adrenalin rush to grab the rope and swing across to the bars as someone lunged at my feet. These days it would never be allowed for insurance reasons!

I was also on the tennis and netball teams, ditto in college. But then I always remember PE classes being supportive. I suppose that's the difference if it's all girls.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, FORGET about it. We had to wear little red jump shortsuits, that snapped up the front, and they were grotesque. As if that wasn't bad enough, they were--oh, gosh, it was just horrible. With gym shoes, and SOCKS and there was just no way they weren't ridiculous, and humiliating.

And THEN we had to do calisthenics (it wasn't called "working out," it was just called "gym" or "stupid gym") to this RECORD called Chicken Fat. Does anyone remember it? It was HORRIBLE, I am sorry to be so capitalized, but what can I say. It was a guy singing, kind of a marching beat, and it began: "Sit-ups, every morning. Ten times! In a row!" Or something like that. The chorus, which we were ordered to sing along with as we huffed and puffed, was "GO you chicken fat, GO a-WAY, Go you chicken fat, go

I cannot begin to describe how much we hated this.

Now, fifty years later, seriously, I heard that exact same song on TV as a commercial for something, something good, like Nike, and I leaped from my chair. CHICKEN FAT! I yelled.

Jonathan was completely baffled. As you might imagine. Anyway, this song instantly made me want to start doing jumping jacks (what good were those?) and pushups (which I still cannot do) and march in place (I nailed that part) and oddly, it made me very happy. And I knew all the words. Turns out the "guy" singing it was Robert Preston (who knew?) and the song is pretty funny. 

DEBORAH CROMBIE:  Oh, the horror. Our gym suits were white, snap-up-the-front one-piece things and the bottoms had elastic around the leg holes. Bloomers!!! Absolutely hideous. Even the cool girls looked awful, which should have been some compensation but wasn't. Gym was endless humiliation for me. I was short, had boobs when most of the other girls didn't, which meant endless taunting, and uncoordinated. Always picked last for anything. Could not catch a ball or hit anything with a stick. Those classes (and the teachers were always the sadistic ones) took any joy out of physical movement.

I want to be in Mattie's class.

Chicken Fat and stupid red jump suit. Which we NEVER washed. Anyone else?


  1. Gym class . . . one of the true horrors of high school. Blue gym suit with your last name embroidered on the back, white sneakers. I was never good at any of the sports [you know, the last one picked on any team thing --- I have no depth perception, so like Julia I never, ever knew where the ball was until I got smacked with it] . . . but by the time I got to high school I was medically excused from almost everything because of my eyes so I didn't play much [I got to referee the volleyball games]. I was really, really, really good at modern dance, though . . . .

  2. I believe I mentioned on the blog recently that I was home schooled for 4th through 10th grades. As a result, I missed the "pleasure" of gym class. I'm glad because I would have been the one picked last every single time.

    It's funny to me now that I enjoy running and ultimate Frisbee so much - two very athletic things. However, I'm still slow and still not super athletic. I do the best I can and have fun, something I'm not sure the bookish me would have survived if I had to do a traditional gym class.

  3. Ugh, just when I thought I had managed to forget all the gym class memories. Yep, I remember that song. Must have been the Midwest in the 60's. The blue jumpsuit with the snaps and the cuffs - and had to be ironed, the socks and polished tennis shoes. Couldn't do the sit-ups, the pushups, occasionally we had co-ed volleyball at lunchtime and my (future) husband said "I'm not picking you for my team." But I always ace'd the written exam. Which is why I passed. The showers, more horror. We only had a couple private showers so I was always last one out. Our gym teacher had the mean gene and we were all appalled she didn't wear makeup. She asked us one day if she looked 40. Loud group yes! Then she told us she was 28. We figured it was her own fault for not wearing the makeup.

    I was a cheerleader in 7th grade. Our moms handmade our uniforms: white angora sweaters and red full circle velvet skirts. They thought we were adorable; the basketball team said we looked like babies and wanted us to stay home.

  4. What a funny post! Oh, the white snap blouses and blue snap shorts, starting in seventh grade. Groan. The adolescent bodies. I was used to group showers from Girl Scout camp, but when I hit seventh grade, still the youngest and shortest in my grade, I was mortified that everyone else wore a bra. I did NOT need one but came home and wailed to my mother that I had to have one. She kindly took me out to get a couple of what was then called trainer bras. But one of my classmates, "Mitzi" (her real name was Marie) looked about 18 and showed off the hickies on her neck - after explaining what they were. She was a pregnant dropout by ninth grade...

