It all started with that TOP

By Joanna Jones
My parents had a family of all boys. You knew my mom really wanted a girl since I was the last of the group. She let my hair grow out until I was between two and three years old. The week before my first haircut she along with her girlfriend dressed me as a little girl in a dress with a bow in my long hair. She had a studio photo portrait done at a local Sears. Once in awhile as I grew up, the family photos would come out for all to see. Mine was there and it was always a total embarrassment for me every time. Mom, of course, thought it was so adorable. Around 9 years old, she out of the blue wanted to know if I wanted to wear one of her tops that had shrunk after washing but was just the right size for me. I turned down my mother's idea and she put that top away in her bags in the closet.

One day just a few weeks later, my family took a train trip to Nebraska. We loved going to the observation car of the train to see all the sights pass by. This day, however, I saw something else that made me ponder. It was a beautiful girl that was wearing the exact same blue girly top with the red laced bow up front, and the nice big sailor white collar with red stripes. I was intrigued. Just thinking about how I had the opportunity to be wearing that same top on this train. Then running into another person wearing that same top. A top that only girls would wear. Boys would never be caught dead in that kind of top. But I had nothing but this on his mind. WOW. Look what I missed!

As soon as my family got back home from vacation, I waited until the very first day that all the other family members went out to do things and left me alone in the house. I immediately went to that closet and slid that girly top with that red bow onto my body.

It was then that Joanna was born. I was in heaven!! I would give anything now to have taken up her offer back then of wearing and keeping her top, hoping for much more to come. As it was, I had to keep my dressing secret for so many years. I had at least one day every week as a kid growing up to raid my mom's things. There was also an old trunk down stairs where she kept her old vintage items from the 40's and 50's. Again, I was in heaven.

When she passed away many years ago, I could never find that old photo of me when she dressed me up as that little girl. Digitalization was not around back then. Now all that I am left with, is trying to recreate it in my mind.

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