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They Call Me Yasmene

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Early Yasmene

 

They Call Me Yasmene

Yasmene , beautiful white desert flowers known for their fragrant blooms .

"I 'll call you Yasmene" Shawkat said , "Cause your my beautiful desert flower" , holding me in his strong arms while kissing me tenderly I looked forward to the moments when my handsome husband would use the term of endearment, always feeling a special warm glow when he called me his Yasmene. As the years passed he called me Yasmene less and less until I only heard it in my own mind when I remembered better times with my Arabian Prince.

 

 

Where does one begin ones own life story? What about? " I was born" ..... I was always a story teller of a kind, always putting together my thoughts in story form and telling way to much information for comfort when relaying my thoughts to others. It was like I was writting my life story or an Agatha Christie Mystery.

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Yasmene and Her Mother 1992

Introduction

 

1992 was a year of change that began with the sudden death of my mothers baby sister Betty in April. Betty was my favorite Aunt, possibly because she was the youngest and most hip of my mothers siblings. Betty and I had been close all my life however when I was a young woman she moved close to me for a time during the breakup of her marriage. It was about 1979 when Betty moved from her home in Mississippi to Charlotte where my first husband Alva and I were living , that is when we became good friends, a friendship that grew through the years so by her death from a tragic car accident in 1992 she was like my own sister. The year started out on a positive note, I had just been approved to rehabilitate a historical home in Salisbury N.C. and had already moved in when Betty died. My love for historical homes and history had infueled in me a desire for years to bring a Historical House back to life so this was as dream come true and my chance to make my mark with preserving our heritage. I had gained experience in renovation while restoring my first house in near by Mooresville, a small 120 year old farm house. Because of my 20 years of collecting and pack ratting moving in had been hard and if not for help from my friends it would have been impossible. I had friends already living in neighboring Historical Communities and I looked forward to being a part of this close knit Preservation Community filled with unique people . I was a Recreational Cordinator , working with mentally handicapped children and adults, the most rewarding work of my career. But when Betty died something in me died with her, I lost my desire. All the projects I had started in my new old home didn't seem so important to me any more, walking from room to room I no longer felt the magic I had felt from the moment I laid eyes on this hudge Victoria Jewel in the rough. This was my dream house, but my dreams were gone. Why the death of a family member had effected me so much would come into focus later when I found out more about my own mental state. So I made plans to make a big change in my life, I was going to leave my life and everything I known behind . I had a friend who was a native Alaskan who wanted me to go with her  to Alaska . I needed a chance to run away and forget my pain so we made our plans to go for the next season. After packing family antiques and special items that I knew I would want again when my mind cleared I had an auction of over 20 years of my collections of antiques and collectables then moved what I was keeping into my parents basement to store. I decided to stay with my parents but only a month into my stay with my parents my father suddenly died, he went to the doctor with a kidney infection on a friday, was sent to the hospital and was dead by monday of kidney and liver cancer. My strong, but loving father was gone.

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Yasmene and her Aunt Betty

Every thing became a haze , I couldn't think clearly , thirty something, twice divorced and living with my mother. Depression came and went with the frequency of a visit from an old friend but I knew I could not leave my mother alone now so my going to Alaska was out for sure, but my brothers didn't like the idea of my living on the farm with our mother. My mother was in her mid sixties but she had difficulty getting around and spent much of her time in a wheelchair ,. It was suggested by one of my brothers wives that she should go to a nursing home but she was not ready yet to give her up freedom. We thought about my putting a small house next to my mothers house for she and I to live in then she could rent her house out but I would have my own home as my brothers didn't want me to have the family home. Before I could start to build my little house I had to get a piece of land into my name, but when my mother asked my brothers about my having a lot to build they refused saying that if I had a lot the rest of the farm land would be of no use to anybody. It was at that point my mother made a hard decision, if they couldn't agree and get along she would sell the whole farm and move and thats exactly what she did. I told her I would do what ever she wanted to do because I was single and up for making a new life with her. So we thought of moving to Mississippi, her home, where she was born in 1924 and where she left in 1943, so after 50 years the prodical daughter was returning to the land of her birth. Making plans gave us something to look forward to and take us out of the grips of sorrow. We had made a visit down south in advance to make sure things would be workable. I found a company much like the one I worked for in North Carolina that promised employment when I finally made the move and we began looking for a place to live. Not finding anything by the end of our visit we were excited to get a call from my mothers sister Carrie as soon as we arrived back in N.C. She had decided to move into a retirment complex that was being built in her town and would be willing to sell us her house. Her house was a smallish brick house so we thought about things before making our decision to buy, finally after deciding to buy the house , remodel the kitchen/ great-room then add 2 rooms onto the house and a large patio out back. Long distance work began with the help of family living in Mississippi over seeing the contractors so by the time we were ready to move the house was finished and looking brand new . Leaving North Carolina and the home and farm I grew up was an emotional time for me, my childhood was finally over and not only was I leaving home once and for all home would never be there again for me to go back to, never be the refuge it had always been for me. But I was not doing it alone, I had my dear mother with me so we could help each other along the way. .

