The Wild Rose of the Chesapeake
Vol. 6, No. 2
C E S Meeting Minute
Why Can't You Accept Your Spouse or Significant Other?
By Joan Stone
The Teen-age Years of Cross-Dressing By Lucy Stone
Where Do I (We?) Go from Here? By Barbara Van Horn
We Don't Know Nuthin' About Physics
By Becky Adams
My Visit to the Bra and Girdle Factory
By Rosemary McQueen
Going Down the Road or Going Around In Circles?
By Becky Adams
A Note on "Will They Blame Rosemary"
By Barbara Van Horn
Getting a Haircut
Knitting in Reverse
By Rosemary & Theresa McQueen
You have to have a sense of humor about yourself. I had one of those humorous moments this week I just have to share with you.
I decided to see a therapist for a while to sort things out. As Becky quotes from the Benjamin Standards of Care, "psychotherapy can be very helpful in bringing about the discovery and maturational processes that enable self-comfort."
On my second visit, my doctor had an insurance form for me to fill out.
At one point on the form there was a blank to be filled in titled: Gender.
I looked at my therapist. "What's this, a trick question? I thought that was what we were trying to figure out!"
Rachel Rene Boyd
This newsletter is a labor of love for each of our contributing editrixes. Please join the staff by submitting your own insights into the world of cross-dressing. You can send your input to Rachel.Boyd@adelphia.net, or R. R. Boyd, P.O. Box 2252, Ashburn, VA 20146-9152.
That sort of sets the tone of the Chapter's Annual Fashion Show... lots of great outfits being modeled by some very cooperative and long-suffering models and plenty of good laughs to go around! To say nothing of the "groaning board" that was picked clean by the end of the evening.
The January meeting has been traditionally the annual fashion show, first started by Vicki Frost in 1999 and held religiously (?) ever since.
Attending this year's show were four prospective members-Kim and Kathy, Pauline, and Stephanie - along with twentytwo members - Ashley, Barbara Van Horn, Becky Adams, Becky Leight, Chrissie and Pattie, Danielle, Ellen, Grace (who demonstrated for us her ability to walk without any external aids!), Julie, Kelsey, Leslie, Marsha and Doneene, Mary Alice, Mikki, Rosemary, Shana, Terri, Tina, Yvonne and Linda.
Social Hour started about 3:30 when Pauline was the first to arrive and lasted till about 7:00 as members slowly assembled and chatted away, renewing old friendships as well as making new ones. Following a round of introductions at the start of the business portion of the meeting (what's a CES meeting without some business being discussed?), the Chapter's programs for the forthcoming months were outlined.
February would be a group discussion month (with pizza provided by the Chapter) focusing on what follows the euphoria of "coming out." March-our fifth anniversary-would have Grace providing a "herstory" of the Chapter and April hopefully would see a session on cosmetics and wig care.
Prayers and good thoughts were asked for Emily, a former charter member of the Chapter who is having serious health problems at the current time, as well as her spouse and family members. (Word received following preparation of these minutes was that the tumor was benign and all will be well! Te Deum!)
There was some discussion centering on possible changes to the Chapter's newsletter - among the ideas tossed out was the development of a link that would provide direct access to the web site and the current newsletter rather than the current approach to mailing out copies. Following this discussion-no real consensus was reached other than to suggest that approach to Rachel to see if it might makes things easier for her-and the announcement by Ashley that she would be taking photos of those who wanted their picture and bio on the web site the Chapter segued its way into the Fashion Show.
Participating models - who put up with a real ration of "nonsense" from the commentator - included Mary Alice, Barbara, Terri, Yvonne, Mikki, Rosemary, Shana, and Ellen. The models executed beautifully, providing an all-around perspective of their attire and a running description of not only the outfits they were modeling-ranging from casual through business attire to that for "special occasions" and ending with evening wear and formal attire to include a bridal gown modeled by Shana-but also the accessories that accentuated the femininity of each outfit.
