What In The Heck Was I Thinking?

What In The Heck Was I Thinking?
by Barbara Lynn Terry

Part I - Angela is born.

I guess I am starting this story just like a thousand other stories, but, I have a story to tell. It took place during Christmas break, 1960. We had just moved to another town, because of troubles I had in the last one we lived in. You see, we aren't the world's richest family and we almost have no money we can call our own. What money we do have, is spent on bills and food. What is left over isn't enough to buy a decent pair of shoes.

I am the oldest of five children. There is me, my four sisters, and my mom. Mom works at a diner not far from the house; really, just an apartment. My name is James Thomas Baker, and I own two pair of blue jeans, three shirts, four pair of under briefs, a pair of ratty shoes mom got from the Goodwill, I have no under shirts, and one suit I wear to church. All of my clothes, like I said, are ratty. They are showing signs of wear and tear, mostly tear. There are so many patches on my blue jeans, that the kids at my last school started calling me Patches.

Well, on the last day of school, before Christmas break, I was sent home with a note in a sealed envelope from the school to my mom. I was told it was nothing bad, but I had to give the note to my mother when I got home. The note read, as follows:

"Dear Mrs. Baker,

"While we are an open minded school, we do have to ask you to please see to it that James is properly dressed on the first day of school after the new year. The clothes James is wearing now, are tattered and patched to the limit. James' teachers have become concerned for his safety because several of the boys were talking about James as though he were a leper. Please make sure that he has proper clothes that are not so tattered an worn when he returns to school, even if he has to wear a dress or skirt and blouse and please make sure he has a decent pair of shoes. Thank you and have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

"Jean Marie Franks, principal."

My mom sat down and looked at me with a sad face.

"I don't know what to do, Jimmy. I try to get enough in tips to buy you and your sisters decent clothes, but after I pay the bills and buy whatever food we need for the week, we only have a few dollars left over. I will try to make you a pair of pants and a decent shirt, over the holidays. What I am at a loss to understand, is why didn't your last school send me home a note about your clothes? Well, now that this is out in the open, and your school is concerned, I can actually try to make you a decent set of clothes. Then maybe I can make you a few other sets as well, over the next few months. Of course, material costs money, and I will have to see what I can get from the bargain basement. But right for now, we are not going to worry about that. At least your body is clean. Your sisters are upstairs, would you like to help me make dinner?"

"Yes, mom," I said, without thinking about my answer.

"This way, we can talk."

We went in the kitchen, and dinner tonight was meatloaf, green beans and mashed potatoes. Mom always made the mashed potatoes from fresh, bulk potatoes and not from a box.

"Jimmy, please peel, cut four potatoes, slice them in fours and rinse them in the colander."

"Yes, mom."

I got out the potatoes, the peeler, the colander and a bowl to put them in when they were done. I had just peeled and cut the first potato, when my sister Janet came in the kitchen. Me and mom were still talking about my clothes, which Janet over heard some of.

"Mom, he can wear one of my dresses." She giggled when she said it.

"Janet, it is not nice to make fun of your brother. It is easier to make clothes for you girls, than it is for Jimmy. I got a note from Mrs. Franks that said Jimmy has to have decent clothes for the first day, when school starts up again. I am going to try and make him a pair of pants, and a shirt. That should be okay for the first week. I think I have a pattern in my sewing room. I will look right after dinner. Would you like to help, Janet?"

"Okay, mom. I'm sure Jimmy can wear anything to school, as long as it is decent. If you need any help making his clothes, just ask me. I'd like to help there, too." Now Janet had a wicked sense of humor, and her willingness to help mom make my clothes, sent warning signs to my brain. But mom decided that her help would be welcome.

I am twelve years old, and Janet is ten. But she knows how to sew, because mom told my sisters that girls needed to be able to make clothes from a pattern, and that material was cheaper than buying the completed whatever clothes. After I had peeled and cut the last potato, I took them over to the sink, and rinsed them. Then I set them in a small pot of boiling water. If you have ever made mashed potatoes from scratch, you know that potatoes take a while to soften in a pot of boiling water. As the meatloaf was baking in the oven, and the potatoes were boiling in the pot, we sat down in the kitchen and continued to talk about me having decent clothes.