    I'm glad to hear things are better these days. Mark, my older very bookish and introverted son (now 28), was terrible at ball sports. But he found his way to running and skating, and now rides his bike to work twenty miles each way every day.

  5. Joan, you might win the prize so far:). But a modern dance star--that's wonderful!

    And Mark, I didn't remember about the home schooling...sounds like it worked out well. And what a pleasure to have physical things you love now!

    Gma Cootie--your cheerleading uniforms sounds adorable! Kids were so cruel in junior high, weren't they?

    Edith, sigh, I guess one day we'll excuse Mark and the other guys and do a whole post on brassieres:)

  6. And ps, by the way, all those photos except the pommel horse are from my old high school yearbooks:)

  7. In another galaxy far, far away, another president mandated physical fitness tests with endless situps and other tortures. This resulted in hard core resistance as legions of high school girls found ingenious ways to be excused from gym class.
    Looking bsck, if we'd had something like aerobic dance, it would have been more effective, and fun.

  8. high school long dodge games, boys v. girls, hurling rubber balls at each other until one ferocious girl was left v. ten boys. what a nightmare. In college I had the pleasure of taking tennis, badminton, and modern dance, with great enjoyment.

  9. From YOUR yearbooks, Lucy! Oh, gosh...that is hilarious. But I did think--wow, those look authentic!

    ANd MArgaret, dodge ball. That is an awful thing. What was anyone thinking?

  10. In 11th grade we moved to a new school and for the first time had shower facilities in the girls' locker room. The new P.E. teacher mandated group showers after every gym class. Appalled at the idea, almost all of us refused. It was 1962--barely out of the fifties. You did not get naked in front of anybody! The teacher couldn't force us to comply and she couldn't really flunk us, even though that was the threat. When report cards came out, we all got a D in gym--in red ink! Ah, memories!


  11. The Chicken Fat song - Hank, I had the exact same reaction! Except that my husband had heard me speak of it many times and thought I was making it all up. Then the commercial came on featuring the song and I was vindicated.
    Our gym classes were single sex- same hideous one-piece uniforms, but powder blue - and luckily we had good teachers. Field hockey was fun, basketball was great once they let us play by the boys rules, sometimes the trampoline would be brought into the gym, and softball was awesome.. two of the three seasons had us playing OUTSIDE!!!
    Rainy days - well - those were the Chicken Fat days.

  12. Ugh. The Chicken Fat routine. It wasn't confined to the Midwest. I grew up in central Massachusetts where one of the high school gym teachers broke out the record whenever she didn't have another lesson plan.

    Word would start filtering through the school during first period: "Chicken Fat in gym today. See if you can find a reason to be excused." High school girls simply did not see the humor in the song, Robert Preston or no Robert Preston.

    Other than the Chicken Fat days, I did not loathe gym. I was reasonably athletic and played varsity basketball and tennis, so the idea of some playtime in the middle of the day worked for me. But I had great sympathy for the uncoordinated among us, and for the girl (I still remember her name) who slipped on the damp tile floor one morning on her way from the shower to her locker, towel clutched around her teenage frame. She went one way, the towel went the other, she burst into tears and everyone understood.

    Abject humiliation.

  13. Oh does this bring back memories! Powder blue or dark blue suits, pressed, white socks, white tennies--no exceptions or else demerits. A sadistic gym teacher from 7th grade through 10th grade who took pleasure in making my life hell--nearsighted with NO coordination, you can imagine how inept I could be at hitting any kind of ball or birdie. I remember she hated me so much that she actually cheated against my side in a softball game in 10th grade, until one by one all the girls on both sides simply refused to play, dropped out from the game and ran the track.

    Later in life I came to running and yoga and the marvel of weight machines--even tennis in college!

  14. we called it Phys.Ed. and I hated it, hated it, HATED IT!

    dark blue, one piece, snap in the front, BLOOMER uniforms. oh. my. GOD.

    I was always picked last, but didn't want to be picked at all. I begged to just sit it out (whatever it was) and just read. Sometimes I got to do that and that was a good day. I must have done my "pitiful face" really well those days.

    But, oddly enough, after retirement I joined a gym and I love it. Discovering the joys of exercise at age 62 - who would have believed it?
    Possibly because it's not a team thing and I can do my circuits all on my own and it's a good thinking time for me.

  15. "Chicken fat in gym today..."

    I love that:). But so many of us have bad gym memories but enjoy being active these days. I think it must have been partly to do with the agony of puberty, and partly that they simply didn't know how to engage young women or encourage them.
    What do you think?

