Our Son Nick

“The parody is the last refuge of the frustrated writer. Parodies are what you write when you are associate editor of the Harvard Lampoon. The greater the work of literature, the easier the parody. The step up from writing parodies is writing on the wall above urinals.” - Ernest Hemmingway.

Prologue

“The parody is the last refuge of the frustrated writer. Parodies are what you write when you are associate editor of the Harvard Lampoon. The greater the work of literature, the easier the parody. The step up from writing parodies is writing on the wall above urinals.” - Ernest Hemmingway.

“Turnabout is fair play.” — Angela Rasch

The following parody has many references to Cary Grant and his movies ... above and beyond the obvious. Should you get bored with this story, or if the story runs against your grain ... use it as a puzzle ... try to pick out all those references.

This story also contains several un-attributed quotes. We apologize for trying to be someone or something we’re not. We suspect the gentle reader has some experience in the art of deception and will forgive our transgression as we forgive your “trans-sessions.”

Our Son Nick and Old Lace
by Angela Rasch with significant help from JayceePerhaps

Chapter One - Bringing Up Baby

This is a tale of a loving family. Anything can happen when love overtakes reason.

We join the Brewster family in the seventies; it had apparently reached the end of the line. There are no Brewster roosters to pass on the family name. The only living Brewsters are Abby and Martha; and they are both past their childbearing years. Each is as lovable as the other; they both act as if she had spent her childhood in St. Olaf, with Rose from TV’s “The Golden Girls.”

The Brewster mansion was in a fashionable part of fashionable Boston. The Brewster sisters were known for their charitable good deeds. The Brewster Foundation was counted on to help provide financial aid for even the most unworthy venture. They had never met a cause they didn’t like. While some suspected their mental capacities, no one questioned the size of their hearts.

The Brewster family had become wealthy in the late nineteenth century. Martha and Abby were amongst the leading philanthropist in the nation. They live quite comfortably, and meet their charitable obligations without ever touching the principal. Neither Abby nor Martha had added to their wealth through anything that resembled gainful employment.

Their home was a Queen Anne style Victorian, with a gabled roof, shingled insets, angled bay windows under the gables, and several towers; it was an architectural masterpiece. Martha and Abby loved their home and admired the Victorian lifestyle so much that they carried forward the dress and attitudes of the Victorian era.

Wealth does have its privileges. While enjoying time together in their house, Abby and Martha were able to dress in authentic Victorian style. If they couldn’t find heirlooms to buy, they simply had new clothing made from eighty-year old patterns and antique fabric. In an uncommon burst of good sense over sentimentality, they refused to accept the Victorian passion for a tiny waist. They were aware that Victorian women often caused damage to their digestive organs by corseting them too tightly. The Victorian clothes Abby and Martha wore did require a certain amount of fitness to hang properly, but didn’t demand an unnaturally small waistline.

Abby and Martha use modern cosmetics and beauty aids. However, their use of “paints and pot” was tempered with an eye toward the conservative nature of the Victorian woman.

The sisters never dressed in anything that called unnecessary attention to them when they venture from their mansion. It was part of their personal code not to cause other people any undue concern. They believed a lady should be quiet in her manners, natural, unassuming in her language, and careful not to wound anyone’s feelings. The Brewster code compelled them to give generously and freely. Scorning no one, they pitied the unfortunate and the ignorant. They thought a lady should carry herself with an innocence and single-heartedness that disarmed the ill natured, while winning respect and love from all.

They were exceptional good at winning love from all. Once you knew the Brewster sisters, there was nothing you wouldn’t do to make them happy. Perhaps it was just those admirable qualities and the intense loyalty and love they inspired that created fertile ground for what occurred.

Despite what dull people would have you believe, eccentricity is not a form of madness; rather it’s often a kind of innocent pride. Aristocrats are often thought of as eccentric because they are entirely uninfluenced by the opinions and the vagaries of the masses.

Early in 1974, a young woman came to the Brewster mansion to act as their cook. She was a delightful young lady, with a winning smile and a quick wit. She was also single and pregnant. They met Regina Lambert at a home for single mothers that they supported through their foundation. They were so taken with Regina that they opened their home to her, telling her that they were in dire need of a cook. It was a forgivable lie, as both sisters were culinary masters, Strictly for the joy of the effort they made jams, jellies, and other preserves. Their proudest achievement was an elderberry wine they brewed and served with their most festive meals.

The Brewsters never let on to Regina that they were anything but totally helpless in the kitchen. They suffered through her very limited menu with huge smiles. As far as she knew, her “epicurean” delights caused them to gush with amazement. Love will make the dullest stew taste splendid.

Regina often spent quiet, contemplative moments standing in front of a painting that hung in the library in the south wing of the mansion. The painting was of Mortimer Brewster, an ancestor who had made his living on the sea. The father of Regina’s baby had also been a seaman, a chef on a tramp steamer that had been lost at sea.

“It’s fate,” sighed Regina to Abby one evening as they admired the painting. “If my baby is a boy, as I’m sure he will be, I will name him Mortimer. His father’s name was Archie, Archie Leach from Bristol, England. No one should have a name like Archie! Archie had changed his last name from Ferrante to Leach. He didn’t really care for Leach after trying it out. He wanted to change his entire name again, but couldn’t decide on something new. He had considered taking the initials of a famous movie star, reversing them, and then coming up with a name using those initials. That was Archie for you. No one else would think of doing such a thing! I think Archie would have liked being called Mortimer.”

“That’s wonderful,” replied Abby, for herself and her sister, “I’m sure our great-great grandfather would approve.”

Abby and Martha were eager to strengthen to ties between Regina and them. It was their hope that she would stay on, so that they would have a child in their home. They would gladly eat stew seven days a week, if that were the trade-off for the sound of a happy child.

The affection between them grew stronger as the blessed event grew nearer. Regina had sweet, old-world habits that seemed tailor-made for their Victorian home and lifestyle. She kept a piece of twine in her pocket to remind her that all she amounted to was less than the value of a piece of twine, as had all of her family before her; a family that had dwindled so that she had no living relatives.

The sisters arranged for a friend of the family to look after Regina’s health. Dr. Einstein was in his late twenties. His youthful appearance did nothing to inspire confidence. His small stature and bugged-eyes contradicted the intelligence needed for him to have graduated at the top of his class at the Heidelberg School of Medicine. The sisters had become aware of him and his medical talent through one of their charities, one that helped new immigrants get started in America. Dr. Einstein loved the sisters, and would do anything for them. Although he spoke fluent English, his heavy accent often charmed the Brewsters with an Old World quality that also fit into their Victorian ambiance.

His apparent lack of confidence resulted in a breathy giggle that punctuated many of his statements. Even that small quirk was enough to keep the high and mighty Boston aristocrats from embracing him, until the Brewsters took him under their wing, helping him become a popular doctor within their circle of friends.

Two weeks before the due date, Dr. Einstein dropped by the Brewster Mansion for Regina’s final checkup. Everything appeared to be okay, even though Regina seemed overly tired. The sisters “forced” Dr. Einstein to stay for dinner. While Regina napped, Abby sent out for a meal from a deli. They would have preferred creating something wonderful in their kitchen for their friend, but couldn’t risk hurting Regina’s feelings.

They offered the young doctor glass of their elderberry wine, while they waited for the delivery of their food. The wine filled the room with the perfume from a thousand berries. The sisters kept his glass full, as they ate what proved to be a satisfactory meal of deli meats and cheeses. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize its potency, and soon he became intoxicated.

As they were rising from the table, they heard a moan from Regina’s room. Something was dreadfully wrong. Dr. Einstein was sober enough to know that he couldn’t treat her in his impaired condition. Abby called an ambulance, which arrived in less than ten minutes. The paramedics whisked her away to the hospital.

Later that night, Regina gave birth. She smiled at the boy with the full head of hair, who was lying on her stomach. Her last words were, “Mortimer, I love you.” The circle of live went on.

Dr. Einstein never forgave himself for not being able to give immediate care. He also thought he had missed something in his prior examinations that might have saved Regina. No amount of assurance from his colleagues could convince him that there was nothing he could have done for her. He ended his relationship with the hospital, and quietly left town, leaving no forwarding address.

The sisters took on the traditional black Victorian mourning clothes. They held a small ceremony for Regina, burying her in the cemetery next to their house.

Of course, they loved young Mortimer from the first moment that they set eyes upon him. His curly blond hair, sat atop a face blessed with his mother’s fine features. He was slightly small, but could light up a room with a miniature version of Regina’s unforgettable smile.

He was christened Mortimer L. Brewster in a ceremony attended only by the sisters and their friend the Bishop. The Bishop thought that Mortimer was a funny name for a girl, having assumed too much from the Victorian christening gown Mortimer was wearing, but saw nothing that was out of line with the Brewsters other eccentricities.

Once the sisters had legally adopted Mortimer, they set down rules for themselves. They decided that they would tell him what the L. (for Lambert) meant on his thirtieth birthday, or when he seemed mature enough to appreciate his mother. They also decided to tell a small fib. Mortimer would be told that he was their nephew and that Regina had been their sister. A small distortion of reality that seemed harmless in the interest of making everyone more comfortable. Abby and Martha kept the news of his birth and the adoption to themselves, and cancelled all of their engagements for the next six months.

Mortimer had looked like an angel for his christening. So much so that Abby and Martha continued to dress baby Mortimer in elegant, infant gowns. All of them were Victorian white, as had been all baby clothes prior to Madison avenue ad men deciding early in the twentieth century that pink clothes were for girls and blue for boys.

Mortimer seemed like an inappropriate name for a child who had wispy, blond ringlets, and who was always dressed in satin and lace. The aunts considered several other names that were better suited. They started with Virginia, moved on to Barbara, gave a thought to Betsy, then Dyan, a second thought to Barbara ... before settling on Judy. Great, great grandfather Mortimer’s wife had been named Judy. Once they started calling him Judy, they quit using the name “Mortimer” altogether; it became natural to think of him as their adopted niece.

It had always their intention to start dressing Mortimer as a boy “the next day.”

“The next day” never seemed to arrive.

When they accepted callers again after the six months of private mourning, everyone just assumed that “Judy” was a baby girl. It was easier for everyone to live with what seemed to the sisters to be a more fitting reality.

As time went on, Judy seemed to become more and more feminine. It was hard to say whether her femininity was due to nature or nurture. Judy seemed to love everything about being a girl. So much so that Martha and Abby just knew it would be very wrong to try to force Judy to be a boy. The “aunts” had seen what happened to young children whose parents had tried to make a left-hander write with their right hand. It was an act of love that kept Judy in dresses, tights, and Mary Janes ... with huge, white, satin bows on the top of her abundant ringlets.

It’s said that the only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well. On the surface, the Brewsters seemed quite normal and the sisters did what they had to ... to convince the world and themselves that things were “normal.”

Martha arranged for Judy to receive health care from a clinic that received considerable financial support from the Brewster Foundation. The doctor readily agreed that it was best for everyone involved, if Judy was allowed to follow what appeared to be nature’s course. There was no consideration given. No clandestine meetings had taken place. Things just flowed the way they did normally, because of the love and respect the professionals had for the Brewsters.

In Victorian times, boys were often kept in dresses well into their childhood. The sisters knew that love was what Judy needed most, not someone prodding “her” to be a he against “her” will. There were no big decisions made. Each day just went the way it should - day after day.

The Brewster Foundation contributed quite heavily to a local orphanage. Abby and Martha received a call from the orphanage a week after Judy’s second birthday. A seven-year old boy and his one-year old brother had been left without any living relatives, when both parents had been killed instantly in an auto crash. Their names were Johnny and Theodore Grant.

Johnny had been attending a military academy for boys, and loved it there. He wanted to continue in the academy, and was very upset when told that there was no money for tuition to a private school. His parents had died deeply in debt because of a downturn in their business. Their life insurance was woefully inadequate leaving nothing in the way of inheritance.

Johnny demanded that he not be separated from his brother. Many people would adopt a one-year old, but add a seven-year old as part of a set (with a non-negotiable desire to attend an expensive military academy) and adoption had become improbable.

Abby and Martha’s huge hearts went out to the two boys. They admired Johnny’s resolve and agreed to adopt both of them. They asked Johnny to keep the adoptions a secret from Theodore and the two-year old Judy. Johnny further agreed to allow the courts to change their last name from Grant to Brewster. He swore to allow his brother and his new sister to believe they were all Regina’s children, and niece and nephews to the Brewster sisters. According to the new Brewster myth, their mother had died during Teddy’s birth and their father had died at sea shortly before that. Johnny became instantly addicted to the Brewster practice of going with the flow to create “normalcy.”

Life in the Brewster family was pleasant. The huge Victorian home allowed each child to have a bedroom set in its own tower. When they played together it was done in the common rooms. With eight bathrooms, it never occurred to the boys to venture into a girl’s living area, let alone a bathroom that smelled of perfumed powder. Judy’s secret was never in jeopardy. Judy, of course, was oblivious to her own incongruities, as even her doctor treated her like a healthy, young girl -- in every respect.

The aunts were never tempted to put a gown on Theodore. He had been almost bald until he was three, and seemed very appropriate in trousers. The aunts could tell that the rambunctious Johnny was all male. They never gave a thought to Johnny being a candidate for the same dress code as Judy. Judy had come to be in dresses through normal circumstances. Johnny and Theodore were in pants through normal circumstances. Things were exactly as they should be in the Brewster mansion.

Johnny talked passionately about the academy. After he had lived with them for only a few months, the aunts begrudgingly sent him back. He so loved the military live. His brother, sister, and aunts missed him sorely during the school year. Visits were never long enough, nor occurred with enough frequency.

Still the children grew close. The house was filled with love and harmony. Judy often played with Johnny and Theodore, but would never allow them to roughhouse with her. Judy was physical, but only in girlish activities such as dancing, hopscotch, or skipping rope, which she did for hours with her friend Elaine, the Bishop’s daughter from the other side of the cemetery.

When Judy was ten, her doctor noted that her body was starting to show “vitamin deficiency.” She was given special shots and pills to help her become a proper young lady. Judy’s doctor thought she was doing the right thing for Judy. She was sure it was what the aunts wanted — and in Judy’s own best interest.