Following this presentation, Chapter members continued until late into the evening visiting and talking among themselves and getting to know the prospective members-three of whom who joined that evening-as well as finishing off the "groaning board." (Hint to Pattie-please double the quantity of those fantastic won tons!) We had to scramble to prepare a tray for the front desk, literally beating off some very un-feminine attempts to secure quantities of chicken wings, veggies, and sandwiches! (Ladies, please remember to keep at least one foot on the floor when reaching for food and no butting in line! Please! Linda's observation that while we "may dress like women but eat like guys!" is most appropriate!)
Among the interesting ideas and concepts put forth during the chatter that followed the fashion show included an awareness that maybe Tri-Ess and CES were passing up an opportunity for publicity in neglecting the advertising presence involved with America's fasted growing spectator sport-NASCAR racing, especially "drag" racing (no, not the Saturday Night Live version of "drag" racing...). The Secretary was asked to consider the following for presentation to the national board-a pink race car with the Tri-Ess and CES symbols on the doors and hood and advertising labels from companies and stores such as Dress Barn, Fashion Bug Plus, Victoria's Secret, Shadowline, Olga's, Playtex, L'eggs, and numerous cosmetic and wig companies. Included would be racing outfit of black lace nomex topped by a pink helmet. We had our own Marsha immediately volunteer to take the car out for a test run...unfortunately the gales of laughter drowned out her acceptance speech for posterity.
With that the party disintegrated into chaos with all parties having a great time and missing those who were not able to make it to the meeting that evening. Once again we demonstrated that a sophisticated and chic cross-dresser not only has to have fashion sense but also a great sense of humor!
Oh yes, "soutgache" (pronounced "su tash"-hence the confusion with the Pennsylvania Dutch dish of corn and butter beans) is a narrow braid with herringbone pattern used as trimming...thanks to Ellen for that addition to our vocabulary. Try working that into your conversation around the water cooler!
by Joan Stone
Many times over the years, I have heard other wives and sometimes husbands say, "She/he just doesn't understand." Perhaps that is true, but often it is because we do not understand ourselves, let alone the other person in our life. Or we are too afraid to step out of the box and try something we never tried before: communicating. I don't mean restating what you have said before and parroting what others have said; then politely listening and going your own way while maintaining your views without regard for your partner's concerns. Often this can be such a reflex response to anything that strays from the perceived norm that you may not even be totally aware of what you are doing.
I have been fortunate that Don/Lucy and I have a good understanding of each other. Oh sure, you say. Well it has taken our lifetime together to get to the point that we feel we really do. There are still occasional surprises, but we have learned to discuss them and take action. I first had to learn about myself and become comfortable within me. Don/Lucy also had to do the same. We helped each other along the way. It has taken years -- not just a few days or months.
I get very impatient when I hear a wife complain that she doesn't want her husband to cross-dress because he is not being a man. Or on the other side of the coin, "I won't tell my wife because she won't understand." In each case, it seems to me that both are injecting their own lack of awareness of themselves. If you are secure in yourself, it seems to me that you should be able to accept your partner. That is not to say that you blindly accept everything your partner does, but instead, take time to truly communicate with your partner and learn what makes your partner tick. In the process, you may also find out a whole lot more about yourself.
However, before it is possible to effectively communicate with your partner and understand his/her viewpoint, you must first be aware of the reasons why you accept some things and reject others. Just to say no with out understanding why is wrong. Think about it. How would you feel if the shoe were on the other foot? Would you want your partner to accept you, or withhold something from you because he/she had decided that you wouldn't understand? Would you like to discuss the issue openly and without anger? Wouldn't you want help from your partner?
Understanding only comes as we learn and grow within ourselves as well as help our partners grow. Between two people, it often takes communication, communication, and more communication to reach agreement on difficult issues. It is not fair to draw arbitrary lines or make conclusions about your partner until you have been able to sit down and discuss openly your feelings and truly listen and try to understand those of your partner. I can't begin to count the many hours, days, months, and years of talking, listening and trying ideas before Don (Lucy) and I were comfortable with his cross dressing as well as other aspects of our lives. We grew up in an era when "A man was a man and a woman was a woman." The only problem with that was that neither of us fit the stereotypes planted in our minds by the media and those around us. We each had to learn to accept ourselves and then to accept each other. How wonderful it was to discover that the whole world was not going to cave in on us because neither of us tightly fit the mold.
