Being Born The Wrong Gender and Poor

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Dixie holds her little sister and looks at the freshly dug grave their mother laid in. She was lucky that her parents had burial insurance and plots near each other. All she had to do was sign all the paperwork involved in burying her mother. She had buried her mother in her favorite dress.

Tears stream down her cheek as she held her little sister. Now she was responsible for raising her sister and taking care of the house which needed a lot of work. She had hoped to finish school and go to college, but now that was out of the question. She’ll have to drop out and get a fun time job to support herself and her sister.

She had no one she could turn to for help. Her little sister’s father had been from some man her mother had, had sex with for money. They hadn’t eaten for three days, and her mother had gone out and tried to find anyone that would hire her for just-food. Instead, she ended up having sex with a trucker inside his truck, and afterward, he dropped her off with a bunch of groceries that lasted for two weeks.

Dixie looks into the face of her little sister after she wipes the tears away. She was so young and innocent and won’t remember their mother
that much.

“It looks like it’s just me and you, Cindy.” Dixie hugs her little sister as she starts the long walk back towards their home.

The walk wasn’t unpleasant, it was a nice cool day and the slight breeze that blew was pleasant. After a while of walking, she switches Cindy to her other hip. She didn’t know where she could go and find a job, but she knew the lumber mill was always hiring people. The problem was, finding someone to babysit her little sister while she worked. She knew sometimes Mrs. Wiscott would babysit them when her mother went out. Maybe she wouldn’t mind babysitting her sister while she worked.

By late afternoon, she makes it back to the house. It wasn’t much and needed a lot of work. Her mother tried to do what she could to maintain the house, but her mother wasn’t her father. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do.

She walks into the house and prepares to tend to her sister. While her mother was sick, she learned how to take care of her sister. Her mother was unable to. Afterward, she heats some hot dogs for herself to eat. She had enough food in the house to last for a few weeks.

Mr. Cobb up the road had paid her for helping him plant his field. He had children himself, but they were too self-absorbed to help their father with the farm. If the lumbermill won’t hire her, she might see if Mr. Cobb would. That way she could watch her sister and work around his farm.

She takes off her nice dress and hangs it up. She looks down at her puny penis that was pushing out her panties. Her mother couldn’t afford to buy her new clothes and most of the clothes that were at the Goodwill were for girls in her size. Most boys she knew wore their clothes out by the time they needed new clothes. So, she has been wearing girl clothes all her life.

When her father was alive, he didn’t mind and always called her his little princess. She takes her nice shoes off and put them on the top shelf in the closet. They had field mice that lived in their house, and they had a habit of chewing on anything that was leather or plastic.

Since the weather was nice, she opens the windows to let the air in. She also puts on a pair of her mother’s shorts, which were a little big on her. She used a trick of using a rubber band to make them stay on her tiny waist. She puts on an old ratty tank top that belonged to her father.

While her sister lays in her crib, she cleans the house. There wasn’t much to do in the house. There was no television set or computers. There were a few books and an old stereo that her father put together from parts of an old car stereo and speakers.

She turns the radio on and listen to the local radio station that played a mixture of oldies and classic rock. She watches as the light bulb flickers. She hopes they have another light bulb in the cabinet.

After she was done cleaning the house, she walks outside and sit in the old rocking chair. It has been in her family for years. Even the house and the land that it sat on were passed down from her mother’s family. She had an aunt and uncle but they didn’t want to live here. They wanted excitement and riches and didn’t care about their sister or her family.

One time she overheard one of her aunts saying that they might sell the land one day. She hopes they don’t because she wouldn’t have any place to live. She starts crying as she lets everything that she has been holding back come forward.

She cries herself to sleep in the rocking chair. It hasn’t been the first time she has slept out on the front porch or in the rocking chair either. The breeze that was blowing picks up some and she shivers from it.

When morning comes, she is woken up by the sound of the rooster that they had. She rubs her eyes and looks out towards the driveway that led to her house. She spots the rooster and two chickens they had out in the front yard looking for bugs.

She gets up and heads to the small shack where the food was stored for the chicken. She fills a small bucket with the feed and walks out towards the chicken and rooster. She sparkles some on the ground as she walks toward them.

After feeding the chicken, she heads inside the house and checks on her little sister. She was still asleep, so she walks into the kitchen area and mixes some dry milk with water, and have a bowl of cereal. She misses real milk, but they got the dry milk, butter, cheese, and a few other things from being on welfare.

