So You Want To Be A Girl, Do You
by Barbara Lynn Terry
Chapter 2 - Talking with mom
After I had put my new clothes away, I went back downstairs and poured myself a glass of apple juice. I sat at the table and looked at mom.
"Mom, when we were at the store, why did you all of a sudden start treating me like your daughter?"
"Because honey, when I had asked you why didn't you have several skirts to try on, you all of a sudden got really feminine in your body movements, hand gestures, and speech. You said that if the skirt fits a girl needs to find a matching top right away. That is the way a woman shops honey. This all started out as a punishment because I was beside myself that my son wore dresses.
"But when I saw you at the store, you were like other girls, enjoying what you were doing. I was just there in case you needed help, and except for needing me to pay for everything, you didn't need any help at all. You were in your element dear, as we say. I saw right then and there that you were my daughter. But I do have one question, though. Where did you learn to shop like that, and where did you learn to coordinate your clothes?"
"Mom, I have watched you, and my friends. I learned quite a bit. When you were putting my makeup on this morning, I let you think I didn't know how. Mom, you are a beautician, and I have learned a lot by watching you. I learned a lot from my friends about how to act when I am away from the house, and how to do things only a girl would do. I mean, the guys I go to school with, think because I am shorter than they are, and I have very girlish ways and look very girlish, that I am a girl. I have never said I wasn't a girl, because to be honest mom, I want to be a girl. When you called the school and told them this was a punishment for me, I never told my teachers it wasn't. But all of the guys thought it was about time I started dressing like a girl instead of a tomboy, and my girl friends all knew I would accept this, because this is what I wanted any way. Oh! That reminds me, we have to get me some gym clothes for school too. But mom, I need girls gym clothes."
"Why do you need girls gym clothes? Aren't you in boys gym?"
"No mother, I'm in girls gym, and I need a girl's gym set."
"Let me see your schedule." I showed it to her. "How did you get into girls classes like this?"
"Mom, today was the second day of school. When you called the prinicpal and told him what you were going to do, he just assumed you knew what you were doing, and set my schedule up like this."
"Well, home economics I can see where that would be good for you, but girls gym. What are you going to do about showering?"
"That has been all worked out, mom. Sally and Michelle talked to the rest of the girls in my gym class, and they have no objection, as long as I act like the girl I say I am. I may have a problem with Mr. Donaldson. He is always standing out in the hallway, and as soon as the second bell rings, he starts handing out tardy passes, even if you were in line before the bell rang."
"I will call the school and see what we can do about that."
"Also mom, he saw me come in this morning in this lilac skirt and I am not going to be able to get away with wearing jeans or any other kind of pants at school, any more. He is such a prude, though. If he knew I was actually male, he would suspend me until I changed clothes, and that would be wrong. Mom, when are people going to stop telling other people how to live?"
"Well, up until we went shopping, I always thought females were natural girls who grew up to be women, and natural males grew up to be men. I remember nine years ago a lady came back from Denmark, after having surgery to become a woman. Her name is Christine Jorgensen, and she was a guy who was in the army. But he went to Copenhagen, Denmark to become a woman. I thought she was the only one. I didn't think there could be any more like her, especially in my son."
"Mom, we are the first generation to stand up and say, 'no more, we will take being dictated to, no more'. This is something that is coming up. I hear it from some of the kids at school when I pass them in the hall. Like one of the boys said to a few of his friends; 'there is a storm coming, and I hope the adults are ready to for it'.
"It is like President Kennedy. He has been a leader all of his life, practically, and he doesn't act like other presidents. They all hid behind their office, but Presdient Kennedy is out there in front and he isn't hiding. We can't hide either, mom. I have my life to live, and I must live that life regardless of what comes with it. You taught me that; grandma Dolly taught me that; aunt Hazel taught me that; my friends and their parents, taught me that. If I can't live as the girl I am, then what everybody taught me is wrong. Right? Am I right?"
She just gave that resigned look, and just hugged me. I have gotten away with my bluff, now let's see how far she will take this. Well, until she says I can be a boy again, which I don't want to be, I guess I will see just how far the school is willing to go, also. I decided to see just how much she is willing to accept me as her daughter, when I took out the pans for making macaroni and cheese and brown down some hamburger meat to go with it.
I got out the noodles, the cheese, the milk, and butter, and put everything on the table. Mother just sat there watching me. She didn't move to help me, either. I think she wanted to see if I knew what I was doing.
I boiled the noodles like I always did for seven minutes, then I drained them. I took and put in about four small chunks of cheese, and a little milk and butter. I mixed everything together until the cheese was completely melted, and then I mixed in the hamburger meat, and served it to mom on a small saucer to see what she thought.
"This is good, sweetie. Where did you learn how to do this?"
"From grandma Dolly, mom. I watched her cook, and I learned a lot from her."
