I recognized a name from my past today on a for sale sign near my home that opened up a whole can of worms. He was the older brother of my brother's best friend and lived in a house across the street from the swimming pool. G.W., my brother's friend. came to our house often and I'm not sure why he was my choice for a practical joke the end of ninth grade after I had perfected typing. He had a nice Catholic family whose mom did volunteer work at the school where we attended. In those days, school started after Labor Day when summer felt officially over, not like my grand children's school that started today, in the middle of August. I was glad they had new clothes, shoes and supplies along with an eager spirit of new beginnings but feeling edgy wondering if sixth grader Dylan was ready for the much dreaded 'sex talk.' The clue came in the awkward moment yesterday when his mom had to turn off the t.v. seconds before John Travolta had a make out scene with a woman in the kitchen and Dylan's eyes were big as saucers.
My parents didn't talk sex, they preferred that we learn it through our friends. Maybe it was their way of keeping us young. It was in the eighth grade after lunch and during noon recess. The girls were huddled together in a corner in the church parking lot and while standing on the metal grid, Rosemary K proceeded to inform us in detail what our parents did before we were born. Debbie said she made it up and not to pay attention because Rosemary was being mean but the thought of my parents doing that five times was sickening. I felt sorry for my mom and her sacrifice to have us children.
The following year I woke with horrible stomach cramps and blamed it on the hot milk I drank before bedtime. During gym class after a game of dodge ball, my friend Pat said I had started my period and helped me put a coin in the machine for a pad. I wouldn't have told my mom if it wasn't for the new gym uniform that was ruined. She told me in a stoic expression that I was a woman now and my body could make babies. "Now go and wash your hands so you can set the table for dinner." It was that blunt. There was truth in Rosemary K's story. For the next couple of months while the boys were busy ignoring us, my friends exchanged information about sex. We could 'do it' but not on the 12th, 13th or 14th day after of our period if we wanted to remain childless. Confusion grew and we stopped talking about sex partly because homework and newly found typing skills were a priority but secretly nobody wanted to admit they didn't know much about sex.
Click, click click were sounds you would hear at the local library in those days of typewriters going off together. The older kids always had the tables so I practiced on the typewriter at home in my spare time. I must have had sex on the brain because I typed a letter to my brother's friend, G.W. and addressed it to his mother. It was a notice from the library telling her G.W. owed huge fines for not returning the book, "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask." It was a clever prank but before the stamp was licked, my mom walked in my room and found it.
Back to school today. Do your kids know the sex talk and how old is too young? Will boys be told differently than girls? My husband had a way with words when our boys were curious. He told them sex was made to be pleasurable or nobody would have kids. When they asked questions he calmly told them that God had a plan for it to be that way. "What if your mate wanted a baby and the way to do it was to put your penis on the workbench and hit it with a hammer? Well, nobody would want kids. Ok, that's all, go outside and play." Laughing out loud on that advice I have to thank technology. Nowadays they can google any fact.
Glad to be the grandma now! I don't have to explain anything. Think I'll order a pizza this weekend and rent that John Travolta movie with my husband. Happy new school year, I hope you all get A's.