After breakfast, she takes a cold shower, because the water heater didn’t work anymore. Because of her mother’s medical bills, and what little welfare money they got now. They couldn’t afford a new water heater. So, they made do with either heating water up in a large pot or taking cold showers.

Dixie shivers as the cold-water cascades down over her thin body. There were times she wonders why God hated her family so much. First, he took her father, and now he has taken her mother. She has stopped believing in God, the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, The Tooth Fairy, and all the other stories kids are told.

She gets out of the shower and puts on her best pair of jeans and a nice shirt. She’ll go down to the lumber mill first to see if they had any work she could do. Afterward, she’ll stop by Mr. Cobb’s place and see if he had any work.

She wakes her sister up and changes her. She feeds her the baby food they have and put her in her stroller after cleaning her up. She makes sure she has a pen and the key to the house, as she locks the front door. Not that it matters, there was nothing of value inside the house to steal, except maybe the food.

She starts walking towards the lumber mill first. There were times she wishes she had a bicycle or something. She remembers the few times she rode in a car. The priest from the church would give her mother and them rides home after the service. He would come over and visit her mother after her father died. He would give her candy and sweets that were left over from the potluck after church. Then one day, he stopped giving them rides and would ignore her mother. After that, they stopped going to church and her mother burned the bible she had.

That had happened when she was six years old after her father died. She pushes the stroller towards the lumbermill. She could smell the fresh-cut wood in the air and the sound of machinery as she got closer to the place. Several logging trucks pass her and are stopped at the gate for inspection.

Dixie waves to the guard on duty and is waved through. The security guard at the gate knew her and was her father’s friend. Her father had worked at the lumber mill. She heads toward the office, where the manager was located. As she walks in, she spots Maggie at her desk.

“Hi, Maggie. Is Mr. Wells in?” Dixie hopes he was.

“Hi, Dixie. He’s out on the floor. Let me page him for you.” Maggie picks the microphone up and pages Mr. Wells.

“Thanks, Maggie.” Dixie goes over and sits down. She checks on her sister, and she just looks at her.

A few minutes later, Mr. Wells comes walking into the office. He looks at Maggie “what is it, Maggie?”

Maggie looks at her boss “Dixie is here to speak to you.” She points to Dixie sitting in a chair on the other side of the counter.

Mr. Wells looks over at Dixie and didn’t almost recognize her. She had gotten bigger since the last time she came to the lumbermill.

“What can I do for you, Dixie?” He looks at her and her little sister.

“I was wondering if you had any work that I could do. Since my mother died, I have to drop out of school and take care of my sister here.” Dixie hopes Mr. Wells had something for her to do.

“I wish I could, Dixie. But you're too young to work around the machinery or out in the lumber yard. You need to be twenty-one years old before I can hire you.” Mr. Wells would hire Dixie, but the county safety inspector would fine him for having underage minors working around the yard or machinery.

“Oh, okay.” Dixie looked defeated. She was hoping Mr. Wells could help her.

“I’m sorry, kid. When you turn twenty-one years old, come back and see me. I promise I’ll hire you then.” Mr. Wells knew Dixie was about sixteen years old.

“I will Mr. Wells. Thanks.” Dixie exists from the office and starts walking down the road again.

“Poor kid.” Maggie gets up and stands by Mr. Wells.

“I know, her father was one of my best workers. I wish he was still around.” Mr. Wells misses Dixie’s father. He had been his hardest worker and would do whatever he could to keep production going, even if he didn’t get paid for it.

“I hope she finds something.” Maggie would help her out, but she was barely getting by with what she made.

The two of them watch as Dixie walks through the gate and down the road. Dixie tries not to feel so defeated. She hopes Mr. Cobb will have work for her. She walks down the road and takes a sip from her faded water bottle.

As she walks down the road, she thinks about all the times she walked with her mother to the grocery store, and other places. They uses to talk about everything or play guessing games. She was going to miss her mother.

She walks past her place and further down the road towards Mr. Cobb’s place. She spotted him out in the field plowing it on his old John Deer tracker. She remembers the last time she saw him. He was working on it, trying to get it to run again.

Dixie waves to him as she walks onto his property. She watches as he waves back and comes riding towards her. She stops and waits for him to stop near her.

Mr. Cobb was plowing his field when he spotted Dixie walking down his driveway. He saw her wave to him, so he returned her wave. He drives over to her, to see what she wanted. When he gets close to her, he noticed she had the stroller with her.