The Road to Summerville

With deep roots in the southern soil the road back to Summerville was a coming home, a coming home of both mind and spirit as Summerville was my ancestral home, what there was left of it, mostly just a ghost town filled with memories of times long past, cemetaries with names of families long moved away, some of who were just passing through and caught a fever and was layed to rest there, others were students and teachers of the long ago closed Summerville Institue . In its prime Summerville which started as a trading post in the 1830s after the land was taken way from the Choctaw Indians in the famous Treaty of Dancing Rabbit, and it had been a Boom Town in the days when Cotton and Slavery ruled the south with small and large plantations in all directions. Summer lay in a direct line from Tupelo to the north and Jackson to the south west, and with the prospect of the Rail Road coming the town was sure to grow, and grow it did, it had a Tavern 2 open salons, Black Smith Shop, Post Office, a Hotel, Tailor shop, Dry Goods stores, a masonic Tempel where dance classes were taught up stairs, a Cotten Gin and a Livery Stable, and not to forget the heart of any southern community was the churches.  Summerville consisted of 18 blocks and 21 fractional blocks. A stage line came through summerville to bring visitors and students going to Summerville Institue so many visitors stopped at the Haynes Hotel, a large 2 story structure with a big porch across the front and a wide front hall that was cool on a hot summers day , there was even a Cotton Mill located outside of Summerville. The railroad never came through Summerville and the years following the Civil war were hard on the community, the institues closed down, the mill moved out of town and was torn down, most all of the business closed and moved to the closest town where the RR did put its tracks, and life went on, slowly the town dried up that by the time of the depression all was left was the post office and one general store and ghost of the past.

As our van filled with memories, my mother and my dog, headed onto the interstate with moving truck in hot pursuit, my mind began to think of the new life that stood befor us. My mother had been born in her parents wood frame house, on the outskirts of what was left of Summerville. The house never had running water, or electricty or indoor plumbing, but it was filled to the brim with love, and in some instances love was all they had to share with one another as she grew up during the depression. My thoughts came to me, was the old place still standing? Wonder if all my childhood memories would come flooding back to me when I saw it? My mother had been born in the house so even though the house had been empty and forlorn all of my life it was landmark for our family, a place to visit every summer when my parents would pack us all up and go south for the 4th of July vacation. My mother and I talked , and ate endlessly during the long 10 hour drive from my birth place in N.C. to my mothers in Mississippi. It was spring time and our hearts were filled with anticipation of our new life way down south in Dixie Land. A new start was what my mother needed after living away from her family for 50 years. She had left Mississippi in 1943 to go to North Carolina to find work out of the Cotton Fields of Mississipp, and she found herself working in Cotton Mills, seems she was destined to work with cotton all her life but thats where she met my father and they were married in 1944. All of these stories were on my mothers lips as we drove that day, she loved to recall her youth and I loved to listen to it. I'll write all that down in a book oneday I would always say to her, one day I will momma.

My mother and I had always been close, as close as any mother and daughter could be, she was my best friend and the sister I never had along with being my mother. Of course there were times growing up that she drove me nuts, momma always wanted things to be right, she was always sort of prissy about things while I was a little more in tune with nature, but we always have loved each others company even from small childhood when my father who was a stern man would go into his rages and I would run into her arms for comfort. Daddy was a good man , but as he aged I think something was missing in his life or lack of it that caused him to become obsessed with little things that went on around our house and farm. Daddy had been raised in a big southern family in rural North Carolina, decended from a very German heritage family who had been in the area for 200 years . Both his grandfathers were plantation owners, his mothers father also owned a saw mill and a brick works where they made bricks for the community. The community was known as Saw because of the saw mill my great grandfather ran. I remember as a child going into that great grandfathers house and seeing my grand mothers tiny foot prints in bricks in one of the fireplaces, he loved to put little feet into the wet clay to preserve them for postarity. My grandparents met when when they were attending Enochville School . The school was on the property of Enochville Lutheran Church, as most Germans were Lutheran in that community. My father was born in a 2 story log house but later grew up  in a new white 2 story house that they built in the late 1920s by my grandfather.  The house had electricity, and running water and a room was built for the bathroom which was not actually installed for some years which resulted to them having to still use an out house, but for rural life in the early years of the depression it was a nice home to grow up in, when my parents married they lived there, actually upstairs in the back hall way with a curtain as a wall but they made due. They were living there when my oldest brother Buddy was born, but after my father came back from Italy and the Service following WW2 my mother prompted him to buy their first house and move out to raise their own family. This was all great but my father never actually left home, not in his mind, he might have slept in their brand new white frame house but in his mind he still lived down the road at Pappas, as they always called my grand father on my fathers side.

