The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?
A Novel By Teddie S.
Copyright © 2018 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.
A newsletter. And Commencement.
Amy and I, or really Amy and Kai, had gone to a support group meeting for two reasons, first to say so long to some people. And I also wanted to see Dr. Whitmeyer or Claire, who was supposed to be there.
Dr. Whitmeyer was the one who tried, at the seminar on transsexuals and cross-dressers, to discredit Larry’s research paper, on the two spirit people, and Dr. Grunewald for allowing an undergraduate to present a paper. I stood up and chastised the “good” doctor for not having his facts straight on two spirit people. Dr. Whitmeyer had apologized to Larry and Dr. Grunewald, and he also had promised to write a research paper on the two spirit people of the Navajo. And he had researched and written the paper, and I wanted to thank him in person, and I did.
Today was Monday, April 3, the first day of our final quarter of undergraduate studies. We had a calendar in our bedroom that showed the countdown to two things. The first was the countdown to commencement, and that was at seventy days. The second was the countdown to the day we leave for New Mexico, and that was at eighty days.
Amy and I only had three classes each this quarter, and none of those classes met on Friday. So, in theory, we had three day weekends. But Amy set Friday as her day to study for her test for her registered nurse's license. And that was okay because it was important to her.
Amy found out that since there was such a large graduating class of nurses that the university was going to be a testing site for the registered nurse's license exam, and that they planned to give the test on the Monday after commencement. No partying after commencement for us.
On Friday my mom got the mail, and when she walked back into the house, she handed me a large envelope, and said, “Tom, this for you.”
“Who’s it from?”
“Your Aunt Ruth.”
“Hmm. Wonder what it is?”
“Open it and find out.”, Amy said.
The large envelope was thick. I opened it and took out what was inside. It was a newsletter that was written for the American Indian people. There was a note attached to the front that said,
“The Fairbrothers sent this to you. They used our address. So we’re forwarding it to you.
“I hope you don't mind, but we looked at the newsletter, and the article about the two spirit people is very nice. It mentions you.
I looked at the newsletter, and said, “Amy, this newsletter contains the article that the Fairbrothers said that they were writing about two spirit people.”
“Really.”, Amy said. “Why did Aunt Ruth sent it?”
“Yes. I think that the Fairbrothers’ wanted us to have it, and the only address that they had for me was Aunt Ruth’s.”
“Can I read it after you’ve finished?”
“Who are the Fairbrothers?”, my mother asked.
“Mom.”, Amy said. “We met them at the resort. They’re members of Ojibwe tribe and from Michigan. They go around judging dance competitions and they also do some writing. And when we met them, they were working on an article on two spirit people. And when they’re in the area, they stay at the resort. Something about there being a great Southwestern barbecue there.”
“Can I read the article too.”
“Of course, mom.”, I said. “Dad may even like it.”
As I read the article, I said, “Amy, they used the picture of the two of us that they took by the rocks.”
“Really?”, Amy replied. “Let me see.”
I showed her the picture, and she said, “That is a nice picture.”
When I finished the article, I gave the newsletter to Amy, and she read it. When she finished, she handed it to my mother, and said, “That was interesting. It covers the two spirit people in a number of tribes, and it’s interesting that they are all looked at in the same way by their tribes, as someone who is special.”
When my mother finished reading the article, she said, “That is a good article, and I love the picture of you two.”
“Picture. What picture?”, my dad asked as he walked in the door.
“This one.”, my mom said as she handed him the newsletter.
My dad looked at it, and said, “That is a great picture. What’s for dinner?”
My mom put her hands on her hips, and said, “What’s for dinner? No, hi I’m home. Just what’s for dinner. Well, honey, it’s going to be whatever you’re going to cook.”
“Oh. Hi. I’m home.
“It’s too late.”
I looked at Amy, and said, “We’d better go and change. We’re going out to dinner.”
“Sounds like a plan to me.”, my dad said. “So, go get changed, and I’ll take you to a nice restaurant.”
“Remember daddy. It takes girls forever to get ready.”