The aunts were unaware of the doctor’s actions and accepted Judy’s increased feminine characteristics as affirmation of their original decisions. The aunts had authorized her treatments without reading the documents they had signed. They trusted the doctor explicitly.

Judy became a lot more “Judy,” and a lot less “Mortimer” as time passed.

All went well in the Brewster house of “normalcy” until Johnny came home for the summer before his first year of college.

The Brewster boys had been raised to be gentlemen. A gentleman is someone who would never inflict pain. One of the boys would soon prove to be no gentleman.

Chapter Two - Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

Following Victorian standards, the juvenile dresses Judy wore had started out with their hems just above her knee. The hems had been lowered each year so that the dresses she wore in her twelfth year had hemlines that were about three inches above her ankle. She looked forward three years with great anticipation to her Sweet Sixteen birthday when she would start wearing the same style of dresses as her aunts.

She loved the way they looked with their long skirts grazing the ground, even as they walked about in the classic black satins with two-inch heels. Judy longed to wear the same kind of lingerie as her aunts. As a thirteen-year old girl, she wore pantalettes, chemises, and multiple petticoats under her hoopskirts. She couldn’t wait for her first corset. She had started to develop breast when she had been eleven, and was already wearing a 32B bra.

Both Theodore and Judy were home-schooled by their aunts, who made extraordinary efforts to make sure Judy didn’t make any alarming discoveries. Her health books were censored. All the novels and movies that she was allowed to read or see were rated PG or G.

The family went on many field trips. Like her aunts, Judy dressed in conventional, modern clothing when she left the house. When she wasn’t wearing a hoopskirt, she wore elasticized panties to hide her “thingy.” She had been told that all modest, little girls tucked their “thingies” away. As she wore mainly skirts and dresses, she had to protect her modesty.

Theodore had only one wardrobe. Due to his exuberant personality, the aunts didn’t dress him in Victorian coats, vests and ties --- “exuberant,” as in a tree-climbing, fence-top walking, knee-scrapping, bone-jarring personality.

Theodore didn’t perceive much fun in what his aunts and sister called their “Victorian obsession,” but he had his own fixation. Theodore read every book he could about Theodore Roosevelt. It was Theodore’s dream to spend a summer as a ranch-hand in Medora, North Dakota. He collected Roosevelt memorabilia, and forced everyone, including Johnny, to call him Teddy.

Judy had become quite lovely. Even though her aunts wouldn’t allow her to use make-up, her natural beauty and dazzling smile caused Johnny to brag endlessly about his wonderful sister. He had several pictures of her in his room at the academy. He thought it was neat that she wore the old-style clothing. When all the Brewsters attended Johnny’s graduation at the academy, he had been disappointed that she wore “normal” clothes. He had told so many stories about “19th century Judy” that he had hoped his buddies could see her for themselves.

As it was, he was mighty pleased to have such a pretty, refined sister to squire around the campus. Even though Judy was five years younger than the eighteen-year old Johnny, he treated her as an almost equal. Johnny loved his sister. He often dreamed that one day they would become man and wife. He wasn’t a real Brewster and neither was she. There was no reason (he knew of) that she and he couldn’t be Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Brewster.

Of course, he told no one of those thoughts. He was willing to wait at least six more years before he would tell her of his love and his plans for their future.

Early in high school, he had dated girls his age. In Johnny’s estimation, they were only half as interesting and not nearly as pretty as Judy. He dated often enough to meet his social requirements as a cadet, but remained true to his adopted sister. He was sure that Abby and Martha would be delighted to have him marry their niece. Nothing in his life indicated less than total love coming from his aunts.

Johnny had been an excellent cadet. He was very smart, highly motivated, and a top athlete. Each residence hall honored one graduating cadet. Johnny lived in Blandings Hall and had been named “Mr. Blandings.”

It was a week before Johnny was scheduled to go off to college. Johnny had found a million reasons that summer to spend time with Judy, and she had enjoyed his attention. Whoever said, “big brothers are the crabgrass in the lawn of life,” didn’t know Johnny. Johnny had his driver’s license and a new car, which had been a graduation gift. He took Judy and Teddy everywhere: the beach, the mountains, museums, ballgames, the opera, and concerts. Sometimes, Abby and Martha accompanied them, but most of the time just the three of them went alone. Johnny arranged it so that Judy and he were never alone together. He didn’t think he could handle being with her by himself, as he simply adored her.

Even though the blonde hair of her youth had darkened with age, it gave off a golden glow. The world danced in her eyes. Johnny loved the sound of her voice, was amazed by her intelligence, and in awe of her kindness. He was fascinated by the way she moved; she was so refined, so feminine, and so unlike him.

There was nothing improper in the way he interacted with Judy; it was all sweet and innocent. However, Johnny’s thoughts at night in his bed fast-forwarded to a time when they would be married. He knew it would be wrong to act too amorous toward her until she was older and was ready to be told that they weren’t brother and sister. Yet, he made love to her in his dreams every night, and each morning he woke wishing his dreams could stand the light of day.

Johnny was about to learn that a dysfunctional family was any family with more than one person in it. He had just come back from a Sunday morning jog. He had been a trackman at the academy, and was considering trying out for cross-country in college. All summer, he had done his best to stay in shape. He was thinking about a shower when he remembered a conversation with Judy that prior night.

Judy had commented on his hair. Johnny no longer had to meet a military inspection, so he was growing it out for the first time, and he didn’t really know how to take care of it. She had asked him if he had ever used a crá¨me rinse. He decided to try Judy’s conditioner without her knowing it, to see if she could tell the difference. He thought his hair looked pretty good as it was, but she had said it lacked shine. He was quite sure she had been teasing him, but....

Johnny had rarely been in his sister’s bathroom. It was at the opposite end of the house. Privacy was a jewel that the Brewsters cherish. He assumed Judy was attending church services and didn’t think she would mind if he borrowed a little of her hair conditioner.

As he opened the door to her bathroom, Judy was stepping from her shower. She had been up late the night before watching a video of “Rainman,” and had skipped church. As she bent forward from the shower to reach the towel rack, her lovely breasts dripped beads of water. Her rounded bottom glistened in the sunshine that was filtered by the lace-covered windows. It was a sight that Johnny fondly hoped would greet him every day of his adult life. Johnny wanted to rip his eyes away from that forbidden vision, but he was mesmerized, as one might be by a masterpiece, trying to understand how anything could possibly be so beautiful.

There had been nights in bed thinking of Judy when he had found sexual satisfaction while imagining her body. What he was seeing for the first time far exceeded his mind’s eye. His adolescent lust, threatened to climax, as he gazed.

While Judy patted herself with the towel, she turned toward the door and raised her foot to dry the back of her thighs. Her eyes were closed. She made no effort to cover herself. Her small, but quite evident penis and scrotum bobbed in the sunlight.

At first Johnny could not believe what he saw. It was impossible. It was too cruel. Everything he wanted in life had been ripped away. He was once again losing a family in the blink of an eye. Rage kept him from finding a voice. That bitch! No, that wasn’t right. That.... That....

“My Gawd! You’ve got a dick!” Johnny finally spat out, as he stepped into the room.

“Johnny? Get out of here. What are you doing in my bathroom?” She covered herself and glared at her trespassing brother. “Are you some sort of pervert?”

“Me a pervert? You.... You’re a hermaphrodite!” Johnny had been to a fair that summer with some friends from school. They had seen the bearded lady in the sideshow. He and his friends had taken great delight for weeks in rolling that strange word around in their mouths. He never suspected that the love of his life was one!

“What did you call me?”

“I said hermaphrodite, you faggot.” Johnny’s head was spinning. He knew what he had seen, but it made no sense. Judy was beautiful. Judy was wonderful. That thing — was NOT Judy.

“Please ... don’t call me names.” Judy had no idea what “faggot” or “heerma ... whatever” meant, all she knew was that Johnny shouldn’t be in her bathroom. She wanted him to leave immediately, and to quit acting weird.

“Names!!! I oughta smack you right in the mouth. You fraud. You female impersonator.”

Judy was completely lost as to why Johnny was so upset. “If you don’t stop being so mean I’m going to….”

“What will you do? Cry? You’re a fairy....” Johnny thought of his classmate, Brian, at the academy. They had been best friends, until that night that Brian had tried to put the moves on him. Those things happened in an all-male school, but why Judy? “Go ahead and cry you little drag queen. That’s what gay guys do best.”

“Johnny, please! Why are you saying those things? I’m not a boy! I’m not a guy!” Judy pulled the towel tightly around her.

“Well you’re sure as hell not a girl. Girls don’t have a penis. I don’t know what you are, but you’re sure as hell not a girl.” Johnny wondered what had marked him for this; first Brian and now….

Judy looked behind Johnny, and saw Theodore. After he had arrived home from church, he had been attracted toward all the yelling, and had been in the doorway for the past minute. He had heard most of what had been said. He stared at Judy, whose towel had slipped again. Theodore wasn’t as naive as Judy. He had read enough magazines and books so that he had an idea what equipment came standard on a girl. His eyes bulged as he stuttered, “Judy, you’re…. You’re a -- a - a boy.”

Judy dissolved into a puddle on the floor of her bathroom. BOY???? PENIS???

“I’m getting out of here to some air that’s fit to breathe. Somebody’s got some explaining to do.” Johnny turned and bolted from the room.

Teddy raced after him, but was unable to keep up. When Teddy got to the front door, it was standing open. There was no sign as to which way Johnny had gone. Teddy went to his room and buried himself in a book about Theodore Roosevelt. In a minute or two, he was lost in the life and times of that most famous Roughrider.

Aunt Martha helped Judy to her feet. She had heard the commotion, and knew immediately what had occurred, but arrived too late to the scene to mitigate the damages.

“Aunt Martha,” Judy sobbed, “what’s with Johnny? He said some terrible things to me.”

“Judy,” Martha sighed, “it’s time we discuss the birds and the bees.”

Abby joined Martha in Judy’s bedroom. For the next hour, amidst enough tears to float one of Teddy’s model battleships, they did their best to calm Judy, while they told her their version of the truth.

“Judy, you were born a boy,” Abby said, “but you were so sweet and feminine. We just knew you would have trouble trying to be masculine.”

“We didn’t want you to go through all the problems that boys have, who have a slight build and a pretty face,” Martha added. “It just seemed right to help you appear to be a well-adjusted girl.”

“I’m not a girl?”

“Not in a biological sense,” Abby replied, “but in every other way, you are.”

“Not a girl? That’s not possible. I’ve always been a girl. This is crazy!”

“Well don’t you worry, Judy,” Martha said, “if there’s anything Abby and I can do to help you, just let us know and we’ll do it.”

Judy mentally reviewed all they had already done for her. “Well, er - don’t do it until I let you know.”

Abby noticed that Judy was starting to shake, and phoned her doctor. For the next fifteen minutes, Judy, Martha, and Abby didn’t say a word. Everyone was too frightened and concerned. It was clear that Judy was going into shock. Abby and Judy held each other and rocked. Abby hummed a soothing tune. Martha left them to wait by the front door. After showing the doctor to Judy’s room, Martha checked on Teddy. Teddy appeared calm, but he didn’t really seem to know her. The doctor gave both Judy and Teddy a sedative.

Shortly after the doctor left, Johnny came back. He found the aunts huddling together in the kitchen.

“Judy’s a boy,” Johnny said. His eyes were red and puffy.

“Yes, we know,” Abby answered.

“You know!” Johnny said indignantly. “Of course, you know!” Out of habit and slightly dazed, he sat at his place at the table, which was the chair between Abby and Martha. They had arranged it that way so that they could easily give him whatever he had wanted.

“Of course,” Abby said. “It was only a few days later that we saw that she was really a girl.”

Johnny blinked, and then closed his eyes.

“Yes, and raising her as a girl was the best for all involved,” Martha added, with a sensible shrug of her shoulders.

“But, but.…” He looked to his loving aunts. He had always trusted them, and had forgiven them their eccentricities, but where was the line between silly --- and crazy?

“Now Johnny,” Martha said, “you must forget about it; forget that you ever saw Judy naked.”

“Forget?” How would that ever be possible, he thought.

“We never dreamed you would peek,” Abby said.

“Aunt Abby you’ve raised a boy to believe he’s a girl. You and Aunt Martha had been living a lie.”

“Johnny - how can you say such a thing?” Abby asked.

“Judy ... or whatever his real name was ... has been in dresses since the day I joined this family. You do admit that?”

“Yes, we do,” Martha said, “but you don’t really think we would stoop to telling a fib? Do you?”

“I don’t know who you people were,” Johnny raged. “Why did you do such a thing?”

“Johnny, things aren’t so simple as they look to you today,” Abby said.

“I can’t go on living in this house,” he said. “There should be a sign on the inside of the front door... ‘Please Wash Hands Before Entering the Real World.’ ”

“Johnny!” both aunts cried. They were openly hurt by Johnny’s blunt remarks.

He hadn’t meant to hurt them. They couldn’t help it if they were nuts. Judy was obviously just as crazy as they were, but still….

“No!” he said. “I’m the one who should be upset. Not you. You’re doing something terrible and I’m not be going to be part of it. I’m going away and never coming back. I’m taking Teddy with me.”

“Teddy can’t go anywhere,” Martha said. “He’s suffered a shock and has been sedated.”

You’re right,” he said. “I can’t take care of him. I’m not sure if I can even take care of myself, feeling like I do, but I have to leave. You’ll get him the best care, won’t you?”

“Of course,” Abby said, “but you don’t have to leave.”

The distraught boy was torn, but knew that he had to go. “I want you to give me enough money to get started someplace where I can forget about all of you. There must be a place where I can go where I won’t be tempted to come back and do something awful!”

“Johnny,” Martha said, “sit down and rest for a minute. Everything will be better, if you just….”

“No,” he shouted. “If I don’t go now, I’ll have to talk to Judy again, and I’ll say or do something we’ll all regret.”

“Johnny ... why are you so angry?” Abby peered into Johnny’s eyes trying to see the love that had been there only a few hours earlier. “I can understand why you’re upset. This all must be a shock, but such anger? Where does it come from?”