When we drove into the Drive Way it seems the whole family were there to greet us, As the movers brought in the furniture and I worked to tell them where every thing went my mother had a big ole family reunion with her sisters, brothers, cousins, our move was starting off on a very positive note, when the house was finally in place and all the dishes and personal items unpacked we settled back to a summer of visiting with family, seems we had a cook out or a fish fry every weekend, we made homemade icecream by the gallons. This was an old fashioned Southern Summer, sitting out on the porch swing and hearing the old folks talk about the good ole days down in Mississippi. When it got too hot we all came inside for more of the same. My mother had originally had 3 sisters and 3 brothers, of which 2 sisters Carrie and Corrie and 2 brothers Same and Freeman were still living. Carrie and Corrie love to go with us every Sunday afternoon taking what started as our Sunday Drives, sometimes it would include a Picnic Lunch, which I would take to set up at different locations around the area of where they were all raised, one time it was in their family church yard, while another it was actually in the front yard of the old empty house they were raised in , his was something we all looked forward to, and continued when weather permited until Aunt Corrie began having heart problems and was not able often to make the trips. That Summer I began what would turn out to be my new Career, as I had previously worked with Mentally Handicapped and had thought that was what I would continue when I got moved down south, however the company who had promosed to interview me before I made the moved, would never make an appointment for an interview after the move. I went into the local Job Placement Center and to no avail could not find a job. But being a person who must keep my hands busy I started working on some hand crafts to fill my time, my cousin had been in the Craft Business and had done very well with doing Craft Shows I decided I would make some crafts to sell while I was still putting in applications and doing interveiws for a real job. I started doing different crafts then decided to try making Santa Dolls like I was seeing in the magazines, as I had actually designed original dolls as a hobby in the past I thought I could do it. Well my first Santa Dolls turned out pretty good. I kept making them to show in the Local Craft Fair that was going to be in a few months so I got busy as a bee, I started with clay and sculpted the heads, then attached them to a wire frame, and from that I created a body that was dressed, these were mounted on a wooden stand. Somone I think it was my mothers Cousin Joyce took one to an Art Gallery in a larger town near by  and they loved them and wanted to do a showing of them, WOW, well yes of course, when I actually started selling them I was amazed, that somone was buying and loving something I had created myself from scratch. After that things started happending really fast, I did the Craft Show then was contracted to sell exclusvily in my first shop, Again Wow, By that christmas I had my santas in 10 high end gift shop in 10 different cities . That Janurary I did my first Gift Market Show in Atlanta, and opened my Studio and My town That Spring, Dorothy  the  Director of the Chamber of Commerce invited me to attend a promotional event for our county that was being done in one of the Mississippi welcome centers, that event was televised and my Santas were a hit and I was asked to be a guest on Good Morning America's local segmant Good Moring Meridian, where I took some of my santa's and was interviewed, they promoted the fact that I had been included in in a special segment in Mississip Magazine celebrating Mississippi Artist . I was flying on a cloud by this time in my life, All this and I hadn't even had my grand opening of my show room which was scedueled the last of July with a Christmas in July celebration, and of course the local news were there to show how Macon was clebrating christmas early that year, when they intervied me  I was almost toung tied for all the attention. The bad thing about my grand opening is that it was on the same day as my 20th year high school reunion and I hated to miss it cause I had gotten to know again some of my class mates and they turned out to be some of my best customers in my shop, actually after that second season was over not many Noxubee County folks did not own a Hunt Wood Santa, so by the end of my 3 year in business my local business was slowing down except for orders going out of down, so I focused on doing Gift Market Shows, in 1996 I made a Trip to the Big Apple to show my Work at the International Toy Fair, during this period my work was shown on The Nasville Channels Crook and Chase Show, as well as Universal Studios  show, Home and Family with Chuck Willery and Christina, Ferreh . When they showed my santa in California I got a call that morning from a girl who said I am Christina Ferrehs assistant, and that they wanted to show my santa that day and could they use my name and phone number, OOOOO Yes, it was not 5 mintues that the phone rang again and it was Christina herself telling me how great my work was and she would love to promote me on the show, and she did, lord have mercy she showed my work and did a really big deal about it and kept showing the santa during the whole show, it was amazing, I got calls for days with people ordering my santas. It was really hard filling my orders after that. Next I started doing shows in Chiacgo and Dallas by this time and the orders were coming in so well that I had to hire help to keep up with the demand. That next year when I went to the Atlanta Spring Show I met a young man who swept me off my feet with his charm and silver tounge. He was a Sales Rep and just loved my line and wanted to represent me for my next season. He made an appointment and layed out his play to represent me and make us both rich. MMMMMMMM. However I would have to make some consession as to the quality of my work. I would have to now cast my work in molds using resign instead of sculpting them by hand, and hiring more help to get production going , to do this I had to order lot of supplies in large bulk so that I could fill his orders he was going to bring to me. So when the summer shows come around I let him take over for me taking orders, Big mistake, the orders were just not coming in, then came the fall shows still very slow orders, this prompted me to have to pack up my work and start doing christmas gift and craft retail shows to sell some of the stock I had built up. The I found out that he had done the same to many people he had signed, as we were required to pay for booth rental at the gift shows he was using use to pay for the booths while promoting certian vendors and putting the rest of us in the back and forgetting us. The next 6 months was a very hard time for me because I had to make a decision what to do, My successfull business had turned sour and I was risking loosing everyting. Then it happend, just as I was getting over the back stabbing of someone I trusted, I got a bigger blow but one that was more emotional than anything else. A book had just been published about the County I lived in, and mentioned most of our govermental leaders and the racial tentions found in my part of the country. It was Called Uproar at Dancing Rabbit Creek, well I got a call from a cousin who said how do you feel being mentioned in that new book, What???? Me, what did they say about me, was it about my Santas? NO, it wasnted about your santas, it was about, well it was about your being TRANSSEXUAL !!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Childhood Dreams

I was Born........

Forgive my rambings but having actually grown up in North Carolina in a setting much like Mayberry I will try to tell my story with my simple country girl manner. While you read think of Patsy Cline singing some whiny tear jerker on the radio while riding in a late 50's model ford with fins on the tail lights, or walking bare foot down a country road to the store for an ice cold RC Cola and a moon pie , splashing in the creek trying to stay cool on a hot summer day , or playing with fox hound puppies till your as dirty as they are then getting all dressed up every sunday to go to church and hear the chour sing, and you just might get a feeling of my childhood.

