Guest Blogger

My Husband’s Advice to His Daughters

My husband, Ray, often writes thoughts and stories in one of the many journals he has owned over the 28 years I’ve been with him.  Sometimes he writes about growing up in a small town in South Carolina, sometimes about music, sometimes about a great night on the ocean or in the mountains, and sometimes even about me. He’s a great storyteller and writer and I’ve enjoyed reading what he has shared with me and others.

On January 21, 2010, he wrote some advice for his two daughters. They would have been in their late 30’s at that time, with children of their own.

I asked him if I could share this journal entry with Fabulous Over 60 readers. He agreed.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

“Some Random Notes about Class and Style and Life”

By Raymond Green

Being wealthy doesn’t give you class or style. Class and style are about wit, manners, intelligence, the people you spend time with, the way you entertain others, the books you read and the way you handle key events in your life.

Class is treating everyone with dignity and respect.

Class is being well-spoken and well-dressed.

Class is having good manners, knowing what’s right and doing what’s right.

Someone of quality shows empathy, not just sympathy. Empathy goes well beyond being well-mannered.

Spend your time seeking wisdom and always share that wisdom with your children.

About money – make it, invest it, spend it, and give it away.  Remember: “From those to whom much is given, much is required”.

About giving money away:  It’s interesting. When you give it away, it seems to keep coming back.

Sometimes you will want to give with no strings attached and no expectations of a return. Be clear if it’s a gift.

Give money where you want to have a voice … your church, a political cause or candidate or a legal fight to oppose some wrongdoing.

You will not be able to give equally to your children; they will have different needs at different times. Don’t keep score.

If you loan money to your children, insist on being paid back. It will teach them to be responsible. You can always give it back or forgive the debt later.

From Walt Whitman…”Read the leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life; re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in books, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul”.

About Religion:  It’s more important to be spiritual than religious.

About Friends:  Choose them wisely and stay in touch with them often.

About Your Word:   Say what you will do and do what you say. Your word and your actions have to be exactly the same – there are no exceptions.

About RSVP’s:  Answer them. And, if you say you will be there, then be there. If you must cancel – speak to the person(s) directly – always.

Never show up empty-handed if you have been invited to stay in someone’s home. They have carved out a place for you in their world. It means that they consider you a special and trusted friend. Honor that decision.

About being on time:  There are no acceptable excuses for being late. Your children will learn from your example.

About People:  Everyone’s important, but there are some you will not want to spend time with. That’s OK. You will know who they are.

About Thank You Notes:  Always write them. There are no good excuses not to.  And, always be timely. Never email a thank you message. Write a note. Teach your children to do this, too.

Remember to treat others as you’d like to be treated – but understand that sometimes others won’t have the resources to treat you exactly the same.

Find as many opportunities as possible to watch the sunrise and the sunset and to smell the ocean and the mountains.

Always be fully engaged in life and celebrate!

Ray Green, 2010

Lexie the Dog’s Blog: A New “Good Girl” Comes to My House

My name is Lexie. Or sometimes Lexie Girl.

Lexie, 8 years old

I have been with my mom and dad for a long time. We lived in a really warm place for awhile (it was called Florida) where I chased lizards and birds in my backyard and took long walks through the neighborhood searching for cats and squirrels.

Then they bought me a house in the mountains and I was really, really happy. I have lots of grass and trees and bushes, and I can run and run and run and chase squirrels and turkeys and growl when I smell bears.

They also bought me a Jeep so that I’m comfortable riding around town with them. I know every restaurant in Asheville that will let me hang out, and the people at the place called Home Depot like me a lot and give me treats. They tell my dad that I’m such a well-trained dog and that makes me very proud.

I like the good food my mom feeds me, even when she throws in oily stuff that she thinks is good for me, and I put up with a bath and a really loud hair dryer once a month. For some reason, mom and dad like my smells better after I come home from that place than when I roll over and over in all of the great smells in my backyard. I don’t understand that.