“Don’t you understand?” he asked. “Can’t either of you realize? I had feelings for Judy; real feelings.”

“Oh,” Abby gasped.

“Oh,” her equally distressed sister echoed.

“OOOHHHHHHH!” the stunned aunts moaned simultaneously. What they had done and caused seemed to have filtered through to their inner beings.

Abby again looked in Johnny’s eyes. What she saw scared her. She knew the power of money. Money had always solved most of her problems in the past. “Perhaps it would be best for all of us to put this quietly behind us. Johnny, if we give you two million dollars, will you go away and never come back?”

Knowing the extent of the Brewster fortune Johnny countered, “Make that five million.”

“If that’s what you want, Johnny.” Abby said.

“Aunt Abby, you write the check,” Johnny said, “and I’ll pack a bag.”

Johnny went to his room to get a few things together. When he came back, he took the check, and the one thousand dollars in cash that they offered. Then he stepped to the door. “I’ll see you in my dreams!”

“What was that, Johnny?” Martha asked.

“Nothing,” Johnny said, as he opened the door, and then turned to take one last look around. “Just a private joke between me and whoever my psychiatrist is going to be.”

Johnny walked out of the door and out of their lives. With him went a small bag, a huge amount of money, and a heavy, heavy heart. He was certain that every step away from the Brewster household was in the right direction. He felt awful leaving Teddy, but was doing it out of love. He was an emotional wreck, who didn’t know how he would make it through the next second, without imploding. One thing he couldn’t walk away from was the love he had felt for Judy. That would be in his memory for his entire life.

Chapter Three — Charade

Years went by. Everyone missed Johnny, but spoke of him only in whispered regrets. Teddy went so deep into his role of Teddy Roosevelt that all signs of Teddy Brewster had been eliminated. He would pop in and out of conversations with Teddy Roosevelt quotes. Sometimes the quotes fit the discussion. Other times the connection was unclear. In the past, he had not taken part in the Victorian spirit of the house, but as Teddy Roosevelt, he often wore cutaway coats, vests, and elaborate ties with diamond stickpins. The aunts were pleased that he, at least, was at one with them in this small part of his assumed life.

One afternoon, the aunts had a visit from Bishop Harper, an old friend of the family. The Bishop sneezed.

“I must be catching cold,” Teddy said.

“No dear, it was Bishop Harper that sneezed,” Abby said, in a voice that corrected, but contained little reprimand or concern.

“If I know what pure kindness and absolute generosity are, it’s because I’ve known the Brewster sisters,” Bishop Harper said. “Have you ever tried to persuade Teddy that he isn’t Roosevelt?” Teddy was full grown and a bit of a sight to those who didn’t know him. He dressed as if he was Teddy Roosevelt on an African safari.

“Oh, no!” Abby said, slightly surprised by the Bishop’s question.

“Oh,” Martha added, “he’s so happy being Teddy Roosevelt.”

“Oh, do you remember, Martha?” Abby asked. “Once a long time ago, we thought if he would be George Washington, it might be a nice change for him, and we suggested it.

“And do you know what happened?” Martha confided. “He just stayed under his bed for days, and wouldn’t be anybody.”

Teddy, who had been standing silently by, looked up, and said, “The man who really counts in this world was the doer, not the mere critic, but the man who actually does the work, even if its rough and imperfect, not the man who only writes and talks about how it ought to be done.”

“Right you are Teddy, right you are.” Bishop Harper sipped his elderberry wine, as he quietly pondered whatever had become of the real Teddy Brewster. “It’s possible Teddy has found it’s easier to live through someone else than it is to become complete yourself.”

Little did Bishop Harper know the extent of the role-playing in the Brewster mansion.

***

Judy was caught in an old quandary. What do you do, when you find you like aspects of the role you’re trying to escape?

After Johnny’s discovery, Judy went through a period of withdrawal. She came out of it through self-examination and long discussions with Abby and Martha.

Martha and Abby were sitting in their living room with the eighteen year-old Judy. She had become a beautiful young lady with a certain amount of musical talent playing the harp and piano.

Judy had decided that her aunts had taken the right course of action, years ago. She was content to continue her life as she had. Judy felt that imitation, when it’s not a fraud, is a fine thing. To imitate with success you must have a sense of what can and cannot be done. It would be fraud only if the intent was to achieve a wrongful gain.

“I’ve come to realize,” Judy said, “that I’ve spent a good deal of my life becoming someone I was not, when I was born. In some respects, that makes me unique. In other respects, that makes me quite ordinary.”

“I guess you’re right, Judy,” Martha said. We all try to remake ourselves. It is our duty to try to make ourselves better. All we’ve ever wanted for you is respectability.”

“It appears my life has been one long descent into respectability,” Judy said. Like every other teenager she was a bit of a drama queen. “I wonder if I can ever become normal,” she sighed.

Judy was dressed in a floor-length, deep-rust beaded gown with copper colored beads. The bodice featured a high neckline with a cream lace lining. It had long sleeves with small lace trim attached to the wrist portion, and was decorated with a beaded appliqué. The underskirt was made of brown, polished cotton. The gown featured extremely detailed pleating.

The Aunts were dressed in black, as they were still mourning. Even in black, they were splendid in their silk gowns, with dull black formal gloves.

Each morning the Brewster women (including Judy) would rise, and pull on a loose robe over their undergarments. They would place a muslin cap on their heads, before going down to breakfast. The caps would cover the hair papers they used instead of rollers or hot irons. After breakfast, they would normally put on walking skirts.

If their day called for visitors, their gowns would be made of quietly-colored silk. Their day gowns would be outfitted with lace collars and sleeves. They would wear only a modest amount of jewelry.

They always dressed for dinner. All dinner dresses were silks, velvets and lace. The dresses were all light neutral tints, and black, dark blue, purple, dark green, garnet, brown, and fawn with fans to match. The very sensible Brewsters didn’t believe that “mourning” extended into evening.

They’re wardrobes were conservative when outside of their home, but the attitude of the Brewster women, while in their home, seemed to be that there was nothing worse than wishing you had put on something more adventurous. When in doubt, overdress!

Diamonds were used in broaches, pins, pendants, earrings, and bracelets. Judy never wore diamonds, very rich furs, cashmeres, or brilliant ornaments, as she was young and unattached. She did wear a faux tortoise shell haircomb, which was four inches wide and over two inches high. It was decorated with rhinestones.

“There is no such things as a ‘normal’ person,” Martha said, as they idly did handwork, as they sat together. “Nobody looks so eccentric as a person trying to look ‘normal.’”

The Brewsters crocheted their own undergarments. Judy was working on a white cotton, ribbon camisole. To her, it was an absolute shame that the exquisite short-sleeved garment would be worn under layers of outer clothing. She carefully attached the blue ribbon that gathered the neckline.

“Normal men have killed over 100,000,000 of their fellow men during the past fifty years.” Abby said. Martha and she were knitting identical sweaters; they would be gifts for twins they had met at the orphanage. “We wanted you to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Parents want the best for the children. We didn’t make choices for our children on the basis of what was the politically correct thing to do.”

“We wanted you to fully enjoy the fun of femininity,” Martha said. “We wanted to wrap you in a world of charm and elegance.”

“Elegance does not consist entirely in putting on a new dress.” Judy said. She loved these opportunities to chat with her aunts. It was during these moments that she had learned to have full respect for their intelligence and compassion. “I think elegance is getting to the very soul of what one is. I think I could be an elegant man if that was my disposition.”

“I can’t even imagine you as a man,” Martha said, staring off into space trying to picture the very becoming Judy as something other than a beautiful young lady. It was something even the reality stretching Abby could not accomplish.

“Neither can I”, said Judy “So let’s put this all behind us, and work with the hand that has been dealt.”

The Brewster family was once again harmonious. They had successfully placed their problems behind them. Out of sight. Out of mind.

But, were their problems gone forever?

Chapter Four - Every Girl Should Be Married

Teddy was telling stories. More accurately, he was reciting from memory accountings that Teddy Roosevelt had made of his trips to eastern U.S. cities. Teddy Brewster had stories about Boston, New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia. As he told the Philadelphia Story for the fifth time, the doorbell rang, signaling that it was time for Judy to go to work.

“Work can be quite a blessing,” Judy said to Abby, as she checked her hair, make-up, and overall appearance in the hall mirror on her way to answering the door. “Work can be a narcotic, a stimulant, even an antibiotic. It’s the closest thing to a wonder drug we know.”

Judy loved her job. She had a MBA from the University of Arizona. Every bit of her study had been completed on-line. Judy had decided that she didn’t need the socialization of a traditional college. She was extremely grateful to the Apollo Group and its CEO John Sperling, for making it possible for her to attain a top-quality education without having to leave the comforts of Brewster mansion. She couldn’t have imagined being apart from her aunts and Teddy for the five years it took to get an advanced degree.

She had been running the Brewster Foundation for two years, and was amazed at the extent of the work involved in properly gifting money. Abby and Martha had been using the services of a law firm to look after the Brewster Foundation. Judy quickly realized that she could save the Foundation over $500,000 a year in fees by doing the work herself with a small competent staff of three. The savings was added to the amount given to charities.

The staff included another twenty-five year-old MBA, Elaine Harper, the daughter of the Bishop and Judy’s childhood friend. The Harpers lived in the parsonage, across the cemetery from the Brewster mansion. They had been friends, but hadn’t frequently played together, as the Brewster family had been internally busy.

Judy opened the door and was pleased to find Elaine, right on time and ready for work. They went to the kitchen for tea. Even though it was Saturday, they were meeting to discuss a problem with the Foundation.

Elaine was truly the girl next door. Five foot two, eyes of blue, with abundant blonde hair that cascaded into a perfect frame for her dimpled face.

Although Elaine was a friend of the family, she had earned the job on her merits. Her MBA came from the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania). All of the largest accounting firms had offered her jobs with salary and benefits far beyond what the Brewster Foundation could pay. Judy and Elaine each earned thirty thousand dollars a year, with minimal benefits. They knew that they could make a real difference in the world through the economic muscle of the Foundation, and loved every minute of their working days.

They had a quote on the wall of their office from Mother Theresa. “I do not agree with the big way of doing things.”

Judy and Elaine concentrated their efforts on the smaller charities, the ones that were often missed by other philanthropists. Their work was plentiful, as they awarded grants to so many organizations. Their efforts were on a personal level, and extremely enjoyable.

Success, which they both defined as being the best they could, at whatever they did, demanded long, hard hours. Often, they worked on weekends. Even though Judy was the CEO, their work was done in partnership. They enjoyed each other’s company. On those rare occasions when the work eased, they would talk about those things that interested young women.

“I think it’s so neat when your aunts and you wear your Victorian outfits.”

Judy was wearing a tan walking suit. The jacket was well fitted, but didn’t unduly accentuate Judy’s slightly large twenty-six inch waist. It had a wide collar; which folded down. There were two large buttons for decoration on the front of the jacket. The sleeves were very large, billowing from the shoulder. The lower portion of the sleeves (from the elbow down) were fitted. When Judy moved around the room, it sounded like she was walking through a pile of leaves.

“It’s loads of fun,” Judy said. “We spend quite a scandalous amount of time making sure every detail is authentic.”

“Aren’t your outfits horribly uncomfortable?”

“Some involve layers upon layers of fabric,” Judy said. “We couldn’t possibly wear them outside our home in this weather. The air-conditioning helps.”

“All those layers of cloth must have frustrated the Victorian men,” Elaine said, giggling to hide her embarrassment.

“I’ll bet they did. If their date lasted less than two hours, there’s no way the man could have time to make his way through the obstacle course.”

“Judy,” Elaine said, after pausing so they both could blush. “I don’t think I can remember you ever having a date.” They had become such good friends that such a statement didn’t seem too forward.

“I’ve haven’t had much time for, or much real interest in, dating.” Judy sighed. Many times she had thought about raising a family. She didn’t see how that would ever be possible, given her secret.

“Are you interested in marriage?” Elaine asked. She was blithely moving into a very sensitive area.

“I haven’t given it much thought.” Judy answered. She got up from the table and cleared away the cups, rinsing them in the sink “How about you. Are you the marrying kind?” I wish we were talking about an orphanage or anything else, she thought.

“I’m not sure. My mother once said marriage is like buying that antique you’ve looked at for months in the store. You love it when you get it home, but it doesn’t always go with everything else in the house.” The two friends giggled at the Bishop’s Wife’s clever sense of humor. Suddenly Elaine hurriedly said something that had obviously been held inside her waiting to come out. “Judy, if you were a man I would marry you in a minute.”

“What?” Judy sat back down with much less grace than normal. Elaine wasn’t one to throw out wild ideas. She had been attracted to Elaine, but wasn’t sure what all that attraction could ever lead to.

“Think of it,” Elaine said. “You have every quality I admire. There is something very Victorian about you that is far beyond your weekend wardrobe. You act with the impulse of your kindly heart. You’re brave, but since your conscience is so clear, you have nothing to fear.”

“That’s not true. I’m afraid of knives and heights.”

“Those little idiosyncrasies just make you more charming. You’re so comfortable with things. For example, you’re never embarrassed.”

“Hold it right there,” Judy said, eager to change the course of the conversation, “you’re embarrassing me.”

“No I’m not. You have a great respect for yourself. You know that you’re honorable and civil toward others to a fault.”

“You’re a sweetheart to say all those nice things, but you can’t be serious. You make me sound like someone special. All I do was what I’ve been taught by Abby and Martha. I’m no angel.”

“CHARGE!” Teddy was in the living room running up and down the stairs, pretending to be Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan Hill. His loud shout and boisterous activities were everyday occurrences.

“Judy, you’re special,” Elaine said, as if nothing extraordinary had happened. “You’re never arrogant, yet you’re very strong willed.”

“I do have enough will to end this conversation before my blush becomes permanent.” Judy gave some thought to turning up the air-conditioning. “Maybe I should check on Teddy.”

“No, you aren’t going to stop me. I want you to know how much I admire you. You carry yourself with dignity, yet you’re never ... what’s that old word for arrogant? Oh I know. You’re never haughty.” Elaine had puffed herself up to give “haughty” the proper gravity.

