The Crystal Cronicle

Vol 10 No 5, October 1998, Copyright © 1998 by The Crystal Club, Columbus, OH

Current Officers

President - Stephanie

Vice President - Carey

Treasurer - Dianna

Secretary - Jannie

Newsletter Editor - Kelly

Assistant Editor - Jannie

Meeting Coordinator - Latoya

Screening Officer - Dea

The Crystal Chronicle is the official newsletter of the Crystal Club. The Chronicle is published and mailed a week prior to the regularly scheduled meeting.

Complementary copies of the Chronicle may be obtained by contacting a club officer or any club member.

News items for the Chronicle should be mailed to Kelly Davidson before the end of each month.. Her E-mail address is:

Please specify in the subject field that this is an article for the newsletter.

Logos from the Past

By Kelly Davidson


This month I am using the longest running logo in our history. The logo was created by Lana, our second editor (or third, depending how you look at it) for the Crystal Club. The logo varied a little after this and later was dropped by the new editor in favor of a different logo. Thanks Lana!

From the President As Life Goes On


It's good to be back from Montreal. Everything went well and I'm looking forward to getting back to work (I never thought I'd say that). After a little more than six weeks, it will be nice to get back into a daily regimen. One of our earlier newsletters went into details about the Montreal experience, so I will not duplicate the article by telling you more of the same thing. Let it suffice to say that the staff was wonderful, the doctors do excellent work and the residence was the perfect place to recuperate.

I did venture into the city of Montreal via the bus and metro (subway) and found the people very friendly. Just about everyone spoke English if necessary, and it was a lot of fun discovering how "rusty" my French had become.

What did she say? En Anglais, s'il vous plit!

On the way back from exploring "old Montreal" I was riding the subway when a man, probably in his 50's, approached me and said something in French. I did not understand him so I replied in French that "I was sorry, but I do not speak French." I think he only heard the "I'm sorry" part because he indignantly went back to his seat muttering to himself and whenever I would look over at him he would turn the other way, kind of giving me the cold shoulder treatment. It was funny, because as he rose to get off at his stop, I noticed that his shirt-tail was out and he looked a little like someone who might have been asking for a hand-out. He probably was, and I blew him off. Or, maybe he was an eccentric clothes designer who was asking me to model some of his creations, in which case I really blew it. I'm pretty sure it was the former and not the latter. Guess I'll never really know!

One word of advice to those of you who may be thinking of traveling the same road as I: expect pain and discomfort. I talked to several post-ops before I went, and two of them said the pain was not bad at all. Well, the day after my surgery, I'm laying there thinking, "Bull S--- , this hurts! Just wait till I get back! 'Doesn't hurt, huh?' We need to have a talk." I then started laughing to myself; my roommate thought I was crazy. Actually, I went off my pain medication as soon as we left the hospital, while the others continued theirs. I felt I had a better feeling of how the healing was progressing and since I was active, I could tell when I needed to rest.

Another interesting aspect is the fact that pre-op, the surgery was a large and very important step in my life but afterward it seemed like "no big deal." I'm still the same person, but I also realize that I have a whole new life ahead. As I heal and each day goes by, I become more aware that (at least for me) I am like a young girl who has just discovered boys and is trying to sort out her feelings. Will I be asked out on a date? What would I say ? What would we do? This is really going to be interesting! We shall see.


September Meeting

By Jannie Abeille


The September meeting was attended by Stephanie, Latoya, Ann, Mary Ann, Cheri & Julie, Jamie Elizabeth, Diana Brit, Dawn, Rikki, Cynthia, Pam, Trisha and Jannie. Refreshments were provided by Latoya and Jamie Elizabeth. Thanks, Ladies! Topics Discussed were: Stonewall Union Board- It was announced that Sarah was admitted to the Board of Directors of Stonewall Columbus, the first transgendered person to do so. Congratulations, Sarah! We are sure your presence will be a great asset to both the GLB and T communities. Coming Out Day Benefit- Stonewall Union will be hosting a benefit on October 10th. The members decided to purchase a table at the event, which allows up to 10 people to attend. Details of the event will be provided in the next newsletter. October Meeting- The regular meeting, on the 24th, will be a Halloween Party. The doors of our regular meeting place will open early, at 5:00 p.m., to decorate the meeting space. All members are encouraged to arrive early. Please bring a bag of candy, your favorite music, and a Jack-O-Lantern, if possible. Members are encouraged to wear a costume and to bring a guest. People from the church where we meet are also being invited. Alcoholic beverages will not be permitted. Future Meetings- There will be no regular meeting in November (because of the Thanksgiving holiday). The business meeting will still be held on Friday, November 13th. We will be having our holiday party on Saturday, December 5th. More details will be provided later.

