My parents didn’t know what I would be back in the day, even called my Dudley because they knew I’d be a dud, but it was not my fault for being born, or for being a girl. My name was John Robert until I was a girl. That was the beginning of what became Dee.
In childhood after we left the village and went up to the hill, it was just my sister and I, then our “brothers” down the way a bit. We played baseball with a lot of ghost men, built sand castles and later, swam in our new pool. They’d put snakes down our backs or cherry bombs but there were no casualties.
One day a boy on the school bus (it was a 1/2 bus because it went to rural areas like ours so fellow students called it the “retard bus”) took my hat off my head and tore it in half. They would have not have done this if I were a boy. All the boys in two large families told that boy never to touch me again.
Eighth grade, kids over after school and we played ping pong. Two of us were left, me and this boy. I kicked his butt in the game and afterward he said he’d never talk to me again because girls were supposed to let boys win at sports.
Junior year of high school I wrote my thesis on “Horses Sweat, Men Perspire and Women Glow” all about discrimination in high school sports. We had linoleum over concrete in our gym. Boys had gorgeous wood and when it was being re-done they took our gym and we had to sit in temporary classrooms doing nothing.
I went out with a guy in high school and part of college who said if I wanted to work I could do it for “pin money,” my own $20 slush fund for the hairdresser or such.
Then it went the other way. I met someone who told me yes, he wanted marriage but I’d quit consulting, get a 9-5 job near his place and he’d be off to another country half the year. I’d pull my own weight and would never get a penny after giving up my freedom. So much for that. Two proposals ditched.
Then I met my husband. I’m retired now but we work together to make things right in the world. No, we’re not personally feeding starving children here or in other countries but together, as a team, we can make a difference. We don’t need the photo-ops as we’re behind the scenes, writing the software or organizing the volunteers, guiding the missions and being there for each other as well.
Every once in a while I like to be the girl and receive a bunch of flowers and cook for my love and best friend. Here’s to you from Dee and dog Zoe, who herds me.