I was born December 25th 1956  identified as a boy and grew up on the family farm wanting thinking I was a girl and wanting to be, the latter being a common thread that binds all True Transsexuals together as Sisters and Brothers. .... I was the youngest of 3, I had 2 older brothers, we were each 6 years apart in age so we weren't really close because of that age difference. I think they grew up with shame that their little brother was a sissy that played with dolls and dressed up like a girl. I grew up first thinking I was a girl then wishing I were a girl. I remember my mother telling me during my transition how she figured it was her fault my being the way I was because she had taken Diethylstilbestrol or DES prior to becoming pregnant with me and for some time afterward. Her doctor had prescribed it because of female problems she had been having . Studies show that DES esposure can cause certain Intersexed conditions in males whos mothers were exposed to the hormone before or during pregnancy..........

Well I loved to play with dolls, my favorite a Miss Revlon Doll I named Loreta after my favorite movie star Loreta Young. My favorite thing to do was to play dress up in my mothers, or my grandmothers, or my aunts closets. When I was 3 it was cute, but when I was 10 it was becoming a problem for my parents. When I turned 6 Loreta was taken away from me , it was time for me to start acting like a boy. My life of secrets began when I had to hide my true nature. When I was about 12 years old I discovered there was hope for me in the form of surgery. I read about Christine Jorgensen and was enchanted with her story. She was someone from my own parents generation who had the same feelings that I had deep inside. Shortly after reading about Christine there was an article in our local News Paper about a Transsexual who was going through transition, working as a woman and going for surgery. Also she lived in the same county where I lived. I suddenly felt less alone and my plans began to formulate in my mind. I would have this surgery one day, I didn't have the slightest idea how I would go about reaching my goals but I felt better just having goals to look forward to. I tried to contact this beautiful local Trans girl whos name was Angela but I had no luck as the News Paper refused to forward my letter to her.

Later in the back of one of my fathers magazines I found an ad for Micheal Salems TV Boutique, so I wrote to them and requested a list of books they had for sale. I ordered a Harry Benjamine Book about Transsexuality, and a book about How To Tell Your Family Your a Transsexual, I learned about the Ericson Foundation and Johns Hopkins, who was doing SRS then. It was the beginning of my quest. I was not at all equiped for my journey , I was a very naive country bumpkin who scored poorly in school, without much hope for a better education. When I was 13 I ran away from home dressed as female while driving my mothers VW. All I knew was I wanted to live as a girl, work, save my money and have surgery. Within a few days I came home with the News Media having a hayday about the boy who ran away from home dressed as a girl. The police wanted to put me into a detention center for run aways, but my parents insisted I be left at home and promised to get me help for my odd problem. The doctor they sent me to only told me there was no way I could ever be a girl and I needed to snap out of it. When I turned 16 I started going out dressed as a girl every weekend. It was in the early 70s, my hair in a long unisex shag, I would put on makeup and a girls top while driving down the road in the same VW I ran away from home in. I would go to the movies, sometimes go shopping , just regular stuff, sometimes I would talk a cousin into going with me so I wouldn't be all alone.

 

 

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Both Photos age 17 in 1974

 

First Love or Love of the Damned

 

First Love is hard for everybody, its a new experience to give another person your heart so freely that you trust them totally . You actually feel that its going to last for ever. But it doesn't, and if your lucky the experience is quick and painless and you go on to the next swaray with just a little bit more prepared. That is inless your are a transsexual and its your first experience with a forbidden love, then the experience becomes that much more important to you. It seems like you have finally come out of the dark and you are finally going to have just a little bit of the happiness you see those around you having. Then it hits, the reality of it all then the pain, more intense than any you've ever felt.

