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<p style=”text-align: center;”>A Girlfriend, Wife and Soul mate</p>
This is the story of a wonderful special person with whom I shared half my life until her passing on Feb 12, 2009.
This story starts actually in mid October as part of it comes from a promise, I had made to myself after spending nine days at Fantasia Faire in Provincetown on Cape Cod. As mentioned at the end of Patti’s Debut I had promised myself that after the anger and animosity I had experienced with my first wife over my dressing that any other woman that I felt I might get serious with would know early in our relationship about my dressing and probable Transsexualism.
In mid December I came home from work on a Wed night, had supper and as usual planned to stay in, as I normally didn’t go out or go anywhere during the week. My normal routine was dinner and either a little television and or reading then bed early so to get up for work.
This Wed night I couldn’t find anything to interest me on TV, had several books one I was reading, and a few others not started, wasn’t able to get interested in any of them. Had this kind of nervous restless feeling where I just couldn’t relax and get comfy so decided to try going for a ride in my Van. Got in the Van and headed out with no destination in mind, ended up driving out to Hampton Beach NH and sitting on the sea wall watching the surf until I got cold feeling about frozen.
I climbed back into Van and started home deciding on spur of the moment to go the other way home through Salisbury MA going through Salisbury MA which took me right past the Salisbury American Legion where I often went on the weekend. There were several cars in the lot so I decided to stop and see who might be there and have maybe one beer. When I got in, I saw sitting at the bar a sweet little old lady who must have been 80 if she was a day old. I don’t remember ever hearing/knowing her name everyone just called her grandma. She was Grandma to everyone, and we all danced with her on weekends. So, I sat having a beer and talking to her and while we were chatting this girl who I learned was named Jeanette came in and asked Grandma about someone they both knew but Grandma hadn’t seen. Grandma introduced me to Jeanette who as it turned out tended bar at a little hole in the wall bar next to Haverhill, Lawrence Motor Freight. Jeanette told me to stop down sometime as it was a comfortable place with a Shuffleboard Bowling machine and a nice crowd.
I started going in a couple of times a week and got to know Gerri to say hello as we’d ended up on teams together playing for drinks. Gerri always came in alone and although she had many offers, she always went home alone.
On the first Wed of 1977 we had a pouring down rainstorm of wicked cold rain not quite freezing but close. Gerri couldn’t get a cab. She had tried 6 different Cab Companies with no success I was intending to head for HoJo’s for coffee and maybe a piece of pie or something. I knew that she lived somewhere towards that end of town, I told her I was headed for HoJo’s and could drop her off on my way if she wanted seeing as she was unable to get a cab. As mentioned ordinarily she refused all offers for rides but that night she accepted my offer. Many times, over our years together it was mentioned that she was never sure why she accepted my offer that night as she always made it a practice not to go with anyone.
We headed off in my Van and when we pulled up where she was staying, I reminded her I was going to HoJo’s for coffee, and she was welcome to go, and I could drop her off on the way back afterwards. She thought for a minute and said that coffee sounded good, so she’d go. So, we went to HoJo’s arriving there about 11:30 PM.
Each of us had coffee and a piece of Apple pie I think it was but this long after I won’t swear what kind it was. We sat over coffee talking from 11:30 PM until I suddenly noticed it was almost 5:30 AM and I needed to get home shower and change for work. I dropped her off and told her I’d see her at the bar if she was there that night which was Thursday and headed to my apartment. Surprisingly I had a good day and didn’t feel too tired or anything when I got home from work Thursday afternoon I ate and took a short nap. Then headed down to the bar arriving between 8:00 and 8:30 PM and Gerri came in a little bit after I did.
We pretty much carried on as usual playing a few games of shuffleboard bowling winning a couple and losing a few as well. About 11:00 PM I said to her I’m headed for HoJo’s again you want a ride or even some coffee. She said yes coffee sounds good I don’t remember what we had with it, but we had coffee and sat talking again until just before 6:00 AM Fri morning and then I dropped her off and headed home to get ready for work.
Fri morning before she got out of the Van, we made a date to go to the Eagles Club Fri night as they were having a dance. I would pick her up about 7:30 PM and we’d go together. We got to the Eagles a little before 8:00 PM as the band was setting up, Gerri knew a couple of the band members including the drummer who offered to let her sit in for him for a number or two during the evening she told him thanks but she hadn’t played in quite a while and so she’d pass for that night. We danced a while and had 2 or 3 drinks a piece and about maybe between 10:30 and 11:00 she asked if I felt up to taking her for a ride to the beach to watch the surf. I said Well it’s not raining and if she could stand the cold we could go.