"I should have taken care of this a long time ago. But, with work, and no money, I didn't have the right material. I had material for making the girls their clothes, but, somehow, you kind of fell through the fashion cracks. But, not to worry. Your sister and I will take care of it."

Mom was a good seamstress and she could have gotten a job in any clothing factory. Mom always said that making clothes at home, was better than buying them from a store, because a lot of times, the clothes you buy from stores, rip or tear at the seams. She said when you made them at home, you could strengthen the seams with a double stitch. Mom made the girls dresses, skirts, blouses, and bought their under things from a well known lingerie shop. But she has never made clothes for me. I wasn't jealous because she made my sisters clothes, because I had clothes. Mom said that girls needed new clothes almost monthly, and she would use the same material from the old clothes.

"Well, today is the nineteenth and Christmas is only five days away. Tell you what. What would you say, if I asked you to wear a pair of Janet's pants and one of her shirts? There is no school now until January second. Nobody would have to know, because Janet has clothes with zippers in the front and no decorations. Pants are pants, honey, and nobody need know, except those of us in the house. Janet, this doesn't go anywhere outside of this house. Is that understood, young lady."

"Yes, mom," Janet said in a 'I give up' voice.

"Mom, I have seen some of Janet's pants, and they would not be recognized as being for girls. There are some girls that wear guy jeans at school."

"Yes, I remember the days when I was in school, we would go in the girls restroom, take off the pants we were wearing, and put them in our lockers. In grade school, we wore snow suits, so we didn't have to worry about taking off pants. We would hang up our coats and snow suits in the cloak room in our class. But Jimmy is lucky. He doesn't have to worry about going in the restroom to remove pants from under his skirt."

Janet giggled. "Anyway, what do you say, Jimmy? Would you wear some of Janet's plain pants, and her shirts?"

"I guess, mom. I'm tired of being made fun of because of my clothes."

"Alright, then, we will sort this out after dinner."

It takes about twenty minutes for potatoes to soften, so I went to the stove, took a fork and poked it through the potatoes. They were soft, so I turned off the burner, placed the colander in the sink, and slowly poured the potatoes in to the colander. I then placed them in the bowl, and went to the table. I took the potato masher and started mashing the potatoes. When they were mashed enough, I put in a one tablespoon and one teaspoon of butter, I poured in one quarter cup of milk and took the wire whisk and began whipping them in to creamy, mashed potatoes. When I was done, so was the meatloaf. Mom had started the beans about ten minutes before the meatloaf was done. The meatloaf and the potatoes were put in to serving bowls, the meatloaf was placed on a plate, and Janet went to get Wendy, Lorraine and Betty. When we had all washed our hands, Lorraine said grace, and we sat down to eat.Now as I said, Janet is ten, Wendy is eight and a half, Lorraine is six, and Betty is four, going on five. When we were all seated, mom started talking.

"Girls, I know you are all old enough to know that when I say what things that are said and done in this house, stays in this house. In other words, it is nobody else's business what goes on in this house, as long as it is decent. So, what I am going to say, you do not tell your friends. This is a secret.

"Alright, then, I got a note from the school saying that Jimmy needs decent clothes that aren't so tattered. Jimmy, Janet and myself have agreed, that Jimmy will wear Janet's pants that have the zippers in the front, and no decorations. Janet also has shirts that button the same way a guy's shirt does. I will make Jimmy a new set of clothes for school when it starts up again. So, who knows what I just said?" Betty raised her hand.

"You said not to tell our friends that Jimmy has to wear his sister's pants and shirts until you can make him new clothes."

"Yes, Betty, that is exactly what I said. So, if Betty understood what I said, I know the rest of you did, too. Jimmy can wear the clothes he has on now, until in the morning. Tonight we will see what Janet has that Jimmy can wear tomorrow, because I know he is going to want to go out with his friends."

