It was a rainy day in 1982. : 7
by Dawn_Smith_1972 as written by
Barbara Lynn Terry
Part I - Dawn is given what she wants.
As Dawn and her mother started on the dinner, Dawn couldn't help but wonder why her name was changed.
"Mom, did you and daddy change my name, today?"
"Well, we added a name, in court. We told the judge that you were in school, and that it was too late to bring you to the courtroom. He looked at us like, yeah, alright, whatever. But he said he would change your name to Dawn Terry Palmer, and that he would state in the order that it is a female name with all the privileges and rights thereto. That means, dear, that legally, you are a girl." Dawn hugged her mother, and started crying.
"Honey, why are you crying?"
"Because I'm so happy."
"We girls cry for different reasons, and then sometimes there is no reason at all. You go right ahead and cry, dear, it is your right, now. Now, let's get this dinner started. We're having green beans, mashed potatoes, roast beef, and you are having milk. For dessert, I was thinking about maybe cherry/apple tart."
"We haven't had your cherry/apple tarts in a long time, mom."
"Yes, dear, that is why I made them while you were in school. It is something different. So, would you please get out five potatoes. Peel them, and rinse them, then put them in the pot to boil. Then I will let you mash them down and whip them into real mashed potatoes."
As Dawn set about doing her task, she thought that this was mother/daughter bonding. The kind that makes them closer together, because they are doing things together. Dawn also watched how her mother spread the spices and flavorings over the roast. While her mom was doing that, the oven was heating to three hundred and seventy five degrees. That was the temperature Mrs. Palmer used for just about everything, except cakes and pies.
Dawn placed the peeled and rinsed potatoes in the pot, and turned on the burner. Then she went to the refrigerator and took out the lettuce, one cucumber, two apples, and the grapes. Then she went to the cupboard and got the bacon bits. She shredded the lettuce by hand, and rinsed in off in a colander. She then cut the two apples in to pieces and placed them in the bowl with the lettuce. She rinsed the grapes, and placed them in the same bowl. She put the salad in the refrigerator, until dinner was ready.
Dawn's mother never bought bread. She made her own, which tasted better and didn't have all those whatever it is they put in the packaging. Terry got out the bread and sliced four slices; two for daddy and one apiece for her and her mom. After Dawn was finished cutting the bread, she went to look at the potatoes. She took a fork and poked on of them. They weren't quite done yet. Maybe by the time the roast is done.
Dawn went and set the table, making sure that the flatware was perfect, and the glasses or cups were to the right, slightly, of the dinner plate. When she was finished with that chore, she went back in the kitchen and checked the potatoes. The fork went through without a problem, so they were done. She placed the potatoes in a colander so that water would drain. Then Dawn put the potatoes in a bowl, and got out the butter and the milk. She took the hand masher and began mashing the potatoes. She added one stick of butter, and one half cup of milk, and began whipping them with a wire whisk. When the potatoes seemed too thick, Dawn poured a little more milk in the bowl, and whipped them into creamy mashed potatoes.
Dawn's mother never bought mashed potatoes in a box, she never bought canned anything. If they wanted pickles, she bought cucumbers and made her own. She also made her own sauerkraut. She always bought the reddest meats, the freshest fruits and vegetables. Was she a fitness type person? No, she just followed what her mother and grandmother had done when they prepared the meals, or bought when they went to the market.
As the dinner was being set on the table, Dawn's father came in.
"Hello, dear," he said to his wife, giving her a kiss. "Hi punkin. You look really cute."
"Thank you, daddy."
"Dear, dinner is ready as soon as you wash your hands." He went to wash his hands.
As they stood around the table, Dawn's father said grace. When he was finished, they all sat down and passed the food around, for everybody to take their share.
"Well, we went to court this morning and changed your name to Dawn Terry Palmer. The judge acknowledged that it was a female name and then he said with all the rights and privileges thereto. That means that legally, you are a girl and have the right to be treated and respected as a girl."
"What made you do that?"
"We figured if this is what you want, then we were going to support you. You have a long road ahead of you."