  16. Kaye, the class just before mine had to wear the two-tone blue bloomer suits. Thank GOD our class was the first to wear the more modern-looking shortall, in white. Which my mother cursed repeatedly in her (vain) efforts to keep clean. And ironed. Bad enough I also had to wear a white cotton campshirt every day, too, with the Black Watch plaid pleated WOOL skirt, and the WOOL cardigan or blazer. And we didn't have any of that sissy air-conditioning stuff back then, either.

    I detested gym class, especially when I had to undress my flat-as-a-board skinny self to take a shower. And then have wet hair most of the day. Ugh

    It's a miracle any of us survived our childhoods, isn't it? :-)

  17. Our gym suits were the same one-piece snap-up-the-front ugliness (with bloomer bottoms in junior high, but shorts in high school and college) but they were blue. And you had to take them home to wash once a month, and then they were inspected (to see if they were indeed washed and ironed) before you could put them back into your locker.

    I hated gym CLASS, but my best friend got me into the after school gym programs where I became a star volleyball player (and have a gnarled knuckle, from spiking the ball, to prove it), and bowled, and got to do everything on the rings, even though I couldn't do anything on the balance beam (I can fall off a line drawn on the floor). Loved what they called "apparatus."

    Hated the mandatory phys ed in college, although it gave me an opportunity to learn that I never wanted to play tennis, or fence seriously (though it did help me to know what a swashbuckling hero might actually do with a sword). I bowled in the basement at Riverside Church during the two indoor quarters so I wouldn't have to change my clothes, and swam during the late spring quarter because we had no a/c in the dorms or many of the classrooms. And then I discovered that I could go downtown and take pro dance classes at Carnegie Hall (earned the fees by babysitting) and actually enjoyed myself.

    It wasn't until I was a grown-up that I discovered that I liked running (well, I'd been the only one who listened to the gym teacher about pacing ourselves, so I ran one of the fastest miles in high school because I didn't fall by the wayside). In my thirties and forties, I'd run a mile every morning, and felt great. Then another lawyer told me scornfully that "a mile wasn't worth suiting up for" so I pushed it to a mile and a quarter, developed shin splints, and had to give it up.

    However, I still swim. I can do a quarter of a mile in about 15 minutes, and love the feeling. I was in Masters Swim for many years just to improve my strokes. But I've had to space out my times in the Village pool this summer because either it has odd chemicals (or too many of them) in the water or I have developed a new sensitivity to whatever it is that they use. (Another reason I wish I still had access to the family lake house on a spring-fed lake).

    It is easier to swim now that I can let my hair go curly and have more than the five minutes between classes to get it dry. When I was still doing trial work, I used to swim on my lunch hour, so I actually cut my hair short for about three years so I could do that. It was the only way I could work off the aggression that trial work builds up in you. Then I gave up litigation and let my hair grow back (it's long; I don't feel like me if it isn't).

  18. I never heard the Chicken Fat song until recently on TV. Thank God for small mercies! I did fine with junior high P.E. since I was reasonably athletic. We were lucky in that our teachers were nice ladies and attractive. Our gym suits were hideous. White cotton, snap front, d-ring belt, and bloomer bottoms. Just nasty. We played deck tennis (which we all loved; everyone bought rubber rings so we could play it at home), volleyball, softball, badminton, basketball. "Ran" the track. Ha. I felt frustrated though. The boys could jump hurdles and do all sorts of things, short of breaking their necks. We weren't allowed. My teacher explained that if any of the girls were injured the parents would sue the school board. That was really the excuse!
    This was the early to mid-sixties and I felt frustrated about a lot of things; my big brother could do whatever but as a girl I couldn't. Back to the gym. Showers were available but no one used them. The mirrors on the ends of each row of lockers were blocked by the older girls ratting their hair, spraying clouds of hairspray, then smoothing it down to a big bubble.
    Like you Edith, I didn't need a bra in 7th grade but got one thanks to gym class. Bleah! High school was varied, since I went to 3 different ones. Still in Houston, I was in a marching drum and bugle corps, so did that instead of gym. Dad moved us to the New Orleans area for a job transfer in my junior year. The all girls public high school (seriously) required blue one piece gym uniforms--no bloomer bottoms though. I don't remember much about that semester. It was pretty traumatic. The following year I went to a private school and wore shorts for gym. All I can say is I would not want to relive those years. Being a new kid in high school twice is hellish!

  19. I forgot to add that our gym uniforms were called Dance Dresses. They were pale greeny blue just like tennis dresses. Quite attractive BUT we had to play netball and hockey wearing them outside in the English winter. Freezing! No sweat suits or even hoodies for us. All those blue legs!