News From the Past

by Kelly Davidson


This article came from a current member we all know, who had just attended her first meeting. Since we had so many Stephanies at the time, she insisted we call her Michelle to avoid confusion. There isnt any confusion with the name today, we all know Stephanie, our current and beloved President. But it was interesting to read her first words expressing how unnerving her first meeting was. You could never tell it today. As the old saying goes, Youve come a long way, sister!

Letter from Michelle - April 1990

Dear Mary Ann,

My name is Stephanie Michelle Singer (Michelle), and I would like to thank the Crystal Club for inviting me to the meeting Saturday night. I talked to Rochelle about it on the phone but had never met any of the members. I must say it was quite unnerving knocking on that door the first time, alone. Im glad I did. It didnt take very long for the uneasiness to subside. Everyone was very nice and the ladies were dressed beautifully. I was amazed at the number of people who came. If this keeps up keeps up, you definitely will need a larger place. I also noticed a few significant others were there and I think that impressed me more than anything else. Its nice to know that there are others who care and try to understand. A thanks also to those who brought food and drinks! They were quite welcome after lugging all that furniture around. I had to leave early, just after the presentation by Ms. Lucas, so I didnt have time to meet anyone else. I hope to have the opportunity to meet others at future meetin

Thanks again, youre all very nice people.


Editors Notes

By Jannie Abeille


Last month, I had another one of those first experiences. I rode a rollercoaster as Jannie! You see, four of us (Mary Ann, Latoya Ann and myself) took advantage of the Pride Night at Kings Island, hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Greater Cincinnati. The trip started out as another first- trying to evoke my transformation in a car. This is something I dont recommend. I was huddled in the back of a van, with a busy highway and dimming sunlight. The effort of applying makeup at 70 mph, becoming 50 mph an instant later, was pretty nerve wracking! I dont know how well the job was done, but considering the place we were headed, it didnt matter much. The time at the park was an absolute blast! We rode several mild rides, and Mary Ann and I even rode the Beast. The only bad part was that they took our pictures... We both wore our natural hair, and our hairlines were none too flattering at the bottom of the first hill! Fortunately, we each had a caricature portrait done of us, and the artist was very forgiving! All of the people we met were very friendly. There were even some outrageous drag queens, which I always enjoy seeing! Next year, I hope that more of our club members will take advantage of this great time.

It's Time for Us!
The Dawn of a New Movement part 2

by Mary Ann Horton


Last month I wrote about men who wear dresses and still consider themselves men. This month, we explore the paradigms of dual identities or men in skirts, and how they fit into society.

As the first visibly open transgendered person at Lucent, it's important for me to be a role model. I present the same crossdresser paradigm that we use within the transgender community. When I present as Mark, I use the name Mark, the men's pronouns, and the men's room. When I present as Mary Ann, I use the name Mary Ann, women's pronouns, and we're working on the restroom issue. This is how most other crossdressers I know are, and it's important that I give the straight public the right impression of us.

In the course of presenting alternate identities, I find it's very confusing to others, and even to myself. If I meet a person face to face as Mary Ann, then an hour later I get e-mail from the same person to Mark, do I sign the reply Mark or Mary Ann? Which voice do I use on the phone? How do I convince women who work routinely with Mark to accept Mary Ann in the ladies room?

If we look to people born female for guidance, a totally different paradigm emerges. History is full of stories from the 1800s of females who dressed and passed as men, for some social advantage or because they were more comfortable in that role. But today there are very few female crossdressers. Most people born female either identify as transsexual and live full time as men, or present as women. Those who present as women choose attire ranging from evening gowns to blue jeans. It seems that, over the 150 years since Amelia Bloomer pioneered pants for women, women have settled on equal opportunity and freedom of attire while keeping one name, one set of pronouns, and one gender.