“So I’m going to have three pretty girls with me tonight?”
“Don’t be too long you two.”
“Yes, Daddy.”, Amy and I said together as we headed to our room.
As Amy and I walked into our room, Amy asked, “So is it, Tammy or Kai, tonight?”
“Neither.”, I replied. “I was messing with dad.”
“Aw. Why not.”
“Tammy doesn’t look good in black hair. And it would take too long doing a good look for Kai.”
“No to both. Tammy does look good with black hair. And it wouldn’t take that long to do Kai’s hair.”
“Okay. What would you do for Tammy?”
“Easy. Change it into a girl’s ponytail and put a cute barrette in it.”
Amy quickly took out my boy’s ponytail and gave me a girl’s ponytail, and added the beaded butterfly barrette. Then as she quickly changed, I became Tammy. The usual underwear, the padded panty and a matching panty and bra set with the forms. I wore a short skirt with one of the fancy blouses from out west. I replaced my studs with a pair of hoops. Added a thin chain necklace with a heart pendant to my ever-present meteorite necklace. And a couple of dashes of nice perfume.
Just before we walked out of the bedroom, I said, “I think we should get a subscription to that newsletter. It looked interesting.”
“It couldn’t hurt.”, Amy replied. “But let’s wait until we get to Albuquerque and we know our address out there.”
As we walked back into the kitchen, my mom and dad were waiting for us. And as we walked in, I said, “See daddy, it didn’t take that long.”
My dad looked at me, and there were tears in his eyes. I asked, “Daddy, what’s wrong?”
“Honey.”, my mother said. “We were talking, and your dad realized that you two are moving away and we won’t be able to do things like this.”
I looked at my dad, walked over to where he was sitting, stooped down, took his hands in mine, looked at him, and said, “Daddy, don’t cry. We love you guys. You and mom will always be in our hearts, and we’ll call you all the time. And we’ll come back as often as we can. Besides, you and mom can always come and visit us, and we have a place for you to stay when you come out.”
My dad looked at me, and said, “Honey, I know. It just hit me that my only child was moving away.” Then looking at Amy, he said, “Sorry Amy. I mean my two children are moving away. It just made me sad. I’ll get over it.”
“Daddy.”, Amy said. “It’s hard for us too. We had to do a lot of soul-searching and talking before we decided. And we’re sad too.”
My dad sat up straight, and said, “All right. Enough of this sadness. Let's go to a good Italian restaurant. I’m in the mood for a pizza.”
Almost two-and-a-half hours later, as we walked back into the house, my dad was grumbling, “I hate standing in line that long to eat.”
“Daddy.”, Amy said, “It’s Friday night in a college town. And that place has the best pizza in town, and they don’t take reservations. Now, wasn’t it worth it standing in line?”
“Yes, daughter. It was more than worth it.”
Sunday night when we were getting ready for bed, Amy walked over to the calendar, crossed off Sunday, and said, “Well, sixty-three days until commencement and seventy-three until we leave.”
“Still nervous about moving?”, I asked.
“So am I.”
I’m not going to bore you with the details of the next nine-weeks, other than to tell you, that we found out that little miss smarty pants made the President’s Honor list during winter quarter, and we both made the Dean’s List. And it was the usual classes, studying, meeting with the crew, and planning to move which wasn’t a normal thing for us.
Amy and I also ordered and picked up our caps and gowns for commencement. Both of our gowns were black, full cut with long pointed sleeves, and the cap is the typical black mortarboard with a different colored tassel for each college. Amy’s tassel is apricot, and mine is orange. And we couldn’t pick up our honor cords until the Friday before commencement which was on a Sunday morning.
Two weeks before commencement was senior’s finals week. The only thing that those of the crew who were supposed to graduate worried about was not flunking a final. The only final that I was somewhat concerned about was my final in advanced integrated circuits. Little miss smarty pants had pulled all A’s on the tests in her classes, so she didn’t have to worry about any finals. But, she had to worry about her biggest test, the NCLEX-RN which is the test that she had to pass to receive her registered nurse’s license.