  20. When I was nineteen, after all those years of hating gym (although I spent most of every summer in the swimming pool) I took a karate class. And LOVED it. I had to quit after a few months, as I'd had a bad knee injury in junior high and the kicks made it flare up, but I think that's the first time I realized that movement could be fun and empowering.

    I'd love to know what gym classes are like now, if any readers have junior high or high school aged kids. My daughter went to a prototype school that didn't have an athletics program until she was a junior, although she went to the high school to run track in 9th grade. She played soccer and softball all through elementary school, and then at twelve started gymnastics. She tumbled all through high school. Obviously she didn't inherit her mom's lack of coordination...

  21. My late father was an elementary school teacher and he brought home to me a 45 (if you don't know what that is, ask an older person!) of Robert Preston singing "Chicken Fat". I might even have it somewhere. It did me no good then and it couldn't do me any good now that I don't have a record player!

    --Marjorie of Connecticut

  22. I detested gym class. In elementary school, there weren't uniforms. I was not popular, or athletic, so I was always, ALWAYS picked last. I can't remember if it was junior high or elementary school when the gym teacher sent a letter to my parents expressing serious concerns about my "ball handling skills" and how it was going to hurt my development.

    I didn't mind swimming in high school (because I like swimming), but it was first period and I couldn't stand smelling like chlorine all day.

    But I did get to do archery in high school gym. That was pretty cool.

  23. I was a competitive swimmer growing up, but since my school didn't have a pool (I competed at the YMCA), I was given gym credit in high school, so I didn't have to worry about some of these things.

    Junior high was different, though, and I remember when they separated our class into boys and girls, I was often teamed with the boys, which didn't make me particularly popular in a girly-girl way!

  24. I'm athletic and love sports, but geez, gym class could about ruin anyone's natural love of activity, couldn't it? Kelly green may be a lovely color, but after all those years of those uniforms, you won't find it in my closet!

    And Sister Valerie, aka Sister P.E. She'll show up in a book someday, I'm sure!

  25. Although I started elementary school in 1960, I don't recall the Chicken Fat song, but I'm thinking that our "gym" then was our outside recreational play. The song is a hoot though, and thanks for sharing the video, Lucy, and all those great pictures.

    In junior high, I remember wearing a dark blue one-piece snap uniform, which was a relief to me. As one of those girls who didn't start her period before 7th grade, I lived in fear that it would happen when I least expected it, like while doing all that jumping around in gym. I actually liked the junior high gym teacher, who was also my homeroom teacher. Her name was Miss Webb and she was full of fun and good humor, far from the stereotypical sadistic sort. But, she could be tough when she needed to be. She was a wiry, self-confident ball of fire, and I now know what a good example she was for girls.

    In high school, the football coach was our gym teacher, even though classes were still divided into either all boys or all girls. It was my great luck that this teacher really like me, so I didn't dread gym then much either. I do especially remember the horse and the walking beam and being nervous about those, but it was an excellent chance for me to call up my resolve and decide I was going to do it. I ended up getting the gym award for the year that year, which completely surprised me, and I think it must have been due to my good attitude more than my athletic ability. I liked playing volleyball and other gym games, but I was never the best at the games. I did cheer and play golf in high school, too. My family was very into basketball, and my brother played that.

    The physical education requirement in college wasn't bad, as I was able to take golf. I really regret not continuing to play that sport. I'm probably one of the few people I know who can watch golf on TV and enjoy it.

    Lucy, the Highland Dancers sounds like a lot of fun. Wish they'd offered something like that at my high school. Hallie, there really was a lot of lining up, wasn't there. Wow, Julia, you had some great choices for physical education at your school. Susan, I like the having a choice practice. Sounds like you had lots of fun, Rhys. Hank, that's so funny that you yelled "chicken fat." Aw, Debs, those of us who were wanting boobs never thought about the problems those who had them encountered.

    It was fun to take a trip down memory lane today.

  26. Never heard the Chicken Fat song until just now when I watched the video. What a white bread bunch of school pictures. I counted exactly 3 black faces. Guess I am feeling sad about Ferguson today.

    Gym was Phys. Ed. for me, consisted of playing basketball, softball, volley ball, all in rotation plus the odd jumping jack. I think I wore navy shorts and a white shirt, no big deal. I do recall hating the gym teacher, can't remember why now.

  27. I played field hockey and basketball and was in ski club and sailing. I loved sports. Those uniforms, though! There's only one thing worse than onesie gym suits—it's onesies worn with bibs to ID your team.

