Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So soft and round

I have a stack of letters my father wrote to my mother when an Army major in the South Pacific during WWII. Because today is his birthday, I've spent a few hours peeking over his shoulder as he wrote to her from his tent, several years before my birth. He called writing their "date", and the thick stack of onion skin, 63 years later, bears witness to his longing to be home.

The letters are circumspect. My brother and sister were old enough to want to hear hers as well as the ones they received. A few times, though, he slipped in coded references to time they would share together again, "like October 7" (their wedding date).

He wistfully mentioned how "soft and round" she was.
I thought as I read these words how few women today would relish being called "soft and round"; some would be insulted.

My mother was never heavy; she had a curvy, petite figure. She got exercise from gardening, housework, and occasional golf and skeet-shooting. At one point she had apparently confessed that she was trying to give up smoking, and he advised her that "if a cigarette helps you relax and feel less worried, why give it up?" (And he was a doctor.)

How times have changed in 63 years!

Women aspire to be much thinner now; sinew on bone is the goal. Dad would have cringed, Mom would have been mystified. They wanted to be trim and attractive, but not "cut".

I'm grateful that he eventually returned home to his family, and I wish the frank admiration for womanly curves had endured beyond Dad's time.


Happy Birthday, Dad!

6 comments:

Judith said...

Thank you for a sweet post of times gone by---I miss them. It's my birthday too, so extra special to read. I enjoy your blog!

materfamilias said...

How lovely to have these letters between your parents (and just as well he was circumspect!).

Kathie Truitt said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post.

Deja Pseu said...

How lovely and sweet!

Among my mother's things I found letters written between my father and his grandmother. I have yet to read them all, but they are such a treasure! The sad thing about e-mails is that they're so seldom printed and saved, and our words will be lost to future generations.

Duchesse said...

Pseu: Yes, few e-mails are printed and saved, and the medium is not conducive to pages and pages.

materfamilias: Mom has implied that a few letters were not shared with the children or saved!

Imogen Lamport said...

One of the things I love about my husband is how much he loves my soft and round bits.

Interestingly, I used to spend time with lots of men I worked with in a pub (England at lunchtime - it's a cultural thing) and they'd always comment on how unattractive the thin women were who passed by our table, and how attractive the soft and round were.

It's a lesson for us all!