This I Believe

Marsha - Gary, Indiana
Entered on April 15, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: respect

I found a picture of myself standing next to my 6’1″ brother. Photographs can be

wonderful memories but this one reminded me of just how short I am and of a group of

people like me.

The definition of dwarf is: A person, man or woman, standing 4’10” or shorter.

Currently there are over 100,000 dwarfs in America. An organization exists called “The

Little People Organization” founded by actor, Billy Barty. It has conferences all over the

world and unfortunately these conferences are where the little people feel the most

comfortable. Here they don’t get laughed at or teased about their height or shape.

I am writing this because, by definition, I am a dwarf. However, I am one of the

fortunate ones being 4’81/2″ tall and believe me those 1/2 inches are very important.

My Grandma Green’s first words upon seeing me shortly after my birth were “She looks

like a little midget”. This was because I was only 12 inches long when I was born. That’s

also how I got the nickname Midge. Because I was so small, my mom used dad’s hankies

as diapers and for some reason he never used them again. I wonder why?

Being short has its advantages as well as its challenges. One advantage; no one is

shorter than you (unless you’re standing next to a shorter dwarf). Challenges come in all

sizes and shapes, but for a woman, none more challenging than a certain test they

need for their health. It’s the Mammogram, however, I think it should be called a

Mammo-paninigram. Test machines for mammograms, like most other test machines, are

built to certain heights and specifications. For a short person it’s virtually impossible to

get into a comfortable position as the this machine’s table only comes down only so low.

Picture a 4’81/2″ woman standing there in front of the machine with her front parts

sticking up at a 30 degree angle, between two pieces of glass, swearing the pressur

setting is on the highest level on the machine. I think this is the torture all prisoners

should be put through. I guarantee they would admit to all the crimes ever


Imagine standing in the middle of a group of very tall trees looking up. That’s how

short people go through life everyday and we do it with pride and determination.

I believe we are teachers, showing the world how to live in unique situations,

adapting the world to meet our needs instead of adapting to the world. Our cars, houses,

and clothes have to be specially made just so we can live as comfortably as possible. This

may have been written from a woman’s perspective, but the men have just as many

challenges in their lives.

So remember the next time you see a “vertically challenged” person, don’t shy away

from them, call them names or feel sorry for them. Just understand that we are human

beings like everybody else and should be treated that way.