OMG: I Have My Father’s Body

Photograph [F111049] Spring 1960: James W. Hamilton, 43 (left); Dennis E. Hamilton, 21 (right)I was at the “Silver Sneakers” program at the neighborhood “Y” when I happened to look at myself in the mirrored wall behind the instructor.  I look at my mirrored image often, but this occasion was different: I noticed that I have my father’s body.

My father was lean, as am I.  I think the term for it is “of sleight build.”  He was more muscular, having spent more of his working life in physical labors and in the carpentry that he loved.  He’d even made a run at Golden Gloves lightweight (or featherweight) along with any number of other Depression youths.

And, these days, when I am working out and trimming up, I have his lean-ness, the muscle structure of his arms and legs, and the family nose.

It just never occurred to me to notice until that day earlier this week.

Now, at this point in my life, with more than a dozen birthdays beyond the last one he reached, I notice that I have my father’s body.  I knew long ago that I had similar behaviors.  I just never recognized the common physicality.


One of the great things about my neighborhood “Silver Sneakers” is that it is in a mirrored room, suitable for ballroom dancing lessons as well as aerobics and the low-impact, lower-exertion “Silver Sneakers.”  With all of us moving in a group, I enjoy the panorama, as if we are all rehearsing for a geriatric “Chorus Line,” a Busby Berkeley musical, or some sort of dry-land syncopated swimming.  When others there ask me how I come to be smiling so much, I tell them about the musings in the mirror that have me smile.

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