When I was in my senior year in high school I became friends with a young boy who lived down the dirt road past our house..... We had moved to Mississippi for the 1973-74 school year. I had been having difficulty with my studies following my running away from home when I was 13 dressed as a girl, and my family hoped the move would give me a new start on life, so I was inrolled at Central Acdemy in Macon for my Senior year. Central Acdemy was an still is an all white school and Noxubee Counties answer to desegragation. I had to cut my hair off short and let my thinned eyebrows grow out and I promised my parents I would give my all to being the son they wanted me so badly to be. I honestly did my best that last school year, I even dated and became engaged. Or at least engaged to be engaged, we talked about getting married, or she talked about it non stop. I loved Alice but I was not in love with her, not the way it takes to be a husband to a wife. When we dated I could kiss her because I would close my eyes and imagine she was someone else. We held hands and were together all the time, and I loved treating her just like I wanted to be treated however when the realization came to me that I would eventually have to have sex with her and I just could not imagine that ever happening we broke up. Well I broke up and she went all to pieces, she had planned on a husband, well so did I, I just couldn't be one, I needed one. After we broke up I became friends with Jimmy. Jimmy was one of these boys who in school was a bully but on the inside he had a heart of gold, just as long as nobody else knew it. We started riding together to school and back, then he started coming in to watch TV with me in my room. This went on for months until one day he told me that he knew that I had run away from home dressed as a girl when I was 13 and was very interested in talking about my Transsexual Self. I shared with him all my hopes and dreams and he seemed to want to understand and accept me for who I was. Then he wanted to see me dressed as female. When I dressed up for him the first time he was amazed and told me how beautiful I was, this mad me happier than I had ever dreamed possible. After that first time he began coming over and hanging out most every evening and it started feeling like we were courting, even though we never touched it was that type of feeling for me. I was inexperienced with datting men so I had no idea what to expect. But I had broken a cardnial rule, I had fallen in love with another womans man, and that woman was my own cousin. Granted their relationship was always shakey, they broke up more than they stayed together but they were still considered a couple. I was there to listen to his side of the disputes and to give him sympathy, so how did I know I would fall helplessly in love with this boy. I began to make plans for us running away after graducation and some how getting my surgery then getting married and living happily ever after in our ivy covered cottage, and did I mention I was looking at all this with Rose Colored glasses? I was doomed for heart break from the start but I had to play out the game to the end. One day he said his parents were going out of town for the weekend, "Can I hang out at your house?" he said , I said "Sure", and I could hardly cover my excitment. I started making my plans for the weekend, what I would cook for us, what we would do, where we would go, and of course what I would wear when I dressed up for him, all sorts of stuff just like a date with a lover, but he was not my lover, he belonged to Shelia. Everything went as planned, we had a great evening together, we sat side by side on the sofa in my room watching tv, eatting pop corn and cutting up like sweethearts, or at least I thought. Of course he wanted me dressed female during this time and luckily my parents gave me the privacy . When we finally went to bed you could tell the tension was there between us, he began tossing and turing in bed, finally our faces were close to each other and he kissed me. We made out like crazy for what seemed like ages, then something was said between us, I don't remember what it was, possibly I said I love you, then I excused myself to go to the bathroom and while I was gone he got up out of bed, dressed and was driving out of the drive as I came back to my bedroom. Of course I cried myself to sleep that night, I had no idea what was going on, I was confused and a little scared. Hey I was living in Mississippi where the KKK was still going strong, I had no idea what to expect. The next morning I had a visit from my cousin, she and her sister came to tell me that Jimmy had come to them and told them he woke up and I was preforming oral sex on him, that he stopped me and left the house. I was in tears, because that was an out and out lie. Of course they didn't believe a thing I said and left in tears saying I was a queer who needed killing for molesting her boy friend. Oh God I was in a mess, I was heart broken, crying all the time, going out into the woods to be alone and cry for my loss of people I really cared about both Jimmy and Shelia. To get this all off my mind I went to spend some time with my cousin who lived in Columbus. Her name was Kathy and she and I had been close growing up but after her parents divorce she lived with her mother in Columbus Mississippi which was a River Town of some size, its where we all went to the movies, roller skating or to go bowling. One night Kathy and I were in a resturant when in came Jimmy and a bunch of his friends, all rough and tumble guys, they came over to the booth were we were sitting and began to push me around, telling me to come out side so they could kick my faggot ass. I could not believe this was the same guy who had in just a short time been my best friend. If Kathy had not threated to call the police I have no idea what would have happened to me, possibly buried some where in the country or tossed in the river to become gater bait.

I was only 17 years old then that summer of 1974 but I was learning to grow up fast so when my parents forced me to move back to North Carolina that fall I was more or less happy for the chance to make another new start. I had been making my plans to transition as soon as I could so I had started doing little things I thought I could get away with that would make me feel more feminine and not I hoped be noticed such as grow out my hair out, tweeze my eyebrows, growing my nails and pierceing my ears. The little things that most girls take for granted only served to make me feel just a little bit more like my real self. Then my parents were prompted to take me back to North Carolina not because of my situation with Jimmy, as far as I know they never new about that. What they did know what that I was up to my old tricks, they had intersepted a letter from the Mississippi Gay Alliance who's President I had been talking to about leaving home to begin my transition into womanhood. I had met her a couple of times after school that year and we had simply riden around town and talked about my problem. She didn't know much about Transsexuality but did know where to make contact in New Orleans, so my plans were beginning to formulate for my move to New Orleans. I was out of school and the law stated if I had employement I could move out of my parents house and I was only 6 months away from my 18th birthday anyway. When they read the letter our house was propelled into World War III, my brothers were called in from North Carolina to get us ready to move back and again all my female things were burned. I was being taken back in shame. Cut those finger nails, let those pierced ears grow shut and for God sake stock plucking your eyebrows, your not a girl and never will be my mother said to me on our trip back.

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Age 18 just after transition began

Transition Begins

 

When I was 17 and going to Beauty School I finally met Angela who was a vision of lovelyness. During our first and only meeting that I thought went very well we made plans to go shopping together then she decided not to get involved with a Pre Op TS and wanted nothing to do with me. I was heart broken because she had been my idol, the one who got me though many bad times in my teen years. I vowed then I would never ever turn my back on anybody who needed my support.