"Mom," Janet started, "Jimmy doesn't have any pajamas, and I was wondering if it would be okay with him, if he wore one of my nightgowns to bed. Like you said, mom, nobody needs to know, except those in this house. Mom, Jimmy is about the same height as me, and about the same in everything. So, my clothes should fit him."

Oh! Yes! I forgot! I am twelve years old, and I have skinny arms, skinny legs, a butt that sticks out and I actually have hips. Most guys my age are almost, if not taller than their mothers. My mother is taller than me. My sister Janet and I are the same height about the same body type. But, it is not a skinny, dweeb, weakling type of body, but a body more for a girl than a boy. Janet's pants should fit perfectly. These turn of events has given me something to think about.

"Mom, girls, what would you say if I wanted to actually go to school dressed as a girl? I mean, this way, too, if you don't have a pattern for boy clothes, you could use the ones you have for Janet. If her pants fit me, and her shirts fit, too, then we know what sizes I wear. The only thing you have to buy, would be underthings and shoes."I looked around at my sisters and mom. There was dead silence at the table. They were all looking at me, but not in a weird way, but in a way that showed they were thinking about what I said. Then Lorraine broke the silence.

"Does this mean, you would be our sister?"

"Would that be so bad, Lori?"

"No, sis, it would be nice."

"Well, I see that this conversation is starting to get interesting." Mom looked at me with that far away, 'I'm thinking' look. "After dinner, and everything is cleaned up and put away, we will all go upstairs and see just what we can do." Then she looked at me with a kind of look that said, 'I know exactly what to do'.

With dinner finished, I took the left overs and placed them in the refrigerator, after placing Saran Wrap over the meatloaf, the beans and the potatoes. I then washed off the kitchen table, while Lorraine and Betty cleaned the floor, and mom and Janet did the dishes. Wendy put the dried dishes away with Janet. When everything was done, we all went upstairs to Janet's room. Mom, stopped by the bathroom, and ran some water in the bathtub. Then she came in Janet's room, and instead of pants, she took out one of Janet's floral dresses, and held it up to me.

'Perfect', she said. Then she went to Janet's dresser and took out a pair of floral panties, a white half slip, a pair of double knit, knee high socks, and a pair of black Mary Jane's.

"Jimmy, go in the bathroom, and take a nice bath. I already ran the water for you. Put the clothes you are wearing now, on the floor. We will throw them out later. Now, when a girl wraps a towel around herself, she does it like this." Mom demonstrated how girls wrap towels around themselves, starting from under their underarms and just fold it in to itself. The towel hangs down below the waist.I went in the bathroom, and it smelled like a flower garden. I got out of my clothes, and got in the tub. Mom came in with a pair of panties, a camisole, and a half slip. She said to put those on, and then come back in Janet's bedroom. She also told me, too, that girls don't rub their bodies when they dry themselves; they pat the water off.So, being instructed in the way a girl does things when taking a bath, I made sure I was clean all over, and pulled the plug. I got out of the tub and patted myself dry. That felt a lot better than rubbing. I went back to Janet's bedroom and mom instructed me to unwrap the towel and just let it fall to the floor. She said we would pick it up when we were through. There was one thing mom would not let me do; she wouldn't let me look in the mirror. Since I had washed my hair the night before, mom said all I needed was a slight styling.

"I was going to give you money for a haircut, but since all this has happened, I am just going to do a simple styling of your hair. This can be washed out and re-combed for school, if you change your mind. Your eyebrows need a slight trim, but nothing too serious. By the time school starts, they should have grown back, or you can keep trimming them by using a tweezers and pluck them. I will show you how. But, right for now, let's go to my room, and I will style your hair."

