That was it. I was to go to water the plants and feed the fish everyday while they were gone. Nothing to it. Iíd done this type of thing before. An easy way to make a few bucks. In and out in just a few minutes and its done. The Johnsons only lived a few blocks away. The houses were a little bit nicer over there, four and five bedrooms. Most of the kids living over there had their own bedroom. So it was with the Johnsons. Three kids, Derrick was 17 and was going off to school next year. He was away at an intern program right now. Amy was fourteen, in 8th grade. She had the big second floor bedroom in the front of the house. And Isabelle, she was three and had the small bedroom in the back. She had no need for a big bedroom at this time.

It was vacation time for the Johnsons. Mrs. Johnson had a thing for indoor plants. They needed tending each day. The JohnsonS and my parents were good friends; Mrs Johnson knew and trusted me. For 12, I was a very mature; I took my odd jobs at the Johnsonís very seriously. Several times earlier that year, Mrs. Johnson had asked me to take a break from doing lawn work, and I had said, "No thanks, Mrs. Johnson. I have homework to do when I get home. Iíll need to work straight through." This attitude apparently impressed her. 

"What a responsible young man you are," she said to me more than once. I think was a good fit for the job. She trusted me, and I accepted gladly.

The Johnsons took off on Saturday morning; they were to return the next Saturday evening, more than a week away. But they were going to call from time to time to make sure all was well, especially with the new plants out in the sunroom. They werenít well established yet in their new surroundings. Mrs. Johnson intended to keep tabs on them.

She had written down the routine, all the steps involved in watering and tending to the plants. What to look for. What to do if the leaves turned a certain color. Things like that. And besides, Mrs. Johnson was going to call each day. The fish part was easy; the aquarium was self- cleaning and the food was set on top of the aquarium just to the front. All I needed to do was gently drop about 20 flakes of fish food into the water once a day.

Saturday and Sunday went smoothly. Mrs. Johnson had not even called. I figured she was tied up with driving to the resort these first two days and had no time to worry about the plants. Sheíd call tomorrow I figured.

On Monday, Mrs. Johnson did call. She asked for my mother. I had wondered why she didnít speak directly to me. Then my mother said, "Jimmy, Maud needs you to housesit the rest of the week. Derrick is expecting a call about a full scholarship to Stanford. He canít be there because he has joined his family at the resort. Do you feel up to staying over there the rest of the week? I told her it was up to you. Theyíll pay you ten dollars more each day. Do you want to think about it, honey?"

"Nah, Iíll do it,  Mom," I replied. I really hadnít planned anything for the next week. And the money was good. I would have to be available to answer the phone during the whole time there, but there was the TV and books to read. I liked being by myself anyhow. Sounded like a good deal.

I was told I could sleep in Derrickís room, which was the bedroom directly at the top of the stairs. The bathroom was down at the end of the hall, past Isabelleís and Amyís rooms. The Johnsonís bedroom was down the other way. They had their own bathroom.

"Fancy house," I thought to myself as I looked down the hallway to the Johnsonís bedroom. It was pretty fancy, at least for a house in 1959.

I got into my robe and was preparing to go down to the bathroom for a shower. As I passed Amyís room I noticed that the door was ajar. I moved over to the door to shut it and happened to glance in. And there I saw on the bed a red square dance dress and petticoat. I froze in my tracks. At the time, I didnít know why. I knew that Amy was taking square dance lessons. I had seen her several times all dressed up. Looking back, I always paid attention to her dress. How she wore it with the pink petticoats beneath.

"Why was I staring at it now?" I said to myself. Then it hit me. I always noticed how nice the dress looked, the bows and ruffles, the petticoats, the shoes. I was admiring the outfit, not Amy, although she looked adorable in the dress. My heart started pounding. I studied the dress some more. Without thinking, I slowly walked into the room over to the dress. I gently lowered my hand to the dress and softly stroked the fabric. I could hardly contain myself. I knew then that I had to put the dress on. And then I thought, "No, no! I will shower first and be nice and clean before I put it on."

I rushed to the bathroom and jumped in the shower, all the time thinking about my new treasure. I made sure to wash myself carefully; I wanted to be clean when I tried on my new clothing. I quickly jumped out of the shower and dried; I noticed some lotion on the counter. I decided it would be nice to put on some lotion, so I covered myself with it. It smelled so sweet! Should I? What if someone came home? "No," I thought to myself, "the family is hours away." I softly walked out of the bathroom and again entered Amyís room. There was the dress and petticoat still lying on the bed. It was a beautiful red dress; and the petticoat was a hot pink with ruffles around the bottom. I reached for the dress. Then, I thought, "What about the panties and a bra?" I looked over at the dresser. "Must be something in there," I said to myself. I opened the top drawer and saw several pair of beautiful red, blue and pink panties. The pink ones looked like the best match. That was it. There was no going back now.