In my case, a great deal of my presentation as Mary Ann is only done so I'll be more passable. I would not choose to wear makeup, or have two voices, or worry about pronouns, if that were not necessary to be accepted by the public, and by the transgender community. If I were not expected to pass, I'd do what I'm doing right now in my home, wearing a dress, women's sandals, my hair brushed back but clipped in a feminine style, earrings, calling myself Mark, using my male voice on the phone.

What will Utopia be like in 50 years? Can the world change so much in so short a period of time? Perhaps. I recently saw a photo directory of Bell Labs in Columbus from 1965. It had row after row of men with short haircuts, jackets, and ties. One woman was near the back, and one man had the guts to wear only a shirt and tie, with no jacket. Today, the same building has a range of people from dress shirts to shorts, with neckties so rare they draw a comment. So much change in 43 years.

The transgender activist community is setting sail for Utopia. Which destination shall we sail toward? In 2048, do we want to have dual identities, like Supergirl and Clark Kent? Do we wear skirts as men, much like women wear pants today? Do we fight for a gender-blind society where your anatomy is no more important than your hair color, and just as changeable? Do we wall off separate parts of our lives, presenting entirely as men to some friends and entirely as women to others?

I want all crossdressers to think about this issue. In the coming months, I will be conducting a survey, on the Internet, and on paper. I need to know what you want, so I can fight for it. I also want to hear from those of you who are not crossdressers: spouses, supporters, transsexuals, etc. Where do you think crossdressers should be in 50 years?

It just might be that we wind up as men in dresses. I think other people may eventually accept us that way more readily than they accept a dual identity. It's sure a lot easier on them.

Tranny Night at the Grapevine!

by Sarah


TRANNY NIGHT at the GRAPEVINE! Every Thursday, 7:00 'til closing. No rules. No agenda. No leaders. Just a place and time for friends to hang out.

Mary Ann and I recently talked with Alice, who runs the Grapevine, a Columbus GLBT restaurant, and asked her if she would like to make a slow night somewhat busier by declaring it as official "Tranny Night." She liked the idea.

>From here out, every Thursday night from 7:00 until closing is Tranny Night at the Grapevine Cafe (73 E. Gay St., just W. of 3rd, downtown Columbus, 221-8463).

*All* are welcome, including CD/TV, TG, TS, DQ, other TGs, their freinds, their relations, their goldfish, those who think they might be TG, those who wish they were, those who are curious about TGs, and anyone else who has any interest whatsoever. (Did I leave anyone out?) Normal restaurant/bar rules and etiquette, of course, apply. Be there or be square (i.e. straight all around)! See ya! Peace and happiness, Sarah

Crystal Club Hosts Brunch

by Dianna Mills


As most of you know, the Crystal Club hosted a brunch at the church where we have our regular meetings. The church has been very accepting of the club and the brunch was an opportunity to show our appreciation. The brunch was held Sept. 13th. Attendance by the club was quite good. We had a total of 6 members take part in preparation. Participants were Trisha, Jamie Elizebeth, Mary Ann, Latoya, Peg and Dianna Mills. We served 10 members of the congregation. The menu included bacon, sausage, eggs, fruit salad and homemade plum cake compliments of Peg. We all had a great time. We started cooking shortly after the service(around 12:00) and ate around 12:30. Everyone there seemed to have a good time and we stayed until about 2:30 chatting with members of the congregation. They enjoyed having us there and had some questions about us and the club. I've been attending services there for the last couple of months and have enjoyed going. It was nice to finally attend as Dianna and allow the others at the church to meet her. I left the church feeling accepted as both Jim & Dianna. I plan on continuing to attend, although probably mostly as Jim as it's difficult to get out of the house as Dianna on Sunday Mornings. The church would welcome any of our members who choose to attend.

