Welcome to Maoist Orange Cake. Each week one of our Divas posts a thoughtful (but not necessarily serious) essay on whatever calls forth her Voice or strikes her Fancy. We invite you to join us wherever the discussion leads.
Motto of the MOC: Sincere, yes. Serious? Never!

"I would also like to add that ‘Maoist Orange Cake is possibly the best name for a blog ever. Just my twopence." -- The Sixth Carnival of Radical Feminists, 1 October 2007


The Twelfth Carnival of Radical Feminists is up at The Burning Times blog and mentions one of our posts, Helen 'Wheels' Keller, for recommendation. Orangeists spreading our zest!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

HERITAGE AND INTERPRETATION SHOULD BE IN CONSTANT FLUX -- by Maggie Jochild

Mary Jo Atkins, Midcontinent Supply, Bowie, Texas, 1945

When I was 13 we moved back to the tiny North Texas town where my mother, her mother, and three generations before that had grown up (and gone to the same school). What remained was the school, a gas station, and an occasionally-meeting Baptist church, plus houses and trailers of people who had not yet moved away.

My mother was valedictorian in high school. She was also two years younger than her classmates because she had twice been moved ahead a grade. Smart as hell. And, I slowly learned, had a wild streak. Her father was a Wobbly and that whole line was radical as well as bookish, so I figure it comes from them.


After we moved back to that town, from the people who knew my mother when she was a teenager, I learned things nobody else in our family had a clue about. Because of our relationship, I was able to go to her and ask her about these rumors. Most of them turned out to be true. The one that was false is that she had an abortion as a teenager -- which did seem far-fetched, given the region and the era.

Mama used her young age as an excuse not to date boys individually. She'd go out with groups of friends, but her scrapbook was choked with photos of the girls she knew, not boys. When she was 16 and had just graduated, that summer she had an affair with another girl, some years older than Mama, named Mary Nell Howard. Mary Nell had a motorcycle, which was an extraordinary rarity in 1943 in rural Texas. She would pull up to the farmhouse, Mama would run out and hop on the back, and away they'd go. Montague County was dry (as was most of North Texas). You had to cross the state line into Oklahoma to get liquor. But Mary Nell knew an Italian immigrant in the county seat who made bootleg chianti, so they'd roar over to his place and pick up a bottle, which Mama would hold in public view as they zoomed off to wherever they went -- some place out in the boonies -- to drink and make love.

One weekend Mary Nell didn't show. Mama had gotten a job in the nearby Big Town, Bowie (population 3000) as a secretary, so she went off to work on Monday worried sick. That evening, Mary Nell showed up wearing a cheap gold band. She had gone to Wichita Falls with some folks, gotten drunk and married an airman. The breakup was just that brutal. Mama nearly died. Her childhood friend, Son Henry (a distant cousin), talked her through the next few weeks.

Thing is, Son had been in love with Mama all their lives. His sister Margie was Mama's best friend, same grade, and Son was waiting for Mama to love him back.

Mama instead focused on her job, and quickly got promoted from secretary to bookkeeper at Midcontinent Supply. She still ran around with her friends, but she garnered the attention of the manager at her job, a married man named Johnny Cooper. Johnny was half Comanche, and his wife was not just full-blood but a member of a prominent tribal family across the border in Oklahoma. Johnny lived in Bowie during the week and went home to his family on the weekends.

Eventually Johnny hit on Mama, and, with no word ever from Mary Nell, she said sure, why not. They began having an affair. Despite Johnny's efforts, the scandal of course broke. After a few months, one day while Johnny was out of the office, a well-dressed older woman pulled up in a nice car and came in, looking for Mama. It was his wife, driving down from Oklahoma. She said, in a voice everyone else could hear, "So you're the piece of trash who's been shacking up with my husband. Well, honey, have fun while you can. He'll never leave me -- I've got control of the money. You're not his first and you won't be his last." Then she turned and left.