We decided that having had a couple of drinks it might not be a bad idea to have some coffee first. HoJo’s was at the opposite end of town from here were and the beach, so we decided to stop at my apartment as I had coffee, sugar and cream there and it was on our way to the beach. When we got to my place as it turned out the cream in my fridge was sour, so we drank coffee black with sugar although both of us normally take out coffee with cream and sugar.
We sat talking while we had our coffee, and this was the point that took more courage and had me more scared than anything to do with my trip to Fantasia Faire. Knowing we’d shared a lot the past two nights and knowing that I liked what I knew about this girl so far it was time to put my money where my mouth was and share my dark secret giving her a chance to choose whether she wanted to continue with a possible relationship or run like hell out of my life like my ex did.
Once I told her she sat and looked at me kind of quiet for a min as my mind expected the worst. Then she looked at me very calmly and said, “So you like to wear women’s clothes that is no big deal”. At which point my heart started to beat again and she leaned over and gave me a hug and a little peck on the cheek. We talked a little more as we had a second cup of coffee.
Then she looked at me and asked if I would just go lie on the bed and hold her for a little bit. I said sure so we went in and lay on the bed on top of the covers, and I held her in my arms. We lay there for a little bit and fell asleep waking up about 7:30 Sat morning with her still in my arms. We got up cleaned up a little went out for breakfast and headed for the beach. Both on the way to the beach and on the way back I talked to Gerri about moving in with me. She was staying with a girl friend rather than getting her own place as the Dr’s had her convinced, she would be dead before spring. Her throat cancer and the prognosis were a big reason she didn’t want to move in, she was afraid I would get too attached and it would tear me up too bad when she died. I was finally able to convince her by Sun night that I would be ok and that she would probably be more comfortable at my place with just the two of us than at Carols with the whole houseful where she had to sleep on the couch.
We also made an agreement that although she knew about Patti she didn’t have to see/meet Patti until she felt she was ready and until then if I felt I had to dress I would let her know and she’d go out for the evening so I could dress while she was gone.
We really met and got together in Jan of 1977 although we’d said hello and played on the same team for Shuffleboard Bowling at the Bar, and we were together about 6 months before she met Patti. Also, we got together in Jan and when she went to the Dr’s in March, he found her throat cancer had gone into what they called spontaneous remission and had stopped growing. He had no explanation why, just that it had stopped growing and had basically gone dormant. The Dr did say it could stay like that for years or go active again anytime but if it was him, he’d act like it was gone never to come back. So that’s pretty much what we did we went on as if she’d never had the cancer.
We were together for about 6 months before she decided she wanted to see Patti. I came home from work one Fri, and she asked if she could see/meet Patti after supper I said sure if she felt she was ready it would be fine. So, after supper I took a bath and shaved all up then went in bedroom got clothes out and got dressed up wig makeup the whole thing. When I came out of bedroom, she took one look at me and burst into tears. Saying “damn you’ve got better legs than I do and I’m a real girl”. Then we sat on the couch holding/cuddling each other crying on each other’s shoulders for a little bit. After we cuddled and talked, she went into bedroom with me, and we went through my clothes a good portion of which were basically discards from my ex and some new stuff I had bought for Fantasia Faire. She went through it with me, and we semi agreed that a good portion of the old stuff and a few of what I had bought need to go and be replaced with stuff a little more fashionable. She told me a few things I should do different with my makeup, and she agreed I should eventually see about getting my ears pierced which I’d always wanted to do but was still a bit afraid of the consequences and teasing back then.
We agreed we could do it, but we’d have to figure how to keep the holes open with out it being obvious once I’d had them pierced.
It was late Oct of 1979 when we finally did pierce my ears Gerri did it for me when we went to the mountains for a week’s vacation shortly before we moved to Marietta GA. We had a mutual friend Arthur who lived below us and eventually married my sister. Arthur’s sister worked in a salon and brought home an ear-piercing kit for Gerri to use. We had purchased some small gold disks that I had roughed up with some emery cloth that I could put in my ears and cover with makeup to hide them when I went back to work. So, Fri night after dinner Gerri pierced my ears and I wore the starter earrings all week while we were in the White Mountains of NH so that the holes would have at least a little time to heal before changing to the disks.
I went back to work the following Mon and worked 3 weeks before we left for GA. None of the guys at work ever noticed to the best of my knowledge. But the girls that worked picking up and packing the cards off the rotary die cutting machines spotted them within 5 minutes of the start of the day. One of the girls said to me your wearing earrings, I said no you’re imagining it, she said I know you have earrings in I can see the backs. Leave it to the girls to notice the little things, I asked them not to tell anyone and explained a little about my dressing and that Gerri had done it for me so we could have them pretty well healed before I went to work in GA. They had known we were moving to Atlanta area to be closer to Mom and Dad in case of emergency after Dad’s heart attack. They were good about watching out for me and letting me know if the disks started to show through the makeup at all until, I left to move south.
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