Book review- MALE FEMALING

by Mavis K. Murray


Richard Ekins is Senior lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of Coleraine, northern Ireland. I found his 1997 book, MALE FEMALING, at "An Open Book," 761 N High St, Columbus 43215 $17.95. It is a report of fieldwork in major British cities between 1979-1985 and follow-up in 1993- 1995. Sometimes he was a casual participant, and sometimes an overt observer. The book follows five stages of cross-dressing and sex-changing: Beginning, Fantasying, Doing, Constituting, and Consolidating. The more technical theory chapters are separated from the illustrative material. The 9 page bibliography is very current. I found the variety of persons Rich shares with us a comfort. I looked for examples of my own life journey and found several. Ekins calls his method "grounded theory." Its goal is not selfish subjectiveness, but rather shows respect for "a pattern of behavior which is relevant and problematic to those involved." He maintains the Trans-Gender Archive at the University of Ulster. The oppression many male-femalers feel about themselves can find some glad relief in reading a book like this. The gentle fulfillment of God's final gift of Creation in the Genesis story meets you here. It was the gift of gender. And, like "apples of gold in frames of silver," it is a "word fitly spoken." (Proverbs 25:11)



[San Francisco Bay Area, CA, September 29, 1998] Yesterday Governor Pete Wilson signed into law AB 1999, a bill which clarifies that gender and gender expression are protected categories under California's existing hate crimes laws. AB 1999 was authored by Assemblymember Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica). Assemblymember Kevin Shelley (D-San Francisco) was the principal co-sponsor.

The major effect of the bill is to clarify that hate crimes against transgendered people are covered under California hate crimes laws. District attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles counties, who supported AB 1999, already prosecute such hate crimes under existing law, but other district attorneys do not use this interpretation of the statute. The new law creates uniformity of application of the broader reading of the law.

"This is a milestone for the transgender community of California" said Vicky Kolakowski, Co-Chair of the Bay Area Transgender Law Association (BATLAW), a sponsoring organization of the bill. "Hate crimes are a major problem for transgender people everywhere, including the Bay Area, and I am very happy that the legislature and the Governor understand the importance of enacting this legislation. I hope that this becomes a model that will be used nationwide."

"What a miraculous change from two years ago, when former state senator Milton Marks' (D-San Francisco) transgender civil rights bill SB 1964 died in committee without a single yes vote" Kolakowski added. "Last time, most legislators seemed uncomfortable with just hearing the word 'transgender.' This time around they publicly championed on our behalf."

Kolakowski attributes the bill's passage to the work of a coalition of public safety advocates, hate crimes experts, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community organizations, but gave Kuehl and other gay and lesbian leaders with the bulk of the credit for the changing attitudes. "Most of that transformation was due to the leadership of Sheila Kuehl, her marvelous staff, and the support of gay and lesbian groups such as the now-defunct LIFE Lobby, Community United Against Violence (CUAV) out of San Franciso and the Lambda Letters Project out of Sacramento."

AB 1999 received wide bipartisan support throughout the legislative process, partly due to the early endorsement of the bill by Attorney General Dan Lungren, the GOP candidate for governor.



Three years' worth of organizing and advocacy paid off September 12, 1998, when the annual meeting of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) overwhelmingly agreed to amend its mission statement to include transgendered persons.

The new PFLAG mission reads:

To promote the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons, their families and friends through support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.

Although the official PFLAG newsletter, PFLAGpole, that came out prior to the vote carefully matched a statement in support of the change with a statement opposing inclusion, not one of the more than a dozen people who spoke on the matter at the annual meeting spoke against the amendment. Several chapters sent letters and even a petition in support of inclusion. Ultimately, the final vote tally showed only one "no" vote.

This overwhelming support can be traced in great measure to the organizing efforts of PFLAG's Transgender Special Outreach Network (also known as T-SON), a group of family members of transgendered persons and transgendered persons. Founded three years ago at a PFLAG conference, T-SON has: sponsored a very successful e-mail support list for family members of transgendered persons and transgendered persons concerned about family issues; initiated a second e-mail support list specifically for parents of minor children who are transgendered; recruited and supported more than 170 PFLAG transgender chapter coordinators; produced and distributed more than 12,000 copies of the brochure "Our Trans Children"; run a national helpline; sponsored many Trans 101 workshops at local, regional, and national PFLAG (and other organizations') meetings and conferences; helped organize and support at least a half-dozen "Trans-Family" support groups throughout the U.S.; sponsored a website; and held a national conference in conjun