I think because of the level of comfort we have achieved with each other, many people who know us today assume it was easy for us, but it took a lot of hard work to get here. Not all of the issues that we have had to resolve over the years had to do with cross-dressing. In fact, becoming comfortable with cross-dressing was only a small piece of what we had to discover and learn about together. It has been quite an adventure.
I became comfortable with Lucy long before Lucy became comfortable with herself. I had no trouble dealing with the persona because it was still Don. The only difference is that instead of being dressed in male attire, he is dressed female. No big deal? Well yes and no. I do like Lucy and enjoy being with that side of him, but there are times when I just want Don, such as when we are at a play or concert, so I can reach over and hold his hand. Or on some days, that are even inexplicable, even to me, I just want Don.
The process of communication appears to be beyond the reach some people we know. Perhaps it is because they have not learned how, nor do they seem interested in learning how to discuss their needs or feelings with their partner. Or perhaps, it is because each of them is afraid of their own feelings. Whatever the reason, it is much easier to blame the other guy for our own shortcomings. Another block to effective communication can be the tendency to assume what your partner is thinking instead of asking. Asking and listening, and achieving understanding takes time and patience, it becomes impossible if we lack the will to do it, and we close our ears. Sometimes this results from a fear that our feelings will get hurt, and he/she doesn't understand or care. Usually that is not the case, if we know ourselves well enough to be able to express our thoughts and feelings with kindness and understanding and not anger and resentment. We also must allow time for our partners to express themselves and not become impatient when we don't understand.
Remember that talking and listening without understanding is not communicating. We can almost all talk, but do we stop to listen to ourselves? Sometimes we think we are saying something, but to the other person it does not make sense. Listen not only to your partner, but also to yourself. How do you sound? Is your tone of voice expressing what you really feel? When your partner is talking are you really listening or are you already assuming what he/she is going to say? Are you already planning ahead what you are going to say? If so you are not really listening. Both partners must take the time to listen and discuss rationally every problem. Only then can a solution that satisfies both persons be reached. Accepting the first words out of a person's mouth without taking the time to make certain you know they are trying to convey can lead to anger and resentment. Words mean so many different things to different people. Even to this day one word can lead Don and me down the road of misunderstanding. When this happens, it can take a lot of work to make things right again.
If you and your partner are having trouble communicating on a particular issue, seek professional help. It is out there, and I feel it is no different than going to your physician to get help when you are physically ill. Sometimes, everyone just needs a disinterested person to help put his/her own thoughts and feelings in focus to facilitate communication. Once you begin to truly communicate with your significant other, you will feel better about yourself.
Work hard everyday to communicate with your mate in order to make your lives together something better than you ever dreamed possible. Reach for your dream and work with love and understanding to get there. It is well worth the effort.
by Lucy Stone
During their teen-age years, most girls are intensely interested in clothes. This is the period of their life where they experiment with styles and challenge the conventions of dress adopted by their mothers and older sisters. Initially, they may not make the best choices, but with the guidance of their mothers, peers and older sisters, girls develop a sense of what make up, hair and clothing styles and fabrics are right for them. By the time they have matured, each woman has developed her own sense of style that is very much a part of her identity. No matter how hectic her schedule, she has been challenged every day for years to present an acceptable appearance. In the process, she has had a lot of practice developing her self-grooming skills.Contrast the background of the wife/SO with that of her CD partner who has just gotten up the courage leave the safety of his closet and venture forth for the first time. He often has had little guidance in selecting and wearing his feminine wardrobe, and he has little experience with feminine hairstyles and makeup that are right for his feminine persona. Instead of experiencing the positive reinforcement that results from compliments, he has received or lived in fear of receiving negative comments and condemnation. Is it any wonder, that the first time out for most of us is a tortuous affair, and once we start venturing out, that many of us devote as much time and money to cross-dressing as we can get away with? It is at this stage of our development that most of us push the boundaries that we have negotiated with our partners, and our behavior when it comes to cross-dressing is not too much different than our wife/SO right after puberty. I would like to tell you that my development to my current level of comfort was devoid of this phenomenon, but if I were ever foolish enough to suggest this was the case, I am certain that my wife would vigorously object. For she tells me, that I made the same journey through the teen-age years of cross-dressing as everyone else. Fortunately for me, she never gave up on me, and she still continues to help me and to encourage me to look my very best.