"Well, you certainly did. What else do you know how to cook?"
"I know how to cook real Italian spaghetti, I know how to cook a roast at three hundred and seventy five degrees. The time for cooking a roast depends on how big it is. Sometimes it can take two to three hours to cook a roast completely. I know how to cook chicken, turkey, pheasant, and a whole lot more."
"But you are only eleven years old. How did you learn all of this?"
"Mother, usually a girl helps her mother in the kitchen, but since you never saw me as your daughter before today, I had to learn all of this from grandma Dolly and my friends parents. This may be a surprise for you, but when I said I was spending the night, or a weekend at one of my friends houses, I wasn't lying. Sally and Michelle are very close friends of mine. I have been to more than one of their sleepovers.
"Mother, I really hated all of that sneaking around, but if you knew I was at a girl's sleepover, you would have lectured me until cows came home, as grandpa always says. Tomorrow is Thursday and I need to go and get my clothes out for tomorrow. I have gym again on Friday, so can we get my gym clothes tomorrow?"
"Yes, dear, we can," she said, giving me a weak smile.
I could tell she was in deep thought, and was thinking about what I had just told her. I knew about Christine Jorgensen for quite a while now, and mother was surprised to learn there were others like her. It is too bad that they don't have anything in the library about people like us. Well maybe this doctor she wants me to see can tell me something.
I put a cover over the macaroni and cheese, and went to my room to get my clothes out for tomorrow. I thought that since the weather was still good yet, I would wear my burgundy skirt, white, back-buttoned, three quarter length sleeve top. My lingerie would be burgundy as well. I will get my stockings out tomorrow after my bath.
I went back downstairs, and joined mom in the kitchen. I sat there watching her, and she was still deep in thought.
"Mom, what are you thinking about?"
"I'm thinking about you, sweetie, and where your life is going to go from here. Do you remember what I told you about how women are treated in this world?"
"Well, I just want what is best for you. You would make it a lot better if you were a man, instead of a woman."
"Mother, I am willing to take whatever comes with being a girl growing into a woman. I don't have boy feelings mom. I have the feelings and emotions like my girl friends have. When we talk, we talk about girl things; we talk about guys and how handsome some of them are; we talk about periods that some of my friends are starting to have. We talk about clothes, and shopping, and sleepovers, and we talk about makeup, and we do each other's hair, and nails, and we talk about going to the salon to get ready for a date or something very special like a party. Guys that I know of, mother, don't talk about things like that."
"Well, I am not going to change my mind, dear. You are my daughter for as long as you want to be. And you know, just now, when you were telling me what you and your friends talk about, you were very animated. Most guys that I have seen and know are not that animated, only girls are." She gave me a big hug, and smiled at me. "What outfit did you get out for tomorrow?"
"My burgundy skirt with the white top that has the back buttons. I picked burgundy lingerie too. My stockings I will get out tomorrow after my bath. I thought I'd wear my burgundy Mary Jane's as well."
"That sounds like a very pretty ensemble. Can you brush your hair out tomorrow, by yourself?"
"Alright. Tomorrow, I have to work at the restaurant after I get off from the salon. So I will leave the house key with you, so you can get in, because I will be gone by the time you get home. I work four til midnight at the restaurant."
Tomorrow is Thursday, and mother would be working at Mader's German Restaurant on the corner of north 3rd street, and west Highland avenue, downtown. Maybe I will stop in. I know that when mom is working there, that I need to go in through the kitchen entrance. We will see. My school bus pass is only good until 4:45pm. Well, I would see if I had enough time. Mrs. Mader who ran the kitchen, always liked it when I came there, even when mom was working. The other Mrs. Mader, ran the dining room–they were both sisters-in-law. Whenever I went there while mom was working, I wasn't allowed in the dining room.
But tomorrow is school again, and if she has to work til midnight, that means I can't get my gym clothes until Saturday, because she doesn't work at the salon on the weekends. I'm sure the Gym teacher will be okay with it. But she is going to want me dressed for gym on Monday though. I need to make sure I get the right colors, since that is how they want us dressed. My gym shorts are supposed to be a light blue, satin-like material and white t-shirt with the school name. The shoes were girls tennis shoes and had to be white of course.
"Mother, if you have to work til midnight, then we can't get my gym clothes until Saturday. I will just have to tell the gym teacher that my mother doesn't have the time to take me, because she is working."
"Honey, if I give you the money, do you think you can get your gym clothes by yourself?"
"Yes, mother, I can."
"Good. So, let's heat up that marvelous macaroni and cheese and have a little something before bed."
I heated the macaroni and cheese and made sure to put a little milk in it so it wouldn't burn. When it was hot enough, I served it and mother and I had a nice talk.