Mama was beside herself. Once again, she turned to Son Henry. She wanted to be done with Johnny, but she was afraid if she broke up with him, he'd fire her. And she really wanted that job. It was her doorway to independence. So she and Son came up with a plan. They let themselves be seen on main street in Son's open roadster with a bottle of whiskey on the seat between them and a folded blanket in the back seat. They headed slowly out of town and went to the lake, where Mama sat on the blanket and drank steadily, weeping not over Johnny but Mary Nell, while Son tended a small fire and kept his hands to himself. In the morning, they made sure to be seen at a local diner.

That's all it took. Word got back to Johnny swiftly. He confronted Mama, saying everybody knew Son was in love with her (which was jolting news to her) and now she'd cheated on him. He did fire her, after all. When I was in high school, Johnny was elected mayor of another nearby town. I never caught a glimpse of him, though.

Mama went to work as a soda jerk at a drugstore. Crappy pay, but one of her good friends worked the same shift with her and they were both lookers, got some tips that way. A crew of doodlebuggers was in town, looking for oil. They heard about the gorgeous babes making ice cream sundaes at the drugstore, and one night after work, a few of them dropped in to order shakes and have an ogle. One of the young men asked if he could come back after the drugstore closed and walk Mama home to her boarding house. She said sure, why not. Five weeks later they got married by a Justice of the Peace. That was my father.

He told me, several times, that he fell in love with her the minute he laid eyes on her. My mother, on the other hand, said that Daddy looked kind and he promised they would live in Bowie so she could find bookkeeping work, advance a career but stay close to her friends. She was right about the kind part, but not anything else.

When I was 17 and fell in love with my high school history teacher, and our affair was the talk not just of our town but the entire county, Mama pulled me into her bedroom one day after school and told me about her and Mary Nell, about Son and Johnny. She said I was going to get shredded, that this teacher would leave me to return to her husband. Then she said "I learned to stick to men, honey, because they'll never get close enough to break my heart."

But I had a date to meet my new lover out in the country, and I sat there impatiently, finally saying "I'm not you, Mama. Can I go now?"

I have a photo of Mary Nell. I'd give a hell of a lot to talk with her, but have not been able to track her down. After Mama died, I was the only person in our family who knew any of this. But the only reason I knew it, really, was because of the stories I heard from Mama's high school friends. When I began turning out like Mama, well, you can just imagine the gossip. And, of course, I followed up on what I heard with Mama. She and I talked, really talked. Even when it was godawful uncomfortable. I've kept her secrets until now. The rest of my family is dead, and it was a benign secret.

Or maybe not. Maybe Mary Nell took real advantage of my mother, as I have come to understand that the high school teacher, five years my senior, had no business on earth becoming lovers with me. I insisted it was love, it did me no harm, I wanted her. Now, thirty years on, I can see it was in fact part of my training as an object of abuse, welcoming the sexual attention of someone older and much more powerful than me. Despite the fact that we lasted five years, and I got a daughter out of it, I still wish I had not been lovers with her, after all. Some lessons come harder than others. We had no chance of ever being equals. And I've learned that power imbalance is actually not erotic, after all.

Ten years ago I ran across a photo of Mama's mama, Hettie, wearing a man's suit and bowler, in a passionate clinch with another woman. I pointed to the photo and hoarsely asked Hettie's sister, my Great-Aunt Lee, what that was all about. She laughed merrily and said "Oh, your grandma, she liked to dress up and play-act. It didn't mean anything." But Hettie married late, and only after the woman in the photo, Nora Armstrong, left for Fort Worth to work in a department store as a sales manager. Nora never married. Hettie died a year after Mama was born, so neither of us knew her. Still, I consider myself third-generation Lesbian.

Except we all collected our identities in different ways. I used what was available to me in the mid 1970s, a freedom they could not have imagined. I didn't ever have to bend my will to that of a man, not with regards to intimacy. I can't speak for them. I can pass on Mama's quote for what it's worth, but she also did come to love my father. Though I very much doubt it was ever as much as she loved Mary Nell. That's my bias. I could be wrong. If someone appears to shed more light, I'll be sure to listen.

27 comments:

Ginjoint said...

You. Have. Floored. Me.