This T-SON conference featured workshops on the "gender spectrum"; gender variant children and Gender Identity Disorder (GID); and providing transgender support in the PFLAG context. It also included: a very productive and upbeat meeting with PFLAG's new Executive Director, Kirsten Kingdon, and PFLAG staff about ways to further implement PFLAG's newly-articulated commitment to transgendered persons and issues; a ground-breaking meeting with intersex advocates to explore ways of providing support to the family members of intersexed persons; and a meeting with Bay Area-based advocates and therapists to articulate and strategize ways to support gender variant children and their parents.

For more information about T-SON's activities, see the website or". To subscribe to the T-SON e-mail list, send the message "subscribe tgs-pflag youremailaddress" to . Copies of "Our Trans Children" are 3 for $2.00 and can be ordered from Mary Boenke, 180 Bailey Blvd., Hardy, VA 24101-3528. Mary can also be reached by e-mail: .

Childís Play - part 5

by Kelly Davidson


"Yes, I'm am. Hi. You must be from the committee. I'm glad you could make it. Please, come in and call me Linda" Three ladies entered into the house. Two were in their late thirty's and the other couldn't have been more then twenty. "Thank you Linda. You have a lovely house," one of the older ladies said as she looked around the living room and spied me. "Oh my, and who is this lovely princess?" The three ladies looked over to where I was standing. "This is my 10 year old daughter Susanna," Mrs. Smith proudly announced. "What a pretty dress!" the first lady continued. "She's adorable Linda." I stood there, too afraid to move. "We were working on her outfit so she would be ready for the "Little Misses" contest at the state fair next month. We're hoping to win this year." "Well I don't see how she can lose," the second older lady replied. "She's as cute as a button. And that dress, oh, I just have to touch it. Do you mind Susanna?" Before I had a chance to reply, all three ladies were touching my dress, straightening bows and smoothing out my skirt." "I remember wearing dresses like this when I was younger," the first older lady said. They used to make me feel so pretty. Do you like wearing dresses like this Susanna?" I shook my head but Mrs. Smith commanded, "Speak up dear, just like I taught you." "Yes ma'am." I replied. Thank goodness I hadn't hit puberty and could still make my voice sound softer then it was. "And you're so polite too. Linda, you have raised a fine young lady here. Does she have any other surprises?" "Only one," I thought but kept quiet. Mrs. Smith just looked at me and grinned. "Nope, none that I know of." "Well I have a daughter who is 13 years old and I have to fight with her just to wear a skirt to church," the first lady continued. "She won't even look at "a dress" when we go to the store." "Youíre lucky," replied the second older lady. "My daughter is 17 and refuses to even put on a skirt. In fact, she wore a pants suit to a prom. Can you believe that. She has a closet full of some of the prettiest skirts and dresses that I made for her but she refuses to wear them. Maybe I should give them to Susanna," she said with a smiled. "I hate to say this," she continued. "But last month my daughter got her hair cut real short. Because of the way she dresses, most of the time she looks like a boy. And when I ask her to wear a dress she refuses. Her reason is that her other friends dress this way and she doesn't want to break fashion. How about you Mary? Any thoughts?" The younger women spoke for the first time. "I used to love dressing up as a princess when I was a little girl. I would go out as one every Halloween. My dream is to dress my child as a princess all the time.....even if it's a "boy." Everyone, including Mrs. Smith, broke out in laughter. "Don't worry Susanna, he could never be as pretty as you." "Well, you are very pretty in that dress. I bet you're going to hate taking it off," the first lady commented. It's nice to see a little girl who is not ashamed to be...a girl. And such a pretty one." I felt my cheeks starting to turn red from all this attention. "Today, too many girls want to dress and look like boys." she added. It's nice to meet young ladies like yourself who don't mind dressing up in pretty outfits. It lets us, the older generation, know that in the future there will still be young ladies who won't mined acting and dressing as such. Youíre the hope for our future womanhood" (Now that was an interesting thought). Despite being embarrassed, I realized she had given me a compliment. Maybe I could get away with this. "Yes ma'am, and thank you," as I held out my skirt and bowed, just as Mrs. Smith had taught me. The three ladies giggled with pleasure while Mrs. Smith beamed with at me with pride. "Well, I figure we could work on my