I’m a good girl. I know this because they tell me all the time. Dad calls me his girlfriend. Mom calls me her pretty baby. I wait politely for my dinner and I know how to sit, stay, lie down, leave it and hunt.  I know what “come” means, but I don’t like that word too much so I pretend I don’t hear it most of the time.

They tell me I’m a free-thinking dog. That sounds good to me.

They also tell me I’m the best dog ever and I know that I am.

That’s why I was not very happy when I came home from a short Jeep ride and there was another good girl in my mountain house. She was small, smelly and not very polite. She didn’t know how to sit, stay or anything. She couldn’t even go up and down the stairs. It was pretty funny watching her trying to figure out where she was and what she was supposed to do. Mom and dad called her good girl. I definitely didn’t like that.

I thought that she would be leaving, but she’s still here and it’s been many, many nights and days.

She wants to play with me, but I’m not having any of it. I stare off into the distance, I ignore her, and I look meaningfully at my mom and dad to let them know that their good girl Lexie is still their good girl, but that I’m not very happy with this other girl in my house. I’m still hoping they will take her away.

Kayla, 6 months old

They call her Kayla, but she either doesn’t like her name or doesn’t know it. She doesn’t seem very smart to me. She bites on rugs, she chases her tail and she steals my toys. I am trying not to get mad, but it’s difficult and I chased her and bit her once or twice. Mom and dad weren’t happy with me, but I didn’t bite her hard and she really deserved it.

Even though I’m not happy about it, I’ve tried to be helpful since mom and dad aren’t very good at teaching her things. For example, I taught her how to go up and down the stairs by showing her over and over and over again. She finally got it. But of course, she now runs up the stairs in front of me which is not very respectful. I have also tried to show her how to sit and stay, but so far, she only sits.

What I really don’t like is when she pees on the rugs and mom doesn’t yell at her. If I did that, I would be in big, big trouble. But Kayla just gets shooed outside and mom cleans the rugs. I don’t think that’s fair.

Unfortunately, it is starting to look like Kayla is going to stay with us in the mountains. Mom and dad are trying not to call her good girl since it makes me jealous. They are calling her good baby girl or good Kayla. They think that will fool me. Ha!

And, they are encouraging me to play with her. I’d still rather not do that, but at least I’m trying to be a good girl and not bite her anymore.

If she doesn’t leave soon, it looks like I’m going to have to be sharing my backyard, my Jeep and my mom and dad with her for a long time.

She cannot, however, play with my Lamb Chop toy. I have to draw the line somewhere.

And, I am still going to be the best dog ever. Mom and dad told me so.


Cathy Green’s Labradoodle, guest blogger


The 70’s Rock Concert That Didn’t Rock!

We just bought tickets to see Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald at the Biltmore Estate’s Summer Concert Series in our hometown of Asheville, NC.  Both performers are favorites and the venue is incredible.  Concerts are held under the stars on the grounds of the beautiful  Biltmore House.  I can’t wait!

This year, however, I’m going to nap in the afternoon and drink nothing all day. Why?  Here’s a blog post I wrote about another concert at the Biltmore House in 2014.  The 70’s Rock Concert That Didn’t Rock!


Time Ain’t No Beauty Specialist

This piece was submitted by guest blogger Ginny Callaway. Send us your story or short article and we’ll contact you if it works as a guest blog. Click here to share.

105 year old Aunt Zipora Rice from Sodom, North Carolina once said, “Time might be a great healer, but it ain’t no beauty specialist.”

That woman knew what she was talking about. As I march closer to the next era after our Fabulous 60s, that simple statement is proving truer by the minute.

Do you remember how we decorated for the prom with crepe paper? At seventeen, crepe paper was the sign of a good time. All the rich colors to choose from. We could twirl it and drape it from the bleachers to the stage, tie it in a bow to decorate the front of the punch bowl table and wrap it around the basketball poles, a simple camouflage.  Crepe paper could change a gymnasium into a magical, memory-making ballroom. If it got stretched out and lost its shape, you’d just throw it away and grab a new roll. Presto, a fresh start.


Who knew crepe paper would eventually become part of our anatomy? Yeah, that ugly, crinkly-looking skin that has moved in and forced its taut, firm predecessor to vacate the premises. I’m talking about the triceps area, the inner thigh, the back of our hands and the most ubiquitous of all, the turkey neck.