We went mom's bedroom, and she told me to sit on the small bench in front of what she called a vanity. She had me sit facing away from the mirror. The she took a comb with a thin, pointed handle, and a pair of scissors. She combed, cut here and there, and did something with my hair, so it hung over my forehead, slightly. Then she took a tweezers, and started plucking. Finally, she said she was done. She had me stand and look in the mirror. I stood back a little, so I could see my whole body. What I saw, certainly was not a boy named Jimmy. I was looking at a twelve year old girl, who was just starting to get her figure. I smiled when I saw my reflection.

"So, what do you think, dear?"

"I love it, mom. Thank you," I said, giving her a hug.

"Sis," Betty said, hugging me. "You look pretty."

"Thank you, Be...sis."

"So, you like the way you look, now, honey?"

"Oh, yes, mom."

"Well, we can't keep calling you Jimmy if you want to keep looking like this. Have you ever thought of a girl's name?"

"No, mom."

"Well, if you were born a girl, we were going to name you Angela. It means angel."

"I like that name, mom."

"Good, how many want your older sister's name to be Angela?" All of my sisters said I do. "Then Miss Angela Baker, you can be my daughter and a sister to the girls. Welcome to girlhood."

"Thank you, mom." We all had a group hug.

For the next few days, I was treated like a girl by my mother and my sisters. Then Janet said I should get out of the dress and slip, and put on the pair of slacks she got out for me, and a nice shirt that had roses on it.

"Sis, if you are going out and talk with your friends, this outfit would be better than a dress. It is cold outside, and your legs would freeze in a dress. So, put on the pants and shirt, and come downstairs." I did as she said, and went down to the living room. I just had sat down on the sofa, when the doorbell rang. Not thinking about how I looked, I got up and answered the door.

"Excuse me, but I was wondering if Jimmy could come over to Big Boy's with us."

These were the friends I had made since the first week at this school. Gene, Roger and Dale were decent type guys, but I wondered just how decent they were going to be, when I tell them that I am Jimmy.

"Come in, there is something you need to know."

We went in the living room, and everybody sat down.

"Is Jimmy home?" Gene asked.

"I'm Jimmy, or I should say, I used to be. My name is Angela, now."

"You? You...you look...different. I...I didn't...recog...nize...you."

"That was the idea. I was given a note to take home to my mom, and it said she was to make sure I had decent clothes when school started up again after the new year. So, this is how I will look, when I go back to school. If they object because I don't meet the dress code for boys, it is their own fault, because they said mom was to make sure I had decent clothes. I don't have any brothers, so the only 'decent' clothes in this house are girls clothes, and my tattered clothes, which my mom is going to throw away."

"When we first met you, you seemed every inch a guy, a little small, but still a guy. Now, when I think about it, you were a little girly. I suppose you will meet the dress code for girls, and wear a dress to school."

"Yes. The school can't say anything about it, because they are the ones that wanted me in 'decent' clothes."

"Angela, you will not be the only 'boy' in school dressed as a girl. There a few others, and nobody picks on them, because they act every inch a girl."

"Does this mean we are still friends?"

"Yes, Angela, it does."

Well, we talked for a while more, then the three boys said they had to get home. But they promised they would be back tomorrow, and we would go to Big Boy's and hang around with the 'group'. I walked them to the door, and then Gene did something I was unprepared for. He hugged me, and kissed me on the cheek.

"Angela even dressed the way you are, you are pretty. I will be honored to be your friend." Roger and Dale said the same. After I got hugs from all three, I closed the door, slowly, and was like in a fog. Gene had not only hugged me, but he kissed me on my cheek.

After the door was closed, I went back in the living room, and I wasn't watching where I was going, because I was thinking about what Gene had done. I stumbled over the end table by the sofa, and landed right on the floor. My mom wanted to know if I was all right, and I started laughing.

"What is so funny?"

"Mom, Gene, Roger and Dale gave me hugs as they were leaving, but Gene had kissed me on my cheek. I was kind of on air, as they say in the movies. I was so on air, that I wasn't watching where I was going."