Where Do I (We?) Go from Here?
Barbara Van Horn
It probably comes as no surprise that I'm not a young as I used to be. Then again neither is anyone else. Occasionally I like to reflect on E.B. White's dilemma. He said, "I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." At one point we want to make a difference and at another we simply want to enjoy our time. As time passes I understand better the difference.
A currently popular psychology notion suggests three tiers of being "happy." The first is the pleasant life. Pleasant life suggests pleasure and an absence of misery. Americans are pretty good at pursuing the pleasant life. The second is the "good" life. Here is where people find themselves immersed in their activities. The state often referred to as "flow" exists when we are so engaged that we lose all sense of time. Our work or relationships are very enjoyable. The third level of happiness is "meaningful" life. Here you feel your life has value. The world is a better place because you are in it. Your contribution to the world is satisfying in a way that transcends pleasant and enjoyable.
With that introduction I'm ready to ask the question, "Where do I go from here?" At the first level I continue to have many pleasant TG experiences, and I don't plan to stop. I love being out doing whatever it is we do. I love the clothes, the make up, the hair, and all the sensations of being feminine. I love the way it feels. I experience "flow" at the second level less often, but when I do it is unmistakable. Interestingly, the activity that absorbs me is never the activity of cross-dressing. It may be creating something in the kitchen or playing my guitar, and suddenly I've aware that two hours have passed. More than that I have unconsciously and involuntarily been my feminine self. The difference between being and doing is enormous.
As much as I enjoy and embrace the first two levels, the third stage of TG happiness is my ultimate goal. It has been said that the greatest fear any person can have is to die alone and unloved. (That's what Charles Dickens', "A Christmas Carol" is all about. Remember?) To care about others and be cared about is my ultimate goal. That's where I want to go from here. Caring for people is perhaps the messiest activity we engage in. It takes time, it's frustrating, at times hurtful, but in the end it's all that matters. Further, I believe if I work on this goal the first two will simply fall into place.
Now that I know where I'm going, it's time to ask how I intend to get there. What actions should I take? What should I do? What plans should I make? Should I set some annual milestones? (Oh my. That sounded almost like the ill-fated New Years Resolution thing.) How should I change my life so that it embraces my goal?
Clearly, I can't do this alone. I need personal relationships that embrace who I am and who I want to become. Becky reminds me that it was British poet John Donne who said, "No man is an island..." Well, no woman is either. Donne also said, less famously but more pointedly, "To be no part of any body, is to be nothing." So, what do I need to do?
Would a sex change be helpful? No, probably not. My life is made up of relationships that I value. Most of them would not benefit if I had sex reassignment surgery. To care and to be cared about just doesn't hinge on what genitals you have anyway.
Would living fulltime as a woman be helpful? No, probably not. Lower level pleasant happiness might seem improved for a time but many relationships would not. I am unwilling to put aside those relationships that define my daily life. It's pretty to think about but won't take me where I want to go.
Would continuing to be a member of a TG group be helpful? You bet. This is where you get to know people and they get to know you. You'll experience acceptance and support and, in time, you'll start to care for them as friends and confidants. Expressing my feminine side in a safe and embracing setting also gives me confidence to allow my "softer side" to show in my everyday life. This is the kind of sharing I need to give my life the meaning I'm searching for.
Would it help to be out in public more? Probably, but better with others than alone. Passing consistently can be a real confidence builder, and it's always a thrill to be greeted and treated like a lady. Having a gentleman hold the door or defer to your passing can give you a wonderful feeling. Still a thousand compliments from strangers are less than a single word from someone who knows your heart. (It also doesn't hurt to have friends close if you DON'T happen to pass so well that day.)
Should I join in advocacy for the transgendered, gays and lesbians? Yes, I should. I believe that caring requires me do what I can to make the world a better place for other TGs, even if I don't know them personally. This can be dangerous ground with considerable personal risks. This is the area where I can do a lot of growing. I don't want to be remembered as, "The sweet girl who was always kind and gentle but lacked courage."
