Book of Me – Prompt 3: Physical Attributes

book of meThis is week 3 of a 15 month writing project. This week’s assignment is to write about your physical attributes. This writing challenge is provided by Julie Goucher from the blog Angler’s Rest.

This week’s instructions are:
Describe your physical self
Your size – clothes size
Eye color
Draw your hands
Finger Prints

Ballet recital, early 1980s

Ballet recital, early 1980s at Worcester State College (Deborah is second on the left)

As a child, Deborah was always thin. Although she loved to dance, she was never considered athletic and was probably a bit on the clumsy side. Her genetic makeup predetermined her greater than average height but this did not become truly apparent until junior high (and probably contributed to the death of her dancing career). During her teen years, she grew taller than her mother and three of her four grandparents. She finally stopped growing just shy of 5’10”. Beanpole was a common nickname during this time in her life. In college, one of her roommates affectionately called her Olive Oil, after Popeye’s girlfriend because of her height and relative thinness. Throughout her life, Deborah despised clothes shopping. Standard sizes were not made for tall people. Many a tear was shed throughout the years over high waders and bare wrist bones. Even as a child, she preferred dresses and skirts because pants were never made long enough. Learning to sew was another strategy she used to compensate for gangling limbs. The advent of tall sizes at the end of the 20th century and early 21st century did alleviate some of Deborah’s shopping nightmares, but only a little.

Deborah, early 1990s

Deborah, early 1990s (Aran Islands, Ireland)

Deborah did not have many scars or birthmarks. She never really broke a bone (toes don’t count) or severely cut herself. When she was in elementary school (before the chicken pox vaccine), she had the disease during one summer vacation. Several of the scabs were quite itchy. There was one in the middle of her brow that she scratched quite often. As a result, a small uneven scar was formed. Most people would not notice until it was pointed out. There were some minor scars on her fingers from the unsafe handling of sharp objects, or her possible clumsiness. During her first week in the kitchen at Kabeyun, she sliced the top knuckle of the right pointer finger trying to open a 20 lb bag of carrots. Another scar was created on her right pinkie from trying to open a pop top can of cat food. She maintained a healthy fear of such evil devices (pop top cans) for most of her adult life. On the other hand’s thumb was a scar made when a chunk was removed with a pair of scissors. The most noticeable scar was the one at the base of her neck, in the dip of the collarbone.  In her mid-twenties, it was discovered that her thyroid had a cancerous tumor. The doctors attempted to take only the affected lobe but later had to go back in and remove the rest of the organ. This was perhaps the most dramatic and meaningful scar.

Deborah - c1982

Deborah – c1982

Having nearly 100% northern European ancestry, Deborah was fair skinned. She was never one to get a tan, and frequently ended up with sunburns unintentionally. She was sprinkled liberally with freckles as a result.  Her eyes were hazel, predominately brown with flecks of green.  When she was younger, her hair was lighter but it eventually morphed into a brown with golden highlights. Since she loved red hair, she often dyed her hair red in her late teens and twenties. Typically, she preferred longer hair although there were sporadic periods when she kept it short. When she was married, her hair was almost long enough to sit upon.

Deborah in 5th or 6th grade

Deborah in 5th or 6th grade

In first grade, it was discovered that she couldn’t read the board from the back of the room. In those days, children were frequently seated in alphabetical order. With a surname starting with the letter Y, she often found herself sitting in the back of the room. Glasses became a part of her wardrobe. As a teenager, she stopped wearing glasses as the problem seemed to have corrected itself temporarily. However, in her 20s, the difficulty of seeing distances returned, especially street signs on the highway. When she became a teacher, she had a hard time seeing the board again! So the glasses returned. Eventually, they became a permanent requirement on her driver’s license.

Handprints, 2013

Handprints, 2013

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at:…cal-attributes/

9 thoughts on “Book of Me – Prompt 3: Physical Attributes

  1. davidmadison1942

    Nice job with the description….I cringed reading about the scars. 😦 The photo of you in the red shorts…was that taken in our NYC apartment? And the photo of you in the 5th or 6th grade. I think that was taken at the War Memorial Auditorium in Providence.

  2. Catherine

    I enjoyed that Deborah, thanks. I was into Ballet too and actually became a teacher of Classical Ballet, Tap, Modern and National Dance with my own School. Then, when my children were young I re-trained as a Classroom teacher.
    Interesting how many Geneas are/ have been teachers, I reckon… thanks again. I always love your posts 😆

    1. Genealogy Lady Post author

      I actually saw someone else’s handprints done the same way. I liked it!
      I think there might be dance companies with tall people now. 🙂 My height wasn’t my only reason for stopping with dance, but I guess there might be another post for that story.


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