"At your age, they call that puppy love. It only takes one gesture from someone who shows they actually care for you. You will be in high school next September, so we need to find out if the high school will accept Angela. If you like Gene, you will find that you both will be doing things that a boy and a girl, your age, would do together. Mostly that would be going to an afternoon movie together, Big Boy's together, he will buy you a burger, fries and a drink. He will buy you popcorn or whatever you want at the movie you both go to. There are many things boys and girls your age, do together."

"That would be like a date. Right?"

"Well, no, not necessarily. You can do things together and still be just friends. Now, I don't know these boys, so I am going to tell you. You never let a boy put his hand between your legs, or let him put his hand under your dress or skirt. These are no-no's for decent girls."

"So, it will be alright if I go to Big Boy's with them."

"Yes, dear, it will be. There is something I want you to do. Invite them to dinner with their families, next Saturday."

"But, mom, we hardly have enough for us."

"We don't have much, that is true. But just remember that whatever it is that you have, you can always share."

"Yes, mom, I will tell them. They said they were coming back tomorrow so we could hang around with the group.

Part II - New and newer friends.

Angela was tired, and it seemed like she was drained.

"Mom, sisters, I'm going to bed. I feel like I got run over by that semi truck everybody wants to know the license plate number of." Mom and the girls giggled.

"Good night, honey. Tomorrow will be a brand new day in your life. Remember to take it one step at a time. Don't rush in to things, simply because you are asked to. Use your judgement wisely. This way you stay out of trouble." I gave mom a hug. I gave each of my sisters a hug, and went to my room. I had already taken a bath when I was changing, so I didn't really need one now. I never go to bed with the day's dirt on me, and I always take a bath after I wake up. I may take a quick shower if I am going to a special function; like a dance at the school, they have sometimes.I wore the nightgown Janet had given me, and I was asleep in seconds.

Why is it, when as soon as you close your eyes, the sun comes, or the alarm goes off? Oh, well, I got up, shuffled off to the bathroom to take my bath. I looked for the bubble bath and found Rose Petal Soft in the cabinet. I put one capful in the tub, and started running the water. I brushed my teeth, and used the Scope mouth wash, then I got in the tub. I just sat there, realizing why girls and women loved bubble baths so much. It helps us relax and takes the tension out of the body. I washed myself, and pulled the plug. I still had a few suds left on me, so I took the shower sprayer, and rinsed off the suds.

I patted myself dry, then wrapped the towel around me like mom showed me, and went to my bedroom. I made sure that the pants I had worn the night before, were folded before I went to bed. On the bed, was a clean pair of panties with roses on them and a clean shirt. I got dressed, then put on a fresh pair of socks, and the Mary Jane's Janet gave me. I brushed out my hair, and to my surprise it fell right back to where mom had styled it last night.

"Angela," mom called up the stairs.

I started down the stairs to find Gene, Roger and Dale were sitting on the sofa.

"Good morning, Gene, Roger, Dale. You're early today."

"Early? Angela, it is eleven o'clock," Gene said, smiling. "Are you going to Big Boys with us?"

"Yes. I asked mom last night if I could go, and she said yes. There is something my mom wanted me to tell you. You three and your families are invited over for dinner next Saturday. I think mom wants to talk about me."

"Well, Angela, Mrs. Baker, I have a better idea. Why don't you come to my house for dinner. Roger and Dale will be there with their families. Does that sound okay?"

"Mom, what do you think?"

"I think we can do that. Ask your mother what dish should we bring to share."

"Alright Mrs. Baker. I did tell my mom that you haven't got much. I told her this two days after you started school. She told me to remember that we could be in the same situation. Angela, I like you as a friend, and friends don't give out charity, they give a helping hand. That is what my dad told me and I make sure that if I can, I will help where I can."

"Gene, how did you boys meet Angela?"

"The junior high school and the high school are in the same building. Sometimes, we see each other going to and from classes. We see each other in the cafeteria during lunch."

"Angela will be in high school next year. I am going to call the school and talk with the high school principal and see if they will accept Angela as herself, when school starts up again, next fall."

"Mrs. Baker, when you come to our house next Saturday, you can ask my mom, because she is a tenth grade teacher at the school."