In summary, there really is somewhere worthwhile to go from here. I am determined to be a happy woman when I'm an old woman and there are things I can do now to insure that happiness is meaningful. Dressing up and feeling pretty is part of where I need to be. To know who I am and to be at ease with it in all circumstances is part of where I need to be. To care about others and to be cared about by those who know my heart is especially where I need to be.
by Becky Adams
One of the pitfalls of using analogies to explain something is that analogies do not prove anything...but while analogies don't prove anything they can help someone to understand a new or complex situation or condition...sometimes. Like cross-dressing and where it is in relation to transgenderism or transsexualism. Many people like to use the analogy of a spectrum, such as in a radio-wave spectrum, in describing "where" cross-dressing is in the range of behaviors.
"Where are you on the spectrum [of transgenderism]?' is a question frequently asked of an individual who is just becoming aware that maybe he or she is something "different" than what he or she originally thought. And the analogy of a spectrum is frequently used to explain to spouses that their cross-dressing husband is "somewhere on this spectrum." But all too often the impression is left that the spectrum is similar to a continuum, where one slides or segues from one point on the bar to another rather than a real spectrum where a radio wave is definitely defined as a particular wavelength and does not "slide or segue" from that wavelength to another next to it or farther down or up the line.
"Where is this [cross-dressing] going to lead?" When one comes out to a spouse that's the second or third most frequently asked question. (The other two being "Are you gay?" (always number 1) and "What else are you hiding from me?") Unfortunately for many cross-dressers the response to that question is "I don't know" which leads then to a number of problems. There seems to be, at least to me, a thought process out there that says that since I'm a cross-dresser then I might be a transsexual and since I want to cross-dress a lot then that probably means I'm a transsexual.
But I really don't think so. I think one has to essentially have those thoughts and concerns that he's really in the wrong body...he's really a woman in a man's body and not that he just enjoys cross-dressing. So I dug back through the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association's Standards of Care (SOC) and found that apparently I'm not the only one holding the concept that cross-dressing is a defined point on the spectrum and not a sliding element on a continuum. The following edited quotes are from the most recent SOC:
Many adults with gender identity disorder find comfortable, effective ways of living that do not involve all the components of the triadic treatment [hormones, real life experience, and genital surgery] sequence. While some individuals manage to do this on their own, psychotherapy can be very helpful in bringing about the discovery and maturational processes that enable self-comfort. ...
...Clinicians have increasingly become aware that not all persons with gender identity disorders need or want all three elements of triadic therapy. ........
Options for Gender Adaptation. The activities...listed below have, in various combinations, helped people to find more personal comfort....
The bottom line here is that cross-dressing is not necessarily a sliding cursor on a continuum where one slides from being a cross-dresser to being a transsexual. Rather, cross-dressing is, as the analogy frequently states, a point on the transgender spectrum, a place that has definite boundaries. Guess the real bottom line is that many cross-dressers might not "know nuthin' ‘bout physics" and got the concept of a spectrum with defined points and definitions confused with that of a physical continuum where, as an example, with increasing heat water transforms from a solid to a liquid and then to a gas without losing its chemical composition. To my way of thinking a transsexual was born a transsexual and will always be a transsexual regardless of the transformations that occur along the way where a cross-dresser is also born with proclivities to be a cross-dresser but will not go beyond that point on the spectrum. The rub comes in figuring what one is...that's the problem!
My Visit to the Bra and Girdle Factory
Sometime last spring, I received an email from my dear friend, Dianne, (with two n's) and she wanted to visit me at our home where she keeps some of her femme clothes. She wanted to go out shopping so I got dressed in a feminine T-shirt, blue jeans and white running shoes. Dianne, who is in the real estate business, was dressed in a business type skirt suit.
Since it was in the early afternoon and there are a father and son who live directly across the street from me and are on the same fire company as I am, I had to be careful. Dianne pulled her SUV up into my driveway where I was able to walk out of my front door and get into her SUV. My wife, Theresa, and Dianne talked for a while then she wished that Dianne and I would have a good time. We went to a large shopping mall where we visited many stores then had coffee at their food court. I visited the ladies room (sitting down of course) put on lipstick, combed my wig then we drove to a lingerie store that Dianne was familiar with. Because it was a Monday, the store was closed so we went to the Bra and Girdle Factory, but that was closed too. Dianne showed me a padded girdle in the window that looked like something that I could use.
