My problem is that I'm a natural blonde who can think. Freak of nature or natural wonder?

When last we left Lorna, she had an ominous realization: she was a teenager with options. Was this the end to her Perfect Child days?

I was on fire between the summer between my 13th and 14th birthday. Things were shifting around faster than a fat lady doing the watusi. By “things,” I mean:

  1. My baby belly fat redistributed itself upward. I had impressive breasts–all the boys’ eyes said so.

    would ya look at those?

  2. I got my period, which, at first, was horrible. I thought I was dying from some mysterious disease. No one in my all female family ever spoke of feminine issues and schools didn’t teach about such private matters in health class until 8th grade. Maybe the teachers thought if they waited to tell us, we would wait to menstruate. I finally figured out I wasn’t dying when I lived to see the bleeding end after about 4 days.

    Hush! We wouldn't want anyone to know what happens to half of the population.

  3. I read “The Summer of ’42.” This was today’s equivalent of a sex-education textbook.

    When I read this book, I finally learned that sex was more than lying down and sleeping side by side. It blew my mind!

  4. The attention I craved from adults was replaced by attention from boys. This took some getting used to because boys were alien to me. The only male I knew well was my step-grandfather. He was nice enough; but he puttered around the yard, smoked a pipe, loved fart jokes and “professional” wrestling, wore thick eye glasses, had really big ears and was pretty much bald. I was hoping that males varied in their interests and appearance. They did.

    The one poster I hung on my wall.

  5. I gave up trying to please God. There was just no pleasing that deity. I felt good and guilty about it, so that was some conciliation to the angels in Heaven shaking their heads about another one that got away. But I had Earthy interests to pursue and striving for Perfection was really getting in the way.

    "My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." Yeah, what he said, that's what I decided to believe--not that God versus the Devil stuff.

Since I lived in the middle of a corn field–in a trailer next to my grandparent’s house, but it was in the middle of a corn field–I didn’t get much of a chance to try out my new-found earthy femininity until school started un in September. My reputation as a straight-A student was carved in the Teacher’s Lounge wall, and I couldn’t let that slide. I still loved attention from adults; I just widened the playing field.

Boys in the 7th grade noticed my new and interesting curves, but were too shy to do anything but ogle and snicker. My first boyfriend was a 10th grader, but only after I turned 14 in November. He played baseball and left school early to join the Navy. Our relationship was very romantic and stupid. All we did was kiss, but he wanted to marry me. So did his younger brother.

My second boyfriend played soccer. We were both in 10th grade. We dated for 6 years. I was sure we were going to get married. He promised. That’s how he got me to do the things Miriam and Hermie did in “The Summer of ’42.”

All mom knew was that I had lots of social engagements and my grades continued to be sky-high. I was still her worry-free child–no worries for her, that is. My Mission had kind of succeeded.

But I had some worries. Like the Perfect Child, I kept them inside. I probably shouldn’t have.

That’s the subject for another series of stories…