Short of going under the knife, a fresh start is not a possibility. Even with firm, toned muscles hovering just below the surface, the crepe paper effect persists. Just wave at a friend and those “Hi, Helens”, those “you who’s,” that free-wheeling skin dangling from our triceps gives us away. So halter tops, cute sleeveless sun dresses and strapless evening gowns have found their way to the Goodwill. I now welcome turtlenecks, long sleeve tops and slightly longer shorts. So be it.

Time ain’t no beauty specialist when it comes to our faces, either.  When I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror, I’m startled. Who is that looking back? That’s not me. I’m twenty-two, thirty-four, forty-eight. My skin is firm and smooth, no divots between my brows or red and brown blotches. My eyes are clear and open without folded layers of skin on my lids that make me look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s first cousin. My smile is defined by pearly white teeth and full red lips, not deep-set grooves shaped like parentheses on each side and a string of quote marks curved across my upper lip.

looking in a mirror.jpg

Who is that in the mirror?

Now I remember.

Each line was born.

I came by them honestly.

Those lines springing from the ends of my eyes are reminders of the hours of laughter shared with my sisters until tears covered our cheeks and our sides hurt.

From squinting in the sunlight as the catamaran skimmed across the incredible blues and greens of the Caribbean Sea.

The parallel trenches engraved across my forehead are reminders of the fear I felt the Halloween night a sheriff’s car pulled into our driveway at 2:30 in the morning. Was our son okay?

The fear I felt the night I heard an enormous explosion in the direction of the airport just as my husband’s plane was scheduled to land. Was David okay?

The grooves bordering my mouth like a set of large-text parentheses are reminders of the years my mouth forgot how to smile. When grief pulled down every inch of my face, of my being, like a boulder around my neck. My daughter was not okay.

Yes, time has a split personality. It can heal and it can leave its footprints. Aunt Zip had it partially right. Time can also create a unique beauty that only years of living to the fullest can polish. When a friend says, “you look terrific,” I don’t say something to diminish or qualify that statement. I say “thank you” and let myself feel beautiful.

Aunt Zip.jpg

105 year-old Aunt Zip

I sometimes wonder about the clothes I relinquished to Goodwill. Hopefully a young girl is enjoying them. Maybe someone getting ready for the prom.


Fear Riding Fear

This piece was submitted by guest blogger Ginny Callaway. Send us your story or short article and we’ll contact you if it works as a guest blog. Click here to share.


Fear is scary.

Facing fear is scarier, especially at 64.

I know. I recently looked fear in the long-nosed face of a 1200 pound four-legged creature with hard-as-nails hooves and the potential power of a small locomotive.

The really scary part is that I CHOSE to face this intimidator, more commonly known as a horse.

In the summer of 2013 we were invited to spend a week at a guest ranch in Wyoming, 100,000 acres of the Medicine Bow Mountains and green grasslands. The poplar-lined Platte River flowed through the bottomland. Carved-out draws and canyons strewn with rocks and fallen trees dotted the landscape. Remember that last part.


A Bar A Ranch offered a variety of activities such as fly fishing, photography and painting. Most sane people opt for one of those. I heard “horseback riding” and my sanity left me.

“That sounds like fun. Sign me up.” I couldn’t believe how easily those words spilled out of my mouth.

“All right then. See you at the stables 8:30 in the morning,” responded Lynn, the head wrangler.

Naiveté is a good thing. The next morning I donned my jeans and cowboy boots, cowboy shirt that made me look more like I was from Portland than Wyoming and a borrowed cowboy hat with a chin strap. I was at the stable at 8:30 sharp. Let’s get this show on the trail.

“Ginny, here’s your horse, Patch. Climb up in the saddle and Samantha will adjust your stirrups. She’ll be your trail guide, too.”

Patch was a pinto looking horse, at least that’s what I thought having no idea except from watching Bonanza and eating beans what a pinto horse might look like. Brown splotches with white splotches. Pinto worked for me.