"Mrs. Wells told me at school today, when you called there to tell them. What did Mr. Sharpe say?"
"He said that now he doesn't have to treat you differently than the girls. He said all of your friends, except for a few, are all girls. Would you like to talk about that?"
"Mom, Patti and Nicole are my friends because I can talk to them. When you called the school and Mrs. Wells was told me, Billy even said he knew I was a girl. Mom, did the kids at school see something I didn't until I was forced to wear Nicole's clothes home?"
"It is possible, sweetie. From what you said about Billy and what he said, I assume that everybody saw you as a tomboy and only wanted to bring out the girl in you that you weren't showing."
"It's all right, punkin. We will support you. Besides, you never were much for ball games, unless they were tennis, golf, badminton or volleyball. You are softer in how you do things, and how you act. So, why not be who you are?"
"Thank you, mom, daddy." Dawn started crying. Her parents moved to hug her.
"Dawn, women are the most emotional creatures on this earth. You all cry when you're sad, happy, or for no reason at all. I have come home during the day and found your mother crying over a silly soap opera. But, that is why I love her, because she shows her emotions. You take after your mother and that is a good thing."
"Daddy, does this mean there is something wrong with me?"
"No, punkin. There are many children your age that say they are girls in the wrong body. Is this how you feel?"
" I don't know, daddy, but I guess we will find out. Something weird happened today at school, too. During lunch, Billy Roberts was picking on me, and Duane Hartley told him to stop. Duane said he would protect all the girls, and even the boys who couldn't fight back. Duane is in the sixth grade. He goes to middle school next semester."
"Is this the same boy who switched your clothes?"
"Yes, daddy. He said the judge told him either he behaves or he will be sent somewhere where he will be forced to behave. So he said he told the judge he will do it on his own."
"Sounds like he was scared by someone while he was in detention."
"He said there was a boy who has a transgendered sister, who used to be his brother. He said the boy told him that his sister gets a lot of respect wherever she goes."
"Did he say that the people she gets respect from know she is transgender?"
"No, daddy, he didn't. I can ask him, though, tomorrow?"
"That's fine, punkin. It's just that we give you the respect you deserve, too. When you told your mother that the clothes you were forced to wear, felt right. That you had feelings you didn't know you had had. Dawn, we want you to feel relaxed as a girl. There is no pressure here. We want you to talk to a therapist, though. Your mother made an appointment on Friday afternoon, right after school. So, your mother will pick you up from school and take you for the appointment. All you have to do, is tell the therapist what your feelings are. Do you think you can do that?"
"Tomorrow, I will take you shopping to get a few more outfits. Your father is right, dear. With the outfit you have on, you do look cute."
"Thank you, mom. Mom? I have been wondering about something. I don't know what it really means, but last night I had a dream, and Duane was in it. Then today at lunch he told Billy Roberts to leave me alone. Is this dream what the call ... uhm ... what is the word? Uhm..."
"Prophetic is the word you're looking for. Yes, it certainly could be. Maybe Duane likes you."
"Daddy, please, I am trying to eat." He laughed while the girls giggled.
"Yes, I see your point."
"Daddy, are you mad at me?"
"Your mother was told this would happen when she made the appointment. No, honey, I am no mad at you. I am proud of you for showing strength not only to be who you are, but for your willingness to show it to others. When grandpa and grandma Palmer raised me, they raised me to treat others the way I want to be treated. If I treat you with anger, contempt and ridicule, then I can expect that same treatment towards me. By the way, grandpa and grandma Palmer are coming up this weekend. They want to see their granddaughter."
"Will they make fun of me?"
"No, punkin, they won't. I have talked to them both and grandma Palmer wanted to know what took you so long. When they come up, you, your mother and grandma Palmer are going to go shopping. Grandma Palmer wants to dote on her granddaughter."
"But, what about grandma and grandpa Singleton?"
"Honey, I talked to my mom and dad, and they said the same thing. They said they would like to come up, but right now grandpa Singleton isn't feeling well. They told me to keep them up on how things are going with you."
"Nobody's mad at me?"