“I’m afraid you’re mistaken. I can’t even give a public speech. Making speeches has never been my forte ... not even my fifty or sixty or seventy.”

“Making jokes isn’t your strong suit, either!” Elaine laughed. Judy loved Elaine’s laugh and often went out of her way to provoke it. “As long as I’ve started, I’ve got more observations about my boss. The trivial doesn’t seem to bother you. You’re too noble to be bothered by little things.”

“Noble ... you make me sound like a horse.” Judy had managed to ease the tension with more humor. “The shining knight saved the fair young princess and carried her off on his ‘noble’ steed.”

“You can make jokes, but I’m going to finish. You seem to always know how to handle people. You’re kind to those less fortunate. You’re never familiar without true affection. You have a gentleness of manner with a firmness of mind. You command mild authority at the office, and ask us to do things as if they were personal favors to you --- and there’s one more thing.”

“Will you shut up, lady?” Judy asked in a tone that allowed Elaine to know no real harm had been done. “Really Elaine, don’t you think you’ve carried this joke a bit too far.”

“I wish it was a joke, Judy. You’re just such a magnificent person I have to tell you how I feel.”

“Elaine, everything you’ve said about me is also true about you. You have millions of admirable traits.” Judy was beginning to sense a problem. Along with the Victorian clothes, she had developed a prudish, sexually repressed frame of mind. She had made it this far in life by guarding herself against even the slightest temptation. Yet, as Judy was a true Victorian, there was a volcano ready to erupt just below her cool veneer.

Judy looked at Elaine for what seemed like the very first time. She saw a woman with all the physical attributes to stir a young man’s heart. Judy knew that to be true, for his heart was indeed stirring. Elaine’s chest was heaving with the passion of the words she had spoken. Her eyes were glistening, as her face betrayed the true meaning of her words.

Judy was perplexed. The goal of a Victorian love is marriage, followed by the creation of a home and family. The last line in every Victorian love story is, “And they lived happily ever after.” Marriage with Elaine would be impossible. In fact, marriage for Judy with anyone was unthinkable. “Ever after” was not how she would find happiness in her life.

“Judy, I’ve had my share of boyfriends,” Elaine said. Judy wasn’t surprised, as she had assumed Elaine was leading a normal life. “Although I’m still sexually naíve, I know that my sexual preference is for men.”

“Whew! I thought for a while you were going to tell me that you love me. That would make working together a little uncomfortable.” Judy’s slight giggle hung in the air waiting in vane for Elaine’s to join it.

Elaine leaned across the small kitchen table. She took one of Judy’s hands in hers, and stared into Judy’s eyes. “I can’t help it Judy. I do love you. I’ve loved you for quite some time.”

“That’s impossible!” Judy said. “You like men.” She reached with her free hand, and fingered the piece of twine she kept in her skirt’s pocket. For some reason that piece of twine kept her grounded when she was stressed. Abby and Martha had given it to her the day Johnny had seen her naked. They had told her it was special. They said a day would come when they would explain to her why it was special. That day hadn’t arrived, but the twine had become a tool that Judy used to calm herself.

“I know,” Elaine said. “It seems crazy. I don’t think of you in a sexy way. I want your emotional love. I crave ... need your love.”

Judy was confounded. She knew that her feelings for Elaine were more than friendship. She knew she loved her with an intensity that was about to boil over. The usually reserved Judy got up, and stood close to Elaine. She took her face in her hands, and tenderly wiped at the tears. Leaning down, she kissed Elaine on the lips.

It was the first time that Judy had kissed anyone outside her immediate family. It was not a familial kiss. At first, it was a kiss meant to console, to let Elaine know everything was okay, but it quickly went to another level. Neither girl had been ready for the emotional outpouring that ran through their bodies. Suddenly, Elaine was also on her feet, as they locked in a fiery embrace ... not having a clue where they were going.

“Well.” Elaine gasped for air, but maintain her embrace with Judy, more than ready to kiss again. “I guess that makes us lesbians.”

“Not necessarily.” Judy realized that time had come for honesty, but how?

“We love each other,” Elaine stated. “When two women love each other, they’re lesbians!’

“Life isn’t that simple.”

“What’s simple about being lesbians?” Elaine asked. “Even in this day and age, my parents aren’t going to be too thrilled.”

“We aren’t lesbians.”

“Yes ... we ... are. In case you haven’t noticed, neither of us is wearing trousers.”

Judy saw an opening that might work. “The thing is….” Judy’s face was inches away. Would this be the last time they would ever be so close? “The thing is, I should wear trousers.”

“No you shouldn’t,” Elaine smiled, as she mildly rebuked Judy. “You have great legs. You wouldn’t want to cover them.”

“No…. I’ve led a strange life. I should wear trousers because ... I’m really a man.”

“Well nobody’s perfect,” Elaine quipped, quoting the famous line from “Some Like It Hot.”

Elaine’s smile faded, as Judy continued to bob her head, affirming Elaine’s wildest thoughts. All Elaine could manage was, “Oh.…” as she slid from Judy’s arms landing gently on the floor.

Chapter Five - The Awful Truth

When Elaine regained consciousness, she found herself lying on one of the large settees in the main living room. As she gazed around the room, she heard Judy talking to Teddy, Abby, and Martha.

“Elaine just found out about my born sex,” Judy said. Even though Judy’s gender wasn’t a prime topic in the Brewster household, they all knew immediately what had happened.

Martha held a cold compress on Elaine’s forehead, while Judy gently messaged Elaine’s hands. Nothing in the room looked familiar to Elaine. It was as if everything had changed over the past few moments. Ooohhhh... everything had.

Teddy spoke first, “A healthy minded boy should feel hearty contempt for the coward and even more hearty indignation for the boy who bullies girls or small boys, or tortures animals. What we have a right to expect of the American boy was that he shall turn out to be a good American man.” Once again an authentic Roosevelt quote from a totally detached and disturbed young man seemed to fit like a glove.

“I’m so sorry you’ve been frightened,” Abby said.

“It looks like we’ve made a mess of things,” Martha added.

“I just need a minute to sort things out,” Elaine murmured. “I just had the weirdest dream.” Elaine looked to the person she loved, unsure what she was feeling. It was like she was Dorothy discovering that she was someplace other than Kansas.

Judy squeezed Elaine’s hand. “I’m afraid it was no dream,” Judy said. “This was all my fault. I never should have allowed us to.…”

Teddy broke in, “There was not in all America a more dangerous trait than the deification of mere smartness unaccompanied by any sense of moral responsibility.” It took everyone a few seconds to digest Teddy’s words.

“Let’s have some elderberry wine,” Abby suggested. She reached for the sideboard to gather glasses and a decanter.

“Judy.… It seems odd to be calling you ‘Judy,’ ” Elaine said. “I don’t know what I should do.” There was utter dismay in Elaine’s voice. “I should kick you so hard you wouldn’t be able to lie on your back, but then you can lie from any position, can’t you.”

“I’m so sorry,” Judy said. “I suppose my life has been something of a fib.”

“What’s your real name?” Elaine’s voice lacked its normal cheery tones.

“The name that will go on our marriage license is Mortimer Brewster,” Judy replied.

“Mortimer? What kind of name is … ? Marriage license? Did you say marriage license? Oh, I love you Mortimer, Judy Brewster ... whatever your name is. Let’s do it right away. Let’s go to City Hall before anyone sane finds us and tells us we’re too crazy to get married.”

Elaine swept Judy into her arms. She kissed her passionately in front of Abby, in front of Martha, and in front of Teddy.

“Bully!” Teddy was pleased and had granted his approval.

Explanations could wait; love conquers all. Abby and Martha helped them cram two years of planning for a wedding and honeymoon, into three frantic hours. Before they knew it, they were in front of City Hall armed with birth certificates and a desire to live together the rest of their lives. Both Judy and Elaine were dressed in Victorian wedding gowns from the Brewster’s well-stocked closets.

Judy was wearing a gown she had designed herself. It was an elegant three-piece. The creamy silk fine crepe had fabulous lace decorating the bodice on the high neckline, and extending across the shoulders and around -- fastening in back. The lace was comprised of small clovers, pinwheels, and paisley-shaped swirls. The high neck was trimmed with a band of cream velvet. It had four stays in the collar. The bodice was “pigeon-breasted.”
Judy was wearing a bustle that was built into the dress. The bustle carried the train in a very alluring fashion. There were several horizontal pleats and a nine-inch ruffle. Judy’s gown was cut for a fuller figure with a thirty-five inch bustline and a twenty-six inch waistline. It was perfect for the healthy and beautiful groom. In her hair was a blue, Spanish-style, rhinestone hair comb.

Elaine had chosen a gown of cream-colored silk with a very unusual train. The gown was unique in that it had an over vest which crossed across the bodice and featured a high neckline (metal stays kept the collar in place). The actual gown was long-sleeved, with a faux short oversleeve. The cuffs of the sleeves were accented with two-inch wide gathered fine net. The skirt was rather straight with a vertical pleat to the side. The gown was perfect for Elaine’s petite figure with a thirty-four inch bustline and a twenty-three inch waist. She carried a Whiting and Davis mesh purse. Its gold tone frame was covered with a scrolling floral pattern. The hand strap was also gold tone mesh. The high neckline of the gown set off Elaine’s heart-shaped face.

“Are you sure about this, Elaine?” Judy asked. “Insanity runs in my family; it practically gallops.”

“Yes, Mortimer I’m crazy too ... crazy in love with you!”

“How can I marry you?” Judy asked. “I’ve spent a lifetime cringing when people laughed at Tootsie or Dame Edna. Now I’ll be hooked to a minister’s daughter. And look at ya.... Look at the way you look. What is that infernal contraption you have there?” Judy gestured toward a garish pin Abby had placed on Elaine.

“It’s a pin I borrowed from your aunts. You know what they say Mortimer, something borrowed and something.…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know. Something borrowed and something blue, old, new. Rice and old shoes, carry you over the threshold. Niagara Falls.… All those silly things I’ve made fun of for years. Is this what I’ve come to? I can’t go through with it. I won’t marry you - and that’s that.”

“Yes, Mortimer,” Elaine said softly, with adoration in her voice.

“What do you mean, ‘Yes Mortimer?’ Aren’t you insulted? Aren’t you gonna cry? Aren’t you gonna make a scene?”

“No Mortimer.” A small tear formed in the corner of her eye.

“And don’t ‘no Mortimer’ me either! Don’t you see, marriage is a superstition, it’s old fashioned, it’s…. I - I - Ohh.… Do you or do you not love me?”

“Yes, Mortimer.”

Judy succumbed to Elaine’s wide-eyed innocence, kissed her, and then led her by the hand to the Justice of the Peace who joined them in holy wedlock. The people in the waiting area outside the judge’s office were astonished at the sight of a woman called Mortimer.

The judge was slightly flustered. However, he was determined to move ahead with the two brides.

“Who’s the male?” he asked.

“She’s your man,” Elaine said.

“I wish ‘she’ was.” Judy quipped.

The judge winced, “Why do they call us Justice of the Peace. There’s no peace in this job.”

***

A few hours later, Judy and Elaine had explored each other’s passion with the love of a lesbian relationship. They were staying in the presidential suite of the Radisson Lexington in New York City. Both were more than satisfied, even though Judy was not at all able to bring her “Little Mortimer” into action. Judy had zero between the legs.

Elaine was wearing a bias cut, dusty lavender chiffon gown with coffee trim; a sweet nothing trimmed with velvet and lace; perfect for a honeymoon night. The other bride had chosen a romantic tea rose cotton gown. It was new, but its flirty, ruffle trim had been inspired by the Victorian era.

Elaine propped herself up on the pillow, and held Judy in her arms. “Tonight you’re mine completely.”

Judy looked up at Elaine. “You gave your love so sweetly.”

“Tonight the light of love was in your eyes.”

Judy then asked Elaine the question of the hour. “But will you love me tomorrow?”

Their love was a lasting treasure, not just a moment’s pleasure. They could believe the magic of their sighs. They could be sure they would be loved tomorrow. They made love with words unspoken. They pledged that each would be the only one. They knew their hearts would not be broken, when the night meets the morning sun.

They would love each other tomorrow.

They honeymooned for the next four months. Their trip covered the U.S., north by northwest. After touring the United Nations they took a train from New York to Chicago. They then flew Northwest Airlines to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. Other than a few moments in a field with a crazed crop duster, their honeymoon was perfect.

One afternoon, while they lounged on a secluded sandbar on the Missouri River, Elaine commented on Judy’s beauty. “You were simply incredible. You’re so sexy and attractive it’s hard to keep my eyes off of you.” Judy was wearing a beige two-piece that complimented her dark tan.

“If I come off as being even remotely attractive,” Judy said, “it’s because I have had myself rebuilt. I’ve had the hair under my arms taken care of, and I spend about a thousand dollars a week to have my toenails, fingernails, eyebrows and hair put in top shape. I’m the female equivalent of a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. Half of what you see is a pretty good reproduction, the rest was fraud.”

“Oh you,” Elaine said. “You rarely indulge yourself. You spend much less time on a beauty routine than I do. You just can’t take a compliment.”

“Perhaps it’s much more nature’s hating a vacuum. I deny what is, so nature works on what is not. Fantasy has filled the void of my lack of reality.”

“You’re not a fantasy, and I have a suspicion you know it. How did you ever succeed in hiding your sex for all these years? You could be notorious by now.”

“Not to expose your true feelings to an adult, seems to be instinctive from the age of seven or eight onwards,” Judy said. “Of course, it helped immensely to not realize until well into my teens that I was anything but what I was supposed to be.”

“Haven’t you been scared someone would find out about your secret?”

“Like most other people,” Judy said, “the only thing I fear is bigotry. Knowing my secret hasn’t changed your love for me. It’s not knowing who’s a bigot that makes my life hard. My aunts convinced me years ago that it was much easier for me to live this pretense than to go through life an effeminate man.”

“Have you ever wished that you could have had a ‘normal’ heterosexual life?”

“Being a heterosexual seems so intense,” Judy said. “It’s as much a public affair as a private one. Going steady is a high school diploma in heterosexuality, engagement a B.A., marriage a M.A. and having children is a P.H.D.”

