by Jeanne Hardy
Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious
I marched into the only
clothing store in town--they specialize
in junior apparel--looking for a bra.
The situation was urgent.
My second-to-last, off-white, worn thin
unit had popped that morning sending
my chest plummeting earthward.
The helpful store owner
led me to the bra section at a raised
(you might say, "uplifted") corner of
the shop. She selected something lacy
from the rack and said, deadpan, "These
are on sale."
I looked at the thing
much as Attila the Hun might have looked
at a spitwad and said, firmly, "No.
I want something industrial strength."
Menopause is fun. I bought
a couple of "Big Gal (sic) Full Figure
Bras." My figure is indeed full, thank
you, and I had fun filling it.
At the grocery store,
I zipped by the sanitary pads and tampons
and "feminine" deodorizers--as well
as the birth control stuff. Walking
by those things saved me at least 35
bucks--not that I ever bought "feminine"
deodorizers in the first place. I noted
briefly there are still no penis-sweeteners
to go with the gateway-to-the-planet
Have you noticed the cost
of "sanitary napkins" these days? Do
they still call them that? Why? Is blood
unsanitary? Have you ever heard them
calling bandages on war injuries "sanitary
napkins"? War seems to me less sanitary--by
a long shot--than a natural reproduction-related
If I were still having
periods, I'd be using the all-cotton,
washable ones sold at health food stores--but
those were not available back then.
And now? Menopause is pad-free fun.
A short while later on
Main Street I encountered a young man
who is well liked by the local women--for
his honest charm. Because he is more
aware than some of the prophylactic-brained
guys his age, he is happy to chat with
a grandmother. I could think, "What
a hunk," while inquiring about his family,
and he could think, "Cookies and milk"
talking with me. I inwardly celebrated
the fact that a nice young man was seeing
me as a whole person and not just a
waist-to-knees object that talks.
I no longer own any recipe
books--they didn't make the cut when
I re-prioritized my life. I dress for
comfort and sass. I really don't give
a rip what other people think of me.
I don't plaster brown gunk all over
my face as I did at thirty--nor do I
squeeze my full figure into iron maiden
girdles. Remember girdles? Menopause
Last January it snowed
three and a half feet where I live.
Each time I paid 20 dollars to have
my long dirt front road plowed it would
snow again. Then, in early February
it rained hard for three days. I would
have to be Stephen King to adequately
describe the condition of my front road
that fourth morning. I had to go to
town on business regardless.
Son Jeff, who has a he-man,
four-wheel-drive pickup, drove over
in case I needed to be towed out. He
almost got stuck. As soon as he cleared
out of the way I rared back, stuck out
my jaw, glared straight ahead and applied
the pedal to the metal. My grandma-style
four-door sedan shimmied up that hill
through a foot of slush, grabbing onto
a pebble here, a bit of grit there--and
made it to the top. Jeff caught up with
me there and said, "Now that
was a piece of driving!" I slapped the
steering wheel with both hands and said,
"YES!!" Menopause is a lot of
I look at my face in the
mirror and wonder who this evolving
creature is, this lined and life-hued
emerging village elder. She is no longer
knocked off-center by the slings and
arrows of life. She has made enough
mistakes to have developed some compassion
for the mistakes of others. If something
seems wrong, she says so. No big deal.
I think I like her come-hither look.
Menopause is fun.
54, has been a professional writer
for over twenty years--in creative,
technical and advertising writing, journalism
and teaching writing. She publishes
three small periodicals and lives in
a log cabin six miles from Twisp, Washington.