"No, dear. We want you to experience life the way you want to. If that experience is to be as a girl, then we are behind you all the way. You are our angel, our pride. Be who you are, and never let anybody tell you any different. I was going to take you shopping tomorrow, but we can wait for grandma and grandpa Palmer to come before we do that.
"Dawn, tell me something. If you hadn't been forced to wear Nicole's clothes home the other night, would you still have these same feelings?"
"Maybe, mom, I don't know. I never thought about it until then. But it is like I said, this was a turning point in my life. It made me see and feel things I have never seen or felt before. Mom, dad, that was the day I became who I really am. I just didn't know it until then."
"Yes, dear, they call that an awakening. It is when you finally wake up and see who you are for the first time. It is when things all come together and make you the person you have always been. We are going to look out for you, dear. But, there are also going to be rules you have to follow.
"No more going out after dark; you must wear a slip with your dresses and skirts; no boys in your room; you are not to be in a boy's room when you are by his house; you will help me with the housework when you don't have home work and, you will act like a lady at all times. Do you understand these rules?"
"Good girl. Honey, these are rules every girl must abide by. Whether they do or not, is not our responsibility. You are our responsibility, and you follow our rules. Are you willing to do that?"
"Yes, mother. Mom, I will be the best girl I know how to be."
"Good girl. I will show you things as time goes on, and I am sure that Nicole and Patti will, too."
"Yes, mom, they said they would."
"Tomorrow you will go to school as the girl you wish to be and we will be there in spirit cheering you on. You said your friend Billy knew you were a girl before you were told your name was changed. How did he know?"
"Well, his name is Billy Sanders and he is the boy I went hunting frogs with. Mrs. Wells told the class that there was a new girl in the class and she said my new name. Billy said that 'everybody knows she's a she', so why was I using Terry as my name. The teacher said my full name and Billy just assumed I had been using my middle name all along. Mrs. Wells said that was right. Anyway, tomorrow she is giving us a quiz on what we have learned so far. I studied while I was in study hall and in class. So, I guess I am ready for it."
"Well, this summer you will be eleven years old. Your report cards have been very good. That means you go in sixth grade next semester. Now, I have a question. Do you want to stay at the same school, or would you like to go middle school?"
"I'm not sure, mom. Can I talk to Nicole and Patti first and tell you at dinner tomorrow?"
"Yes, dear, you can. I think it shows good responsibility to talk to your friends before making this kind of decision. Maybe they can go to middle school with you."
"If they can, that would be great. That way, I know I would have at least two friends at the new school. Nicole goes to middle school next semester anyway, since she is already in the sixth grade. If Patti can go to middle school, then I would want to go."
"Well, you talk to your friends."
"Thank you, mom."
"Daddy, you haven't said anything."
"I will agree with any decision you two make about this. stay at the same school one more school year, or go to middle school. Whatever you decide is okay with me."
"Thank you, daddy." Dawn got up and gave her father a kiss on the cheek and a hug. She did the same with her mother. "I should go and study for our quiz a little more."
"You go ahead, sweetie. I can take care of the kitchen and dining room. You will have all summer to help me with the things that need doing. You're going to be mother's little helper."
Dawn went to her room to study for her quiz. What she really wanted to do, was think about whether or not she wanted to go to a new school or stay at the one she was at now. She took out her math book and studied it, while thinking about what her mother had asked her. She thought that she will talk to Patti and Nicole tomorrow. She continued studying, and then went to take her bath, and say good night to her mom and dad. She was tired and wanted to go to sleep.
She put in a little lavender bubble bath, and just sat there, pouring the water over her shoulders. She washed herself, and then got in to her nightgown. She put on her robe, stepped in to her slippers and went to say good night.
"Good night, daddy, I'm going to bed. I'm just so tired," she told him, while giving him a kiss on the cheek and a hug. Then she went in the kitchen.
"Good night, mom, I'm going to bed. I'm really tired." She gave her mother a kiss on the cheek and a hug.
"Good night, sweetie. I love you."
"I love you, too, mom." She went back through the living room.
"I love you, daddy."
"I love you, too, punkin."
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