application over here," said Mrs. Smith, pointing to the chairs in one corner of the living room. "Have a seat while I get some coffee and snacks. Susanna, be a good girl and help your mother, okay." "Okay mommy," as I walked behind her into the kitchen. The minute we went around the corner Mrs. Smith turned and gave me a giant hug. "You were fantastic back there," her voice filled with pride. "I couldn't be prouder of you, especially when you bowed to them. That was perfect. Youíre a very good learner Susan" One of her hands went down and patted me on the bottom. I'm proud you're my daughter. I want you to always be my little girl." That was all I wanted to hear. All my life I had been looking for someone to accept me and make me feel wanted. I never did seem to fit in at home. No matter what I did, it never seem to be good enough. I prayed to God, while she was holding on to me, to make it so. I wanted to be her little girl for life. "I love you mommy," and I did. The words were real, not rehearsed. She smiled back at me and said, "Well, we have guests we have to take care of. Come on, letís get busy." She stood up and walked over to the counter. Even though I had passed with flying colors, being around those other women was a nerve-wracking experience. I had a number of fears about being caught, and they were still dancing in my head. "What would happen if these ladies found out who I really was? Would the police be called in? Would my parents find out?" I really didn't want to find out the answers to these questions. What I really wanted to do was to play it safe and stay in the kitchen or hide out in Lisa's bedroom until they left. But Mrs. Smith had other plans for me She handed me a plate of cookies. "Here, take these and serve them to our guests, please." Seeing the fear in my eyes she added, "You're doing great, Susanna, keep up the good work. She turned me around so I faced the entrance to the living room and whispered in my ear, "Take a deep breath.....Relax." She gave a slight push to start me walking towards the living room. I carried the cookies out to where the three ladies were sitting. Each of them gave me a pleasant smile and thanked me. A minute later Mrs. Smith followed me out with a tea tray. The three ladies introduced themselves to us and Mrs. Smith took a seat next to one of them, leaving me standing. "Baby doll, why don't you go play with Sally while we talk." Mrs. Smith motioned to the doll that was still lying in the buggy. "Okay," I replied. I picked the doll up and headed for the hallway, but only got a few feet before I heard Mrs. Smith say, "Excuse me for a moment. Susan dear, where are you going?" "I was going to my room to play so I wouldn't disturb you" "That is very nice of you honey but I want you to play in here where I can keep on eye on you. That dress cost us a lot of money and I don't want to see you get it dirty, okay. You can play on the couch with Sally, just don't try to give her a bath." Mrs. Smith then turned and went back to her guests. "What an embarrassing situation," I thought to myself as I sat on the couch and stared at the ladies on the other side of the room. But what else could I do. If I left the room Mrs. Smith would only drag me back in and, she would be mad. I didn't want that to happen. And, I couldn't just sit here, I was supposed to be a little girl and just sitting was not what a 10 year girl would do. No, if I wanted these ladies to think I was a little girl then I had to act like one. So, what would a little girl do in this situation. I knew the answer even before I started thinking it out. There was only one thing I could do to keep my masquerade. I was trapped and I knew it. Mrs. Smith looked up and gave me the eye to start playing. I laid the doll on the table and changed it's diaper. This caught the attention of all three ladies, who seemed more interested in what I was doing than what Mrs. Smith was saying. From the box I pulled out a pretty dress and carefully pulled it over the dollís head. To keep up the appearance, I kept smiling and talking to my doll . After she was dressed, I brushed it's long, dark hair. Once done, I sat the doll on my lap and read a book to her. Mrs. Smith continued to talk while the three ladies took their turn checking to see what I was doing. The longer I played with the doll the more embarrassed I became. While I would have given my front teeth to stop, I also realized that the longer I played with the doll, the more convinced these ladies would believe that I was just another little girl. So I forced myself to play the part happier, more joyfully, more serious then any little girl could. I read the doll a couple of books before I couldn't take it anymore. Grabbing the bottle, I proceeded to feed my baby while talking softly to her. By now I was feeling totally foolish but knew this was the only way to keep up my cover. Every