“Did your years of celibacy bother you?”

“Celibacy was a way of admiring a person for their humanity. Maybe even for their beauty. I’ve noticed that celibacy is not something you inherit from your parents.”

“Have you?” Elaine laughed and sipped champagne. “You once mentioned to me that you were uncomfortable when people laughed at Tootsie. Do you have a hard time accepting mainstream negative attitudes toward cross-dressers?”

“Cross-dresser? Aren’t you the politically correct angel?”

“I’ve done my on-line research,” Elaine said.

“To answer your question, love of my life, people like Boy George don’t disturb me as much as the hetero-keepers of the keys and seals. I’m really uneasy around those that ‘know’ what the world needs in the way of order, and who were ready at the drop of a baseball cap to supply that order.”

“Are you happy?”

“I read in a book by the Dalai Lama that happiness was thought by many to be an imaginary condition often attributed by the religious living to the dead. Children say they will be happy when they grow up. Of course, adults tell children that they are having the best years of their lives. I’m one person who can tell you I’m truly happy being here ... with you ... at this very moment.”

“That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me,” Elaine said, as she leaned back thinking. “Wait, in my teens I served on a committee with a boy who was very nice. One day he said to me, ‘You’re a pretty good guy, for a girl.’ ”

“Who was he? Did he ever kiss you? Do I have competition?”

“No,” Elaine replied. “I was so scared by the possibility of a relationship that I ran out of the building, stayed home for the next two months, and never went back to that committee. It was then that I vowed to remain a virgin until my wedding night.”

“And, technically your wedding night has come and gone, and you’re still a virgin.”

Elaine struggled to find a way to explain virginity to her feminine husband. “Virginity is considered by many of my friends to be a waiting room to be gotten out of as quickly as possible. I just could never see it that way. Technically, yes, I’m still a virgin.”

“I suppose that technically I’m still a virgin as well,” Judy said. “I’ve been surprised by how much I love the dildo you use. However, I guess we could both still wear white, if we ever marry again.”

“Judy! We’re on our honeymoon and you have the nerve to talk about getting remarried. I should leave you right now on grounds of cruelty.”

“More to the point,” Judy said, seeing Elaine’s grin, “you would have ‘grounds’ of stupidity. I don’t see how we’d ever get a divorce. It would be like unwinding the inside of a golf ball.”

Elaine diplomatically moved on, “Do you think your femininity has limited you as a person? A rich male is the top of the pecking order.”

“The good part - the most fun part - of being feminine is frightening men. Don’t you love it when those prejudiced ‘rich males’ come to see us at the Foundation, and try to take advantage of our supposed lack of business sense? It’s so much fun when they realize we aren’t the ninnies they assumed that we are.”

“Femininity is such an important quality,” Elaine said, “that no one can really define it. It’s like the Supreme Court trying to define pornography ... you know it when you see it.” She paused to hug and kiss Judy. “I definitely see femininity in you.”

“I think the big difference between men and women is that women know they’re fallible,” Judy said. “Men seem to be blind to their personal limitations.”

“It’s so wonderful being married to someone who has had the same upbringing I’ve had. I was always so scared that I would make a mistake, and marry a Neanderthal that didn’t appreciate the difference between a lady and a tramp.”

“And what, my sweet Elaine, is the difference? I want out of the Dark Ages.”

“Girls who put out are tramps. Girls who don’t ... are ladies.”

“Do you suppose little boys are taught the same definitions? What if they assume that they’ve found a lady, and what they’ve really found is a lesbian?”

“What if they assume they’ve found a lesbian, and what they’ve really found is a cock in a frock?”

Judy gasped. “Elaine, you really have been spending time on-line!”

“What did you dream about when you were young?” Elaine asked. “Did you dream of getting married? Did you dream of making love to a man?”

“I never thought of, or dreamt about, sex as intimacy. When I thought of intimacy, I thought of friendship or correspondence.”

“What do you dream about now?”

“I mostly dream about the Howards of Virginia,” Judy replied.

“What?”

“That was a film back in the forties.”

“Oh you!”

“Really,” Judy said, “since you and I have married, I search myself for signs of illusion, like a monkey looks for fleas. I don’t want you to be embarrassed by what I am.”

“Hey, we’ll have none of that monkey business. You could never embarrass me. What you are is wonderful ... all of you.”

“Do you think that you’ll ever wish that you had married a more manly man?” Judy asked.

“Before they were plumbers or writers or taxi drivers or unemployed or journalists, before anything else, men were men. Doesn’t matter if they were heterosexual or homosexual. The only difference is, some remind you of it as soon as you meet them, others wait for a little while.”

“I once read where Madonna talked about effeminate men. She said that they intrigue her. She sees them as her alter ego and is drawn to them. She seemed to think she thinks like a guy, but she’s feminine so she relates to feminine men. Maybe that’s why you like me ... because you think like a man.”

“I don’t just like you,” Elaine said, “I love you. I am what I am, and think like I am. I’ve always admired elegant men. It probably is hard for a man to be elegant without a touch of femininity.”

“Or, a that touch of mink.” Judy giggled playfully.

“Mink does look elegant on a man.”

“Before Johnny left he said that Abby, Martha and I were living a lie.”

“Good lies need a leavening of truth,” Elaine said. “It’s very possible you have been living the absolute truth, a greater truth than if your aunts had brought you up in trousers.”

Judy fell silent as she pondered, then looked up at her wife. “Elaine, is an orgasm important to you?”

“Yes! I’ve had about a million of them the past few weeks.”

“What do they feel like?”

“An orgasm is the laughter of the loins.”

“Would your loins like a little chuckle?” Judy asked?

“Tickle my innards, matey!”

During their honeymoon, they planned their future together. They would continue to live as two women. No one outside of their immediate families would know of their marriage. They wouldn’t even tell Elaine’s parents about Judy’s real sex. They would keep their intimacy by not sharing their ultimate secrets.

They didn’t want to become a freak show. Due to the Brewster fortune the press would have a field day if they found out. People would watch their every mannerism, jotting down notes on how they sit, stand, talk, and even move -- and all in that snide, horrible, corkscrew English.

When they returned from the honeymoon ... er ... their business trip, Elaine moved into the Brewster mansion. Ostensibly so she could devote more time to the Brewster Foundation.

Teddy seemed to have little problem with the arrangement. “Woman should have equal rights with men,” he said, “Especially in laws relating to marriage, there should be the most absolute equality between the two sexes. I do not think the woman should assume the man’s name.”

Elaine and Judy kept a close eye on him, wondering just how much could Teddy bear?

Under their duel guidance, the Brewster Foundation flourished. Judy had outstanding organizational skills, while Elaine supplemented Judy’s abilities with gifted leadership in the investment area. Soon the amounts of their financial grants were double those of any previous time, without impairing the principal. Further, their active roles in the charities magnified the end impact of any amount they gifted. In Psalms it claims, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor.” Judy and Elaine were blessed.

Even Teddy seemed to think things were as they should be at Brewster mansion. He said, “I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of strenuous life.” Seemingly he was giving his tacit approval to the seventy-hour weeks the young couple was devoting to their labors.

Life was perfect. Elaine truly was a dream wife. The only thing missing was a chance to kiss and make up, as they never quarreled. When you’re in love, life is a holiday.

As a wedding present, Abby and Martha gave the couple a houseboat, which they christened “Room For One More,” as they often used it to entertain. Judy felt like she was Mr. Lucky.

“I really like the uniqueness of my life,” Judy said, one late evening in their room. “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. The American ideal seems to be that everyone should be as much alike as possible.”

Elaine gave Judy’s statement some thought, and responded. “The concept of mental health in our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs of the system ... and does so without showing stress.”

By that definition they were normal.

And, they lived happily ever after.… Well … almost.

Chapter Six — None but the Lonely Heart

“He will not stay more than one night in this house. I won’t have it.”

Abby was in tears. She was holding a letter from Johnny. Judy was away for the day checking on a clinic they funded in West Virginia. Elaine and Martha were sitting at the living room table, while Abby paced back and forth on the Oriental carpet that covered most of the floor.

“Read the letter again, please,” Martha said.

Elaine picked up the letter, and read it out loud for the fifth time.

“Dear Aunts Abby and Martha. It’s time I came home to take care of you. In six months, I’m coming to Boston. I’ve devoted my life to finding ways to set things straight with people like you. You’ll see! Your son, Johnny.”

Elaine was unable to tear her eyes away from the line that said, “set things straight.” To her, it sounded like Johnny was a serial killer taunting his prey.

“He will ruin our lives,” Abby cried. “His letter sounds so vindictive. His childhood couldn’t have been all bad.” She looked out of their window at the cemetery that separated the Brewster’s home from the parsonage where Elaine had lived. “Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. I don’t think he was born to be bad.”

“Maybe it’s an idle threat,” Elaine posed, but from what she could remember about Johnny, she didn’t really think he was the kind not to follow through.

“No,” Martha said. “Johnny’s coming home to cause trouble. To ‘take care of us.’ ” Martha wasn’t crying, but she was definitely frightened. “Abby, will you please sit down and quit that pacing.”

“He’s going to expose Judy,” Abby said, as she sat, “and tell everyone the awful truth and ruin everything. People will talk!” Abby was beside herself, recalling vivid memories of that terrible day when Johnny had left.

“Oh ... you’re right. You’re absolutely right. We’ll be the talk of the town,” Martha added. “He loved Judy, and felt betrayed when he discovered her secret. He has been waiting all these years for the right time to come back, and destroy her life.”

“Loved her?” Elaine asked. “Of course he loved her, they were brother and sister.”

“Not really,” Abby said, shaking her head. “Johnny and Teddy are brothers, but they aren’t related to Judy … not blood relatives. Johnny knew that Judy wasn’t really his sister, and fell in love with her. When he saw her … it was a horrible shock.”

“I have a fairly good idea how Johnny felt,” Elaine said.

“I suppose you do,” Martha said, patting Elaine’s hand. Her face suddenly turned stern. “No matter how much of a shock it was for Johnny, he has no right to come back and … and ruin things for Judy.”

“We just can’t allow that to happen.” Elaine was resolved to protect Judy. “We’ll just have to make it impossible for Johnny to have his revenge.”

“How can we do that?” Abby asked. “Will you two move away ... like Johnny?”

“No,” Elaine said. “Mortimer and I are going to live right here.”

“What do you mean?” Abby asked. “Mortimer? Oh.…”

The three put their heads together, and came up with a plan to transform Judy into Mortimer. They decided not to tell Judy about the letter, as they didn’t want her to be overly concerned. They would slowly change her into him. In six months, Johnny would have nothing to use to damage Judy or any other member of the Brewster family.

“What will the neighbors think? People coming into the house with one face and going out with another?” asked Abby.

“We must treat each man on his own worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal.” Teddy had been listening at the top of the stairs.

“They’ll believe what they see,” Elaine said, answering Abby, and generally bringing the conversation back on track after Teddy’s venture into Rooseveltland. “When we’re through with Mortimer, he’ll be the perfect gentleman. Are you two dead set on calling him Mortimer? It’s a fine name, but it makes him sound so old.”

“How about Nick?” Martha seemed ready and enthused. “We’ll change him in the ‘Nick’ of time. He’ll be our son, Nick.”

Nick it would be!

***

When Judy came back from her trip, she found everyone trying to be as quiet as possible. Aunt Martha was suffering from a migraine. The doctor had suggested that she might be having an adverse reaction to perfume, or some other strong scent.

That evening, all of the Brewster ladies put away their colognes, perfumes, and scented lotions. The next day, Aunt Martha was much better. It was decided that everyone (including Judy) would no longer wear scents. That was quite a change for Judy. She loved her romantic perfumes, especially Splendor by Elizabeth Arden. Even though it was a sacrifice, Judy wouldn’t think of putting poor Aunt Martha through more agony.

Two days later, Elaine and Judy went to the beauty parlor for their normal bi-weekly appointment. They both had kept roughly the same hairstyles for a number of years. Judy had been coaxing Elaine to try something new. On the way to the salon, Judy was surprised when Elaine offered to allow Judy to pick out a new style for her. Judy knew just what she wanted to have done to Elaine’s hair. Elaine agreed even though she said that she didn’t really like the cut.

“Now it’s your turn,” Elaine said, as she examined in the mirror the new “do” that Judy had selected for her.

“I don’t think so. I love my hair and couldn’t possibly change it.”

“Fair is fair.”

“Okay ... I’ll be a sport,” Judy said. “After all, all I really care about is what you think of me!”

“Just hold that thought!”

When Judy was finally allowed to look in the mirror at her new hairdo she was shocked. Her hair was cut into a Grace Jones’ style flattop. It was quite mannish!

“You look so much better,” Elaine gushed. “I love it!”

Judy was baffled, and didn’t seem too pleased. Elaine promised that they would shop for a wig in a few days, if Judy didn’t get used to her new style.

Aunt Abby and Aunt Martha were very taken by Judy’s new look. They thought it was marvelous.

Teddy didn’t express an opinion.

***

The increased number of household chores the Aunts found for her surprised Judy. Everything seemed to need attention at a time of day when they couldn’t call a repairman. Judy always had a hammer or wrench in her hands.

When Judy broke a nail fixing a stubborn faucet, Aunt Martha offered a manicure. Martha first removed all the nail polish on Judy’s fingernails. Once Judy’s nails were a natural color, she filed them down to an eighth of an inch beyond the tips of the fingers.

“It’s best if we make them all the same length,” Aunt Martha explained. “You really damaged this one. They’ll all have to be quite short for a while.”

With the shorter nails and the clear polish that Martha thought would facilitate the healing process, Judy’s hands looked much less refined and a bit thicker. Martha worked on Judy’s nails every other day in an effort to correct the damage done by the broken nail. If anything, it appeared all of Judy’s nails were getting shorter.

While trying to fix a stuck door, Judy had complained about her lack of strength. Aunt Abby solved that problem by going to the pharmacy, and getting Judy some special vitamins, “vitamins” that had actually been prescribed by their family doctor. Elaine and the aunts made sure that Judy took a handful of pills each day.

