Crossdresser Memories, Chapter 4

| Oct 3, 2016
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[Chapter 1] [Chapter 2] [Chapter 3] [Chapter 4]

The last sentence of Chapter 3 comments on the strong feelings of loneliness that enveloped me at that time. That was the “malaise” in 1956 while still in Canada developing a wholesale hardware business for two brothers with the largest home improvement chain in that country. I looked forward to curing this depression by getting married. Dumb!

Flash back to 1945 — while on furlough upon returning to the States from England (World War II wasn’t over as only Germany had surrendered — we still had to vanquish the Japanese.) I joined my uncle for a vacation at the Manoir Richelieu, a lovely resort in northern Quebec. It was here that I met a beautiful French-Canadian gal with glowing cheeks and brown eyes that penetrated my soul. When not golfing with my uncle I was spending every minute with Helene. This would be the first and, regretfully, the only time that I truly loved anybody passionately with all my heart. At that period of my life I had yet to acquire an education or know how I would earn a living — a consideration that didn’t stop many jobless others from getting hitched and having babies. Subsequently, I graduated college while occasionally meeting up with Helene in her home town of Quebec City or in New York. Never entered my mind that her very wealthy parents might have agreed to support both of us if we were to get married. No, I was too independently minded to consider that. After six years of being together perhaps a few days a year while I was still sorting out career opportunities (Helene had gone through nursing school in the meantime.), she finally gave up on me — sure couldn’t blame her.

Why do I recount my affair with Helene? It goes back to my asserting that now my reason for wanting to get married wasn’t love or sex but loneliness. Stupid reason! Became merchandise manager for a world-famous boutique-style housewares store newly opened on Long Island. So, finally, I had an education and a good job — no excuses left. Married a half Cree, half Scots gal I met while working for my uncle in Montreal. Thought she would make a good companion.

A few months into our marriage she bought two pairs of leotards we could wear in bed on cold nights. Certainly she didn’t relate those items of clothing with my then submerged demons but it did prompt me to blurt out my affection for female clothes. She shrugged it off — not displaying shock or anger. It wasn’t DADT but simply ignoring my underdressing. Can’t really say her attitude was acceptance and certainly not supportive. We never discussed the subject for the next fifty-two years. In all that time I never underdressed in front of her nor was I ever fully dressed in her presence! Amazingly, my wife never saw me wearing one article of female clothes during our entire marriage! Fact was that we slept in separate bedrooms for the last ten years due mainly to her physical disabilities. Certainly wherever we may have been living I kept a few drawers of lingerie she must have known about but never commented on. Nevertheless, most of my apparel was stored in the compartment over the engine in my Volkswagen Bug. I was traveling almost every week for a retail chain at the time. Then the company bought me a Buick — my Bug’s hiding place went too so had to find a new location for my stash.

In those days vests were the “in” style — nicely covered the outlines of my bra when on the road. So this was the routine, believe it or not: hours before my plane flight I would leave my New Jersey home and take the tunnel under the Hudson River to the 42nd Street Bus Terminal; go to my large rented locker to retrieve two suitcases; return to New Jersey to check into a motel on the way to the Newark Airport; spend an hour or less changing into my bra, stockings and girdle; pay for half day at the motel and head for the airport. Insane! Right?

Co-workers already assembled at a bar in the city of destination, be it Montgomery, New Orleans or wherever would sometimes comment: “Here comes Julian, checking in with enough bags for a month’s stay.” If they only knew!

So, for the first forty some years of marriage it was underdressing at work or dressing more completely in motel rooms around this Country. At no time during these trips did I ever even consider leaving my motel room en femme. During the last final nine years my wife spent, sadly, most of her days in hospitals or rehabilitation facilities. Under these circumstances I was able to fully dress at home without makeup but, surprisingly, when looking back, still without any strong desire to go “out.” I’m envious whenever I read of supportive spouses bedding or dressing with their husbands. Even with that positive addition to the marriage equation the divorce rate — CD or not — remains about the same.

The reaction to my announcement of divorce proceedings after fifty-two long years was a shock to family and friends, but the reader may recall that my incentive to getting married in the first place was companionship. Certainly I was an emotional cripple having left my only true love in Quebec City. “Love” was something I wasn’t able to feel for another human. Was it due to being born to a cold mother (details in my memoir) or perhaps, the wall I built up to protect my feelings for crossdressing shielded me from relationships?

My favorite cousin had been widowed for ten years and living in Florida. She and her husband, Howard, had joined us on trips golfing in Myrtle Beach or visiting the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. She had a copy of the first edition of my memoir published in 2002 so she knew of my crossdressing proclivities. Yet, without hesitation, when I told her that I was finally getting a divorce out of this loveless marriage, she invited me to leave Washington to spend the rest of my life in Florida — here I could write my revised memoir or Second Edition. Her emails usually ended with “Oh do I love you!” A new chapter in my life was beginning with much promise.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender History

Julie Gaum

About the Author ()

Born to successful parents – both amassed fortunes during Great Depression with little time for their two sons. Flew with Air Force in England during WWII and with N. Y. Air National Guard for twelve more years; Graduated University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School; then motion picture production in Mexico, Hollywood and New York; climbed retail corporate ladder from coast to coast; bred and showed Boxers for thirty-five years and became a scratch golfer. Encountered many world-famous personages along the way. Awards-winning memoir includes a chapter -- Myths, Fallacies and Most Therapists Without a Clue that addresses all aspects of the CD spectrum. Now at 91 -- when health permits --able to be en femme most of time as family and friends have all passed.

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