"I learned to stick with men, honey, because they'll never get close enough to break my heart." Maggie, I actually gasped when I read that. What a thing for a woman of your mother's era to say! The two of you must have had such a powerful relationship. She must've loved you to the ends of the earth to share her story with you, hoping to protect you.

Also, I, too, have learned the hard way that power imbalances are not erotic. At first it seems delightfully kinky, or at least workable, and then....

This is one of the best blog entries I've ever read.

little gator said...

I'm considered good at websnooping. Email me with names and places and I'll see what I can do. If you know Mary Nell's married name that will help a lot. If not, maiden name searches aren't free, but I'll do the homework anyway.

They found termite damage under the roof edge. We can't know how bad till they rip it open for repairs. But at least the roof is leakproofed temporarily, with intense rain about 1/2 an hour away.

hammerwoman said...

All I can do is type, "What ginjoint said." Call it a rolling collective gasp.

little gator said...

Add me to the gasp, though I didn't say so before.

shadocat said...

"I learned to stick with men, honey, because they'll never get close enough to break my heart."

Here's another woman gaspinng...That is just how I used to feel...I remember after I broke up with my first girlfriend, I was so depressed that I sought out a therepist. I told her I couldn't remember being this devastated over anyone, and I'd only known this woman a year! I knew my husband most of my life, and I wasn't this upset when I got divorced.!" She then said, in true therapist fashion, "And why do you suppose that is?"

"Because this one counted," was my answer.


I second ginjoint---one of the best...

Maggie Jochild said...

Thanks, ya'll. Mama would be proud. She sure made me who I am, in all the good respects (and some of the bad). Like the bumper sticker I had on my car in 1978: My mother made me a lesbian / If you give her the yarn, she'll make you one too.

Little Gator, I'll talk with you offline. I'll also try to get Mary Nell's photo scanned in somewhere so I can post it here, along with the photo of Hettie. If Mary Nell is dead, then contacting her family will likely not be a great idea.

Families lie. Most of the narrative of family is based on myth, often one myth after another to cover up essential truths. When Daddy died this year, I wrote a very good eulogy which my older brother delivered for me since I could not travel to the funeral. (That brother is now dead, too.) I felt terrible after writing and sending it because it left out all the ways my father's failings, AND my mother's acquiescence in them, damaged our family beyond repair. Mama was willing to look at truths that had all the nasty bits kept in, that challenged her. Daddy was the opposite. But Liza reminded me eulogies, too, are for the living, not the dead. I wrote an anti-eulogy and shared it with a few folks, and that sufficed.

I'll be honest here: I don't think the toxic aspect of my parents' marriage was that my mother was secretly Lesbian and deceived my father about it, although that likely was the case. The bigger lie was her belief that she could not trust her heart to men. I have learned to respect and adore women who DO trust their hearts to men. I have worked to undo Mama's lie in myself. I'm not a Lesbian because men can't be trusted. I'm a Lesbian because I love women, and I had the freedom to make that choice in my particular generation.

Concealing her lie kept Mama locked into a pathological exchange with my father, who had his own set of lies to maintain. Once there is a toxic secret (again, NOT that she was Lesbian but that she was hopeless) in a family dynamic, other toxicities can and do cluster there. Which is why, when I came out as an incest survivor at age 25, Mama eventually blamed herself in part. She was a feminist, she knew about female conditioning and how we take on the blame for everything. It wasn't that kind of responsibility she assumed. It was the larger picture, how our family failed to discuss or address certain things, that made it possible for me to be molested. Despite Mama's push for connection, for honesty, her painful bluntness in so many areas.

And one thing we learned long ago in the Pleiades: If one member of a family is molesting someone (or has that desire which is not necessarily being acted on), it affects every child in the family whether they get "touched" or not. It affects them sometimes more than if they got touched. It's the lie that is toxic, not the actions. It's the explaining away, the refusal to see, the pretense that destroys family bonds.

Mama and I came to peace and complete forgiveness before she died. That was her doing more than mine. It's a blessing beyond description. My father, on the other hand, lied more and more until he was boxed in and died a lonely failure, except for the emotional lifeline (non-caretaking) that I kept held out to him.

aunt soozie said...