It was unthinkable for Judy to refuse to do anything that her Aunts and wife wanted done. In the Brewster house, love meant unconditional obedience and acquiescence.

***

All went well until Aunt Martha had another migraine. After consideration and a family council, it was decided that the aroma coming from their cosmetics was the problem. Every lipstick, foundation, and eyeshadow in the house was stored away in airtight containers.

Christmas brought surprises for Judy, as they opened gifts sitting around an elaborately decorated tree.

“Elaine, why men’s shirts?” Judy asked, as she studied a box filled with men’s tailored shirts.

“They’re all very nice,” Elaine said. “I liked the style, and couldn’t find anything quite like them in the ladies’ department. You will wear them, won’t you?” She pouted slightly.

“For you, anything,” Judy said. “The colors are nice, and I’ll find some darling cufflinks to go with them. A silk chiffon scarf would set them off.” Normally her aunts and Judy would have jumped right into a conversation about what to wear with what, but they seemed preoccupied and didn’t respond.

Judy either didn’t notice the masculine cut of the slacks she was given by Aunt Martha, or wasn’t about to spoil the Christmas spirit. She didn’t complain at all about the Sears tools she received from Aunt Abby. Apparently she was to be the permanent household janitor.

Later that week, Elaine asked Judy if she didn’t want to try on her new clothes. Not wanting to disappoint her wife, Judy put on one of the new shirts; it was a bit unhandy with the buttons all placed on the wrong side. The slacks Elaine persuaded her to try were a little more familiar, but the placement of the zipper made Judy blush with acknowledgement of its purpose.

As she looked in the mirror, she saw herself as a man for the first time in her life. There was no duality in the mirror. She was a man. She stared at her image for several minutes, while Elaine watched her, anxiously trying to read her thoughts.

“Do you like what you see?” Elaine asked.

“I’m not sure. This was a little hard for me to understand.”

“Would you like to try something?”

“What do you mean?” Judy asked.

“Would you like my help to see yourself as a man?”

“Oh Elaine, I don’t think I can be a man.” Yet there was the temptation to try. Something inside Judy’s head had clicked. The idea of dressing as a man was fascinating and exciting.

“You can be anything you want to be. You’ve already proven that.” With that, Elaine helped Judy remove her shirt, so that she could flatten her breasts with an ace bandage. Elaine brought out a pair of black men’s sox and some tightie-whities. She pulled a pair of wing tips from under the bed.

“Elaine, where did you get all of this?” Judy asked.

“I’ve been noticing how masculine you’ve been acting around the house lately, with your tool belt, and all the things you’ve been fixing. You’ve been a regular Tim Allen. We’ve been expecting you to grunt. I figured it was only an amount of time before you would want to try something like this.”

Judy started to open her mouth to argue. She was certain it had been her aunts who were demanding that she do all the repairs, and Abby had given her the tool belt. Yet, she was intrigued by what she saw in the mirror. Sure, her waist was too narrow and she didn’t have a five o’clock shadow, but what she saw was male.

The heavy wing tips caused Judy to shuffle. She automatically lost the sway she normally had in her hips that had been caused by wearing heels. Judy was much shorter without her heels, but as long as Elaine wore a modest heel, they would still look like a couple.

Judy took off her earrings and other jewelry, except for her plain wedding band.

“Let’s go out!” Elaine suggested. “We haven’t been out much lately.”

“Okay, I’ll change into something nice.” Whatever Elaine wanted, Judy would do. “I’ve got that navy skirt I’ve been waiting to wear.”

“No. Let’s go out like we are.” Elaine was dressed in a skirt and sweater. She looked a little plain without make-up, but she was a natural beauty.

“I couldn’t.” Judy was startled by the suggestion. “People will laugh at me.”

“You have nothing to be scared of. You’re quite handsome.”

“You couldn’t tell a mother swan from a father goose,” Judy said.

“Mortimer, look in the mirror. You look as masculine as most men.”

Mortimer? Elaine never called Judy ... Mortimer.

Elaine cuddled up to Mortimer, and pulled his arms around her. She looked him in the eyes and sighed. “You look so handsome. Couldn’t we just go out, and have a drink as man and wife?”

How could Judy refuse? There was a stirring in his loins that he didn’t quite recognize. It was as if he was hungry for something.

“Oh, okay,” Mortimer said. “ If it means that much to you. You know you’re my favourite wife.” Secretly, Mortimer was curious to see if he could pass in public as a man.

“Splendid. Mortimer, would you mind if I don’t call you Judy tonight?”

“I suppose that would be best.”

“Then you won’t be a girl in name only.”

“Aren’t you clever.” Mortimer said.

“How about if I call you Nick?”

“Nick?”

“Yes, Nicky,” Elaine replied. “If we’re going to have fun with this, we might as well go all the way. I’ve always loved that name.”

“Okay, Nick it is.”

Opening her top drawer, Elaine found a small jeweler’s box. Inside it were cufflinks inscribed with the initials “NLB.” She gave then to “Nick” and kissed her gently on the cheek.

“Isn’t that a shame,” Nick said, “my initials are ‘JLB.’ ”

“No, they’re not … Nick.”

Elaine then produced a billfold for Nick from her skirt pocket. He transferred most of what he needed from his purse. He hoped that they wouldn’t ask for an I.D. at the bar. As he stuffed the billfold in his hip pocket, he noted that the bulge felt unnatural.

“What do I do with the rest of my things that don’t fit in the billfold?” he asked.

“That’s why you have other pockets.”

“Elaine, do you know what it was men are talking about when they say they’re playing pocket pool?”

“No, I think it’s something you’ll have to learn on your own.”

For the next hour, Nick practiced male versions of standing, walking, sitting, and speaking. Elaine told him to keep his hands still when he talked. Nick solved that fault by stuffing his hands in his pockets.

He worked at plopping down into a chair, without care about causing creases in his trousers. He tried to remember to allow his legs to spread open, an unnatural position for him. Elaine help him lose a little of his perfect posture; she even had him slump his shoulders while he walked.

Nick quickly learned to strike the ground with his heels. He didn’t want to be accused of being light in his wingtips. He also lengthened his stride by more than a third.

When Nick couldn’t find any more reasons not to go out, they left, by a side door so that the Aunts wouldn’t know. Of course, the Aunts did know, and were excited and eager to see how the night would unfold.

They were eager. Nick was anxious. All his life he had been convinced that he was better off as a faux woman than he would have been as a feminine man. There seemed at least a possibility that he could actually be a man for his Elaine. He was determined to give it a try.

They went to a small neighborhood bar in a part of Boston that had once been known as the Combat Zone. The waitress had breasts that could serve as life preservers.

“What’l ya have?” the waitress asked.

“A white wine — er -- for the lady, and a bottle of beer for me.”

“A white wine -- well what do ya think of that.” The waitress was unimpressed by a simpering girly-girl who sipped white wine. “Say mister, you want a glass for that beer.”

“Nope, it ain’t champagne!” Nick, who was savoring his role, wondered if he should scratch his crotch, or spit on the floor. He was starting to feel comfortable when the waitress came back.

“Say! The bartender is having a real problem with you,” she said.

Nick looked over at the bar, hoping the bartender would be small. Unfortunately, he looked like he could easily break Nick in half. Nick nervously fingered the twine in his pants pocket.

“Say Suzy, what’s the problem?” Nick asked the waitress, in his lowest possible register. He had become a little less nervous, and had read the nametag hanging from her more than ample bosom.

“We’ve only got one bottle of white wine. You’ll have to pay for the entire bottle if we open it. It’ll cost ya seven bucks. And, we’re not so sure we can even find a corkscrew.”

“Just bring me a beer ... with a glass, please,” Elaine said, hoping to keep everything positive.

“Sure, sure cupcake. A glass for m’lady.” Suzy obviously didn’t count on receiving too many tips.

Things went smoothly for the next hour, as they had a few drinks. Elaine kept the conversation to work-related items, avoiding a discussion of fashion or the other feminine things they normally would talk about.

“Nick, I have to go to the ladies’ room.”

“That’s fine,” Nick said. “You go, and I’ll just sit here and wonder which sex I am.”

Elaine glanced back at Nick with a grin, as she left the room.

Nick was surprised when the waitress came over to the table, as she had just brought them a round. She had the roguish eyes of someone who had seen plenty in her day. She had been flirting with Nick all night, and was pleased to have an opportunity to come on to him. Leaning into Nick, she gathered up an empty beer bottle and wiped an imaginary spill off the table. Nick wondered if she had bought her perfume by the quart.

Her voice spoke of years of high times in low places. “You look just grand tonight. Why don’t you come up sometime ‘n see me? I’m home every evening.”

Nick didn’t know if she was making fun of him, or if she was serious. “Yeah, well I’m busy every evening.” He pointed to his wedding ring.

“Busy, so what were you trying to do, insult me.”

“Why no, not at all. I’m just ‘busy’ that’s all.”

“You ain’t kiddin me any. You know, I met your kind before. Why don’t you come up sometime, huh?”

“Well I….”

“Don’t be afraid. I won’t tell.…” She tilted her head toward the approaching Elaine, and leaned in to whisper. “Come up. I’ll tell your fortune.… Ah, you can be had.”

“What was that all about?” Elaine asked after the waitress had left.

“The waitress was so interested in talking to me that you would think she was trying to catch a thief, and I was the guilty party. I think I’ve just been propositioned.”

“That’s wonderful,” an excited Elaine said. “I mean, she certainly has her nerve coming on to my husband, but isn’t it wonderful that she sees you as a man? And a handsome catch at that!”

“I guess so.”

An unconvinced Nick had to use the bathroom. He wasn’t certain what he should do. He couldn’t hold off long enough to go home, and he certainly couldn’t go to the ladies’ room. He had never used a men’s room.

Elaine saw his squirming, and guessed what he was thinking. “Use the men’s room. It’s the one on the left. The door is labeled ‘Sticks’ --- the ladies’ says ‘Chicks.’ ”

Nick was appalled by what he had to do, but realized he had no choice. When he went into the men’s room, the only stall was in use. He could’ve waited, but hanging around the men’s room didn’t seem to be a good option. For the first time in his life, he used a urinal. He felt utterly ridiculous, but was strangely pleased when he found he could aim his “stick” at the target that had been placed at the urinal’s bottom.

As he washed his hands, he debated whether or not he should tell the other man in the room that he had hit the bulls-eye. He caught himself fluffing what little hair he had left while looking in the mirror. He immediately pulled his hand down, and hurried out the door. When he got back to the table, he talked Elaine into leaving before he did something ladylike that would ruin the evening.

As they walked into the Brewster mansion, Nick called out for his aunts. They came scurrying out of the kitchen like they had been waiting all evening for Elaine and him to come home.

“Alright you three,” Nick asked. “What’s up?”

“What do you mean, Nick?” a very innocent Elaine asked.

“Nick?” an equally innocent Aunt Abby inquired.

“Nick is a nice name,” Martha said. "I’ve never known a Nick I didn’t like. And, you do look very handsome. If you want to be called Nick, and run around in men’s clothing, I think that’s just fine.”

“Oh no,” Nick said. “You two may have been able to fool me for most of my life, but I’m not quite as naive as I once was. Why were you three working so hard to ‘masculinize’ me?”

“It’s Johnny,” Elaine admitted. “He’s coming home, and we won’t let him hurt you.” Martha and Abby nodded their agreement.

“Johnny?” Nick asked.

They showed him Johnny’s terse letter.

“So that’s it,” Nick said. “And, you three think I should be a he?”

“He’ll be here in about five months,” Martha said. “By that time you should be very convincing.” She had abandoned all pretenses of blamelessness in their conspiracy to "macsculate."

“He’s pretty convincing already,” Elaine said. “If I hadn’t kept him on a leash, he would have ran off with the Dolly Parton wannabe at the lounge.” Elaine was half peeved - half proud. There was quite a bit of “Nick” that Elaine preferred to “Judy.”

“Nick, you should be ashamed of yourself,” Abby said.

“I should be ashamed? What about you three?”

“Now, Nick,” Abby said. “We’ve always had your best interest at heart.”

“If you three had anymore interest in me,” Nick said. “I’d really be in trouble. Where do we go from here?”

Aunt Abby touched Nick by his upper arm to get his full attention. “Nick, we think you should keep dressing as a man.”

“I think so, too,” Nick said, “but this was something Elaine and I need to discuss in private.”

Nick and Elaine went to their bedroom and prepared for bed. Nick wasn’t totally surprised to find a set of men’s pajamas already laid out for him. He liked their heft and the way he looked in them. As he cuddled with Elaine, he noticed that she was wearing perfume.

“No more migraines?” asked Nick, with a smirk.

“I’m pretty sure you’ll see your aunts in full war paint tomorrow. They’ve missed their bright eyes and sweet smells.”

As Nick buried his nose into Elaine’s neck, he felt an unfamiliar twitch in his groin. “Elaine! Do you think it’s possible for me to have an erection?”

“With the pills we’ve been giving you, the doctor says it’s very probable that you’ll finally go through puberty!”

Nick wasn’t at all sure what he thought about his wife, and what she was doing to him, other than that he loved her. As they made love, Nick wondered if there might not be “Better Living Through Chemistry” in their future. Nick dozed off dreaming of new and wonderful things.

The next morning, Nick woke up with a sticky substance in his pajama bottoms. He had experienced his first wet dream. That afternoon, he went to the doctor; they discussed where he was going, and what was going to happen to him.

The doctor, who had been in on the plan from the start, prescribed a complete P. E. P. program of Pills, Exercise, and Pump. Nick left with a new prescription. The doctor had given him a pump like the one Nick had laughed at in an Austin Powers’ movie. The “exercise” prescribed by the doctor was something he could do at home … preferably at home. The doctor wanted him to masturbate at every opportunity. His prescriptions included dianabol, equipoise, winstrol, and masteron.

In the past, Nick had always been very comfortable with their female family doctor. Given the circumstances, Nick would have favored a doctor who was an elderly gentleman with a long beard. As it was, Nick couldn’t have been in better hands. The doctor had helped several transsexuals -- male to female as well as F2M.

“Nick,” the doctor said, “you’re going through one of the most satisfying and stimulating times of your life. Enjoy your transition and try to remember everything that is happening to you. You will never be intersexed again. Personally, Nick, I can’t imagine giving up my womanhood, but you’re the only one who can make that decision.”