now and then one of the ladies would look up and give me an approving look. Ten minutes later the bottle was done and the doll's diaper was wet again. While I worked on changing the diaper, I listen to what was going on. Mrs. Smith was trying to get a grant from these ladies for a special quilt she wanted to make. It seem like she had been talking for hours, going over her plans. "When was this meeting going to end?" I asked myself. After changing the doll's diaper, I started looking through the box for something to dress her in. I came across a pretty pink nightgown with lace on it. With great care, I dressed the doll in it. A horrible thought then struck me. There wasn't anything left to do but sing my doll to sleep, something I was dreading. I felt foolish enough playing with this doll but having to sing to it in front of strangers, it was more then I could stand. I just couldn't bring myself to doing it. Instead, I held the doll in my lap hoping no one would take notice. After a few minutes of explaining her quilt to the ladies, someone else started talking and Mrs. Smith looked over at me. Our eyes locked and in an instant, I had read her mind. She made a motion to continue with what I was doing or else. With great resistance, I lifted the doll up and snuggle it against my chest. I began swinging my arms back and forth and softly sang a la-la-bye to my baby doll. The ladies in the group looked over and stared at me with such admiration. I could read their minds as well. Each of them dreamed of having a little girl like myself who they could dress in pretty clothes and watch as she played with her dolls. I could tell Mrs. Smith was thrilled with my performance as she struggled to continue. After what seemed like forever, the meeting finally broke up. I continued to rock the doll as the three ladies stood up and walked over to me. "That's a very pretty baby you have there, Susanna," one of them said. What is her name?" "Sally," I replied shyly. I didn't want to get into a discussion about my doll. "I see you take really good care of her," she continued to ramble, almost as if she believed it was a really person. Then it dawned on me, I had done such a good job of acting in front of her that she actually believed I thought it was "a real baby." In fact, from their smiles, all three ladies believed that. These ladies must think I was little baby or something. I held onto the doll even tighter, part out of embarrassment and part of fear of blowing my cover. "Oh yes, she is a good mother to Sally," Mrs. Smith agreed adding on to my woes. "In fact, she plays with Sally most of the day. She is a fine mommy." "How old is your baby, Susanna?", one of the older ladies asked. I just stood there, too embarrassed to say anything. "Go on and tell her honey," Mrs. Smith coaxed. "Six months," I said, clutching the doll even tighter. "Look how tight she holds her doll." one of the older ladies whisper to the others. "Don't worry, Susanna, we are not going to take your baby away." All three laugh as if this was quite funny while I loosen my death-grip on the doll. "Well, she is a very pretty baby, and you're a very nice little girl. It was a pleasure meeting you," she smiled and said as she patted me on the shoulder. The three ladies said their good-byes and headed out the door. Mrs. Smith turned after they left and gave me a big smile." "Come here, you little angel," Mrs. Smith said, holding out her arms. She gave me a big hug and lifted me slightly off the ground. "You were perfect," she said in a joyful manner. "Those women envied me for having such a sweet, pretty little girl. I'm sorry I didn't warn you but I didn't want to you to be nervous before-hand. Now, aren't you glad I didn't?" I had to admit I was glad she didn't tell me. If she had, I would have been a nervous wreak before they had gotten here. It is a memory I treasure today and I'm glad it happened. I would do it again if I had the chance. Mrs. Smith stopped hugging me and said, "I guess now you can change into another outfit, unless you would like to play some more. In fact, I was thinking we could do something together. Would you like that?" The excitement of the outfit had worn off but I still wasn't ready to exchange this dress for another. Besides which, the thought of doing something with Mrs. Smith sounded much more exciting. Being around her was a wonderful experience and I wanted to do as much with her as I could. "I would love to do something with you mommy, what do you have in mind? Anything you want." "Anything?" Mrs. Smith said with a smile and grabbed my hand. "Come along with me then, Sweetie, I have another surprise for you." She led me into the spare bedroom again and told me to sit on the bed. She reached down and pulled out a box from underneath the it. "You're going to love this baby doll."

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