    Like Hank and Debs, our gym suits were onesies with bloomers. Horrible. A shade of green I won't mention. One day I went to Swampscott where the school color was blue and bought a new gymsuit. Then I went home and pulled the elastic out of the bloomer bottoms and stitched a hem. I told the gym teacher some boys (nice touch—she was against boys) had taken my gym bag and thrown it into the harbor. The blue suit was the only one left on the North Shore. I had a moment of admiration, if not popularity.


  28. Reine, you are a riot. I would have wanted to be your pal in high school.

  29. The Chicken Fat song? That's a new one for me!

    We did not have gym classes in our parochial school. At the all-girl high school I went to, there were no gym teachers, no gym facility. Once a week we'd go outside if the weather was nice, and one of the girls had to volunteer to lead us in calisthenics, such as jumping jacks. Sometimes we would run around the school grounds. We did this in our wool skirts, blouses, and wool blazers all year round except when it was snowing or raining. Then we'd stay inside and read aloud from an ancient Health book! I think we went outside with our home room classmates and teacher, but I don't quite remember what the setup was.

    At home in the neighborhood I was ALWAYS the last one picked for anything. Sometimes I wouldn't get picked at all, depending on how many people were needed, and I'd just watch, secretly relieved.

    In college we had Physical Fitness the first semester of Freshman year. I hated it. Never having had any sort of gym classes, I did very poorly. Another semester I signed up for golf and did not learn a thing about it. We never made it out to a golf course. I've never attempted it since then. I kept trying to avoid taking swimming, having a life-long fear of the water. Students could not graduate until/unless they passed Swimming. I transferred to another college the semester before I would have had to take it! I was so relieved! My new college required only two semesters of gym classes, which were non-credit courses. They accepted my two semesters from my previous college, even though I got a D in Physical Fitness! Whew!

    I have never, ever thought of myself as athletic. I did not receive the athletic (or gracefulness) genes, despite having a grandfather who participated in the Olympics in the gymnastics category as a young man. (I also have relatives who are or have been professional dancers, which takes athletic skill!) But when I was recuperating from my first back surgery some years ago my physical therapist encouraged me to join a gym after I'd reached a certain point in my recovery. I discovered that I LOVE being at the gym and exercising! I don't have to compete with anyone, although I'm always trying to improve my own personal statistics, something that worries my physical therapist! I tend to be very hard on myself. Who knew that I'd turn out this way?

  30. Deb, that's a fantastic story about the gym...

    Reine, you are funny. What Brenda said:)

    Ann, I know what you mean about Ferguson. Such a sad series of events...

  31. Oh, you guys, I'm going to have nightmares about all these gym stories....

    P.S. Mark, we say Kaye last night for dinner!

  32. I love the photos, Lucy!

    We called it "P.E." and always started class with 20 jumping jacks. I was pretty good at basketball since I'm tall, but that was about it. Forgettabout volleyball -- I'd get the worst bruises on my forearms.

    What I detested most: In high scholl we had to take a semester of swimming. SOOOO excruciating what the boys and "that time of the month."

  33. Brenda... Lucy-Roberta... school might have been tolerable had we been pals. xoxox

  34. I'm so excited someone else remembers the heinous chicken fat song. I loved PE until my parents split up and we moved to a state 500 miles away, where I not only had to learn the ways of a public school and actually choosing what to wear each day (why don't all schools do uniforms?), but then came PE and some guy taunted us about our chicken fat! To music!

    I did the same thing as Hank when the song came on TV. (How does it sell cars, by the way?) And no one else remembered it at my house!

    Makes me feel kind of nostalgic now. ;-)

  35. The only part of gym class that I did not like was the mandatory group showers. Starting with 6th grade in middle school, and all the way through the 12th grade, we had those mandatory group showers.

    You had to undress at your locker and walk nude through the cold locker room to the showers. A couple of the teachers seemed a little too interested in watching as we showered. After spending five minutes in the shower we would then walk up to the teacher who would hand us our towels.

    In middle school some girls were teased for not having any pubic hair yet, and some were teased for having too much pubic hair at that age.

    In high school some of the more developed girls were all to happy to prance around in the nude, making those of us who were smaller chested feel bad about ourselves.

    It's a shame, because other than the locker room ordeal, I really loved gym class.


  36. This is a funny blog. I remember that many of the girls in gym class wore very new/clean sperry top sider sneakers. I was "volunteered" for the judo/self defense demonstration and found myself being thrown and looking up at those big, bright navy sneakers standing over me. That is something that a 14 year old boy never forgets. Ha ! My wife says that I should have had therapy. That is my funny story about gym suits and girls' gym. I am too embarrassed to use my real name :-) Don't worry. I have recovered and enjoy the blog.