I reached into the drawer and gently pulled out the panties. I gingerly pulled the waist apart and stepped into the panties, one leg at a time. A feeling that I will never forget rushed through my whole body. What a sensation! I then opened the other top dresser drawer and saw five bras, all neatly lined up. I gently pulled out a purple bra and put my arms through the straps. I took me quite a while to pull the straps together. My hands were shaking and I was in a hurry. I looked at myself in the mirror. "Not bad," I thought. But I needed something to put in the bra. I looked around in the drawer and spotted some bobbie socks - one in each bra cup did the trick. Tights, I thought. I looked in the laundry basket by the closet. "There, those look perfect," I said to myself. I pulled them out of the basket in slowly pulled them on. A perfect fit. Everything fit perfectly!

I glanced over at the dress. It was time. I walked over and slowly picked up the dress, noticing every piece of lace and every ruffle. I held it against my body and turned to look in the mirror. The sight left me breathless. I slowly unzipped the back and stepped in the dress. I then slowly pulled the dress up and put my arms through the sleeves. Without looking in the mirror again (I wanted to wait until I had the whole outfit on), I twisted my arm around to the back and slowly pulled up the zipper (had to be careful I didnít go to fast and break it). I managed to pull the zipper up all the way. Now it was time for the petticoat. I reached over to pick up the petticoat. I put it to my face to feel the smooth nylon. Making sure not to look in the mirror, I stepped into the petticoat, the feeling of the petticoat against my tights left me almost stunned. What a wonderful feeling. What was missing? Ah yes, the shoes.

Walking over to the closet, I opened the sliding door and spotted some red Mary Jane shoes. I pulled them from the closet, went over to the bed and sat down. Again, I stopped; I felt every rustle of the petticoat against my thighs and legs. I sat motionless for a moment then I remembered my mission of getting completely dressed. I leaned over and unbuckled both shoes, gently placing each one on my feet and rebuckling them. I was time to look! I stood up, closed my eyes, turned around to face the mirror, and looked into the mirror.

I stared at the beautiful young lady in the mirror. I turned around and looked over my shoulder. What a wonderful pose! I put my arms over my head to accentuate my newly found figure. I was like heaven. I put my arms down to my sides and felt the dress against my petticoats. I moved my hands back and forth several times to observe the movement of the dress and feel the petticoats against my legs. I twisted my hips back and forth to observe the movement of my dress and petticoat. I was so absorbed in these actions that I failed to hear a car drive into the driveway and a car door slam. Nor did I hear the door to the house softly open and someone enter and close the door behind them.

I was getting very excited about my adventure, swishing and whirling around. The friction of the panties against my petticoats increased the excitement. As I swirled around one final time, the door opened just as the flood of liquid passion surged through my panties. I stood, in ecstasy, facing Mrs. Johnson. I then leaned over a groaned with pleasure. I didnít care who was watching or what was revealed. I then dropped on the bed panting and looked up at Mrs. Johnson, who was still staring at me from the door.

She simply said, "Youíd better get dressed and go home. Youíre not needed here for the rest of the week." That was it: no lecture, and no scolding, no apparent shock. The way I felt, I didnít want to change. The fact that I had been "discovered" only intensified by feelings about my newly found passion. I knew then that I would treasure this encounter for years to come. I also knew I had to change, though. I got up, slowly took off the petticoats, the dress, the bra, the panties and the rest and grudgingly got dressed back into my "old" clothes. They seemed so drab now.

After dressing, I left Amyís bedroom, and slowly walked down the hallway to the stairs. I heard a muffled cry coming from the Johnsonís bedroom. I decided it was best not to say anything and walked downstairs and left the house. I walked home in a daze, quite confused about Mrs. Johnsonís reactions, and very excited about my new discovery. I then started thinking about what Mrs. Johnson would say to my mother. I began to realize that I could get into quite a bit of trouble. Worry quickly set in. I knew, though, that it was best to keep quite. I hoped for the best.

I found out the next day that Mr. Johnson and their kids had been killed in a tragic car accident. Mrs. Johnson had not been in the car at the time. The next several weeks were a blur of activities, helping Mrs. Johnson through the funeral, preparing food, hosting guests from out-of-town, driving Mrs. Johnson from one place to another. I must say my mother showed what a good friend she was. She took complete charge of all of the activities.

It was three weeks to the day of the "discovery" that the phone rang and I answered. "Jimmy, hi, this is Maud Johnson. You know, the lawn hasnít been cut in four weeks. It looks like a jungle over here. Would you be able to come over and cut it this afternoon?"

"Sure, Iíll be right over," I said. I didnít want to displease her for fear of what she might say, and besides, it was the right thing to do.