"I thought your last name sounded familiar. Mom, his mother is Mrs. Braxton, and she teaches tenth grade calculus. Everybody in school jokes around that you should be in her class and get all A's." There were giggles and laughter.

"Yes, but the school wouldn't put me in her class, because they don't want even the appearance of favortism. Even if my mom made me work for every grade, I would still get the nickname of "teacher's pet", and that is not something I would like."

"Well, good for you, Gene."

"Mrs. Baker, the school board has accepted that there are transgender people, and that some of those might be kids. So, they have this thing that if you dress and act as a girl should, you will be accepted as a girl, and treated like a girl by the staff. I told you yesterday, that there are a few boys that dress as girls, and everybody gives them respect because they are what they say they are, except physically. When you go back to school, talk to Miss Forest, she is the high school principal."

"What about my class counselor?"

"Talk to Miss Forest, first. Anyway, Angela, if we are going to Big Boys, let's go."

I hugged mom and my sisters, and we left for Big Boys on South Ripley Boulevard. This was the local hangout, unless we were all going for pizza. We walked the eight blocks to Big Boys, and as we walked in, Carol Ridgeway, who is a freshmanin the high school, noticed me first.

"Well, Jim..." I put up my hand to stop her.

"My name is Angela, Carol."

"Well, it is about time. Do you know how many said that the reason you wore those tattered clothes, was because you were a tomboy?"

"...What takes the place of climbing trees and dirty knees, in the world outside?" (Lulu, To Sir With Love (movie version, 1967). That was the old me. From now on, I am going to be Angela."

"I see you already have a boyfriend. Hi Gene," (she stretched out Gene).

"Well, she isn't my girlfriend, we're just friends for right now. I don't want Angela to be frightened by high school lust."

"But, Gene," Carol chimed, "high school lust is where it is at."

"Yes, Carol, we know about you and your lust for the guys, especially those on the football team.

"What's wrong with the football team?"

"Oh hi, Sam. Sam, this is Angela." Sam was the quarterback for our high school's varsity football team.

"It is about time you showed us the girl you are. Carol was telling me yesterday that she hoped you would come out of your shell. It looks like the cocoon is starting to open, and the butterfly is coming out."

"Sam, you always were a flatterer," Carol said, holding on to Sam's arm.

"Thank you, Carol. Angela we have a few spaces left in the next booth. Please join us."

We went over by the two booths they had for the group.

"Hey gang, look what the wind blew in," Sam said, facetiously.

"It's about time you got rid of those tattered clothes," Laurie Deacon said, looking me up and down.

"Yeah, I agree. Now you look like the girl you are," added Joe Bailey.

"Anyway, guys, this is Angela, and she's going to be Gene's girlfriend," Sam told everyone.

This how gossip starts. Sam, or someone, says something about someone, and then it spreads like a wildfire. I really didn't mind Sam saying that, but he could have waited until I started high school, first. I sat down, then told everyone that I wasn't actually Gene's girlfriend. We were just friends.

"Yes, Angie," Melody Wilson, added. "That's how it starts. First you become friends, then you become an item, then you become lovers. The whole thing may take a while to come about, but it does happen."

"You're right, Mel," I added. "But, right for now, we're just friends."

"Well, Gene is a decent boy. At least he has respect for girls."

"Yes, he does, Carol."

The hangout that day lasted for several hours, and as long as we kept ordering Cokes and Sprites, the manager didn't say anything. We weren't noisy, so we didn't disturb any of the other customers. Gene bought me a Big Boy hamburger, fries and a Sprite. I really didn't like Coca Cola, but a Sprite now and then was all right. Now and then, I will order a lemonade in the summer. We finally decided to go to the park a few blocks away.