Patch was about 15 hands high. That would make him 60’’ in people units. But once I was asaddle, from my eyes to the ground look more like 600”. It was a fer piece down. But off we went in a tail to nose line, 8 of us with Samantha in the lead and me somewhere in the middle. We moseyed along on a wide, flat dirt trail, plenty of grassland all round, a wide-open space.


Then Samantha took a right turn toward the mountains. The trail narrowed and started to rise. The trail narrowed some more and got steeper. I realized we were now in one of those previously mentioned draws. The smooth dirt trail became a landmine of rocks, broken off branches, even a few entire fallen trees. Although Patch was going at a snail’s pace, it was too fast. Plus, his hooves seemed to catch on every possible thing, causing us to stumble our way up the crevasse. I looked down at all the jagged rocks and spear-like branches that would pierce my skull leaving me drooling for life if I fell, if I survived the fall.


I now understood fear. My heart was pounding. My sweaty palms clutched the saddle horn in a death grip, the horn’s raison d’etre becoming entirely clear.

This “beginner’s ride” continued like this for what seemed like 20-30 miles before we turned around. Good god, really? There’s no other way back? Going downhill, my saddle horn was almost useless. I grabbed the back of the saddle with one hand and avoided looking down.

Eventually the wide, smooth trail greeted us like a long lost friend. We headed back to the ranch with me still in the saddle. David must be wondering where I am, I thought. I hoped they save me some lunch. You work up an appetite riding for hours. I could eat a horse (no offense, Patch.)

Lynn met us at the stable and helped me dismount.

“How was your first ride?” she asked all smiles, without a hint of irony.

Once my knees straightened out and some of the arthritic agony subsided, I gave a feeble “just fine” before hobbling off to the dining room. It was empty. The hostess came up and told me lunch wouldn’t start until noon. Noon? I finally looked at my watch. It was 10:15. The ride across the Great Divide was less than two hours? You gotta be kidding!


A week of similar trail rides did nothing to quell my fear, but I boarded Patch every morning. I wasn’t going to be defeated.

Once back in Asheville, I pondered that equine fear. I didn’t like it one bit. So I took the bull by the horns, or, in this case, the horse by the reins and signed up for horseback riding lessons.

For two years now, I climb back in the saddle Tuesdays and Thursdays and ride in a ring or head out on the trail with my excellent and patient and wise instructor. Remembering where I started two years ago, I’ve made good progress. I have more skill, confidence and horse awareness. But I’ve also learned that a horse can spook and become a wild creature at a moment’s notice. An out-of-place water bucket becomes a panther waiting to pounce. A flapping raincoat becomes a swooping pterodactyl with horse-grabbing talons.

Here’s the irony: a horse has more fear than I do! He fears everything. He is a total prey animal.

So, we’re quite a pair. Fear riding fear. But twice a week my lesson horse Randall and I team up to face our demons. Together we give each other the courage to deal with those lurking panthers head on.

Randall and Ginny

Has my initial fear disappeared? Hell no. Has it diminished? Some days yes, some days, not so much. Am I okay with that? Yes.

In a few weeks, we head back to Wyoming for another week of challenging trails. Every morning I’ll atop my trusty steed and head for the hills. We’ll stumble along rocky ravines, trot alongside the Platte, and even canter a bit along wide smooth parts of the trail, facing fear one ride at a time.



What Not To Say

One of our readers sent us a great piece about what not to say to another over 60 woman if she is involved in a change in her relationship status. We loved it and have it here. If you have comments and ideas to share with Sue about her story feel free to comment on this post or send us a message and we’ll get it to Sue.

The story got us thinking about what else not to say in difficult and often changing situations.   And, as we age, there are more “awkward” situations that test our ability to show support and sympathy but without offense. Even changes in weight or looks can cause an otherwise fabulous woman to say something inappropriate.

My favorite story of saying the wrong thing was back in 1977 at my 10 year high school reunion: “So Mary — when is the baby due?” You got it — I will never forget her face and comment “I am just fat Patty.” Alas less than a year ago – some 30 plus years later, I slipped again. Sure enough – Gloria wasn’t pregnant either. Now unless the woman is in the process of delivering I am not mentioning her having a baby.


