I was traumatized when I realized I was the only girl in eighth grade who didn’t wear
a bra. I was playing short stop at a softball game when I noticed every girl in front of
me had a bra shadow under their white team shirt. I wore an undershirt. If I could have
crawled under the second base pad, I would have. As we jogged back to our bench
after the opposing team’s three outs, more bra lines came into view. Every girl on the other team
sported a bra too. I was a loser!
I ran home with my cheeks as rosy as my areolas. I was out of breath when I burst
through the front door, “Mom we need to go bra shopping right now!” I cried. “I am the
only girl in my class without a bra. I am wearing an undershirt like a third grader.” I sobbed.
She tried to console me, “You don’t need one yet,” she said calmly. This was not what I
wanted to hear! “My breast buds could blossom overnight! I need a bra!” I shouoted. She
agreed to take me to Richardson’s Department Store.
I just wanted a white bra that would give me a bra shadow for softball. My mom was across
the aisle when I chose a lacy full cup 36 D bra. I wanted to be able to grow into it if I sprouted
over the weekend.
“Anne, I asked Mr. Richardson to get us some help choosing a bra for you,” she said.
“You told Mr. Richardson I need a bra???” I was mortified. How could my mother do this to me?
An older woman named Suzy arrived to announce that Mr. Richardson has requested that she be
salesperson to help me find my first bra. Did Mr. Richardson say the word “first”?
As luck would have it, Mary Lou Genaro, the biggest busted girl in my class, happened to walk
down the lingerie aisle. “I’m bra shopping, too,” she said, like we were now related. She smiled
sweetly then she eyed up the massive 36D hanging off my arm.
“Uh, that’s my size, Anne. It’s way too big for you.”
“Oh, I’m holding it for my mom.” I lied.
My mom arrived with a big smile on her face and her 34B chest. “Hi, Mary Lou,” she
smiled. Busted! (No pun intended) “We’re just getting Anne her first bra.” I wanted to die!
Suzy arrived with three different style 32A bras for me to try on. All three of them could have
fit into the hopeful 36D cup that I’d chosen.
Mary Lou graciously offered to take that one off my hands saying, “It’s just what I was looking for!”
Ten years later, at twenty-three, I had the perfect, champagne glass size breasts. I was very
proud of my late blooming breasts.
Then motherhood, nursing babies and more babies sent me back to the maternity department for nursing bras.
Once menopause arrived, I wasn’t concerned about any kind of bra shadow. I needed a bra with cooling inserts.
Now as I look back on the life of my bra shadow, I’d give anything to be able to go back to Richardson’s
Department Store and bra shop with my mom. I’d insist on trying on a dozen, just to slow down time.
If it happened today, she’d see tears in my eye and ask why I was crying over bra shopping.
I’d pull a tissue from my bra, wipe my tears and say, “It’s because I really miss you, Mom.”
Then I’d hug her so tight. I might not let her go.