When Nick returned to the Brewster mansion he found that all of his clothing had been removed and replaced with male attire. He changed out of his blouse and skirt and into slacks and a sweatshirt. As he was leaving his room, he ran into Teddy.

“Well, you look perfectly idiotic in those clothes!” Teddy said.

“These aren’t my clothes,” Nick answered.

“Well, where were your clothes?”

“I’ve lost my clothes.”

“Well, why were you wearing these clothes?” A very inquisitive Teddy asked.

“Because I just went gay all of a sudden.”

“I had a similar problem when I came down with malaria in San Juan. I found it help to left my sword and run up a hill screaming -- CHARGE!”

“Teddy, ‘getting my sword up’ is exactly why I’m wearing these clothes.”

Within a few weeks, Nick was able to ejaculate. For some reason, he remembered a poem Johnny had told them when they had been young. He finally understood the meaning.

They bought me a box of tin soldiers
I threw all the Generals away
I smashed up the Sergeants and Majors
Now I play with my Privates all day.

Nick was beginning to feel quite good. It appeared that he was on the road to intercourse.

“Do you feel guilty when you masturbate?” Elaine asked, as the two of them prepared for bed one evening.

Without stopping to think at all Nick answered, “Only if I do it badly! Hey don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.”

Elaine knew at that moment that Nick had made a big adjustment from the demure girl she had known as a child. He was becoming rude and crude, a giant step toward their goal of him becoming a man.

The Brewster mansion was again scented with the romantic fragrances of Abby’s Arpege, Martha’s Je Keviens and Elaine’s Pavlova. The only scent Nick would use was Aqua de Palma aftershave.

He actually needed aftershave, as his beard had started to grow. His eyebrows filled in, and he started to break out. His initial response was an urge to use concealer to cover his blemishes, but cosmetics were off limits to him. Thankfully, his acne went away as quickly as it had started. For a long tortuous month, his voice broke at unexpected times before he settled into a rich tenor. His hair became naturally curly, but much less thick.

Nick worked with Elaine to refine his vocabulary. Words like cute, delightful, and adorable were dropped. He started to read the sports page with more regularity. New to sports. He first became a Giants fan, later he changed his allegiance to the Dodgers.

He learned that men talk only when they need to. He assumed that was normally to convince women to sleep with them. He developed the opinion that women slept with men so that men would talk to them.

One day Elaine brought home several paint sample strips. She pointed to a color, and asked Nick what it was.

“That’s blush,” Nick said with confidence, wondering why Elaine was asking such a question.

“No Nick, that’s pink.”

“Well, it certainly looks like blush.”

“I know, Honey, but it’s pink. Let’s try this one.”

“That’s rose.”

“No, Nick, that’s pink.”

“But you said that other one was pink.”

“Yes dear, I know. Let’s try another.”

“Now that one I’m sure is melon,” Nick said with a grin.

“Nick, this is also pink. Men only recognize about fifteen basic colors. They don’t know the names of the various hues. While women have dozens of names for the shades of pink, that’s all lost on men. It’s like all those tiny engine parts that men seem to be able to name. Men like cars, women like clothes. Women only like cars because they take them to clothes.”

“Have you restricted my choices of color names to those in a small child’s Crayolaâ„¢ box?”

“Yes, if we want to eliminate the potential of a problem with Johnny. Now, what’s this?” Elaine pointed to a color that matched what had been Judy’s favorite mulberry lipstick.

“Wifey, you know that’s PINK.” Nick scratched his crotch for emphasis.

“You’re the best, Nick.”

“I’ve learned that only two things were necessary to make one’s wife happy. First, let her think she’s having her way. And second, let her have it.”

Elaine smiled deeply, and said. “That’s the kind of male garbage you should be spouting. I think we’re really making some changes in you.” Under her smile, Elaine felt the pain of the tradeoffs she was making. She was gaining a husband, but losing so much.

“Nonsense, Sweetcheeks,” Nick said, at his arrogant, smug, male best, “the only time a woman really succeeds in changing a male is when he’s a baby.”

The fatty deposits that had been Judy’s breast subsided and were surgically diminished to proper proportions. Liposuction help Nick remove the excess from his posterior.

At the same time his diet (fifty grams a day of saturated fat) added girth to his waist ... now a trim (for a male) thirty-two inches. He joined a health club, and started pumping heavy iron. He was becoming broad at the shoulders and narrow at the hip.

Many of those in the neighborhood, and those involved with his work, were amazed at the changes. Nick complained to Elaine.

“They all repeat rumors that I’m homosexual. Now ... I don’t think that’s an insult, but it is all nonsense.”

When Nick had been a twenty-four year old “Judy,” Randolph Scott, a CPA who audited the Foundations books, had hit him on. While Judy somewhat enjoyed the attention, she considered the advances to be heterosexual. Judy was fairly certain she wasn’t gay. Yet, she hadn’t taken the initiative to move the relationship to a sexual level, although she had been tempted.

At first Nick had urges to grab his wife’s cosmetics, and go to work on his appearance. Over time, he became accustomed to his face. The hair on his legs and torso became thick and dark. Nick really didn’t miss the periodic waxings that Judy had endured.

Nick decided to quit masturbating. After a week of “celibacy” he knew it was time to consummate his marriage.

Nick and Elaine checked into the same suite in the hotel where they had stayed the first night of their honeymoon. After a glass of champagne they shyly found their way into bed. Elaine wore the same night set she had worn their wedding night, but a t-shirt and boxers had replaced Nick’s gown.

Nick kept the upper position, and after a minimum of foreplay, he slipped his swelling member into a place he had only visited before with his mouth and tongue. They locked together like Legos, and undulated as if they were on a “mission.” Where Little Mortimer had struck out, Little Nicky hit a home run.

Nick felt his loins explode with a huge “belly-laugh.” At the same time, Elaine arched her back, as Mother Nature pronounced them man and wife.

Elaine presented to Nick a haiku she had written.

He became a She
Later, She became a He
I’m in love with YOU.

As they dined on a late snack, Nick talked of the sexes from his unique perspective. “I liked being a woman. Most women are instinctively wiser and emotionally more mature than men. They know their insecurities. A man rushes about trying to prove himself. It takes him much longer to feel comfortable about getting married. Of course our kids might be stumped if they’re ever asked, “Name your father’s gender.’ ”

Finally, they lived happily ever after. Well.… Except.…

Chapter Seven — Walk Don’t Run to Boston

When Johnny left the Brewster mansion on that ill-fated morning, he had the basic tools needed for survival. His military training compelled him to approach difficult situations from an analytical standpoint with the barest minimum of emotion.

Discovering that the love of your life is a male, after assuming for twelve years that she was a female, was too much to comprehend. He realized that he needed to put some distance between Brewster mansion and himself. He needed a plan.

Johnny went to Logan airport, and allowed himself one whimsical decision. He had no idea where he wanted to live. He followed what appeared to be a happy couple into the airport, and decided to go wherever they went. They both turned out to be professors at Indiana University, so Johnny landed in Bloomington.

He established residence in a Holiday Inn, and took several weeks to think, rarely leaving his room.

First, Johnny needed to decide what he wanted to do with his life. Second, he had to resolve his anger. He had been deceived for whatever reason, but needed to move on. Third, he needed an investment strategy for the five million dollars, so that money would never be a problem for him.

Johnny had a natural love of books and education. He knew that he wanted an advanced degree. He found the library at Indiana University to be very helpful. He found an incredible amount of information regarding gender dysphoria and transsexuals. He was drawn to the study of transgendered like a puppy eagerly leaning in to lick his owner’s face. He soon decided to pursue a degree in Medicine with an emphasis on gender studies. He was an excellent student and was highly motivated … hypersensitive to every bit of knowledge about his chosen field.

Johnny had successfully turned adversity into opportunity.

During the first few months, Johnny kept his cash in money market accounts. He read several books and studies regarding investing money. He came across a paper written by William C. Sharpe regarding the impact of style and sector on stock values. According to Sharpe, ninety percent of a stocks price was established by external factors. Sharpes’ studies indicated that predicting performance of individual stocks was fraught with peril.

Johnny decided to invest solely in mutual funds, picking them according to what was being favored in the market. All of his mutual fund choices were made by his preset equations. Part of Johnny’s education at the academy had been extensive training in the use of computers. Johnny programmed a Macintosh to make his style/mutual fund choices.

His no-emotion approach allowed him to avoid the greed/fear cycle that harms most individual investors. Johnny enjoyed the full positive impact of the bull market of the late eighties and nineties. He vacated a sliding market, selling most of his NASDAQ holding when that index was still at 4,500. He practiced asset balancing from the very start, so his losses had been minimized. His gains were substantial.

Johnny lived a simple life, spending less than fifty thousand dollars a year on his personal expense.

Johnny didn’t want contact with the Brewsters. He had set aside any personal rancor, but believed he would grow more as an individual, if he put them in his past. His knowledge of the transgendered had allowed him to become intellectually comfortable with Judy’s condition.

He had changed his name to Cary Dudley to further distance himself from Boston. Although he dated frequently, he always backed away from long-term relationships.

One evening, shortly after his internship finished, he had a few drinks at a local pub with a doctor from the teaching hospital. It was the kind of bar you would expect near a campus; it featured cold beer, free peanuts, and attractive co-eds. Toward the end of the evening, the doctor allowed the alcohol to loosen his tongue. He was about twenty years older than Cary and had a hint of a European accent.

“You know Cary,” the doctor said. “I wasn’t always associated with a teaching hospital. I once had a thriving practice with the Boston society set. All of that started to unravel the day I met the Brewsters.”

Cary could hardly believe his ears. “Isn’t that amazing. My life was also changed by a family called Brewster in Boston.”

“My Brewsters were nice enough,” the doctor said, “but there was something about them that seem to point toward trouble.”

“The Brewsters I knew were also terrific people. They just were incredibly quirky.”

“Quirky ... that would be appropriate for the family that led me to leave Boston.”

“I’ll bet your Brewsters,” Cary said, “didn’t run around their antiquated mansion in one hundred-year old dresses.”

Cary was shocked when his drinking companion passed out. The doctor hadn’t been drinking that heavily. Dr. Einstein just wasn’t the kind of person to become inebriated.

The next day, the two compared notes, and became very close friends. Fate had brought them together. Cary’s story brought Dr. Einstein to have new interest in gender-related medicine. They created a clinic backed by Cary’s money, and it soon became a thriving practice.

The Dudley Institute was located in a small, three-story, brick building on Jordan Avenue, not far from the main Indiana University campus. The building design told you immediately that its occupants had more important things to do than spend time on architecture.

The lobby held further proof the building was one of purpose. The mission statement for the Dudley Institute was posted on the wall in six-inch block letters for all to see. “Tempora mutantar, nos et mutamurin illis.” Times change, and we must change with them.

On a credenza in the lobby, was a stack of brochures that outlined the philosophy of the Institute. “We will accept all patients that demonstrate a desire for help with their gender dysphoria. Financial help is available.”

“Judy, Judy, Judy! That’s all I’ve heard from you for the past few weeks, Dr. Dudley.” Einstein and Dudley met daily to consult. They shared each other’s patients, using a team approach to optimize their effectiveness.

“I’ve never said ... Judy, Judy, Judy,” Cary said.

“Well, you’ve certainly said something like that every time we’ve talked recently; next week you’re scheduled to finally go to Boston to see the Brewsters.”

“I’ll admit I’m eager to see them -- including Judy. I’m ready to go there and help her with her problem.” Cary’s familiarity with transsexuals and transvestites had him in the habit of referring to his patients in the gender they preferred, regardless of birth sex.

“How do you know she still has a problem?” Dr. Einstein asked.

“I assume that living in that household would lead to a few idiosyncrasies. They’re insane.”

“Insane, Cary? Don’t you think you’re being a little harsh?”

“I find that when dealing with the insane it helps to pretend to be sane.” Cary said. “Sometimes when I looked in my aunts’ eyes I got the feeling no one was driving. It appears there’s a little too much chlorine in their gene pool.”

“Cary!”

“You know I’m kidding. I look forward to seeing all of them. I had a very good childhood, and hope to set some things straight. Besides, what a case study Judy will be! The process of turning a man into a woman is enormously complicated. I’m absolutely certain that Judy had no more idea that he wasn’t a she, than I did.”

“She is unique in her upbringing, but Cary, I want to remind you -- the Brewsters are eccentric. The rich are allowed to be eccentric, it’s only the poor that have to be nuts. What makes you so sure Judy is still having a problem?” Dr. Einstein asked again. “It sounds to me that she was fairly well-adjusted from the way you’ve described her. Please also try to remember, as you speak, that Abby and Martha are two of my favorite people.”

“Sure she was happy and contented ... up until I freaked. There’s no telling how much damage was inflicted that morning. I’ve been afraid to go back until I felt able to clinically cope with the situation. Think of it. What a chance to work with someone with a totally different perspective on gender identity. Most children are taught there are two different sexes, and that a person’s gender group is stable over time and situations. Think of the lack of gender consistency in Judy’s life. Think of trying to determine if she has problems with gender labeling, or did have problems as a small child. I sure hope Abby and Martha will cooperate.”

“Have you thought of the different schemas you might encounter?” Einstein asked.

“I’m certain Judy will have extraordinary mental representations about the sexes.”

“Children learn about society’s sexual differences by placing emphasis on what they were expected to learn. Boys think they were expected to know more about trucks and engines, so they listen much more intently when such things were discussed.”

“Judy represents an opportunity to either support or refute some of those theories,” Dr. Dudley said. “As you know, we have many associates who believe hormone level determines children’s abilities, behavior, and personalities. Judy might help us shed some light on that as well.

“I’m not so sure you’re ready to face your past.”

“What a pity you and I can’t trade problems. You seem to know exactly how to solve my dilemmas.”

“Cary, I don’t think you’re being entirely fair with me.”

“How’s that my fine colleague?” Cary asked.

“I’m trying to be serious, and you’re making a joke.”

“Maybe I joke because I am so serious?”

“Maybe your conscience is bothering you too much?”

