My Grandmother

When I speak of ‘my grandmother,’ I am speaking of my paternal grandmother. I did have two sets of grandparents throughout most of my childhood. However my maternal grandparents played a very minor, I would suggest all but inconsequential, role in my life. Maybe if they had had more to do with my upbringing, my life would not be the fucked up mess it is now. But as is true of every aspect of my past, it cannot be changed. It was what it was.

Now I want to make it clear. I love my grandmother. I could not have asked for a more loving and caring grandmother. I harbor no bitterness towards her for her choices that profoundly impacted my life. Given a magic wand, I would not change a single thing about her or the life we had together. Yes, my life is a fucked up mess, but she is not to blame. If not for my grandmother, I would not be who I am today. And whom I am today is exactly who I want to be. I say this knowing she had flaws and she could have made different decisions, maybe even better decisions, that impacted my life. However over the course of my life, I have made too many bad decisions on my own to fault her for the decisions she made. Truth be told, the seven years I spent living under her roof as her granddaughter were the best years of my life. It was my decision at the age of twelve that sent my life spiraling in the wrong direction. That is when I decided to return to the life of a boy and move to Rosalia to live with my family.

First Some Personal History

I was born on June 9, 1953, the second son to Fred and Donna Vayne. On October 13, 1954, my younger brother — a third son — was born into our family. About a year later, my parents moved us into our grandmother’s home. When I was three years old I began to discern a common topic of conversation around our dinner table and in our living room. There were three boys living in the house and both of my parents and my grandmother had really wanted one of them to be a girl — me. For reasons I could not fathom as a child of three, the three grownups in our house had wanted me to be a girl. I am not suggesting they spoke of this frequently. However each time they did so I found reason once again to ask of myself — Why am I a boy? Why do they want me to be a girl? Is it my fault, they got stuck with a boy when they wanted a girl?

A different child would have responded differently than I did. I responded by seeking a solution to their unhappiness. And the only solution that made sense to me was for me to become a girl. I was told repeatedly by my parents and my grandmother that this was not possible. They would also add “And we love our boy Glen.” But the living room conversations still would on occasion return to the hope they had once held out that I would be born as a girl.

Returning To My Grandmother

My dad was born in 1926, a couple years after my grandparents were married. In 1929, the Great Depression changed the lives of millions of America. Two weeks previous, my grandmother gave birth to a second child, a daughter. She died shortly after her first birthday. Around this time, my unemployed grandfather went missing for several months, the first of several drinking binges that would live Grandma alone to raise her surviving child. By the start of WWII in 1941, she had divorce my grandfather and through grit and perseverance was building a life for herself and my dad.

I do not know when my grandmother found employment at the JCPenney store in downtown Hillyard. However during the war years, when millions of able bodied men men were fighting in Europe and the Pacific, she worked her way up to a management level position within the store. She became the personnel manager. When the store moved to downtown Spokane after the war and became one of Spokane’s leading department stores, she found herself over seeing a staff of almost three hundred employees. Without question, my grandmother had proved herself to be a survivor.

It would be pure speculation to suggest that the loss my grandmother had known as a young mother explains to some degree her desire for a granddaughter. And to a lesser extent it may even offer some explanation for my father’s desire to have a daughter — having lost his sister. But less agree that the why is not truly important to this story. What is truly important is that as a child of three I knew — with every ounce of certain that I had — that my parents had wanted me to be a girl. Whatever was the root cause, I came to believe that for some reason, in some way, my life would have been a better life for me — and my parents and my grandmother — if only I had been born as a girl.

When Did My Grandmother Decide To Raise Me As A Girl?

On August 3, 1958, two months after I had turned five, a family decision was made. My Dad had been offered a teaching position in Rosaila Washington, thirty miles south of Spokane. My Mom had just given birth four months earlier to my sister. Considering all the financial hardships my parents were facing, it was decided that I would remain in Spokane with my grandmother. Practically speaking, it was a good decision. My mother was raising a newborn and it would be one less month to feed. Plus they would be only a forty five minute drive away. While there are reasons my parents made a wise decision, there is one factor that cannot be ignored. My Grandmother wanted me to remain in Spokane with her. It was what she wanted and she always got want she wanted.

As the story is told, one day my Grandmother grew tired of never-ending questions. As a lesson, she dressed me up as a girl to ‘teach me a lesson’ and sent me outside to play with my neighborhood friends. Was I teased and mocked? Probably, but I was so happy ‘being a girl’ that I had a really fun time. I have doubts about this story. For instance, where did she get the clothes to dress me as a girl? However, the story does focus us on an important question — when did my Grandmother decide to raise me as a girl? For sure, she had already decided to do so on August 3 of 1958. Without giving any real clarity to this question or its answer, in the months leading up to my fifth birthday, it became common for Grandma to dress me up as a girl. She would then take her ‘granddaughter’ and two grandson out shopping or to lunch or to a movie. She liked having a ‘granddaughter’ and I loved being a girl.

My Grandmother passed away during the spring of my sophomore year of high school. To put it most simply, she died of a brain tumor. I would come to learn that she had known of this tumor for years. In fact if the doctor had been correct in their diagnosis she would have died several years younger. My grandmother began dressing as a girl almost a year before Mom gave birth to Cheri. Even once Mom knew of her pregnancy there had to be the expectation that it would be another boy. It does not seem unlikely that Grandma saw me as her one chance to raise a ‘daughter.’ I may be overthinking this. But without any doubt, at some point, most likely when I was four, my Grandmother decided she would be raising me as a girl, knowing how happy being a girl would be to me.

The Years After

In late summer of 1965, when I was twelve, it was my decision to give up the life I had known as a girl and move to Rosalia. This ended the seven happiest years of my life. But it should not be forgotten that it quite possibly ended the seven happiest years of my grandmother’s life. I had been living my new life as a boy when it became clear to me that I was not happy as a boy. I began crossdressing in private and one night visited my brother’s bedroom en femme and shared my regrets with him. He became my ally and as he had his own car and a license we often drove into Spokane so I could spend time as Veronica. Grandma welcomed Veronica back into her home and I had another ally. Initially Mike and I would visit Grandma as two of her grandchildren. But Mike was at sixteen already a young man and, living with my regrets, I wanted to further explore life as a girl. Within a few weeks, Grandma had to notice that there was something more to our relationship than one would expect between siblings.

There was a time when I can say with some confidence that my relationship with my older brother did not met with her approval. On one occasion we spoke of her disapproval. While it was a longer conversation, in short I told her. “I miss being Veronica. With Mike, I am Veronica. If I did not have Mike, if I did not have these trips into Spokane, if I did not have you, my life would be so miserable. He loves me Mommy. I know he does Mommy because of the way he kisses me.” About a month later, I sucked his cock for the first time. In those last couple years of my Grandma’s life, I think she came to see Mike as her granddaughter’s boyfriend. I cannot say she ever approved, but I was back in her life as Veronica.

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