It wasnít a big lawn; it took about an hour and a half to do. I do remember it was very warm that day. As I was putting the mower back into the shed in the backyard, Mrs. Johnson called out from the house. "Jimmy, would you like some lemonade?"

"Sure," I said. I really was thirsty.

I entered the house and sat down at the at the kitchen table. She had poured a big glass of lemonade. I drank it quickly. I got up to leave. Then I heard her call out from the dining room. "Jimmy, would you like to help me make some cookies?"

Cookies? Why would I want to make cookies? "No thanks, Mrs. Johnson," I replied.

"I would really like it if you would help me Jimmy," she replied.

Something told me I should say yes.

"Please shower first; you look all hot and sweaty," she replied to my affirmative answer.

"Iíll have some clothes laid out for you when youíre finished. Hereís a robe." She threw me what looked like one of Derrickís old robes. I figured she had some of Derrickís old clothes for me to wear when I finished the shower. I showered quickly; I wanted to hurry up so I could get home for a baseball game on TV that night. Making some cookies shouldnít take that long. And it was nice to help Mrs. Johnson. She must have been very lonely.

I quickly jumped in the shower, and ten minutes later I was done. I dried, threw on the robe and yelled down to Mrs. Johnson. "Where are the clothes? Iím done with the shower."

Theyíre in Amyís room," she replied. In Amyís room, I thought. Then my heart began pounding. Can this be true? Is she helping me to dress like a girl? I ran to the room and pushed open the door. There, on the bed, lay a sky blue shirtwaist dress, petticoat, tights, red bra and panties and the same Mary Jane shoes I had worn before.

I was startled by a voice directly behind me. "This outfit is a little less fancy than last time. These are house clothes. I hope you find them comfy. Making cookies can be a bit messy, and this dress I can just throw in the washer." I just looked at her a stared.

"Well hurry up, or youíll be here all day. Do you need any help?"

"No, ma'm, Iíll do just fine." She then turned and left. I quickly put on the clothes. This time it went faster, but it was just as exciting. And, again, I admired myself in the mirror.

"Hurry, hon. Iím ready for you"

It felt strange to leave that room and go downstairs in the dress. But it was wonderful sensation.

"Come in the kitchen, hon. Letís take a look." I reluctantly yet excitedly walked in.

"Donít you look cute? Weíll have to get a nice name for you. Do you like any names? Ah! I know: Jennifer Sue. Yes, thatís a perfect name. Then I can call you Jen. Is that okay with youÖJen?"

Anything was okay with me at this moment. My heart was pounding almost uncontrollably. I just stood and stared.

"That is, of course, if you are all right with this. Do you want to call this whole thing offÖ"?

"Oh, no ma'm. This isÖ incredible! I like these clothes. I like you looking at me in them. I like Ö"

"Enough of this talking. Letís get down to business with the cookies." And I saw her smiling for the first time since the tragic accident.

I learned how to make peanut better cookies that day. It was truly the best day of my life. I had more fun than I could ever have imagined. The time passed so quickly. We joked back and forth, and did a lot of laughing together. After the cookies were out of the oven, she said to me, "You are truly a wonderful daughter to me. Would you be so kind as to come over again? This time we have spent together has been important to me and is helping me to cope with my loss."

In the weeks that followed, I visited frequently, always telling my mother I was doing chores for Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Johnson always had the clothes I was to wear carefully laid out on Amyís bed. Nothing was left to chance. Even the socks and the shoes were carefully coordinated to match the clothes. From tennis dresses to party dresses, I always looked forward to new and beautiful outfits to wear. But that wasnít all. Mrs. Johnson taught me how to cook, how to sew, how to plan a party. All the things a young lady should know.

Then one evening towards the end of August on one of my visits, Mrs. Johnson seemed especially attentive to every detail on my outfit when I arrived. "No, dear, thatís too much lipstick."

"Thatís too much rouge, Jen, let me show you."

"Be careful with that eye shadow, hon."

Why so picky, Mrs. Johnson?" I finally asked.

"Jen, Donít you realize? This is your coming out night!"

I turned and stared. Then I stuttered, "My coming out night? You mean I have to go out in girls' clothing? No way! Iím not gonna do that!" But, then, I hoped that she would continue to encourage me.

"Jen, first donít call me Mrs. Johnson. Iím your Auntie Maud. Remember that. And of course youíre going out. We need to do some shopping tonight."

The more I resisted, the more she persisted. I didnít really take much to win me over. I was both terrified and thrilled at the prospect of showing off outside the house. The only thing was, I didnít know where she was planning to take me. And she wouldnít say.

"It must be some place fancy. With the gorgeous red dress and all, " I said to her.

"It is a very nice place, Jen. Youíll like it." She replied.