Cary eyes were fixed on the ceiling of his office, as he spoke. “Anyone whose conscience never troubles him, must have it pretty well-trained.”

“You know Cary. I can joke too. For instance -- did you know human beings were the only creatures on Earth that allow children to come home?”

“Sure, Ace, we watched that Cosby special together. You don’t think Abby and Martha will kill me and bury me in the basement, do you?”

“That’s absurd. Home is a place where they have to let you in. Cary, do you think there’s a chance that Judy might be happy just as she is?”

“Well, most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

“It’s possible she’s happy,” Dr. Einstein said. “It’s logical that a man who has lived as woman for as long as Judy has would be content in her role.”

“If the world were a logical place, men would ride sidesaddle,” Cary said. “If the stars are aligned right, my trip to Boston should be very positive.”

“Cary, you know I don’t believe in astrology. Of course, that’s typical for a Capricorn. I know you’ve been using the name Dudley to distance yourself from the Brewsters. Now that you’re going back to re-establish ties, do you have any desire to use your real name.”

“My real name is Johnny Grant. As you know, I was adopted. I think it would be too painful to go back to being called Johnny. I actually much prefer Cary. Given time to consider, I would like to have a name that isn’t surrounded by turmoil or anger. How about a hybrid of my past and present names? How does Cary Grant sound to you?”

“Sounds a little formal. Stick with Dudley. By the way, where did you get the name Dudley?”

“It was just something I picked up playing softball; we played with Dudley Redstitch softballs.”

“You picked your name from a softball? Your family is loaded with individuals!”

“You and I would be out of job,” Cary said, “if our society quit picking on us individuals. Those who talk about individuality the most fervently are also those that most object to deviation. Things are changing. Some day people will just think what they want to think, and then everyone WILL BE THINKING ALIKE, which seems to be what people want.”

“Cary, why do you think people have such a taboo about cross-dressing?”

“Taboos are only the hangovers of diseased minds. They’re the product of fearsome people who use religion and morality to impose their will upon us.”

“We are way too worried about how others see us,” Einstein agreed.

“The truth is, if we saw ourselves as others see us, we would vanish on the spot. People just don’t see one another. All people want is what they can never really get ... respect. People are to concerned about negative comparisons with themselves to ever truly respect each other.”

“Cary ... I think you’re ready to go to Boston ... to set things right.”

***

Nick, Elaine, Abby and Martha were paging through a photograph album from over twenty years earlier. As life had become normal in the household, Teddy often spent long hours by himself behind closed doors, in his room. Everyone respected his privacy, and hoped for the best.

He seemed to spend quite a bit of time online. Package after package had arrived for Teddy. He always opened them in his room.

Teddy had a credit card he was allowed to use for personal purchases. The aunts had told the accountants to pay his bills, as long as he didn’t spend more than $250,000 a year. They felt it was Teddy’s business and Teddy’s business only what he did in his room.

Teddy had lost a considerable amount of weight. As he had tended toward the plumper version of Roosevelt, the change was welcome. The family doctor had checked Teddy, and had pronounced him to be in good health.

“Look!” Elaine said. “Here’s a picture of Johnny, Judy, Teddy and me making fudge in the kitchen. Don’t we look happy?” Elaine was glowing with the heightened health of a woman carrying a child. She didn’t know it yet, but she had Nick’s baby on board.

Nick examined the photo, and thought about Johnny, who was scheduled to arrive at any time. “A family’s photograph album is generally about the extended family — and often is all that remains of it.”

“I hope this extended family goes on as one,” Martha said, “I’m praying Johnny will remember the love we all had for him.”

Elaine closed the album and sighed. “Not even Johnny would want to have his entire family hate him. There’s a power that the family can exercise over you that is more powerful than anything else in society.”

“It might be best if Johnny just doesn’t show!” Nick said. “I’ve discovered there were advantages to being male, and I like them. I owe that discovery to Johnny. Like Orwell said, ‘All animals were equal but some animals were more equal than others.’ I like being a more equal animal.”

The doorbell rang. Nick answered it, recognized Johnny, and immediately hugged him.

Johnny was slightly taken aback. He pulled away, and looked Nick over from head to toe.

“Teddy?” Johnny asked.

“Judy,” Nick answered

“Judy?” Johnny asked.

“Judy.” Nick affirmed.

“Ahem!” Everyone turned toward the feminine voice at the top of the stairs. There stood Teddy. He was a vision of pearls, tight curls, and a flowered dress (that swirls). There was little question what Teddy had been doing in his room for the past several months. He was the picture of grace and contentment. Teddy had found his true Self after years of search.

“I’m no longer pretending to be my uncle. From now on I will simply be me --- Eleanor Roosevelt, the woman who married her cousin and later became a lesbian.”

“Well, I’ll be the son of a sea cook,” Nick said, accepting Teddy’s change as readily as he/she/he had accepted all the other changes in the Brewster mansion.

The End

(A huge thank you to JayceePerhaps for an extreme amount of help in crafting this story.)

Appendix - References to the career of Cary Grant

I’ve included many references to “Arsenic and Old Lace,” but will not list them. This great Frank Capra farce was filmed in 1944. The cast included Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre. If you haven’t seen this movie for a while, rent it immediately. Some critics pan it as Grant’s worst film, citing his mugging. It might not be high drama, but it was great low comedy.

Chapter One - Bringing Up Baby

“Bringing Up Baby” was a comedy filmed in 1938 co-starring Katherine Hepburn

*

They met the young lady (Regina Lambert) at a home for single mothers they supported through their foundation.

Regina Lambert was the screen name for Audrey Hepburn in the 1963 classic “Charade.”

*

His father’s name was Archie, Archie Leach from Bristol, England.

Archie Leach was Grant’s real name.

*
His father’s name was Archie, Archie Leach from Bristol, England.

Grant was born in Bristol, England.

*

Archie had changed his last name from Ferrante to Leach.

Grant played Nicke Ferrante in “An Affair to Remember” with Deborah Kerr in 1957. This film was mentioned in “Sleepless in Seattle’ as the ultimate chick-flick.

*
He had considered taking the initials of a famous movie star, reversing them and coming up with a name using those initials.

According to Hollywood legend, the studio picked Cary Grant’s name by taking the initials from their current top star’s name (Gary Cooper), reversing them and filling in the name.

*

She kept a piece of twine in her pocket to remind her that all she amounted to was less than the value of a piece of twine.

Grant carried a piece of twine in his pocket supposedly to remind him of his modest upbringing.

*

They started with Virginia, moved on to Barbara, gave a thought to Betsy, then Dyan, a second thought to Barbara ... before settling on Judy.

Grant had five wives: Virginia, Barbara, Betsy, Dyan and Barbara.

*

Chapter Two - Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

“Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” co-starred Myrna Loy in 1948

*

Because of there’s anything Abby and I can do to help you, just let us know and we’ll do it.”

Judy quickly reviewed in her mind what they had already done for her. “Well, er - don’t do it until I let you know.”

Roughly a conversation that took place between K. Hepburn and Grant in “Bringing Up Baby”

*

Chapter Three — Charade

1963 Audrey Hepburn

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She had become a beautiful young lady with a certain amount of musical talent playing the harp and piano.

Grant played both the harp and piano.

*

Chapter Four — “Every Girl Should Be Married”
1948 film with soon-to-be wife, Betsy Drake

*

As he told “the Philadelphia Story” for the fifth time, the doorbell rang.

1941 Film with K. Hepburn... the fourth and final film with her.

*

The two friends giggled at “the Bishop’s Wife”’s sentiments.

1948 film with Loretta Young

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“That’s not true. I’m afraid of knives and heights.”

Grant was afraid of knives and heights.

*

All I do was what I’ve been taught by Abby and Martha. “I’m no angel.”

1933 movie with Mae West... Extremely Funny

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I’m a rotten speechmaker. Making speeches has never been my forte’... not even my fifty or sixty or seventy.”

Grant thought he was terrible at making speeches. The above was a direct quote.

*

“Will you shut up, lady!”

Grant told people to “Shut up” in many of his movies.

*

Chapter Five — “The Awful Truth”

1937 with Irene Dunne

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But then you can lie from any position, can’t you.

Regina Lambert in “Charade”

*

Oh I love you Mortimer, Judy Brewster... whatever your name was.

Paraphrased from Regina Lamberts well-known speech at the end of “Charade.”

*

“She’s your man.” Said Elaine.

“I wish she was.” Added Judy.

“I Was a Male War Bride” 1949 with Ann Sheridan

*

Their trip covered the U.S., “North by Northwest.”

1959 thriller with Eva Marie Saint

*

After touring the United Nations they took a train from New York to Chicago. They then flew Northwest Airlines to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. Other than a few moments in a field with a crazed crop duster, their honeymoon was perfect.

Roughly the route taken in “North by Northwest.”

*

You’re not fantasy, and I have a “suspicion” you know it.

1941 with Joan Fontaine

*

How did you ever succeed in hiding your sex for all these years. You could be “notorious” by now.

1946 with Ingrid Bergman

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I don’t see how we’d ever get a divorce. It would be like unwinding the insides of a golf ball.”

“I Was a Male War Bride”

*

I mostly dream about the “Howards of Virginia”

1940 with Martha Scott

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Hey, we’ll have none of that “monkey business”

1952 with Marilyn Monroe

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“Or a “that touch of mink.” Giggled Judy playfully.

1962 with Doris Day

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Life was perfect. Elaine truly was “a dream wife.”

1953 with Deborah Kerr

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When you’re in love as these two, life is a “holiday.”

1938 with K. Hepburn

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As a wedding present, Abby and Martha gave the couple a “houseboat,”

1958 with Sophia Loren

*

which they christened “Room For One More” as they often used it to entertain.

1952 with Betsy Drake

*

Judy felt like he was “Mr. Lucky.”

1943 with Lorraine Day

*

Chapter Six — “None but the Lonely Heart”

1944 with Ethel Barrymore

*

Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories

Deborah Kerr as Terry McKay in “An Affair to Remember”

*

I don’t think he was “born to be bad”

1934 with Loretta Young

*

“He’s going to expose Judy as a man and tell everyone “the awful truth” and ruin everything...people will talk!” Abby was beside herself.

1933 with Irene Dunne

*

“He’s going to expose Judy as a man and tell everyone the awful truth and ruin everything...”people will talk”!” Abby was beside herself.

1951 with Jeanne Crain

*

“Oh... you’re right... you’re absolutely right. We’ll be “the talk of the town”.”

1942 with Jean Arthur

*

“How about Nick?”

By naming him Nick he would actually become Nick Ferrante; Grant’s screen name in “An Affair to Remember.”

*

You couldn’t tell a mother swan from a “father goose”

1965 with Leslie Caron

*

You know you were “my favourite wife”

1940 with Irene Dunn

*

Then you won’t be a girl “in name only”

1939 with Carole Lombard

*

Say “Suzy”, what’s the problem?

1936 with Jean Harlow

*

You go and I’ll just sit here and wonder which sex I am.”

“I Was a Male War Bride”

*

“You look just grand tonight. Why don’t you come up sometime ‘n see me? I’m home every evening.”

Nick didn’t know if she was making fun of him or if she was serious. “Yeah, well I’m busy every evening.” He pointed to his wedding ring.

“Busy, so what were you trying to do, insult me.”

“Why no, not at all. I’m just ‘busy’ that’s all...”

“You ain’t kiddin me any. You know, I met your kind before. Why don’t you come up sometime, huh?”

“Well I...”

“Don’t be afraid. I won’t tell...” She tilted her head toward the approaching Elaine and leaned in to whisper. “Come up. I’ll tell your fortune... Ah, you can be had.”

On screen by-play between Mae West and Grant in 1933. This was as close as Mae West came to saying “Why don’t ya come up and see me some time?” Much like Grant never said onscreen, “Judy, Judy, Judy”.

*

The waitress was so interested you’d think she was trying “to catch a thief” and I was the guilty party

1955 with Grace Kelly

*

“Well, you look perfectly idiotic in those clothes!”

“These weren’t my clothes.”

“Well, where were your clothes?”

“I’ve lost my clothes.”

“Well, why were you wearing these clothes?”

“Because I just went gay all of a sudden.”

“In Bringing Up Baby,” Grant has a scene where he was wearing a woman’s pink robe. The last line above was supposedly the first time the term ‘gay’ was used in the mainstream to describe a homosexual.

*

“They bought me a box of tin soldiers
I threw all the Generals away
I smashed up the Sergeants and Majors
Now I play with my Privates all day.”

One of Grant’s favorite poems.

*

Even though the Brewster mansion was again scented with the romantic fragrances of Abby’s Arpege, Martha’s Je Keviens and Elaine’s Pavlova, the only scent Nick would use was Aqua de Palma aftershave

The only scent Grant used wows Aqua de Palma

*

New to sports. he first became a Giants fan, later he changed his allegiance to the Dodgers.

Grant was first a Giants fan and later became a Dodgers fan

*

They all repeat rumors that I’m homosexual. Now ... I don’t think that’s an insult, but it was all nonsense

A direct quote from Grant.

*

He had been hit on by Randolph Scott, a CPA that audited the Foundations books. While Judy somewhat enjoyed the attention, she considered the advances to be heterosexual. Judy was fairly certain she wasn’t gay. Yet, she didn’t take the initiative to move the relationship to a sexual level. Although she had been tempted.

Grant was widely rumored to be gay. He lived with Randolph Scott and was thought to have been his lover; that rumor was never substantiated.

*

name your father’s gender

“I Was a Male War Bride”

*

Chapter Seven — “Walk Don’t Run” to Boston

1966 film with Samantha Egger

*

“Judy, Judy, Judy! That’s all I’ve heard from you for the past few weeks Dr. Dudley.” Doctors. Einstein and Dudley met daily to consult. They shared each other’s patients using a team approach to optimize their effectiveness.

“I’ve never said... Judy, Judy, Judy.” Retorted Dudley.

Grant never said this in any of his films.

*

The process of turning a man into a woman was enormously complicated.”

“I was a Male War Bride”

*

As I write this I may have forgotten to write down other references. If you find them you’re a better woman than I, “Gunga Din.”

1939 with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

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