Maggie,
My paramour says that sometimes she and I "co-dream".
Last night I dreamed that I was in my great-grandmother's house. Her actual house was a crooked old farm house but this one was larger and more regal.
In the dream she was alive and relatively young. But she was mute. She had people at her house who were supposed to be "looking after" her because they saw her as impaired.

After awhile she came to me and was able to begin speaking...slowly,at first just a word at a time. She showed me her belly and told me she was pregnant. Somehow she knew that the baby was a girl.

Her hair was in long braids (like cornrows) with blue ribbon woven into the braids. Everyone else was kind of stunned when a) she found she could speak/she wasn't mute and b) that she was pregnant and c) that she was certain that she was having a girl and thrilled about that fact.

So, I'm not sure, but, Maggie, I think that dream was for you.

shadocat said...

When I was 13, the movie "The Killing Of Sister George" was released. I had just discovered that there were other girls out there like me, with these strange "feelings" for other girls. So I sought out any information I could about them, which was pretty scarce.If a movie came on TV that I read suggestive reviews about, I watched it, if I could find anything to read about the subject, I read it. I saw "Dracula's Daughter", and "The Children's Hour",and "Women Behind Bars." I read psychology books that said we were mentally ill, and romances that ended in suicide. So far, the picture painted was a grim one, but I was determined to find that happy ending.

When "The Killing of Sister George" was released, I read a review that called it "the most realistic portrayal of lesbian life ever seen!" I was mad to see the film, but as it was rated "X", the skinny 13 yr. old me didn't have a snowball's chance. So I did the next best thing. I went downtown to the library, and I read the play.

What I read horrified me. This was how lesbians lived? Fighting and drinking, getting fired and eating cigar butts? Because of that, other things that had happened to me earlier, plus all the other negative information I collected, I began a futile quest that lasted (off and on) for the next thirty years: I was simply going to concentrate, push down these disturbing thoughts, and do my very best to be NORMAL.

I saw the movie for the first time last night. I was suprised to find a lot of it quite funny, and Beryl Reid's performance was fantastic. I found out the sex scene at the end, was tacked on to sort of "heat things up"; it was not a part of the original play. I found it a little disturbing and darkly humerous. I also doubt that it was a typical reflection of lesbian life at that time, excepting the discrimination they faced. It was an interesting story of some very dysfunctional relationships.

Maggie, you and I were born in the same year, but in some ways, it's as if we were born in different decades, me YEARS earlier. I was very repressed for a long time, because, although I love her, my mother was not as open and accepting as yours, and she didn't teach me any pride in myself---because she didin't know how. You are very lucky to have had your wise, kind, and beautiful Mama.

Maggie Jochild said...

Okay, to answer a few thangs:

The "smenita" outbreak is a glitch across the board at Blogger -- a Google search turns up the interesting news that every Blogger blog requesting comment verification is showing "smenita" as the word. I don't encounter comment verification because I've signed up for a Blogger/Google profile (so I can have that cool photo beside my name) and I bypass comment verification as a result -- it's there to stop spam. So, for now, until this is fixed, I'll turn off comment verification for ya'll. If spam starts appearing, however, I'll have to turn it back on.

Reminds me of smegma, which of course reminds me of Edward the Dyke (Judy Grahn) who is being exhorted by the psychiatrist to "Admit it! Admit you have a smegmatic personality!" One of my lovers and I did a performance of Edward the Dyke at a rural lesbian/gay pride gathering by a lake in Denton County, Texas in the mid 1970s. Then our daughter stood up and recited the Common Woman poem which has the lines about how the common woman is as common as a loaf of bread, and will rise. We got only polite applause -- the entire audience were queens who, honestly, I don't think understood most of what we were referring to. The divide was huge. Still is, really.