We drove back to my home and she regretted that she had come on the wrong day. Last fall, I decided to visit the Bra and Girdle Factory myself to get that padded girdle. I telephoned first and asked for the lady that Dianne recommended. She was CD friendly so she told me to come in on a Friday night after 5:00 PM.
I went there on the next Friday and I was dressed en femme. Theresa wouldn't come in with me so she stayed in the car. They had ordered the padded girdle for me and it was there, but the lady wasn't. I was helped by some older lady (I am an older lady too), but this lady was partially deaf. I purposely talk softly so as to not expose my masculine voice, but she couldn't hear me. What a disaster! When I had to speak louder for this old doll to hear me I blew my cover and other customers were noticing me where before I spoke in a louder voice, I passed well. I paid for my girdle and didn't try it on because I wanted to get out of there. If Theresa had come in with me, this would not have happened. I wasn't embarrassed, but slightly annoyed at not having the good time that I had expected. These things can and do happen.
Going Down the Road or Going Around In Circles?
Talking over a personal situation with another cross-dresser the other day we realized that the difference between the ways men talk about things compared to the way women talk is more varied than we both originally thought.
Here's the situation...he's been "out" to her for a number of years and they've worked out a pretty good balance of things as to when and where "he" can dress around the house. So he comes home from a hard day at the office, changes into some delicate things, wig and makeup and is relaxing when she comes home from an equally hard day at work, sees him dressed and breaks down in tears. (Don't for one second think that this is unusual! Even the most supportive and understanding spouse sometimes has more than she can handle on her plate and seeing her spouse dressed is the last straw...I love to mix metaphors!)
He was taken back-his actions were well within the terms of the compromises they had worked out and while he wasn't flaunting anything and was honestly grieved to see his spouse obviously hurt and frustrated, he wasn't sure what went wrong. After some give-and-take in our discussions we realized that he had fallen into one of the "male talk/female talk" snares that Deborah Tannen had warned us about. Essentially he had thought that since the compromises had been agreed to and he was acting within the boundaries of the compromise that he was safe to "go down that road" because the path had already been cleared. For her, conditions had changed and she needed to revisit the topic again.
I should make clear that she was not accusing him of either breaking the compromise or pushing the envelope...she eventually acknowledged that the issue was basically hers...but as you and I both know, if Momma ain't happy, nobody's happy. So in retrospect my friend and I agreed that these issues of spousal compromise and where and when one can dress cannot always be described as a road as in "we've been down that road before and this is what we agreed to." Rather these issues might be likened more to a merry-go-round where they might need to be revisited on an occasional basis, much like passing the holder with the brass ring where if you reach out and grab the ring you get another ride.
As I mentioned in the parenthetical comment above even the most supportive and understanding spouse sometimes has more than she can handle. If all you can talk about when you are with her is cross-dressing or about things that remind her of your penchant to cross-dress or if you have a tendency to "treat" yourself to more than an occasional splurge on the charge account while ignoring the increasing line of credit then maybe it is time for you-not her but you-to revisit those compromises you agreed to and ensure you are not assuming that everything is "fine because we've already been down that road." The next time you come around on that merry-go-round, you may miss the brass ring entirely and fall on your ass!
A Note on "Will They Blame Rosemary"
(The following is an email from Barbara to Rosemary, commenting on Rosemary's article in last month's Wild Rose. Ed.)
From: Barbara Van Horn
Subject: Re: "Will They Blame Rosemary"
Date: Wed, 08 Jan 2003 02:31:40 +0000
Will they blame you?? I admit I don't like the word "blame" very much. It implies you've done something wrong and should be held accountable. Being TG isn't something we can volunteer for or opt out of. As your article makes clear, there are a lot of special people in this world. Why they are what they are is a question that's fun to ponder but in the end doesn't count for much in terms of personal relationships.
What if your grandkids "become" TG or gay? (See paragraph one) They are or they aren't and no one can do anything about it except learn to be OK with it.
Inherit it? Probably not but who knows? (And what difference does it really make?)
Personally, I believe being TG is a very special gift only a few have. At the same time I understand the "ungifted" may not see it that way. I don't really expect the "ungifted" to understand anyway. I only ask them to be tolerant at least, supportive better and celebrate if they can.