On the Friday before commencement Amy and I were on campus. We first stopped at the College of Engineering’s office and picked up my honor cords for being Cum Laude. Then we went over to the Nursing School and the dean’s office.
When Amy told the girl at the desk who she was, the girl looked at her list, and said, “Just a minute, Mrs. Young. The dean wanted to know when you were here.”
The girl picked up her phone, dialed, and said, “Dean Richards, Amy Young is here.”
“Yes, ma'am. I’ll tell her.” The girl looked at Amy, and said, “Mrs. Young, the Dean will be right out.”
A minute later a woman walked out of an office, with something in her hands, and over to Amy. As she walked up to us, she handed Amy her honor cords, and said, “Amy, I wanted to give you your cords myself. It isn’t often that we have a Summa Cum Laude graduate.”
Amy accepted her honor cords, with a smile, and a “Thank you very much, Dean Richards.”
“Amy, we are going to miss you around here. The University of New Mexico is lucky. They have a real gem in you.”
“Thank you, Dean. It was a hard decision to make. And thank you for the nice letter of recommendation.”
“It was my pleasure to write that letter. And I can appreciate making the decision. I left my alma mater to come here, and it was a hard decision. We’ll see you on Sunday.”
“See you Sunday, Dean Richards.”
As we walked out of the School of Nursing building, I said, “That was nice of her to give you your honor braid that way.”
“Yes. She’s always been very nice.”, Amy replied.
The Saturday before commencement they had a rehearsal. I don’t know how they did it, but with over thirty-five-hundred graduates the university somehow kept it organized. You had to sit alphabetically by name within your college. So today we met with all the graduating seniors of our college at a given place, and that was the same place that we’d meet on Sunday. Then they assigned everyone a seat number, and that’s the order that you would file into the stadium and sit in a folding chairs set up on the field. Yes, they used the football stadium to hold the whole graduating class, the parents and other guests sat in the stands. And you hoped that it didn’t rain.
So today once we were in line by our seat numbers, we met up with the graduates from the other colleges and were inserted into the processional line in the proper place. Then you marched into the stadium in order by your college and seat number, with the Graduate School being first. And we did this. Then in order, we practiced walking across the stage, where on Sunday you’d receive your diploma as your name was read. And, yes, it was your diploma in the folder you were handed. How they kept that straight was beyond me. But they did. And then you went back to your seat. So we went through that. Then they talked to us for a while.
Finally, we were dismissed. And I started making my way back to where I’d parked the car, and where Amy and I had agreed to meet. I was at the car fifteen minutes before Amy made it. She walked up, and said, “This is crazy. Once we’re together, the nurses have to walk almost half a mile to the stadium. We should have opted to graduate in absentia.”
“Too late how, love.”, I replied. “Besides, our parents would have killed us.”
“You’re right. By this time tomorrow, it’ll be over.”
“Or just beginning.”
Amy smiled that cute little smile of hers, and said, “You’re right, just beginning.”
Sunday was the big day. We graduate. The whole crew will receive their bachelors degrees, except Kelly and she already has hers. And our commencement was scheduled for nine o’clock in the morning. Why so early?
We had to be there at eight o’clock. So it was up early and into comfortable clothes and shoes. Both Amy and I were going to wear moccasins along with shorts and a comfortable blouse or shirt. Moccasins were good as long as you weren’t walking on stones.
After breakfast, mom made us put our full regalia on, gown, cap with tassel, and honor cords. She wanted pictures.
After mom got her pictures, we removed our regalia, carried it to the car and headed for the football stadium. We parked the car, and after a kiss, we headed to our proper assembly spots. When I got there, I was handed a copy of the commencement program. Then I put on my cap, gown, and honor cord, and we waited. At eight-thirty we heard music, and they started to put together the processional. Then as the clock tower struck nine, we heard the fanfare, and we started entering the stadium. I have no idea how long it took for all of us to enter and take our seats, but it was long enough.
