As time goes on, things change

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 30, 2021

By Jan Miller Penton

The sun beat down causing beads of sweat to run down my freckled face. I could taste the salt when I licked my lips, and breathed a sigh of pure pleasure enjoying the warmth on my moist skin. It was a great day for a baseball game with my siblings, but to me any day was a great day for baseball.

My older brother, Paul, had stepped off where the bases should be and placed stones at the appropriate spots, which made sliding into base a little precarious. But I was a tomboy through and through, and the thought of a skinned knee didn’t deter me from hitting the dirt and skidding into base should I feel the need.

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There were six of us kids, and I don’t remember exactly how we made up teams, but I think we somehow arranged for four of us in the field while one batted and one played hind catcher. At any rate, many, many hours of fun were derived from our one old bat and ball.

My hair was cut into a short pixy cut, and I didn’t like to play with dolls. Actually, I remember thinking that a boy’s life would suit me just fine. Who wanted to stay in the house and wash dishes? I certainly didn’t. It suited me much more to work outside in the sunshine in a garden or mow grass, which were considered to be activities suited for males.

You may laugh when I share this next tidbit of information. Don’t feel badly because I give my permission. It makes me want to giggle a little myself, but I remember not wanting to wear a shirt to play outside because my brothers didn’t have to. When my parents told me that young ladies had to wear tops, I just didn’t get it. I was actually pretty annoyed!

I continued to play ball first, with my family, and then, on our church league for years. One of my greatest delights was to scoop up a hard grounder, beat out a runner to second, tag my base, and hurl the ball to my friend, Anne, who played first base. You should have seen our happy dances at those coveted double plays.

I was the lead hitter, not because I was a power hitter by any means, but all those early years of playing ball with my siblings had helped me to be scrappy. And I was endued with a natural determination from birth so I usually managed to get on base even if it wasn’t pretty. We all know that success breeds success so when I got on base others usually followed.

In junior high I developed my first crush on a handsome blue-eyed blond haired boy, and the tables quickly turned. I began to experiment with hair and makeup, and to this day I have an ongoing love affair with color and clothing styles. Oh, by the way, I always wear a top.