My Inheritance

The new ones after surgery

Once upon a time, I had large breasts.  That wasn’t really all that long ago but in a way it also seems a lifetime.  This is their history as I know it.

The big boobs came from my maternal grandmothers side.  As lore would have it, my grandmother lived high up in the Swiss Alps in a remote village.  The Mussa family had nine daughters and each one had an amazing shapely set of breasts more ravishing than the next.  It was the early 1900’s and the corsetiere had to ride horseback through cow pastures and some rough terrain to reach their home.  Twice a year he made this trek to measure and make garments to help those gems defy gravity.  Sixty years later, my Uncle Paul would refer to my great-aunt as “Annie with the high beams.”  Her gravity defying boobs would enter the room a good two minutes before the rest of her.  I digress though.

My grandmother came to the United States in her 20’s and in her 30’s gave birth to her own brood.  It was my mother, her youngest, who inherited the “family treasures.”  I in turn was the only one of 10 granddaughters to inherit the glorious globes.  I was flat chested until the age of 16 but when they appeared it was with painful speed.  I went from nothing to an F with what seemed like a blink of the eye.  In retrospect, it was six torturous months.  My mother and grandmother conspired with glee and whisked me off to Dora’s – the corsetiere shop a few towns away.  They were thrilled and proud to pass on the tradition and in Dora’s was where my initiation began.

This all happened before the days when plastic surgery was the normal way to enhance the everyday girl and Victoria’s Secret was still nothing more than a twinkle in some fellow’s eye.   It was the late 1970’s and Dora’s was the land of grandmothers and gals with big problems.  It was a dark dank store with whispers, heavy curtains and racks upon racks of “unmentionables.”  I was mortified as an old woman sized me.  This was also where I got my first lecture on the care of my inheritance.  “You should never run again.”  My mother told me this while searching through a row of bras.  The sharp scrape of the hanger punctuated the statement.  My grandmother continued with her thick Swiss accent, “Vonce you break za muscles, za breast vill sag forever.”  She shook her little cotton top head in a tsk, tsk fashion.  At the time, women were burning their bras and even though the Mussa women before me were all for women’s rights… beautiful breasts should not be sacrificed for the cause.  They continued warning me that I should stand up straight, as my new breasts would cause a “bookle” by pulling my shoulders forward.  “If you don’t you vil end up like me.”  My grandmother had a little hump on her back, which was the bookle she kept referring to.  Finally they hinted that my breasts should be used for good and not to take advantage of others.  I think the last part was said more out of fear and the great hope that I would keep my reputation in tact.  Large breasts on a young girl can be a magnet for trouble.

On the way home from Dora’s, I sat huddled in the back seat of our four door sedan.  My mother and grandmother had what seemed like a chipper dialog in the front seat.  I had more of a sinking feeling, a bit like Frodo in the Lord of the Rings when he realized the magnitude of the ring.  The gift was too big for me to manage and I really didn’t want it.. or I guess I should say them.  Strapped up in my new bra with a million hooks I was overwhelmed.

It took me years to finally own my breasts and to celebrate their power.  I will gladly admit I enjoyed them for the time I had them.  Now that I’m older, I don’t mind having smaller ones.  As Vita says, “Small breasts make an older woman look younger.”  Let’s face it though, I’m just happy to be here.

This entry was posted in Essay, Grandmother, Memories, Mother, Uncategorized, Vita and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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