Little Gator, honey, wow. I very much appreciate your sharing the ongoing saga and also notice how much you look on the bright side. Something I think chronically disabled people are experts at pulling off. It's not an act, it's a real psychological/ spiritual choice. So in that vein, one thing I'll say in addition to ouching commiseration is, in line with something you said earlier, thank g*d this isn't happening during a major storm (like, an East Coast hurricane) when you would be rained out of your abode and tree trimmers, insurance folks, etc. would be almost impossible to summon. When it all gets set right again, you'll be in stronger shape. Sometimes that's all the comfort we get from trying circumstances, eh?

Shado, you are so smart for tracking down the play when you were young. I myself have never seen "The Killing of Sister George" but at 12 or 13, I read the review of it in Time Magazine (we were living in Brazil at the time) and saved the photo of those women under my mattress. Crumbs, and not good crumbs at that. But -- see the paragraph above.

I keep waiting for a movie that is realistic about Lesbian life as I've experiencied it. But I'm not holding my breath. One that's amazingly good about coming out as a Lesbian teenager is a Swedish film that won an Oscar several years ago in the foreign film category, called "Show Me Love" in this country (in Sweden, the title was "Fucking Amal", Amal being the small city they were stuck in). Well worth renting -- and a happy ending.

Aunt Soozie, I don't know what your dream means, but I accept it with honor. I understand about the co-dreaming thing, I've done that with close friends.

And Jana, interestingly, when I was growing up, especially in rural parts of Texas (West and North), I would occasionally hear older people refer to women's vulvas as cunny. It was not scatological per se, though it definitely wasn't used in polite company -- but neither was penis. I remember hearing Clint Eastwood say it, also, in "Unforgiven". These same folks would refer to a bull as a "surly" because bull was considered a sexually indelicate term.

Maggie Jochild said...

I just found this great site via a lead at Women's Space -- it's a place where you can create your own Shakespearean insults. The great thing about these terms, aside from their amazing originality of language, is that they are gender-neutral, non-racist, and as far as I can tell, non-classist. Reminds me that my Mama (who would never use the "F" word or allow us to, but still could curse nonstop for five minutes without repeating herself) used to call people who angered her "whey-faced spawn of a ghost" which she picked up from literature somewhere.

Shakespearean Insult Kit

little gator said...

BTW, some definitions of "smegma" include toe jam and navel lint.

little gator said...

Latest gator news-Mr Gator has a salivary gland blockage and infections. Should be ok with anti-bs. I'll spare you the festering details.

Now they're saying there's a chance the power company will pay for some more tree cutting.

the Fridge that death forgot does fine now if you keep it half empty. we can do that.

little gator said...

If someone in the family is being molested the same is true. I knew something bad was gogin on with my 9 yr old sister(I was 16). I was told to mind my own business till she woke me up talking in her sleep(saying "stopit, that's not nice" in a tone that terrified me) When I started havign nightmares they finally told me a a neighbor had been molesting her. I was forbidden to talk about it to anyone, especially her,and to this day I still worry I'll get in trouble if I do(yes, I do know better)

My parents, which essentially means my father, as my mother was totally bullied by him, decided not to do anthing about it because they didn't want upset the man's wife. At leats that's what I was told.

Years later I learned he'd also done it to another of my sisters(and I felt awful when she told me, cause I knew I mustn't talk about it) and the girl across the street. Probably others. Specifically he convinced them to masturbate him. Not me, as I was too shy to get near enough amd I doubt he even tried.

My oldest brother was good friends with his youngest son and they hung out at each each others' houses a lot. I still wonder what, if anything, my brother knew about it.

Maggie Jochild said...

Aahhh, Little Gator, I'm so sorry for your sister. And you. You're right, the effects of "witnessing" (which means a lot more than visually observing) abuse can be lifelong.

One of the women in the Pleiades was never actually molested by her stepfather, but she knew he was molesting other girls and the effect on her was devastating. We were the first people she told about it who believed it could be that hard on her.

Another friend of mine from that era also was never "touched" by her father. But when she reached puberty, he took her bedroom door off its hinges. That was all, yet it royally fucked her up and she came to identify it as sexual abuse. Which I agree with.