"Honey, you will be careful though with the money. Keep it in this purse, and make sure you carry it close to your body, so somebody doesn't come along and take it from you. Now I will give you enough for you to stop and have something to eat, but bring your gym clothes home first."
"Alright, mother, I will."
I kissed and hugged mom good night and went to take my bath. Girls have to be cleaner than boys, and should never go to bed with a day's perspiration on her. After I filled the tub with the rose blossoms bubble bath, I undressed and sat in the tub. Mom is letting me get my own gym clothes tomorrow, and I am hoping I can find the right ones.
After my bath, I dried off and wrapped the towel around me and went to get my nightgown out. I said my prayers, and got in bed. Mom came in and tucked me in, and gave me a kiss on my forehead.
"Do you have your handkerchief under your pillow?"
That night I had dreamed I was in the store just trying on one outfit after another, when this boy came over and told me how pretty I was. I think I blushed but since it was a dream, I couldn't tell. After I bought what I had wanted, the boy and I left the store, and he rode the bus with me, and walked me to my door. Just as he was about to kiss me, boys will do that you know, mom woke me up.
"Time to get up Stephanie. I am leaving the key on the kitchen table, with the money for your gym clothes, and something to eat. Like I said last night, I will be gone by the time you get home, so make sure you carry your purse as close to your body as possible. Now I gotta run, sweetie. You be good now."
"Yes, mom, and thanks."
She just smiled at me, and then left to go to the salon. The beauty salon opened at seven in the morning, and closed when the store did. I got up, and took another rose scented bubble bath, and then got dressed. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I liked what I saw. I put my hair in a neat pony tail, and went to the kitchen for my breakfast.
There were times when I made my own breakfast, because mom had to leave early. This also gave me more cooking experience too. I didn't really have a lot of time, so I just rinsed my dishes, put the key and the money in the purse mom gave me, and headed out the door.
The bus stop was right on the corner, and we only lived a few houses away. Just as I got to the bus stop, the bus pulled up. There weren't any seats, and it was standing room only, but that was okay because I was in the step well by the front door. This bus wouldn't be picking up any more passengers until we all got off at Wisconsin Avenue. The number 31 was just coming, and all buses stopped at north 18th and west Wisconsin Avenue, and then it was just a two block walk to the entrance I had to use.
Sally saw me coming up to the door, well as close as I could get anyway.
"Hey Steph, I see you finally brought your purse. It's about time too. I was wondering if you were going to sew pockets on your skirts and dresses and put all your things in them." We giggled. "I do love your outfit though."
"Yeah, it looks like she's bleeding."
"Listen Davey Hicks, I have news for you. No, on second thought, I wonder how you would look in a dress. Hmmm, that is something to think about. You think his mom would go along with that, Steph?"
"Me, in a dress. You're outta your head."
Davey Hicks was the class clown. He was always making snide comments about people and the way they were dressed. This was my day for him to pick on me. He was an eighth grader, and would be going into high school next semester. He wasn't really that strong though. I had seen a few girls beat him in arm wrestling when he challenged them. His bark was worse than his bite.
"Maybe, but I wonder, just wonder, what your mother would think about you always teasing the girls the way you do. I wonder what she would do about it."
"You will never be able to tell her, because I am not telling you where I live."
"You live two blocks down the street. Yes Davey Hicks, we all know where you live. I think we should tell his mother after school today."
"Sounds good to me," I said, with a kind of evil grin.
Davey decided that arguing with us wasn't getting him anywhere, so he turned back to talk with his friends. They were just like him, but some of them were not ones you wanted to cross. Anyway, the first bell rang, and we all went in and to our lockers. I got out my English, Math, and Geogrpahy books.
As we took our seats, Mrs. Richards decided to tell us the grades of our essays from yesterday.
"Now class, everybody did very well on their essays yesterday, and the few mistakes that were actually made is what we are going to be learning to correct. I am going to have you write more essays throughout the school year, so I want you all to pay attention."
She went through the lesson, and then asked if we had any questions. When nobody raised their hands, she called on a few of us randomly. After we had answered a few questions, the first bell ending class rang. We all headed to math class. I just wonder how many adults actually use algebra today. We did more problem solving from problems he had written on the board, and then told us to leave our papers on his desk after class. OMG! He is such a stud for an older man. I giggled softly. Mr. Jenkins looked around the room, and saw everybody was working. Then the bell ending class rang.
"Steph, did you see how tight those jeans were, Mr. Jenkins is wearing. OMG girl! If he was our age I'd take him in a second."
"That's all of us, Sally. He is a real stud, isn't he?"
I guess there comes an age when girls start to notice boys, even older ones like Mr. Jenkins. I guess I'm at that age. But what is drawing me to them? I will have to talk to mom about that.
The next class was geography and Mr. Johnston, Esq., was writing something on the board as we all came in the room. After he had taken the roll call, he asked any of us if we knew of any landmarks that was well known. I raised my hand and he called on me.
