My Life as Savannah: Chapter 8, My Ball Gown

| Mar 15, 2021
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It was evident that Mother is still trying to hide her sadness of Father passing. I was also sad and missed him, and both Sis and I didn’t know what to do for Mom except be there for her and show her our love.

Although excited, I was also not worried about the big ball event. I even knew that there was absolutely no way I couldn’t say no to my mother about going to this ball after what we’ve all went through with the passing of Father. Plus, all the support she’s giving me as her daughter. I had only a few weeks before the dance. I asked, “What is the difference between a ball and the dances I’ve gone to at our church?”

“Savannah, balls are formal and elegant. You will dress like a princess.”

Mom seemed happy to have two daughters, and I was elated to be reincarnated as Savannah. Once my girlfriends found out I was back the phone rang off the hook, and I was on it for hours chatting just like old times.

“Mother, what do I wear to a ball? What if Fred wants to get in my panties?” I couldn’t stop asking questions. Good ‘ole Mom, sat me down on the couch and sat next to me on my right.

“You’ll learn to dance properly, and we’ll find a lovely gown and Fred is a good Southern boy from a wonderful Christian family. If anything happens, his parents will find out about it. Your father and I have known Franklin’s for many years.”

The last answer was great for the here and now — but images of him feeling me up or wanting more swarmed my mind. I was becoming a terrified innocent young girl! Sis and Mom played slow songs and practiced slow dancing with me. When Sis’s breasts touch me, the vision of her naked in her room came back to me.

“Pay attention, Savannah! Stop daydreaming!”

On Saturday, all the Moms took all of us to shop for gowns. We still didn’t have a huge mall nearby with a wide selection of dresses, so we drove an hour or so to a bigger mall just outside the eastside of Atlanta for a day trip.

Mom asked, “Savannah, wear that cute sundress you bought. I’ll be easier to take on and between dresses and stores.”

Being in the dressing rooms with my friends and their mothers with only their bras (some topless) and panties no longer shocked me. I was asked to help with this and that. Please hook these for me or zip or unzip this or that. I felt accepted as a girl, and it felt wonderful.

Mother said, “Wear these so they can hem the skirt.” She handed me 3-inch heels. I wobbled some since I never wore shoes this high with such thin heels before and had to hold onto the wall to maintain my balance. Mother shopped some more and finally selected two gowns for me to try on. One was pale pink, the other a steel blue. “Try both of them on, and then you can choose.”

I looked at the price tag on one of them. “I whispered to Mom that this dress is expensive for only one night.” Then I’ll be back at school as Kenny.

“Don’t worry, Savannah. I want you to be the most beautiful young lady at the ball. And a girl can never have too many gowns. I like the pink one. It looks the best on you, but you choose.”

My problem is that I didn’t have substantial breasts to hold up the gown, nor did some of my girlfriends. Of course, Mom had that issue resolved.

“I’ll help you solve that.” Both the gowns Mom picked out all had spaghetti straps.

“These will help with holding up the dress. And at your age, it’s not normal to have fully developed breasts yet to hold up a gown.” I felt like a million dollars trying on the two long gowns.

I asked Amber, Heather, Donna, Tina, and a dozen other girls to choose my gown. They all replied in unison, ‘pale pink.’ Mother was right again. The next day mother and I went to buy myself some more heels, a bag, a wrap in case I got chilled, and of course, a bra for the gown. Then we went for the fitting of the gown with the tailor. What an ordeal. Pulling here, tugging there, and a lot of pinching.

“You’ve been practicing in your high heels at home, haven’t you, Savannah .”

“Yes, but they weren’t skinny heels like these,” I replied as I grabbed the wall to balance myself again from falling over or twisting my ankle.

Back home, I now had to practice wearing and walking in the 3-inch spiked heels for hours on end. My feet ached.

“How do you all do this so gracefully?” Sis said,

“Practice.” said Gwen. “One of the joys of being a woman, Savannah.” Mother’s eyes gleamed. I had to wear them all day, practically every day until the dance. My feet still ache. After several days the major pain subsided. Mother showed me how to walk up and downstairs with heels and a long skirt or gown. Sometimes she’d wrap an extra-wide towel around my waist. She instructed me to hold onto the banister with one hand, and my other hand would be holding up the skirt of my gown so that I wouldn’t trip and tumble down the staircase. Slowly I was becoming proficient, and I could almost run in the high heels – well, almost. I never tried it.

In a week, the gown was ready to be picked up. Mother brought her camera so that she could take a picture of me in my gown. It seemed like hours of final adjustments and small alterations I transformed, or metamorphosed, into a princess in my gown. I felt like a princess — I was Savannah Thomas, the storybook princess. Three of the sales ladies came over and told my mother how beautiful a daughter she had and that she must be very proud. Mother graciously thanked them.

Less than two more weeks to the ball. Mother signed me up for basic ballroom dance lessons at a local dance studio. Mother showed me the proper table etiquette and which knife, fork, and spoon to use. Then for some reason, how to curtsy. She made me practice more wearing my heels. She also made me wear long skirts around the house to practice going up and down the staircase dozens of times every day.

I had lunch with Fred and two boys I knew, and three of my girlfriends. The lunch was at a local pizza place, and we ate outside. Fred was a fantastic conversationalist. I became more comfortable in social settings than ever would have as the shy old Kenny was. Fred walked me to the car and said he so happy he could escort me to the dance. He opened his car door for me. Then out of the blue, I moved closer to him, stood up on my toes, kissed him on his cheek, and got in the passenger side. Did I just kiss Fred? It felt so natural. When we arrived at my house, Fred walked me to the door. I thanked him for the delightful lunch and fun time. I turned to open our porch door. Fred turned me around and surprised me with a kiss on my lips. I smiled, said thank you once more, and told him he had lipstick on his lips and cheek. Inside it felt I was floating at least ten feet off the floor.

Mom said, “Did I just see you kiss Fred?” “No! He kissed me, but earlier I kissed him on the cheek.”

“You’re turning into quite a young woman over this summer, Savannah .”

Later in the afternoon, I went up to join Gwen in her room. I looked up and saw mother just standing in the doorway with her hand up to her heart and looking in amazement at her two daughters.

Gwen said, “Mother told me you’ve been kissing boys!”

“Not true! Only one boy!”

“Savannah, you have become so feminine and beautiful in the last several years.” Mom injected.

Gwen added, “And you going to an end of summer formal ball too! I’m a bit jealous. I wish I grew up as fast as you have. But I am so proud and happy for you, Savannah. How else can I help you get ready?”

“I’ve only gotten this far because of you and Mom. Seriously, there is no way I could have pulled any of this off all by myself?”

Mother said, “Savannah, you haven’t pulled anything off. You’ve transformed into a beautiful young Southern lady.”

“I love you, little sister. And if there is anything you see I need from me or wish to learn, please ask me. How are you coming with your dance lessons and wearing high heels? Need any help?”

“I’m feeling better and more comfortable every day. I am getting much better dancing backward in heels. Thank you, Sis.”

“This is my best summer ever. I hope your brother never returns.”

“Me too!” Gwen said, very forcefully. Mom was taken aback by my statement.

Now Sis seemed more and more occupied with her new boyfriend and her girlfriends. She wasn’t home a lot. Mother took me to events like the museum, yard sales, and flea markets. I was enjoying being one of her daughters.

Next: Getting ready for the formal ball.

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About the Author ()

This story is not like other stories that I’ve read saying that the author has always know they were a girl — I think I discovered being one.

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