“What mischief are you up to today, Dixie?” Mr. Cobb knew Dixie was a good kid.

“No mischief, sir. I was just seeing if you could use some help on the farm?” Dixie looks up at Mr. Cobb and uses her hand to shield her eyes from the sun.

“Well, I could always use some help around the farm. However, I can’t pay you much and it will be hard work. I can offer you some of the crops when they come up.”

“I don’t mind hard work Mr. Cobb and I could always use the crops. If it is okay with you, could I bring my sister here when I am working, please? I don’t think I could afford a babysitter.” Dixie knew she was asking a lot.

“Don’t worry about paying a babysitter, Dixie. She can come to work with you, and you can leave her at the house and check on her while you’re working.” Mr. Cobb knew what it was like having children and watching them. He had his wife and older daughter to help watch them.

“Thanks, Mr. Cobb. If you want, I can work now.”

“Okay, let’s get your sister settled first and get you working.” Mr. Cobb heads towards the house and gets Cindy settled first. Afterward, Mr. Cobb puts Dixie to work right away.

For the next few weeks, Dixie uses muscles she has never used before. She goes home every night sore. She gets up at four-thirty in the morning, so she could be down at Mr. Cobb’s place at five in the morning. She is feeling everything before she starts working. Mr. Cobb gives her apples or bananas to eat before stopping around eight o’clock to have breakfast.

Sometimes, they would take trips into town to pick up feed, seeds, or anything else Mr. Cobb needs. She couldn’t afford much for lunches, so he feeds her when he stops for lunch. In the evening sometimes, they sit around on the porch and talk. She listens to the stories of places he has been and things he has done.

He was gentle towards Cindy and buys her new clothes and such. He was the type of Grandfather Dixie had always dreamed of. Sometimes, on the weekend Mr. Cobb would take her fishing or come by her place and help her fix it up. He knew a plumber that had water heaters that were still good and got her one. He taught her how to install it and fix some of the plumbing problems she had as well.

The refrigerator her family had since they moved into the house broke and it was going to cost a lot of money to fix it. Since she didn’t have the money to fix it, Mr. Cobb had an old refrigerator from the fifties that he had in storage and when they plugged it in, it still worked.

“This is when they built things to last, Dixie.” He looks at her when he speaks to her.

“I can’t believe it still worked, Mr. Cobb.” She has only seen something like this in an old Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue that she found up in the attic.

“They take a beating and keep on ticking.” Mr. Cobb was happy he could help Dixie.

He looks around her place and notices she could use some furniture. He noticed Dixie had a stereo built from parts of a car and not much else. He never knew his neighbor was so poor. He helps Dixie fill the refrigerator up with the food they took out and showed Dixie had to use the ice trays. Now, she would have ice to put in her water bottle.

“You know what, Dixie. When was the last time you had ice cream?” Mr. Cobb looks at Dixie when he asks her.

“When I was six-year-old,” Dixie remembers the last time she and her father went out for ice cream before he died.

“Well, it's past due. Let’s go into town and get some ice cream for you and Cindy. And while we are there, let’s see if we can find you some decent furniture for your place.” Mr. Cobb didn’t know how any kid could live like this.

Dixie’s lips quiver as she tries not to cry. She hugs Mr. Cobb and buries her face against his chest. She couldn’t believe how nice he has been to her these past few weeks.

Mr. Cobb puts his arm on Dixie and just holds her. He knew she has been trying to be strong and do everything she can for her sister and herself. He was expecting this to happen sooner or later.

“Everything is going to be okay, Dixie.”

Dixie just holds onto him for a little while longer, before letting go and looking up to him. She wipes the tears away and tries to gather herself “I know and it’s because of you, Mr. Cobb. I don’t know what I would have done if you had said no to hiring me.”

“I would have never said no to you. You remind me too much of my older daughter.” Mr. Cobb misses his older daughter.

“You’ll have to tell me about her, sometime.” Dixie wanted to hear more about her.

“I will. Now, let’s go and get you and Cindy some ice cream.” As he escorts them to his truck.

The ride into town was a little bumpy. The old country road they lived on, was maintained by the residents that lived on that road.

“Leroy was supposed to call Joe down at the gravel yard and have a bunch of gravel delivered to fill in that road.” Mr. Cobb couldn’t believe he hadn’t done it.