Here’s a few more tips — essentially here’s what NOT TO SAY when people are grieving.

Skip comparisons and bringing in your similar experience. Here are some examples I know you have heard or said. I too admit to a few slips.

  • “You know my Dad had the same cancer and they got it in time.”
  • “I was so distraught when Jan left me – I feel your pain.”

Skip assuming how other people feel — I have definitely made this mistake.

  • “You must be relieved after all the time you have been caring for h/h”
  • “It was her time – she was ready.” Having said this once and gotten my head bit off let me suggest extra caution on variations on this theme.

Forget references to the afterlife unless you are absolutely 100% positive they are believers. Even if they are believers — the timing could be off.

  • “You’ll see Harry in paradise some day soon”. A variation on this for my mother in law got a book thrown at my head.
  • “They are in a better place.”

Don’t downplay or make the person feel they were a fool ever to have gotten involved with the person, job, house or whatever it is that is now gone. And remember, just because something is absolutely TRUE, doesn’t mean you should say it!

  • “She was a bitch and everyone knew it – except you obviously. You’re well rid of her.”
  • “You won’t miss that corporate job — sure it paid the bills, but it ate your soul.”
  • “You couldn’t save him — he had to save himself.”

The older I get the more I believe in the point: less is more. Here’s a suggestion of what to say that could work in literally dozens of situations. It conveys concern and sympathy/empathy, but avoids remarks that while well-meaning, could potentially backfire.

Look the person in the eye, put your arm out to touch them in a light way — unless of course you already know they are one of those few folks who never want to be touched. Pause, and then starting with their name, speak softly and directly to the person.

“Bob/Carol I am so sorry about what you are going through (likely they are still suffering in some way). I am here to listen and help in the way that would be best for you.” Wait and determine if they do or do not want to talk, share or ask for help. Some people welcome a chance to share, others are more private, or in many cases too upset or tired to keep repeating the same “tale” multiple times.

You likely feel much better now that you have read this wonderful therapeutic blog — or, maybe not. Let me just say – be well, be happy and enjoy the day — and if the blog helps you, great — if not, just delete it.


Women in the Workplace Still Need Role Models and Mentors

When Deeanne Colwell wrote to us about her experience in the aviation industry where she worked as a pilot for 30 years, Patty and I thought it could be a good time to suggest to fabulous women over 60 that we might be in a great position – even if we are retired or about to retire – to encourage, support and advise younger women as they face continuing career challenges.

Many of us have built expertise in a career or other endeavor while learning important (and often difficult) lessons along the way. We’ve faced glass ceilings, lack of respect, gender assumptions and more. Sharing ways we’ve dealt with these issues – whether successfully or not – could be very valuable to those who are coming up behind us. Maybe we should even think about this as an obligation – something we owe to other women as Deeanne suggests in this inspirational story.


Welcome to Reality!

By Deeanne Colwell

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Deeanne Colwell.  I have just retired from an incredible job.  Yes, for 30 years I was a pilot at a major United States airline.  My dream shot that came true after giving up a career in medicine to pursue my life’s passion.  Although we are a minority in the aviation community, I never felt as though I was a role model, a trail blazer or any other feel good term.  I was a woman airline captain just doing what I loved.

Due to federal mandates I had to retire at age 65, give all this up.  It wasn’t the money or any prestige, it was my passion.  After the retirement process I thought to myself, time for a new adventure, a new challenge, a new life. But every time I thought of returning to graduate school or becoming a bartender my love of aviation would keep creeping into my thoughts.

I am saying, OK girl, if you cannot fly go teach, you just might have something to offer to the aviation community.  What the heck, you might even inspire another woman to take on this challenge. OK, let’s not push it yet.

As luck would have it, I found an international flight training company that trained corporate pilots from all over the world to fly.  I applied and was given an interview.  My first thought was I have nothing to wear to an interview – I went out to an upscale women’s shop, bought a nice suit and now I am ready.