"This last summer we took a trip to the Cave of the Mounds, near Madison. It was really beautiful inside. You had to watch where you were walking because you could bump your head on one of the stalactites because some of them hung almost to the floor of the cave." The Cave of the Mounds is in Dane County, Wisconsin, southwest of Madison, the state capitol. "The cave is actually five miles east of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. The cave is actually natural limestone that was formed about 488 million years ago. The cave itself began forming about a million or maybe a million and a half years ago. The cave was accidentally discovered when workers blasting in the limestone quarry uncovered the entrance to the cave in 1939. The cave was sealed off and then reopened in 1940 and has been open to visitors and curio seekers since. Thank you."
"That was remarkable, Miss Kelly. Did you learn that from your visit?"
"Yes, I and a few others asked questions when the guide was explaining the origin of the cave."
"That is remarkable. Thank you, Miss Kelly. You may be seated. Class, does anybody else know of any natural landmarks?"
Danny Richards, who was in most of my classes, raised his hand. Mr. Johnston, Esq., called on him.
"We went on vacation to Los Angeles, and when we were there, we saw the La Brea Tar Pits, or as it is properly called the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits. Rancho La Brea was a district from the Mexican land grant, but is now part of urban Los Angeles. Brea in spanish means either asphalt or tar. We learned while we were there, that the oil seeps along the Sixth Street Fault from the Salt Lake Oil Field. Water forms on the top of the oil and has trapped a lot of animals looking for water. Insects, as well as leaves and other things too get trapped in the tar, and these are known as microfossils. When the animals sink in the tar, it holds their bones and they become fossils. The Rancho La Brea Tar Pits are located in Hancock Park near the Miracle Mile district in Los Angeles. Thank you."
"Danny that was remarkable too. Yes, I have seen the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits, and they are a spectacle to see if you are in Los Angeles. Thank you, Danny, you may sit down. Is there anybody else?" He didn't get to call on anyone else because the bell rang ending the class. "Tomorrow we will continue our discussion of natural landmarks. This was a very interesting class, today."
We went to our lockers and put our books away. Then we went to the cafeteria. Dan and George were there waiting for us. Then we all got in line. They had what looked like chicken, but it was burnt. Sorry kitchen people but I don't like burnt chicken, or burnt anything. I got a thing of milk, and paid my twenty cents and we went and sat down. It is a good thing I know how to cook. I don't know what is required to be a cook in a school, but I bet all you have to know is how to fry an egg and they hire you.
Jimmy Henderson and company came over and told me I was getting my butt, only he didn't say butt, kicked after school. Then as he turned he saw Mr. Crew standing there.
"Mr. Henderson, I believe you were suspended for a week. What are you doing here?"
Now, I don't know much about gym class except for what we were told yesterday, but Mr. Crew was really serious this time, and took Jimmy and his ... friends to the office. After lunch was over, I was called in to the office. Everybody went with me. When the secretary saw all of us, she immediately went in to Mr. Stevens office. I was called in first.
"Miss Kelly, I know what your mother and I agreed on, but since you have been here you have shown us nothing but a young lady. If you are a boy, would you care to explain why you act like a girl so well?"
"Yes, sir. I am like Christine Jorgensen, and I have known about her for quite a while. When I had heard that she became the woman she always was, I thought to myself that there is hope for me. I just have to act like the girl I am, and maybe I will be accepted as a girl."
"I see. Why does Jimmy Henderson think you're a boy?"
"I don't know. He has seen me dressed in jeans and shirts that both boys and girls can wear, and he just started calling me nasty names and threatening me. He won't leave me alone, and he told me in the cafeteria that after school was out today he was beating me up."
"Well, he was taken to the detention home, so he will not be bothering you today. We also called his father and told him he was threatening to beat up a girl after school. It is a rule here too, that if a student threatens another student with bodily harm, that student is to be expelled. I have to tell the school board about this, and he will have a hearing there. If the board votes to expel him, he will either have to move or go to an institution. He just may go to an institution anyway, after his court hearing. Anyway, his two friends were told that if anything happened to you or any other student in this school, they would be expelled also. Right now they are still on suspension for the remainder of their week. If they cause any more trouble, they will be expelled. I don't need to see the others with you, but just know that I know that they are on your side. Here are excuses for all of you for your next class so you aren't marked tardy or absent."
We all left the office and we girls headed for study hall and the boys to their gym. After study hall was over we would have home ec again. I love that class. Oh well, since I didn't have any studying to do from my books, I took a book off of the shelf and began reading it, taking notes as I read. This is very interesting.
If you want to know more about:
The Cave of the Mounds, Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, here is the wikipedia condensed history of the Cave of the Mounds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_the_Mounds
The Rancho La Brea Tar Pits @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Brea_Tar_Pits
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