“Could we do the job ourselves, Mr. Cobb?” Dixie looks at him.

“My old pickup truck can’t carry a load that heavy. We need an old dump truck to carry a load that heavy.” Mr. Cobb knew his truck couldn’t do it.

“Doesn’t Mr. Jordan have one just sitting around at his place?”

“You know what, I think he does. We’ll stop by his place after we come back from town.” Mr. Cobb looks at dixie with a smile on his face.

Mr. Cobb drives into town and parks a few spots down from Mrs. B’s Old Fashion Ice Cream Parlor. Dixie follows Mr. Cobb toward the store. She was carrying her little sister in her arms.

Dixie couldn’t believe how Mrs. Bs still looked like it did when she last came in with her father. They walk up to the old fashion soda fountain counter and sit down on the green-covered stools. A young man wearing an old-style soda uniform smile at them.

“What can I get you this morning?” Bart smiles at Mr. Cobb and the young lady sitting next to him, holding an infant in her arms.

“I would like a triple scoop chocolate sugar ice cream cone. How about you, Dixie?” Mr. Cobb looks at Dixie for an answer.

“Do you still have peach ice cream?” Dixie looks into the eyes of the young man.

“We do, ma’am.”

“I would like a triple scoop as well, in a sugar cone, please. Also, can I get a small dish of ice cream, please?” Dixie figures Cindy would like some ice cream.

“What flavor?” Bart knew they had the small cups in stock.

“Vanilla, please.”

“Three ice creams coming up.” Bart turns and walks over to the ice creamer cooler.

Dixie turns towards Mr. Cobb “thank you for the ice cream.”

“It’s the least I can do for my hard-working, worker.” Mr. Cobb has been enjoying having Dixie working with him. He also knew Dixie was a boy but dressed and acted like a girl.

He knew that with them being so poor, Dixie’s mother has been dressing Dixie in girl clothing and teaching Dixie how to be a girl. The thing was, Dixie didn’t look like a boy at all. He should know because he has raised boys before. Dixie had soft fair skin, no facial hair at all, and light-colored hair on her arms. Also, her face had more of a feminine look, than a male look.

A few minutes later, Bart returns with their ice cream cones and a small dish of vanilla ice cream as well. He hands them to the young girl and the gentleman “there, you go.”

“Thank you.” Dixie accepts her ice cream cone and the small cup of ice cream for Cindy.

“You’re welcome. Is there anything else you would like?” Bart stands in front of them.

“We’re fine, thank you.” Mr. Cobb saw how Dixie’s face lit up when she got her ice cream.

Dixie enjoys her ice cream while feeding Cindy her ice cream. She never knew how hard it was to do both at the same time. Her little sister was enjoying her ice cream as well.

Mr. Cobb saw how much Dixie was enjoying her ice cream. He had to admit to himself that his daughter use to act the same way. He sighs as memories of his oldest daughter surface, along with his wife. He misses them so much, but he knew his wife wouldn’t want him to sit around and let life go by him.

“Let’s go and see if we can find you some furniture for your place, Dixie.” Once the two of them were done with their ice cream.

“Okay, and thank you again, Mr. Cobb.” Dixie follows Mr. Cobb as they visit a few places. There were three places they could buy furniture at.

It was at the third place they visited that was a consignment shop, that had some nice used furniture for sale. It was also a complete set, so not only was Dixie getting a living room set. But also, a nice bedroom set and a new kitchen table and chairs that could be expanded.

On the way back home, Mr. Cobb stops at old man Jordan’s place to look at the old dump truck. The motor inside of it was going to need some work done. It has been sitting for so long, that all the fluids had settled from not starting.

Dixie listens to Mr. Jordan and Mr. Cobb as they talked about the dump truck. Dixie listens as Mr. Jordan explains what they will need to do to get it running again. She knew Mr. Cobb was pretty good with machinery.

After the two men were done talking about the dump truck, they head back to Dixie’s place to prepare for the delivery of the new furniture tomorrow afternoon. The delivery guys from the store were going to bring it and set everything up for Dixie.

Mr. Cobb checks with Leroy to see if he has ordered the gravel they needed for the road. He hasn’t gotten around to it. Mr. Cobb informs him, that he shouldn’t bother, he’ll handle it. Afterward, Mr. Cobb looks at Dixie “feel like learning how to work on a dump truck, kiddo?”

“Yes sir.” Dixie didn’t mind learning.