I go to the interview, was greeted very professionally by the staff, this was so comforting to me since I had not been to an interview since the mid-80’s.  All was well until the interview room started filling with men. Men asking me very mundane questions, actually they were very easy to answer. Then the subtle attacks and flanking maneuvers began.  I began to see where this was going. I was asked very condescending questions, questions that a student pilot could answer.  It was almost like they were saying to me, “OK sweetie why are you really here?”  But what they didn’t realize is I love a challenge, I love a confrontation. I held my ground.  Finally one man asked me, what do you really have to bring to this organization?  I looked at him square and said, EXPERIENCE.

The interview ended very cordially, with the standard “we have many other candidates to go, we’ll be in touch”.

After leaving, on my drive home, many thoughts were going through me. Thoughts like where did I go wrong, could it have gone better.  Then I said to myself, woman you did great, if they don’t hire you it’s their loss.

The reality of all this hit me after 30 years, the reality of the “glass ceiling”.  The reality of this still “macho” business.  I’ve been sheltered all these years and the “glass ceiling” was just a term for me.  What this interview has awakened me to do is to become active in being a role model, a motivator for some young girl who wants what I had, to even become a fighter pilot or maybe an astronaut.

I suppose we all owe something to someone, some time.   Dee.


YES, Dee, we do. It is what makes us fabulous at any age!


P.S. Patty recently found an organization called Take the Lead whose mission is to do what it takes to achieve leadership parity for women across all sectors by 2025. Thought you might like to check it out.

This piece was submitted by a guest blogger. Send us your story or short article and we’ll contact you if it works as a guest blog. Click here to share.

The 70’s Rock Concert That Didn’t Rock

By Cathy Green (With contributions from guest blogger and concert attendee, Ginny Callaway)

Here’s the scene:

Two couples. All four of us in our 60’s. Feeling good. Going to a Three Dog Night concert under the stars at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC. Reserved seats, only 6 rows from the stage.

Here’s what we expected:

We’ll have dinner at a nearby restaurant at 5:30pm, park close to the concert venue, get a glass of wine and find our great up-front and personal seats.

The concert will start at 8:00pm sharp.  We’ll hear our favorite TDN songs from the 70’s … Celebrate, Joy to the World, Easy to be Hard and many, many more. We’ll feel like young 20-something’s again. We’ll stand up, we’ll clap and, with other members of our peace, love and rock and roll generation, cheer until we bring the guys back for an encore. We’ll have smiles on our faces as we exit the concert, we’ll catch the bus to the parking lot talking about the great music we just heard, and we’ll all be home no later than 11:00pm.  A perfect night!


Here’s what really happened:

Dinner was great, but we made the mistake of telling our young waitress that we were on our way to a Three Dog Night concert.  “Oh, I’ve never heard of them” she said sweetly. Our first feeling old moment.

Although we were “sure” that we had timed our entrance to the concert perfectly, we were directed to the furthest lot where we parked and got on a bus to take us to the stage area. During the 20 minute ride, we began to discuss skipping the encore so that we could get out of there more quickly. Our second feeling old moment.

Walking to the concert from the bus, we all had to go to the bathroom even though we had recently used the facilities at the restaurant. Of course, the restrooms were about a mile away in the opposite direction from our seats. Nothing closer, we asked?  Our third feeling old moment.

The weather forecast called for a chilly night. Although the temperature never dropped below 75, we were prepared with long pants, jackets, scarves and gloves packed in shoulder bags. All around us, younger women wore cute sleeveless tops and long flowing skirts and young guys wore shorts. Our fourth feeling old moment.

Although there were many people in long lines buying drinks, we had had our drink at the restaurant so it was bottled water for us. Yes, bottled water at a rock concert. Our fifth feeling old moment.

And… then it happened.  There was an opening act, a southern rock and roll band. They began playing. Actually, they began screaming. In the sixth row, the sound was overpowering.  Three of us quickly stuffed plugs in our ears (Ray refused to look quite that old). The music was still loud, and now totally distorted.

