During the first few years of my elementary school education, I was the last to be picked for a team. I would have preferred not to be picked at all, but the P.E. teacher insisted that every student participate. This was at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind, where not having enough vision was no excuse for not doing something.
I hated sports. Because I couldn’t run fast enough, the teacher paired me with someone who ran faster than I did. As a result, I fell flat on my face most of the time while running between bases during kick ball games. I never could understand dodge ball, a game in which the object was, apparently, to see how many people you could hit with a ball.
After my family moved here to Sheridan, Wyoming, I was mainstreamed into a public school for sixth grade, where the physical education teacher let me sit out during games of kick ball, dodge ball, and other activities deemed too dangerous by someone with no experience teaching visually impaired children. My parents were disgusted, but I was only too happy to watch and not fall on my face or get hit with a ball.
In seventh grade, I was able to opt out of P.E. In eighth grade, a new gym teacher took me under her wing and worked with me one on one. Naturally, with just the two of us, we didn’t play kick ball or dodge ball, but I ran laps around the track and did other exercises and even some tumbling. I really enjoyed this, especially since it took time away from my home economics class, another thing I hated.
In high school, I wasn’t required to take physical education but in college I was. By then, I had a choice of safer activities such as bowling. Again, I was one of the last to be picked for a team, but I didn’t mind. At least the ball wasn’t hitting me in the face, and I wasn’t falling. As a matter of fact, I became a pretty good bowler. You can read more about that here.
Several years ago, in a meeting of my monthly poetry group, we were prompted to write a blues poem. At the Arizona school, we had to wear blue gym suits. When we arrived at the gym each day, the teacher told us to put on our blues. Hence, the following poem was born, and you can hear me read it by clicking the Play button below.
by Abbie Johnson Taylor
As a kid in gym class, I hated putting on my blues.
Yes, as a kid in gym class, I didn’t like to put on those blues.
They were hard to get on. The snaps I sure could lose.
I would have rather played the piano than run around in my blues.
Yes, I wanted to play the piano, not run around in my blues.
But it was not meant to be. Every day I had to put on those blues.
I could never play ball without being hit in the face.
No, I couldn’t play ball without being hit in the face.
When someone ran with me, I fell before we reached first base.
We rarely went swimming or walked around the track.
No, we didn’t go swimming or walk around the track.
Those were things I liked. They didn’t hold me back.
Now, those days are over. I no longer have the blues.
Yes, those days are long gone, and I don’t have the blues.
The blues are gone forever, and I no longer wear my blues.
Thanks to Stevie Turner for inspiring the above with her Open Book Blog Hop prompt for this week. You can click here to participate.
By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.
New! The Red Dress
Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books
When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.
Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.