“I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning around six.”

“Okay, and thanks again, Mr. Cobb.”

“You’re welcome kiddo.” A smile appears on Mr. Cobb’s face as he turns to leave.

The next morning Dixie and Cindy are picked up and head over to Mr. Jordan’s place. They start work on the dump truck and leave in the afternoon to help the delivery guys with the furniture. Once the furniture is set up, they head back over to Mr. Jordan’s place to work some more on the dump truck.

In the days that follow, Dixie gets up every morning and is picked up by Mr. Cobb. She’s taken to Mr. Jordan’s place, where she, Mr. Jordan, and Mr. Cobb work on the dump truck. Mr. Jordan’s wife watches Cindy as Dixie helps the guys out. She mostly hands them tools, but when there is a tight spot, she helps them because her hands are smaller and fit better.

Later in the evening when they call it quits, Mrs. Jordan cooks dinner for them. Dixie helps her out and takes care of Cindy as well. Off and on Dixie notices Mr. Cobb speaking to Mr. Jordan and his wife as they talk about the olden days. From what she learns, Mr. Jordan and his wife both went to the same school as Mr. Cobb and spent their whole life here in the same town.

After a few days of tinkering with the dump truck and installing new batteries in it. The big day arrives, and they try to start the truck. At first, the engine just cranks. Mr. Jordan makes a few adjustments and on the second turn of the key, the engine fires up and the truck starts running. Mr.
Jordan and Mr. Cobb do a check of all the systems on the truck, making sure everything works.

The two men get into the truck. Mr. Jordan looks down at Dixie ‘come on girl, let's see how she handles it.”

“Yes sir.” Dixie climbs up into the truck and shut the door.

After a brief instruction on how to drive the dump truck. Mr. Cobb puts it into gear and starts driving the truck. The ride was a little bumpy, but Dixie didn’t care. She was enjoying it and looking at Mr. Jordan and Mr. Cobb as they headed towards the gravel pit to pick up a huge load of gravel.

Once they pick the load up, they head back and start laying the gravel down on the road. They make three trips to the gravel pit but by the end of the day. The whole road was covered and leveled out. Dixie couldn’t believe how smooth everything went.

Later in the evening, after having dinner with Mr. Cobb. She is dropped off at home by him. She looks at him “I had fun today, Mr. Cobb.”

“I did too, Dixie. I’ll see you at six tomorrow. You sleep tight.”

“I will Mr. Cobb and thanks again.” She watches as Mr. Cobb drives off.

The Next Few Years:
Dixie walks around outside throwing chicken feed down onto the ground. The number of chickens has increased. She looks over towards her small garden and smiles. A few years ago, she had nothing. Her mother had just died, and she was unprepared for what life threw her way.

She had to drop out of school and take care of her little sister and herself. Everything has changed over the two past years. Now, she had her GED and was taking college courses online. She was seeing a doctor about becoming a full-fledged woman. She still works with Mr. Cobb, but ever since he and Mr. Jordan got the old dump truck up and running. She learned how to operate it and uses it to make money herself. She
had two trucks now and drove a wrecker as well.

She had a portable cellphone she uses just for work. Her little sister was almost three years old and called her momma. As she puts the rest of the feed away, Mr. Cobb pulls into her driveway. He gets up and walks over to Dixie “morning, Dixie.”

“Morning Mr. Cobb’s, how are you doing?” Dixie dusts her hands on her apron.

“I’m fine. Are you ready to do some work this morning?” He notices Cindy was playing with her toys on the porch.

“I’m ready, anytime you are old man.” Dixie smiles at Mr. Cobb.

“I’ll show you old, whipper snapper.” Mr. Cobb loved sparring back and forth with Dixie.

Dixie walks toward her house and hangs her apron up. She picks up Cindy and her basket of toys and such. Mrs. Jordan has grown attached to Cindy and babysits her for Dixie when she is working.

They drop Cindy off and head to work in the two dump trucks.

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Thank you

Dee Sylvan's picture

This story touched my heart like few others. It makes you appreciate what you have, because whatever situation we are in right now pales in comparison to what this 16 year old orphan faced with an infant sister. I don't think I've shed this many tears for a story in a long time. Thanks again for posting. Dee


Kind Of A Cinderella Situation

joannebarbarella's picture

Yes, it's a fairy story, but a lovely one with a very satisfactory conclusion.

Thank you, I loved it.