My little brother Bill witnessed, I mean as in visually observing, what happened to me. He was just a toddler, but he tried to intervene. The man molesting me told me to shut him up or else he'd bring Bill into the bed with us. So I forced Bill into another part of the house. After that, my cooperation was much more easily obtained. I know he did still sometimes get to Bill, but not when I could offer myself up instead. This was used by the molestor as proof that I "wanted" it, and undoing that lie inside me was my first piece of work as a survivor in recovery. It was key to reclaiming my desire.

Bill, on the other hand, also had male conditioning which says if you are the sexual object, you are female or queer (same thing, to my mind). Plus he had our working class ethic which says therapy is wrong, and he didn't have lesbian-feminism or consciousness-raising to give him alternative messages. As an adult, he was addicted to porn.

I think it's important, however, to stress that while the effects of being in an abusive environment can be as severe (or moreso) for a "witness" as for a target, the effects should not be claimed to be "the same". Whether or not you are target, in fact, is a crucial difference to how you process it. Just as growing up white in a racist culture exposes you to soul-destroying racism, but having those developmental years as non-target means your identity shapes fundamentally differently than it does for someone who is target for racism.

I don't agree with the use of privilege as a concept for some of the reasons above, but that's a different essay. I'm working on it.

And -- "The Fridge that death forgot" -- totally sent me over the edge.

Maggie Jochild said...

On another note -- during the course of one of my addictions, reading about polar exploration and life, I read the journal kept by a Jesuit priest who was the first non-Native person to visit among a tribe of what he called the Copper Eskimo, or Inuit, in one Arctic area. He lived with them for a while, and his journals are chock full of ethnic revulsion. One thing that really pushed him over the edge, and which still entertains me: Each item of Inuit apparel is made from a specific animal product for its particular needed qualities. For socks, they used puppy skins, which have superior insulation and water-repelling property. However, the result is that at the end of the day, you have a great deal of toejam (smegma) built up. These people lived close to the wire, nutrition-wise. So, in the igloos after a hard day's travel, when they pulled off their boots and socks (you have to strip down and stay cool in order to keep the ice walls from melting too much from body heat), they had a small bone blade they'd use to scoop out the toejam. Then, because it was good clean protein, they'd eat it. If you had a guest, it as only polite to offer them first bite. You can just imagine the priest's reaction...

little gator said...

I know former 10 year old boy who got his bedroom door removed. But in his case it was punishment for breaking the door/frame/whatever every time he had a tantrum and slammed it too hard.

That way no one had to bother fixing it endlessly.

little gator said...

email me if you want to see photos of the tree and house. I've been asked not to reveal my urls publicly, for reasons I'd rather not say.

Blue said...

Mags,

This post was the best thing I've read in a long while. Thank you. I LOVE your family stories.

smile and a wink,
Blue

liza said...

Mags, thanks so much for this essay. I immediatly dreamed of secrets, that were so secret i couldn't remember them upon waking.

Don't know if they were my secrets. maybe someone elses.

scorpio rising, and i hold other people's secrets close to my heart.

But I think secrets are a kind of poison. toxic, as you say. Even if the origin of the secret isn't such a big deal, the emotional psychic things that happen around the secret can drive a wedge between people, or between parts of an individual.

I try not to have any secrets. I'm fairly successful.

Except that the Scorpionic part of my relishes them, because I'm so good at keeping them.

shadocat said...

testing

Maggie Jochild said...

Liza, part of why I trust you to the bone.

And Shadeaux, we got your test message but nothing else. Are you still cyber-marooned, poor baby? Well, you're in my thoughts.

Folks, some time we have to get Shadocat to tell us the story of her first day of public junior high instead of Catholic School and the word she innocently brought home to the dinner table.

hammerwoman said...

growing up, i was all secrets.

who i was, what i thought, what i felt, no one knew. when i tried to tell them, they did not believe me, and got angry and upset, and wanted to change me.

i would not/ coult not change, so i became a secret. the reality they knew was not my reality. now and then, someone would catch a glimpse of me, and ask, "what was that?" and sometimes i would smile back.

