I was raised by an understanding mother and supportive older sister, each who enjoyed helping me explore my feminine side.
My mother was a product of the 50’s and I fondly remember her wearing poufy dresses with billowing petticoats underneath. One of those petticoats was the first article of feminine clothing I ever wore. I snuck into her bedroom one day and found several petticoats on the floor of her closet.
I remember stepping into one and pulling it up almost to my armpits so it wouldn’t drag on the floor. Looking into the mirror I loved the reflection looking back. That experience led to me trying on her panties. Of course they were huge on me but I would repeat that experience many times when I got older.
Before I started pre-school my sister, she is 6 years older then me, and I were playing cowboys and cowgirls in the back yard. She was wearing jeans and a cowboy shirt and stated that she was ‘Roy Rogers’. I adored my sister and always looked up to her. I would unconditionally follow her lead. “Who am I going to be?” I asked.
“You will be his wife ‘Dale Evans’. And I have just the thing for you to wear,” she replied. We went to her room and she dug around in the back of her closet. She pulled out a bunch of brown clothing, but I couldn’t tell what it was. She told me to get out of my clothes as she had something else for me to wear. Being only five I didn’t think anything of undressing in front of her. After all, we had always taken baths together since I could remember. She proceeded to put a tan blouse, leather skirt and matching vest on me. I remember it like it was yesterday. I ran to the mirror and saw a cute young cowgirl looking back. I loved it and turned and gave her a big hug. I think she was surprised at how much I enjoyed the outfit. I wore it for the rest of the afternoon as we continued our playing outside. When Mom called us in for dinner she looked quite surprised at what I was wearing. All she said was ‘that fits you nicely’.
I helped set the table and waited for Dad to get home. When he walked in and saw me he stopped for a second, glanced at Mom, then said “well, don’t you look spiffy.” That was all that was said about my appearance. Everyone acted like it was no big deal.
The next day as soon as I woke up I put the outfit back on again and wore it all day. Again nothing was said about it, it was just accepted. After supper that night Dad said he was going to take us out for ice cream. As we headed for the car Mom asked “don’t you want to change first?” “Why?” I asked and got into the car. Again, that was all that was said.
I wore that outfit a lot that summer so everyone got use to seeing me in it. One night after our bath I was watching my sister getting into her nightgown. I told her how I thought the nightgown was so pretty and I wish I had something like it. After she got dressed she went into her room, then returned with something behind her back. As I was drying off she told me that she had something for me, then handed me one of her old nightgowns that she had outgrown. It was a little large on me but I loved it. You can imagine the surprise my mother got when she came into my room to tuck me in and I was wearing the nightgown. All she said was “how pretty”. So from that night on I wore a nightgown to bed.
Things continued on this line for many years. My sister would give me her outgrown clothes and I would happily wear them. My parents got use to seeing me in girls clothes and just accepted it. Later I learned that they had many discussions about it when they were alone and just decided to leave it alone and see where it went.
As my sister became a teenager she became obsessed with her looks and started using make-up and worrying about her hair. She would practice on me, having me sit for hours as she put make-up on me and tried styling my hair. Because of this I let my hair grow longer until it was over my ears and almost to my shoulders. I am surprised my parents never made me get a haircut during those years.
So with the clothing, make-up, and styled hair I looked very feminine most of the time at home. My sister started calling me Beverly and it wasn’t long until Mom and Dad pick up on it and started calling me that as well. I had the best childhood that I could imagine!
I had a few outings while I was dressed. At first it began with me taking trips to the grocery store with Mom and my sister. Since I was all dressed up Mom thought it would be alright to take me out like that. I loved it and was never really nervous about being seen as Beverly. Then it progressed to going out as a family to a movie or dinner. Everyone accepted me and treated me as a girl. At Christmas and for birthdays I was given many gifts for Beverly so I had my own clothes and not always wearing my sister’s hand-me-downs. I can remember the first purse I was given. It was Christmas morning and I felt it was the best present I received, even though there were far more expensive gifts for me.
But the best gift was when my sister was in high school and I was eleven. I came into her room as she was cleaning out some dresser drawers. She gave me a big smile and said “I have something for you.” When I walked over to the bed she handed me three bras. “These were the first bras I ever wore. I remember how I felt so grown up when I got them. I want you to have them.”
I was so happy that I started crying as I hugged her. Mom just happened to be walking by then as saw us hugging and ask what was going on. “Pam just gave me my first bras!” I exclaimed. Mom smiled and said “my, you are a big girl now.” I ran and gave her a hug too.
I never got into trouble growing up, always studied and got good grades, and had a very close family. I believe it was because I was allowed to be myself growing up, never teased about how I was dressed. I was not pushed into being a girl, but rather allowed to go down that path and accepted for who I was.
I have also loved permed hair. Growing up my mother would give perms to many ladies in the neighborhood. I would watch, fascinated by what she was doing and how the ladies would look when done. Once, one of the ladies commented on how I seemed so interested in the perms that maybe my mother should do mine. Oh, how I wished she would have done that. But she said perms were only for women, not boys.
The toughest time was when a girl from my school came to have Mom perm her hair. I had to pretend not to be too interested, which was difficult, not only because I loved watching the perm process, but because I also had a secret crush on the girl. She also teased me by saying that Mom should give me a perm sometime. I think Mom could tell because she agreed to give me a perm that Saturday morning. Christine sat at the table and watched as Mom rolled my hair onto the curlers and applied the lotion. She even said I was brave for doing this.
I only had that one perm in my life, but I will always remember it fondly.