There was a period in my life that I call my awakening. This was directly after I turned 18 on December the 25th of 1974. On Feburary the 14th 1975 I went with some newly aquired friends to a Valentines Party in a Gay Club named JBs in Charlotte North Carolina. They were having a Drag Show and the excitment was intoxicating for me. I met for the first time a few fellow Transsexuals and began lasting friendships that night that continue to this day. Afterwards I began to go to Charlotte on every chance I got, usually on the weekends. Soon I got close with others living there and would spend at least one night during the weekend then go back home to my parents on the farm. While I was living there in the home with my parents my father insisted I respect the few rules he put down. One of those rules was to be in at a decent hour and to call if I was going to be away for the night so they would not worry. On one of these weekends a group of us hung out at someones appartment then got ourselves all dolled up to go out for the evening. I remember that I drove one night the old 64 Chevy I had bought from my grandfather and lovinly named Ole Bessy. Well the next day I woke early and made my way back home to the farm only to get a call from one of my friends saying they had left their keys in my car, not only their house keys and car keys but also their work keys and they had to have them on monday morning. So later in the afternoon I made my way back to Charlotte to return their keys. I had already been driving on borrowed air as one of my tires was old and slick as ice and every trip wore it out that much more. Now the worst part was that the tire was my spare and the tire in my trunk was flat. As I was leaving Charlotte on interstate 85 going north I quickly started hearing a flopping noise somewhere outside the car so I stoped and had a look, not finding anything but the slick tire with some wire coming out I prayed that I would make it back home before the blew out. No such luck was coming to me that night as the tire blew and hoping I could make it to the next exit ramp I kept driving with sparks flying from the rim. Finally when the rim was completely gone I stoped the car and cried my eyes out. What in the world was I going to do? I felt so alone, sitting there in the emergency lane of the interstate highway at almost 2 am in the morning, no spare and to top it all off no money in my cute little purse I had sitting on my seat beside me. Fear over took me and I nearly went into convulsions with my sobbing but then out of the blue my eyes and mind cleared up and I went outside the car to have a look see. I know I must have looked a mess, I had been crying and the mascara was running down my face, my hair was a mess and I had taken out padding when I first got into the car getting ready to transition back into male mode as I drove along. Then all of a sudden a big rig pulled in behind me and a nice middle aged man jumped out to offer me assistance. He was so nice, he said miss you want me to change that tire for you? I said well my spare is flat, then I burst into tears and he said let me think about this a minute, he got back into his rig and got on the CB then after a few minutes he jumpted back out with good news, there was an all night tire repair at the Salisbury Truck Stop. Now Salisbury was over 40 miles from where my car was parked on the side of the road. That would be 40 miles one way and 40 miles back with a total of 80 miles. The nice man said let me help you in the cab and I will run you there and bring you back with the tire. Then I said but the catch is I don't have a penny on me, but he said it would be ok we would work something out later. Now I was a stupid country girl, I thought possibly he would give me his address and I would send him the money for the tire and gas money for his trouble so our ride up the road was spent with he and I just making polite small talk, I was confident he had accepted me as female but I was very nervous being alone with him in his truck. When he came back with the tire he told me how I could pay him for the tire and rim as I had destroyed my rim. I was scared to death I was ready to be killed and tossed out along side the interstate highway and nobody would know what happend to me. I learned very quickly that night that you can turn from a scared boy into a woman of the world in an instant if your life depends on it. He being a man of his word took me back to where Ole Bessy was parked and placed the new tire with the new rim tightly on my car. I have thanked him many times through the years for bringing me back safely. Lucky for me I was able to get back home and slip into my bed only minutes before my fathers alarm clock rang out .


In the Spring 1975 I left home, I moved to Charlotte N.C. with a Cousin who happend to be a Drag Queen. We had plans of working together tward my goal of surgery . Things seem never to turn out as planned when you are so young and not experienced in the ways of the big city. Within 6 months my cousin had gone back home to his parents leaving me to take care for myself. I was so lucky during those times not to be hurt or killed but I was lucky, God does take care of children and fools. I never gave up my dreams as hard as they got at times. I was determined that I would reach my goals one way or the other. I wanted to have my surgery while I was young so I could enjoy a full and happy life as a woman, not to just dream of it all of my life. I didn't feel only the select few could or should have SRS. Not just the professionals, the doctors, lawyers or other highly educated persons born transsexual. But also us every day people, the sales clerks, cooks, waitresses, mill workers or hookers even. We all deserved a chance to have our dreams fulfilled.

I knew with surgery I could be as close as possible to being a woman. Perhaps I would not biologically be a female, and I could never reproduce but I truly felt I was born into the wrong body , so getting ride of all of the male trappings and body parts ment more to me than living if living ment to stay the way I was. Getting the money for this expensive surgery was formost in my mind and it didn't take me long to see that just making a living was going to be hard for me, let alone getting the money for surgery. I didn't have a good education and had not even gotten my beauty licenes to do hair when I left home to transition. There were things I could do and did such as retail sales and waitress work which I did and was able to make a living but never enough to save for my surgery. However I was working as a female and that simple experience was so very rewarding to me, like a relief, to be accepted in the gender I felt myself to be. Later I began working as a Female Impersonator on the weekends to supliment my income but still was not easy saving money for my future surgery. During this time I made friends with a Trans girl named Carmen. I became very close to Carmen from the beginning, she looked just like a natural female to me, she had long hair so long she could sit on it and she had hormone breast the size of a small B cup. Carmen was from South Carolina and had been a show girl in Charleston and had also been a call girl to make extra money. It didn't take Carmen long after she moved to Charlotte to find work in the sex industry again and invited me to join her where she worked. Now I was such a countryfied girl who even though I didn't think of myself as a prude I didn't think that was a life I wanted to get into so I told her I would think about it and let her know but I really didn't think so. That weekend I went home to visit my famly and I took the time to talk to my mother about my future. I told her just how important it was to me to have this surgery and while I was young enough to experience life as a young woman, I didn't want to wait because I really didn't think I could live without the surgery. I asked my mother if they could loan me the money for my surgery. She very seriously told me that this was such a serious matter that they could not be responsible for helping me with it incase it was a mistake for me. Then she said that If I really wanted the surgery as badly as I said I did that I needed to make the money myself so I would feel pride in doing it for myself. Then I explained the way I knew that I could make the money. My mother who was always a realist said, you do what you have to do in your life to get where you want to go. As long as you are not killing or stealing from anybody then what you do is your business. She gave me her blessings if that was the road I choose to go down. Actually I believe she thought I wouldn't or couldn't do it and their for I would be subject to never having my surgery. She really didn't understand Transsexualism but was supportive as she could possibly be with her capabilities. During that weekend I thought long and hard about my future. As I thought a past event came into my memory that helped me make my decision.