The Mich-E-Ke-Wis Park is on the shore of Lake Huron, and is a pretty big park for a small town like this. The Michekewis and Starlite beaches are in this park. Being forty degrees fahrenheit, it was unseasonably warm. That's what the weather man had said last night on the radio. There was no snow on the benches, or the picnic tables. There were even people having a mid December cookout. When it's spring time in Michigan, it's forty above. I giggled softly at that play on words from Johnny Horton's song, "When It's Spring Time In Alaska".

The boys found a few flat rocks and skimmed across the water. Sam, being the quarterback, skimmed his rock the farthest. Me and the girls all sat down, and they wanted to know what happened to Jimmy.

I told them that Jimmy was in dire straits, as my mom had called it. I told them about the note Mrs. Franks had sent home with me on the last day of school. I told them all about the talk we all had, and how I had come to the decision to live as Angela forever. Carol looked at me and smiled.

"Well, girlfriend, whether you know this or not, you have always been Angela. We were all wondering when it was that Angela was going to come out of her shell. Well, here you are, at last."

"Thank you, Carol. When I left the house, I was nervous, because I didn't know if the rest of you would like me, or not."

"Angela," Melody interrupted. "Carol is right. You have always been Angela, even in those tattered clothes, we saw the girl you are. You have nothing to be afraid of. Miss Forest is the high school principal. You make sure you talk to her the first day you are back to school. If anybody gives you any trouble, we will be there to make sure they mind their own business. Do you have any dresses or skirts?"

"No, Mel. My mom said she would make something nice for me, for school. Mom told me that after buying food and paying bills, we only have a few dollars left."

Mel, Angela," Doreen Stevens, ordered. "Stand up back to back and stand straight. I want to see something. "

Me and Mel did what Doreen had said to do. Then she walked around us, looking up down, and all around. After she had finished, whatever it was that she was doing, she said she was done. We both sat down.

"Mel, Angie, you are both the same size in height, about the same in weight, and your bodies match. So here is what I was thinking. Mel, you could throw a sleepover, we would invite Angela, and we could have a fashion show. Mel, remember those dresses you said you didn't like. You could give them to Angela. This way, Angela will have decent clothes."

"Yes, Dorrie, you're right. I have jeans, too, that I don't like, I have a few skirts that I don't wear, and (she stretched out the and), I have tons and tons of lingerie. This is what friends do for each other, Angie. The clothes I just mentioned, I talked to my mom about, and she said we could give them to the Salvation Army. But when I get home, I will tell her what we have planned. She said we can't do much right now, anyway."

"Are we friends, Dorrie, Mel, Carol?"

They all said yes, together, and to make it official, we did a four way pinky swear. If you have ever done a pinky swear with three other girls, you would know that is something only girls can do. Boys don't seem to have the dexterity in their fingers to be able to do more than one pinky swear. And, what is up with that? Boys pinky swear with each other, then blab it to every, and anyone that comes along. When girls pinky swear, it is taken to the grave.

"Angela, look at your fingers, then look at ours. Yours are long and slender like ours are. If you noticed the boys hands, they are one and a half times bigger than ours. How old are you, Angela?"

"I just turned twelve in August.

So, after being assured that these were now my new found friends, I told them I needed to go home. It was going on four o'clock. Everybody said they had to get, too. Gene said he would walk with me to my house. When we got to my house, I hugged Gene and thanked him for walking me home. He kissed me on the cheek, again, and then said he would be back tomorrow.

I went in the house, sat on the sofa, and just thought about Gene. This is the second time he had kissed me on my cheek. He is pretty strong for going on fourteen. He will be fourteen in May. He will be a sophomore next fall. Mom came in the living room.

"I thought I heard someone. Did you have a nice time with your friends?"

"Yes, mom. Mom? Gene walked me home from the park, and he kissed me on the cheek, again. I don't know how to say this, but I am getting feelings for him. Is that natural?"

"Honey, you are twelve years old. Your body is starting to react to the changes that are starting. Yes, dear, it is natural. But remember what I said. At your age, grown ups call that puppy love"

"Yes, mom."

Puppy love my foot, this is starting to feel more than just a puppy love. We will see, though. Maybe tomorrow, Gene and I can talk.



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