It was around 1956 or 1957. I was about 11 or 12.
In my grandfather’s house there was a hallway and it turned to the left. Off this dark back hallway was his bedroom and the only bath in the house – it was after all 1956 and we did not know we had to have so many bathrooms.
In this hallway was a built in bookshelf and it was covered with a curtain hanging from a rod near the top. This made it a hidden storage place. If I recall correctly I, as the only grandchild and only child in the house, was given access to one side of these shelves and not to bother the other. I never, never disobeyed because the adults were so powerful. I had no partners in crime or siblings to help me dispel this myth.
So one day I happened onto the back hallway and two of my aunts were in whispered conversation. The one who was visiting from another state was holding a black box. It was open on one side and revealed a group of pamphlets which slipped into it as if it were in and of itself a bookcase. They were whispering that it was about time to tell me about “these things”.
In my childish innocence I walked up and asked, “what things?” They looked at me with rather sheepish looks and told me that it was for my Mother to tell me.
This filled me with a feeling of fear and dread. My mother did not mention these books for quite sometime and I had this rather dark cloud hanging over me that something was wrong – or worse yet that something was wrong with me and that at some point my Mother would tell me what it was. Or that something in that box would change me forever and in a way it did. It took away my innocence.
Bear in mind that I was this only child in an adult world and always sort of afraid of crossing some invisible line. The adults were pretty hard on me and critical of me and I already felt that I was not quite up to their expectations.
As time passed one day we were in our own home and my Mother approached me with this same set of little pamphlets. She handed them to me and said I might want to take a look because I was growing up. Then she walked away.
It turned out that was the total extent of my sex education. In a way I am glad it turned out that way because I was not imbued with any guilt or any ideas that I might use sex to gain any type benefit from the men I engaged with. So many women use sex as bait for things they want or security or worse yet the fear of withholding from a spouse if said spouse doesn’t do what she wants.
So I have lived my life loving sex and the pleasures it brings in a positive way. And feeling that it is my gift to give if I chose to share it with another human being. That it can be a lovely secret all its own between two people who respect and enjoy each other. That is the way it should be. I wonder what kind of attitude those two aunts who were whispering in the back hallway had toward sex?