Carmen

The first time I met Carmen was in 197? when she moved to Charlotte from Charleston.. She was from a small town in South Carolina but had moved to Charleston at about 14 years of age, loured by the hopes of living her life as the woman she felt herself to be. She worked as both a Female Impersonator and a hooker so she was a survivor with grit. When I met her I was in awe of how female she looked with her long brown hair hanging down almost to her butt, wearing hip hugger blue jeans that showed off her female shape and wearing a tube top her small hormone breast fit her body well makng her look totally female and reminded me of a young Merl Streep. Her voice was female but on the squeeky side that could revert back to a deep male tone when angered. She lived with her boy friend Mark who was a handsome dark haried man who earned his living mostly as a hustler. Carmen and I became fast friends and she was an inspiration to me in many ways, I loved watching her sling her long hair while running her fingers thru it pulling it back from her face in such a female jesture. She and I were the same age and from the same basic rural southern background even though she was very outgoing and I was quiet and shy. It wasn't long after her move to Charlotte that Carmen found her former profession in the sex trade industry and went to work so she could save the money for her surgery to finally become a complete female at long last. I didn't think bad of her for what she did fof a living , actually I was in awe of her ability to actually get by with having sex with men and them never knowing she was not physically a complete female yet, but at the same time I didn't see that I could ever do that sort of thing for a living. Not so much on a moral stand point but my being shy, scared and very quiet I didn't feel I could get by the way she did. I was on hormones but my being larger built than Carmen my breast did not yet balance with my body so I felt I needed to wear pads to balance me out. Once I made the decision that I could do it I began to experiment with ways to make my body look more feminine even when I was almost nude.  I discovered if I took an underwire bra a few sizes too small then cut off the fabric cups I could pull my hormone breast along with the fat from my chest up and over the wires to form breast filled out my body and looked totally natural even to the touch, as long as the underwire stayed in place.  I made these in all colors to match my panties so I could take off my dress to show a female form enough to get me by. I already had large hips so once I had my tight G string in place under my panties I was ready to go.  Making sure my legs were shaved and my body soaked in a baby oil bath I was as soft and feminine to the touch as any female.  Now I was ready to learn the tricks of the trade that Carmen was more than ready to teach me. 

Carmen had been working with me at The Vogue for several months when the thing a transsexual woman fears the most, especially when she is working in the sex industry as a female came to pass. Carmen was in the back with customer when load voices were heard then Carmen rushing out of the Massage Room and into the bathroom. Behind her was her upset client shouting, thats a fucking man I felt his dick. Well we all rushed out to see what was going on, Gladis the owner not knowing the whole story had no idea what was going on. The man was vividly upset and still shouting that he was in the room with a faggot, he had felt his dick. About that time the bathroom door opened and out marched Carmen wearing only her high heels, in one hand she dangeled what appeared to be a used tampoon by its string. She held it out to for the man to see and said see this you red neck son of a bitch, this is what you felt, then she apread her legs and appeared to put her fingers into her vagina complete with lips and all, Now I had been scared to death from the moment the commotion started because if one is pegged then sooner or later I will be outted myself. So when she came out and spread her legs I didnt know what to think, but I know that I was fooled like everybody else I thought she actually had a vagina all along. The man was fooled enough to want to go back in the room with Carmen, however she refused saying he had insulted her so he was given another girl and we could hardly wait till our shift was over so I could find out what was really going on.. Well come to find out Carmen who had lots of flesh to work with had taken it and pulled it and locked it into her buttocks forming what looked just like a vagina with the skin of the testes forming lips. She had always been prepared with a tampoon soaked in idodine which made it look like menstral blood, being prepared had saved not only her but the both of us.

 

My Journey to Trinidad

 

I was ready, my deposit had been sent to the doctor office months earlier to reserve my surgery date for 10/04/77 , I had my money saved to pay for the rest of the surgery and I had my flight ticket in hand. The feeling was beyond discription, excitment, anticipation, fullfilment and fear all at once. My main fear was of flying in an airplane as I had never flown before and my fears were natural. Strange was that I had no fear of surgery even with the risk involved. I had the contented feeling that if I should die I would die a female and all the risk were worth my finally getting rid of the birth defect that grew between my legs. I tried not to analize everything so much as to take the poetry out of my big adventure but I wanted to remember every detail , thought and feeling .