"i feel like i'm in a science fiction movie, and everybody's got a part but me." (thanks hh). ad-libbing through my days, i learned to see the answer in the question.

how can relationships last when survival demands that they only deal with the appearance of things, and when the energy that is needed for inner work is spent maintaining two separate realities?

many, many hours on the cushion, breathing, with an expectation of focus, a healer desperate to bring herself into her work, i came unexpectedly face-to-face with myself. i had gone into hiding so young, i found i was still a child.

and my secrets were gone.

shadocat said...

I'm baaack...
I'll tell my "first day of junior high" story later...I just had to take a this time to post a link to this article:


ttp://www.slate.com/default.aspx?id=2169592&nav/tap1


Christopher Hitchens thinks the latest terrorist attacks in Britain were designed to kill women...

shadocat said...

Okay, here is the CORRECTED link:

http://www.slate.com/default.aspx?id=2169592&nav/tap1

Soozie, sorry about that other post; it was not ready to go and I meant to save the draft, and instead ended up publishing it...call it a"premature exclamation...

shadocat said...

My first day in public junior high school...

First, the backstory; I was born in 1955, so I was not quite as "sophisticated" as the youth of today.

I was familiar with a lot of the "bad" words used for bodily functions; taking the lord's name in vain; and some German curse words. All I knew about sex was that it had something to do with being naked. I was 11.

I won't go into all the diferences from my old school that I had to cope with, but there was ONE that intrigued me. I kept seeing the same word, over, and over and over. On the back walls of the music room. Scratched on a bathroom door. Carved in my desk at Spanish class. Not to mention the people (mostly boys) SAYING it.

Later that evening, at the supper table, my dad asked me how I liked junior high. "Okay, I guess", I answered, making a fort out of my mashed potatos.

"Well,"said Dad, "Do you have any questions?"

"As a matter of fact, I do," I said. I looked up, and very earnestly leaned for ward in my chair. "Whats's "FUCK" mean?"

My mom stood up at the table and screamed at the top of her lungs. My dad turned scarlet. My little brother and sisters began to cry, as mom grabbed me by the back of the neck, and pushed me towards the bathroom, I assumed to wash my mouth out with soap. I finally convinced her not to, by swearing I did not know it was a bad word..
Only after she calmed down did I whisper,"What is it?"

"It's something verrry bad! Verrry dirty, and verrrrry BAD! Promise me you'll NEVER say it again!"

I promised

"And promise me you'll never DO IT!"

I was intrigued, but I promised.

It was another year before I found out what the word meant. And another year after that, that I found out just how that was accomplished (I read "The Sand Pebbles.")

Needless to say, I broke both my promises. Many, many times...

little gator said...

It was humiliating to learne "that word" from my younger sister who was usually mean to me.

She kept saying(I was about 11 and she was a couple of years younger):

"I know a word the word is FUCK wanna know what it means the word is FUCK wanna know what FUCK mean?"

Since I totally distrusted her of course I pretended not to be interested. But of course she told me anyway.

"the man puts his penis between the woman's legs and nine months later they have a baby."

Furthermore, she'd SEEN a couple doing it behind the dumpster at the local shopping center at night(as if she's be allowed out unsupservised)

There were a few rules that she stated, like it could only be at night and both parties were required to be *totally* naked. And it had to be done in bed. Was there a bed behind that dumpster? She did say they were both naked.

Since there were 7 kids in the family, that meant my parents must have done it *gasp* seven times! Why would anyone do something so weird unless they wanted a baby? And remember, each time a coupled FUCKED there was a baby nine months later. So they must have done it exactly seven times. No wonder they wouldn't talk about it.

At the time I knew babies came from their mother's abdomens, but I didn't know how they got in there, nor did I care.

shadocat said...

little gator,

Until I learned the mechanics, I was told by a friend that when a man and a woman got married, the man lays on top of his wife naked, and shoots a seed from his weeenie into the woman's belly button, and that's what FUCK means. And it doesn't work unless it's a boy and a girl, and they're married by a priest.

Which I totally believed until Debbie Milward's big sister got pregnant and had a baby, and she never, ever got married. And she only went to Mass on Christmas and Easter, anyway.