The first thing was the invocation, and then the whole graduating class sang the Alma Mater. I’m glad it was printed in the program. We then listened to a boring Commencement Address. But this gave me a chance to look through the commencement program, and I found Amy, she had Summa Cum Laude after her name. I smiled to myself.
I also found myself, Cum Laude. Then I found Larry, Magna Cum Laude, not surprising. Maria was Cum Laude, I figured that she could do it.
There were honors given to various people. They then had each college stand individually, and the Dean of that college proclaimed, “I hereby confer upon you Bachelor degrees as indicated with all rights and privileges thereunto appertaining.” and the President of the University did the same for all the Masters and Doctoral degrees.
Then after they swore in those who were being commissioned into the Armed Forces, they started awarding the diplomas. As we walked across the stage, they read our name and said if we’d earned any honors, the dean of your college would hand you your diploma and shake your hand. Then the President of the University would shake your hand. Since I was in the College of Engineering, I was across the stage and back in my seat before Amy crossed the stage as the School of Nursing was included under the College of Medicine.
The girl sitting to my right, whispered to me, “I wish I’d thought of moccasins or something like them.”
I looked at what she was wearing on her feet, and they were pumps with a two-inch heel, then I whispered back, “Moccasins are comfortable, better than heels anytime.”
She gave me a strange look. Did I say something wrong?
As they awarded the diplomas we heard some Cum Laude degrees awarded, and a few Magna Cum Laude degrees awarded, and a couple of Summa Cum Laude degrees awarded. Then they finally got to the College of Medicine and the School of Nursing. And Amy was towards the end of that group, but finally, the reader said, “Amylin Elizabeth Young, Summa Cum Laude.” There was nice applause, as there were for the other honor recipients. Dean Richards handed Amy her diploma, and instead of shaking Amy’s hand the Dean hugged her.
The guy sitting on my left said, “That’s impressive.”
I whispered back, “I’ll tell her you said that.”
“You know her?”
“Yeah. I'm lucky enough to be married to that girl.”
Finally, the last graduate of the last College, the College of Veterinary Medicine, had received their degree. As we were sitting there, we had heard the clock tower strike ten, and then strike eleven, and then as we were finally doing the recessional out of the stadium, I heard the clock strike twelve.
Again Amy and I had agreed to meet the car as soon as commencement was over. This time, somehow, Amy had beaten me to the car. As I walked up, she threw her arms around me, and we kissed.
When we broke the kiss, Amy said, “It’s almost over.”
“I thought it was over?”, I replied.
“Remember what I have to do tomorrow?”
“Oh yeah. The licensing test.”
“Then it’ll be over. And, Tommy, I could have never done this without you. I love you so much.”
“Honey, I love you more than you will ever know.”
And we kissed again.
Then we tried to get out of the parking lot, with all the families of the graduates here it was really crazy. But between the campus police and city police, it did move reasonably well. And we beat both sets of our parents to the house.
When our parents finally made it to the house, we got all kinds of hugs and handshakes. My dad said, “All right you two let me have the tassels off of your caps and your diplomas.”
“Why?”, I asked.
“Never you mind. Just give them to me, and go and change. We’re taking you out to eat.”
Amy and I retrieved our tassels and diplomas from our room, and then went back to our room to change. When we came back out from our room, two wooden picture frames were laying on the kitchen table.
Amy and I looked at them. They were almost identical. Each had the tassel from our cap in it and our diploma. And dad had come up with some fancy pins from the university with the logo on them, and they were behind the glass. He’d recessed the tassel, kind of like a shadow box so that it wouldn't be crushed, and he did the same with the pins. And the diploma was close to the glass.
“Dad, did you make these?”, I asked.
“Yes.”, my dad said. “And, Amy’s dad helped.”
Amy looked at her dad, and said, “Daddy, this is so sweet.”
“You’re welcome, honey.”, Amy's dad said.
Then I said, “Dad, why is Amy’s tassel with my diploma and my tassel with her diploma?”
“Why is Amy’s tassel with my diploma and my tassel with her diploma?”
My dad looked at the two frames with the diplomas in them, then said, “No they're not. Amy’s is apricot, and yours is orange. Just like they should be.”