Although it was getting dark outside, it took every ounce a courage I had to slowly walk out of the house to the car in the front with Auntie Maud. I second I walked out. I sensed a new phase in my life was about to begin. It was the most thrilling experience of my life to feel the cool breeze gently stroke my legs covered in dark tights. And when several people glanced over at Auntie Maud and me, I pretended to ignore them and continue to walk slowly to the car. Just like Auntie Maud told me to do.

Once inside, Auntie Maud said, "Youíre doing fine dear. Keep up the good work."

As we drove away from the house, I thought of what a strange feeling it was to be completely at Auntie Maudís mercy. There was no escape, no turning back now. I liked the feeling. Where were we going? I didnít know and didnít care. All I knew was the thrill I was feeling.

As we turned the corner onto a familiar road, Auntie turned to look at me.

"Your wig really looks nice, Jen. It goes well with your real hair. And your bracelet and necklace are just darling. You look really nice tonight hon!" It made me feel good to hear Auntie talking to me about my appearance.

"Can you tell me now where we are going Mrs. Jo.."

"Auntie Maud, Jen. Remember!"

"Sorry, Auntie Maud."

"Weíre going over to the Montgomery Wards store to do some shopping, Jen, in Fowlerville.. It should take only an hour or so."

Fowlerville was about 25 minutes away.

"What are we buying, Auntie Maud?"

"Weíre buying some party clothes for you hon. Iíd like you to try on some dresses. I think pink is your color."

I said nothing, but the thought of trying out some party dresses at a store thrilled me. My heart started to pound. By this time, I was willing to do anything Auntie Maud requested. The time passed by quickly en route to the store. Once we pulled up in front of the store, I knew the next big step in my journey in becoming a young lady was about to begin. Auntie Maud looked over and smiled.

"Itís time Jen. Are you ready?"

"Yes, Auntie" I replied.

"Then please get out and wait in the store while I park. Iíll just be a minute."

"But Auntie," I replied. I had never expected her to drop me off. I thought we would go in together.. I was terrified.

Ď"Itís alright, hon. Youíll do just fine," she said. "Just clutch your purse like I told you. And stick out your chest. Be proud of what youíve got."

And with that, she reached across, opened the door and pushed me out onto the curb. Then quickly she pulled away.

I quickly stood up and looked around for the entrance to the store. There was no place to hide. There were people going in and out of the store at a fast pace. I thought that I could just fit into the crowd. I stepped forward, and fell on the walkway. People came from all directions to see if I was all right. Me, in a dress. I started to enjoy all the glances in my directions. Yes, I am sure a few even saw my black panties underneath my tights.

I quickly stood up and started walking into the store. Once inside, I spotted the teen apparel section and noticed the wonderful collection of party dresses. I nervously walked over to one of the racks, glanced around and then started looking at the dresses.

"May I help you?" came a voice from directly behind me. It startled me. I turned and saw a sales clerk looking in my direction. Although my heart was beating wildly and I felt a hard presence under my petticoats, I boldly answered.

"Yes, ma'm, Iíd like to try on some of these dresses." And I grabbed the red dress I was admiring off the rack.

"The dressing rooms are right over here," she replied. "Are you with your mother?"

No, ma'm. Iím with my aunt. Sheíll be right in."

I moved toward the dressing rooms and entered the first one. Once inside, I looked at myself in the mirror and smiled. Everything looked perfect! I held up the red dress I had picked off the rack. I looked wonderful against my body. Here I was, in the middle of a department store, trying on a dress and admiring myself in the mirror. I was almost more excitement than I could handle. I carefully took off my pink dress and gently hung it on the hook.

I glanced at myself in my petticoats. Even without my dress on, I thought I looked beautiful. Then suddenly the dressing room door opened and the sales clerk entered.

"Here, let me help you with that dress. I think it will be darling on you. What is your name?"

"Jennifer Sue, ma'm, I replied.

"Okay then, Jen. Letís have a look."

With the assistance of the sales clerk, I was quickly dressed in the red dress. It looked more beautiful on me than I could have every imagined. I walked out of the dressing room to a surround mirror and twirled around looking at my petticoats and red tights. The dress felt sublime. I turned and looked at Auntie Maud who had just entered the store. She looked back at me and smiled.

I spent two hours trying on dresses. The time passed by so quickly that I wanted to stay longer. Auntie bought me two beautiful dresses that night.

In the ensuing months, Auntie and I attended musical events, played tennis, attended a mother-daughter banquet, and experienced other pleasures of a mother-daughter relationship as well. On one occasion we were voted the best-dressed mother-daughter couple (we arrived in matching party dresses and petticoats). The summer of '59 was the most memorable of my life. I owe my femininity to Auntie Maud. She opened up a wonderful side of me that I am still exploring.


Back to the Top

Return to Sweet Remembrances Page

Return to Petticoat Pond's Main Page