We lasted in our seats about 30 minutes and then walked to the back of the venue, behind all of the reserved seats, to stand with people who had paid less than half what we paid for our tickets and who seemed to be there primarily to drink beer and talk.

We knew only one of the songs these opening act guys sang … but they sang for a full hour and a half. We impatiently waited for them to stop (three encores) and when they did the roadies began a 30 minute stage re-set.  We realized that the earliest that Three Dog Night would begin to play was 10:45. We quickly calculated that we wouldn’t be home until well after midnight. And, we all had to go to the bathroom again.


That’s when we looked at each other and had our final, ultimate feeling old moment. Want to leave?


We were the only ones on the bus riding back to the parking lot, which was a good thing since our ears were ringing. Once in the car, we found a fast route to the exit and were home by 10:45 … about the time Three Dog Night was beginning its set.

We learned some lessons that night:

1.) Two rock bands means a very long concert night for older music fans.

2.) Sitting up front at a rock concert is for younger people.

3.) Mentioning a 70’s band to a young waitress is not something you should do if you want to feel good about yourself.


4.) Getting a good night’s sleep is at least some consolation for missing a concert.


Cathy Green


I Hate Bras

This piece was submitted by guest blogger Ginny Callaway. Send us your story or short article and we’ll contact you if it works as a guest blog. Click here to share.

Let me get that out of the way first thing.

I hate bras.

The first thing I do every day when I get home is take my bra off.

When I was in fifth grade, I was tall and very thin. Although I had already become a woman, I had no signs of physical maturity. All the places that would eventually become hairy were still smooth and my chest looked the same as it did when I was six.

Classmates were blossoming and budding, adding a rounded shape to our tailored shirtwaist uniforms. My uniform hung straight down from my wide shoulders to my small waist. No protrusions whatsoever.

Helen was in the same shape. We decided we’d do something about it, even if we got busted.

One Saturday, Helen and I walked from her house to a small shop specializing in clothes for young girls. We casually wandered through the dresses, blouses, sweaters, not wanting to seem too obvious in our mission. Slowly, indifferently, we made our way to the area where the bras were. We looked at them for a minute or two before actually touching one. Our eyes fell on what was called a “training bra.” Perfect. That’s just what we needed. Something to bring the reluctant dark pink circles on our chest to life. A bra to train our breasts how to behave. Now we’re talking.

We did have one problem. We only had enough money for one bra and there were two of us. But we didn’t see that as a problem. Helen would wear it for one week and I would wear it for the next week. It might take a little longer to train our buds to blossom, but we had time. A deal was struck and a bra was bought.

And it worked! By the end of fifth grade, little bumps were forming.

Then the unspeakable happened. My mother wanted to take me shopping for bras. As she said, “To cover your little marbles.”  Oh God, spare me. What could be more embarrassing? Marbles, Mom? Of all the words to choose…geez.


Off we went to Robinson’s department store in Pasadena. After a tête-à-tête with the sales lady, a sampling of bras appeared in a dressing room. I tried them on. Guess which one fit? The training bra. My marbles needed more training. Fine by me, just get me out of there.

By fifteen, my tatas did grow and I was able to fill an A cup and the top of a tiny bikini.

By twenty, I was a long-haired, tie-dyed hippie. I abandoned wearing a bra. I didn’t burn them, just shoved them to the back of my top dresser drawer.

It wasn’t until I became pregnant that bras re-entered the picture. These were not training bras or petite A cup lingerie items with delicate pink flowers. These were honking garments complete with three rows of hooks in the back, inch-wide straps and drop down front doors. I don’t remember if those bras had cups sizes. Let’s just size I was now wearing size huge.

As I grew older, bras came and went in my life. As I aged, my body went from lithe to luscious, or more accurately, post-menopausal fat.

My boobs grew with me. These days, at 65, I go to the gym three times a week and horseback ride twice a week. I need a bra. But finding one with straps that don’t end up three inches off my shoulders in five minutes or squeeze my chest with military-grade wire is impossible.

So, Ladies, let me hear from you. Do you have THE bra that meets the above demands? I need your support.

– Ginny Callaway, Fabulous Over 60 Reader/Guest Blogger

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