JUDY BROWN
Shy Girl: My Childhood in Small Sentences


I wore glasses. Since fourteen months. Glasses were tiny. So         was I.
I was wriggly. Glasses were taped. They stayed on. People         were amazed.
I turned two. I raced around. No tape now. Glasses stayed on.         Even more amazing.
I turned three. I had surgery. I wore a patch. It was black. It         was dark.
Now people stared. "What's the matter?" "Poor little girl!"
I heard them. I became shy. I ran away. Hid behind Mother. I         stayed there.
Finally, they left. I came out. I hated patches.
Mother provided exercises. I viewed stereo pairs.
It was boring. Mother forced me. My eyes improved.
I turned four. Second eye surgery.
I exercised more. Eyes grew stronger.
No more patches. Now I squinted. Light was bright.
Glasses remained. Shyness did too.

I was five. I loved horses. More than boys.
I liked Indians. Better than cowboys.
I had bows. I had arrows.
I practiced shooting. I hit bull's-eyes.
I gained confidence. Still shy though.

I wore glasses. Since fourteen months. Glasses were tiny. So         was I.
I was wriggly. Glasses were taped. They stayed on. People         were amazed.
I turned two. I raced around. No tape now. Glasses stayed on.         Even more amazing.
I turned three. I had surgery. I wore a patch. It was black. It         was dark.
Now people stared. "What's the matter?" "Poor little girl!"
I heard them. I became shy. I ran away. Hid behind Mother. I         stayed there.
Finally, they left. I came out. I hated patches.
Mother provided exercises. I viewed stereo pairs.
It was boring. Mother forced me. My eyes improved.
I turned four. Second eye surgery.
I exercised more. Eyes grew stronger.
No more patches. Now I squinted. Light was bright.
Glasses remained. Shyness did too.

I was five. I loved horses. More than boys.
I liked Indians. Better than cowboys.
I had bows. I had arrows.
I practiced shooting. I hit bull's-eyes.
I gained confidence. Still shy though.

I watched Westerns. Saturday matinees.
It was dark. I was hidden.
I saw villains. They wore black hats.
I had guns. I had caps. I helped out. I shot villains.
I was loud. I disrupted others. They complained.
Manager liked kids. He had an idea. He smiled.
Next Saturday arrived. Back to the movies.
Manager called, "Judy." He pointed up.
I saw signs. "Check guns here."
Like the movies! Like the saloons!
I relinquished guns. I swaggered in. I was important.
I watched quietly. I didn't disrupt.
The show ended. I reclaimed guns. I sauntered out.

I continued growing. I outgrew cowboys. Still loved horses.
I was ten. Best birthday ever! My own horse!
Her name—Jezebel. I hated that. Named her Sweetheart.         That she was!
I rode everyday. We galloped fields. We explored woods.
We leaped logs. We jumped creeks. We even square-danced.
We entered horse shows. We got ribbons.

Gained more confidence. Still somewhat shy.

I grew older. I noticed boys.
Boys noticed me. They acted silly. I knew why.
I felt different. I was twelve.
Now, reading glasses only.
My first date. Went to movies.
It was dark. We were hidden.
We held hands. This was lovely.
I forgot shyness. I liked boys. More than horses.
No kisses yet. Plenty of time.
Kisses will come.
Someday.

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JUDY BROWN

Judy Brown is the retired manager of Advanced Research Computing Services, a former facility at the UI that provided campus-wide assistance with visualization and virtual reality. She co-authored or co-edited four books and has given talks worldwide on computer graphics and visualization. A "visual person," she also loves words and languages.

This page was first displayed
on October 01, 2010

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