SIZE MATTERS ON STAGE
This cute photo shows big sister Patty holding her new baby brother Raymond—the family Christmas card in 1978. They are the children of my niece Pat and her husband Mack. Over the years we visited them occasionally in Nashville or Franklin.
Size was always a big topic of conversation in the Eaves family. Tootsie was a wonderful cook and also loved to eat. She was usually considerably overweight—and once dieted for a year to lose 100 pounds. When we were pre-teens my niece and I both started getting “pleasingly plump.” Her mom Tip was alarmed and began limiting Pat’s intake, saying she didn’t want her to be overweight like Tootsie. Mother wasn’t so concerned about my weight, but others in the family were. Nephews George and Farrell would come home from college and their first comments were always about whether I’d put on a few pounds or seemed “thinner.” If I disappointed their expectations, I was miserable.
Pat yielded to her mom’s pressure about her weight (being a lovely majorette at UT and then Miss Tennessee) until she got her law degree, married and understood that her weight didn’t define who she was. As her children grew, both were overweight and it didn’t seem that their parents minded at all.
After graduating from University of the South, Raymond got an MFA in Acting from Rutgers, and enjoys a successful career as a professional actor. This is a photo of him with his bride Whitney . Heather and I had fun going to their wedding at St. George’s Episcopal Church here in Nashville and the reception at Belle Meade Mansion. He said later that he worked very hard to lose some weight before the wedding—and successfully lost 50 pounds.
In 2015, he wrote his first full-length play entitled Size Matters, with him as the solo actor and Whitney as Production Stage Manager. Lots of the family were able to attend a performance at the Franklin Theatre.
He used a screen to project photos of his parents and other family members as he explored the impact his size had on his life. He acted the roles of his parents, his sister, his wife and the key character was his nephew Morgan. Young Morgan idolizes his uncle, and was thrilled about the wedding and proud of Raymond for losing that 50 pounds. However, when Raymond regained the weight the next summer when Whitney was working away from their home in Manhattan and he was lonely, Morgan was heartsick. He told Raymond that when Whitney came home, she wouldn’t love him anymore because he’d gained back the weight. Through this experience, he was able to help Morgan see that love wasn’t based on a person’s weight. At the same time, he was honest about how his weight often negatively affected his self- image and also limited the types of acting roles he gets. It was better than a documentary!