I had SRS with Stanley H. Biber on August 4, 1977. It all started when during my transition I met the Hammond Sisters, Stephany and Susan. They were both post op girls who had started life as brothers and had both gone to Dr. Biber for their surgery, they also had another sister who had gone to Dr. Biber but I never met her. It was truely amazing that the only 3 children of this family had all turned out to be Transsexuals , it was hard to imagine what their family had gone through. They were very friendly girls, tall and beautiful, Susan with her long flowing main of dark hair and Stephany with her blonde hair cut in a fashionable 70's Disco hair style, were both eger to tell us of their trip to Trinidad. They spared no details of what to expect if we ourselves made the trip up the Mountian to Mt. San Rapheal Hospital. During that time most of us had seen examples of many Doctors works as Charlotte N.C. had turned into a Transsexual Mecca so to speak and most Southern Transsexuals were drawn there at least for a period and we were lucky to get to inspect many doctors works. Needless to say Dr. Bibers work looked the best of all we had seen. His skills were outstanding for the time and looked to my eyes to be very natural. So I wrote to Dr. Biber and made my appointment for my surgery, and after sending him my deposit I went about the task of getting myself ready to go. I had to save every dime I could get my hands on, I had hoped I could talk my mother into going with me but she had never flown and refused to go, so I was forced to go alone. Now this doesn't seem like such a big thing today but back then in 1977 I was only 20 years old, straight off the farm and had never been on an airplane in my life. Yes I was scared to death, because of the flight, because of being alone, because of the unknown . But away I went with my panties in my bag. After almost missing my flight from Denver to Pubelo I soon realised I should have walked to Pubelo because the small airplane from Denver scared me to death, it hit every airpocket it could find and rocked back and forth and up and down the whole way there, I had never been so glad to hit the ground again. Then I took a bus up the mountian to Trinidad, with all the local people mostly chicanos they were called getting on and off the bus in regular intervals, it looked to me like a scene from a movie in Mexico. Finally getting to Trinidad I was taken to the Hotel I had made reservations for in advance. This was not the local Motel but an Old Western type of Hotel and looked like something left over from the days when Bat Masterson Sheriff. I really loved it, was like going back in time, each floor had its own little sitting room where if I had not been alone would have made an excelent place to pass the time. But my being alone I spent my time in my little room with its private bath watching Perry Mason. The next morning I went to see Dr. Biber, I remember him as being very nice, but matter of fact, as he sat across his desk asking me questions and telling me exactly what he was going to be doing to me and what I should expect. Then he asked me to go into his examining room and disrobe. I had to lay on a table and let him examine me and see exactly what he had to work with. Not being very much he informed me I would not have very much depth inless he did a skin graft to deepen it because of my lack of tissue, but the choice would be mine and I opted to not have the skin graft because I had seen the scaring it had done on friends of mine. He did tell me that with use I could stretch the skin and give myself more depth, and of course he was right and I have no problems today. I remember going to have lunch in a local resturant that served the biggest flap jacks I had ever seen, it was yummy and I had to make that do until after my surgery. I remember going to the Hospital and checking in, doing blood work, then visiting the girls who were getting ready to leave. There was a girl who was a beautiful Las Vegas Show girl who had come in for a little facial touch up cause she was getting married and didn't want any adams apple showing, and there was a lovely red haired girl who was in the room I was taking who looked like Lucy Ball. We were roommates for one night because she left the next morning but she was so much fun I hated to see her go. That night the nurses came in to prep me for my surgery which was next morning. I remember putting the pillow over my head as they shaved my pubic area, and one of them said, my dear after tomorrow you will not have to be embarrassed about this ever again. The next moring I was awakened and given something to make me relax then after a short time I was wheeled into the operating room acompanied by a Priest who prayed for my becoming a whole person with this surgery, I went to sleep knowing I was in Gods hands and I felt safe , content and happy. All I remember was counting back from 100, maybe reaching 98 before I was out like a light, but when I woke up as always I became sick and vomited for what seemed like ages until I was given something to calm my stomoch down, but the pain was not what I had expected. Yes there was some pain but not so bad really, and not at all like I had experienced when I had had my breast implants the year before. When Dr. Biber made his rounds I was sitting up in bed, when he saw how well I was doing he picked up the telephone and called my parents back home in North Carolina. My mother answered the phone and then he said to her Mam, Im just calling to let you know your Little Girl is doing just fine, she then turned to my father and said this is the doctor and he said our little girl is doing just fine. It was offical I was now their little girl, I cried tears of joy, and from that day onward my family welcomed me with open arms , never making a mistake with the name or using a he in the place of a she and I owe alot of that to Dr. Bibers call with your Little Girl is doing just fine. ..........Recently in a telephone conversation with my mother who is now 82 and living in a nursing home in another state, I called to tell her about Dr. Bibers passing, she said "It was like yesterday when he called us to say our little girl was doing fine". She had never forgotten his kindness during a very nervous time for her and my father. That call had changed my father who passed away from cancer in 1992 from a typical Mancho Southern Farmer who found it hard to accept his baby son living as a woman into a understanding father who loved his daughter more than he could have ever loved his son. My life truly changed that day in August of 1977. Thank You Dr. Biber!

 

 

Real Life ....

 

August the 16th 1977, the day I arrived home from Trinidad was a bright sunny day both outside and inside my head. I was picked up at the airport by friends giving them every detail of my trip over lunch. This was literaly the first day of the rest of my life and I was riding on a cloud when listening to the raido on our way back to my appartment the news man breaks in to say " Elvis Pressley is Dead" . Not that I was an Elvis fan up till that moment but it sure was a shocker when it actually happend and on my happy day, it was one of those occasions that was branded into my memory.

 

Next Chapter Coming Soon!