If Barbara is "blamed" for anything, I pray it is that I've kind, gentle, considerate, and taught my kids (no grandkids...yet) to value those things too.
Getting a Haircut
Woman1: Oh! You got a haircut! That's so cute!
Woman2: Do you think so? I wasn't sure when she gave me the mirror. I mean, you don't think it's too fluffy looking?
Woman1: Oh God no! No, it's perfect. I'd love to get my hair cut like that, but I think my face is too wide. I'm pretty much stuck with this stuff I think.
Woman2: Are you serious? I think your face is adorable. And you could easily get one of those layer cuts - that would look so cute I think. I was actually going to do that except that I was afraid it would accent my long neck.
Woman1: Oh - that's funny! I would love to have your neck! Anything to take attention away from this two-by-four I have for a shoulder line.
Woman2: Are you kidding? I know girls that would love to have your shoulders. Everything drapes so well on you. I mean, look at my arms - see how short they are? If I had your shoulders I could get clothes to fit me so much easier.
Knitting in Reverse
Rosemary and Theresa
Barbara Jane's article in the January 2003 issue of the "Wild Rose of the Chesapeake" entitled "Discovering Knitting" reminded me of an incident that happened many years ago.
Back in the 1960's when I was employed as physicist at a government laboratory, I attended a meeting of the American Physical Society of which I was a member. The meeting was held for a few days at one of the newest hotels in midtown Manhattan.
There were physicists from all over the world and the focal point of the meeting was a talk about the current hot topic that was given by one of the most prominent physicists of the day. This was a jacket and tie meeting and I had to stay awake because I was required to give a summary of what I learned at this conference.
When the most important speaker was to give his talk I got to the conference room in time so that I would not miss anything. The room was darkened because slides were to be shown as part of the speaker's presentation. When I entered the conference room, I walked down the center aisle toward where I was going to sit when, suddenly, my legs became entangled in a string. I had difficulty in untangling myself then I saw another person with the same problem. As soon as we became untangled, we sat down to hear this important lecture.
I was then amazed to see a lady wearing a red knitted dress walking briskly down the aisle and winding up the red yarn that her dress was made of. Her street length dress was rapidly becoming a mini dress! She had to be totally embarrassed, and I do not know who she was or where she was staying. She could have been a physicist from some laboratory and I do not know what happened to her, but I would have bet that she didn't stay around very long after that. I can just hear her colleagues asking how the meeting went that day and she could only report that she lost half of her dress at that meeting. This says something about me too. I do not remember who the speaker was or what the talk was about, but I do remember the lady in the knitted red dress.
I have already told the following story to Barbara Jane and some other sisters who seemed to enjoy it.
When I was a boy I asked my grandfather many questions about his boyhood in Sudwalde (Southern part of the forest), Province of Hanover, Germany. He had to knit his own socks as did his brother and sisters. They lived in a large house that was divided in two. Half was for the farm animals and half was living quarters. The roof was thatched and at the peak Heide (Heather) was used to bind the straw thatching.
The house had a clay floor and in the center was an open fire with the smoke rising to the ceiling and through a hole in the roof. It was there that meat was smoked. Knitting was done by all of the children in the evening.
My grandfather, as well as his brother and sisters, slept in a box full of straw. On very cold nights, some uninvited mice would join them in bed. At the ends of the roof were crossed, wooden, horses heads that were an old Saxon symbol. On Christmas my grandfather would go into the forest and chop down a tree for their Christmas tree. All of the children received an orange for their Christmas present.
In the center of the village was a tall windmill and that is where they had their grain ground into flour. His mother made black bread, once a month, in a stone oven that was behind the house. All of the children wore wooden shoes, which they also used for ice skating. Sudwalde is located only about 50 miles from Holland.
In 1891, at the age of 15, my grandfather, Johann, left for America aboard the SS "Aller", (named after a river in Germany) and was processed at Castle Clinton, which was the immigration center before Ellis Island. He volunteered for the U.S. Army in 1898 and met my Irish-American grandmother in 1899 who was born in Philadelphia.
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Page Created: February 25, 2003
Page Created: February 25, 2003