I was grinning when he looked at me, and I said “Gotcha.”
My dad glared at me, and said, “I guess we’ll be one less for dinner.”
“Dad! I was just messing with you. I love what you and Mr. Grant did.”
“Just go and get in the car.”
We went to a nice but comfortable restaurant and had a late lunch. As we were eating dessert, my dad pulled an envelope out of his jacket pocket and set it down between Amy and me. I looked at it, and it said ‘Amy and Tom’ on the front. I looked at my dad, and asked, “What’s this?”
“We know that neither of you wanted a graduation gift.”, my dad said. “But we felt that you two deserved something. So, Amy’s parents and your mother and I decided to get you something together.”
“Open the envelope. It’s all in there.”
I looked at Amy, and said, “Ladies first.”
Amy looked at me, looked at the envelope, picked it up, and opened it. She removed the card from the inside, which was a beautiful graduation card. She read it, and the tears started. Then she handed it to me, and I read it. I looked at our parents, shook my head, and said, “Guys. We can’t accept this. It’s … It’s too much.”
“Kids.”, Amy’s dad said, “Neither of you wanted a high school graduation present. But with what you both did in college, we decided that you deserved something. Plus we thought it would be a good thing for you to have.”
“Daddy.”, Amy said. “No. It’s just too much.”
“It’s a done deal.”, my dad said. “Go to my Chevy dealer and ask for Bill Green. He’s the sales manager. He knows all about this. Any ‘67 Chevy on the lot is yours, except a Corvette. We want you to have a new car for your trip to New Mexico and to drive while you’re out there.”
I looked at Amy, and said, “Honey, I don’t think that they’re going to take no for an answer.”
Amy looked at our parents, and said, “I love the four of you so much. Thank you so very much.”
“Yes.”, I said. “We never expected anything like this. We both love the four of you. Thank you. Thank you so much.”
“Kids.”, Amy’s mother said. “You are very welcome.”
As we were walking out of the restaurant, I said, “Dad, I really wanted your ‘53 Corvette.” This car is my dad’s baby.
“In your dreams son.”, my dad said. “In your dreams.”
“A guy can dream can’t he.”
That got me one of dad’s looks.
After dinner, when we were back home, Amy just wanted to sit on the porch, cuddle, and relax. So that’s what we did. After we’d cuddled for a little while, Amy said, “I can’t believe what our parents did.”
“I can’t either.”, I said. “But it doesn’t surprise me. But what do we do with the ‘61 Chevy?”
“I don’t know.”
We had an early up on Monday, so we were in bed early.
Amy had to be on campus early for the license exam, so we were up early on Monday. The exam started at eight and could take up to six hours to complete. So, as I dropped her off, I kissed her, and I told her that I’d be home and to call when she was finished. I figured that I wouldn’t hear from her until at least Noon.
After I dropped her off, I went over to the motel that was part of the motel chain that we’d used coming home last summer. I talked with the room clerk about a route out to New Mexico. Amy and I had chosen a route through Kansas City and southern Colorado. I told the room clerk that I wanted to drive no more than eight hours a day. He made one minor change to the route that we’d drawn on a map, then made suggestions as to where to stop. I liked what he’d done and told him to make the reservations for us. And I waited while he did, and he gave me the information on the three motels and the confirmation numbers. And I thanked him.
Then I headed home. I went out on the porch to read. Or tried to, but I sat there and thought about the past four years. And I just smiled to myself.
At about one I was beginning to wonder about Amy. She was an excellent test taker and was usually one of the first finished. At about one-thirty, the phone rang. I ran into the house and answered it, “Hello.”
“Hi, honey.”, Amy said.
“Hi. You all done?”
“Yeah. Could you pick me up where you dropped me off?”
“Sure. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“Thanks, lover. Bye.”
“So long.” And I hung up the phone and headed to the university. Amy was standing where I’d dropped her off. I pulled up, she got in, sat close to me, and fastened the seat belt.
I asked, “Hungry?”
“Starved.”, she said.
“So, how do you feel you did?”
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