The year was 1938. In those days little girls wore dresses and boys wore pants. It was heavily frowned upon if a girl wore pants. Even for playing in it was expected that girls would wear a dress. For me things were a bit tough.
When I was very young like 3 or 4 my cute strawberry blonde curls were adorable. As I got older I started to get mistaken for a girl because of those same curls. My mother, bless her heart, tried to do her best to prevent that from occuring with regular trips to the barber but times were tough for a single mother. My father was on a regular training cruise of a new battleship when one of the shells in the tube, as they called it, shattered the gun hatch killing the gun crew including my father.
We had some money come in from the navy as compensation for what happened but it was not always regular in those days as everything was done by mail. Since the mail was not always on time due to various strikes things got tough. As my hair grew longer and longer the curls came back and once again I was the cute girl.
I think I was 7 or 8 at the time when I was walking to school with my school book strap over my shoulder when I got stopped by a truant officer. My life at that point took a turn that was rather unexpected. The truant officer with his shiny copper badge got out of his 35 ford coupe. I believe it was a sunny day but I could be wrong. All I do remember is how scared I was of this guy...
"Young Lady stop right there." Oh crap it's a truant officer. Who is he..aww crud he doesn't think that I.
"Are you talking to me sir?" Maybe I can get out of this.
"Do you see any other improperly dressed young girls around little miss?"
"Uhhhh" I was actually at a loss for words. I could have said anything but my mouth was not connected to my brain at the time.
"What is your name miss?"
"Kelly Preston" It is a boys name as well. He looked at his sheet of names. In those days children were mostly registered with the names of their parents or, if wards of the state, Orphanage. Mine was one of those listed. Mother - Mary Preston Father - deceased. Address 121 west 21 street. Siblings expecting. It had not been updated in a few months as Mom had lost my little sister sometime back. The doctor suspected it might have been the shock of my fathers death that did it.
It took time but my mom had recovered she was still a little on the shaky side and would burst into tears at the wrong moments. She was working though at a local family run diner. I would sometimes go there after school and get a small meal from the owners wife. Mrs. Nalice was a nice lady if a bit blind. I know mom tried to not upset either Mr. Nalice or his wife as she did not want to lose the job. Thus so far as far as they knew I was Little Kelly Preston. Daughter to Mary Preston. Yeah it was those darn curls again.
Everytime I went there Mrs. Nalice would impress upon me that a "Young lady does not sit with her legs open" or some such thing. She had never really done much except frown upon my choice of clothing. Her own two daughters were almost done school themselves. There was Alice who was 14 and Dorothy who was 16. Both girls were usually absent from the diner, I guess they got tired of the place years ago, or would only stop in with a friend or two for a quick soda. We knew each other by sight but that was about it.
Since I knew that the truant officer would most likely wish to take me home to get properly dressed for school, I had heard about it from some girls in class, I also knew that since mom was not home I would be brought to where she worked. I tried to point out that I was not a girl but a boy to the truant officer but he just smiled at me and told me to get into his car. I told him that mom was probably at work. He just asked where mom worked. I should have kept my mouth shut but I told him.
15 minutes later I was standing in the diner with my hand held in his as he talked to Mrs. Nalice. Of course she quite agreed with him that a young lady, such as myself, should be properly dressed for school. It seems that my mother, who I was sure would have straightened him out, was at a doctor's appointment and would not be in the diner till later. I was kinda hoping the truant officer would leave me alone but he claimed that he would wait till I was properly dressed for school, a prospect Mrs. Nalice claimed she could assist with.
In short order Mrs. Nalice took me up the back stairs from the diner to their apartment above it. From a set of boxes Mrs. Nalice produces a bundle of clothing that was suspiciously in my size. I was instructed to change into more suitable clothing. When I tried to protest I was a boy I was shown a bar of lye soap. I think every parent has a bar of that stuff somewhere and it is most definitely not fun to have that in your mouth. With tears in my eyes I started to remove my clothing when she admonished me and pushed me into the bathroom to get changed. A lady does not disrobe infront of others.
In the bathroom I removed my clothing except my underwear and looked at the pile of clothing. Being 8 years old I was no stranger to what it looked like girls wore so I knew what a dress was and that the flimsy thing was tights that went on my legs but the mysteries of girls foundation garments were beyond me. I could not figure out what the small triangles with straps were nor did I understand what the white thing with the two straps was either.
I had managed to put on the tights with some difficulty. They had the effect of mashing down my tiny boy bits to a flat front. What I did not know at the time was that my regular underwear, courtesy of the goodwill, was actually little girls panties. Like I said before girl's undergarments were not something I had any knowledge off. So when I opened the door to ask what the triangles were Mrs. Nalice just tusk tusked me and came into the bathroom to educate me.
I guess to her I looked just like a little girl in my tights and panties. She put down the threatening soap bar and patiently told me what each item was as she put them on me. First was the training bra that a girl my age should be wearing as I would soon start developing and it was best I got used to one. She figured my mother, being single and having an only child,me, was not attending to my proper upbringing like she should. I did fidget with the bra on as it was uncomfortable. I was told to stop or my behind would get spanked. I stopped of course. Next came the slip, which I must admit felt kinda nice when it was pulled over my head. Then the dress was pulled over my head and she buttoned me into it. The small bow in the back was also tied up by her expert hands.
Lastly she produced small black shoes, small black girls shoes like I had seen girls wear at school before. Actually I should say my old school as today was September 3 and was my first day of school in the new elementary school. When I was pronounced done, and apparently so pretty, I was led back downstairs to the truant officer. A few of the patrons in the diner all complimented me on being so pretty, a small squeeze of my hand with a side remark made be say thank you to the people, and I was led to the truant officer.
One or two of the ladies all told me to not cry as I looked so pretty. Now if I was actually a girl I guess I would be used to comments like this but instead it just made me cry more. The truant officer gently grabbed my hand and before I knew it I was on my way to my new school dressed as a girl for the first day of school.
Thus began my first day of elementary school as a girl.
To be continued sometime in the future depending on the whim of a muse who does not seem to like me writing about the same thing.
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