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Whatever Happened to Carolyn?

| Oct 18, 2010
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It has happened to many of us. We make a friend in the transgender community and then suddenly she disappears from our ‘radar screen’. Because of privacy walls we create we have no way of reconnecting or of finding out what happened to our friend. Here is one such story.

I was rummaging through some old boxes in my storage locker. It was the type of summer day when I start out with the intention of purging a lot of old papers, magazines letters and photos to make room for new papers, magazines, letters and photos. I was making some progress until I came across a file of the very earliest letters that Linda received in response to an ad placed in a magazine called TV/TS Tapestry, complete with photo and my old postal box address up in Ottawa, Canada.

The letters caused me to stop, think and reminisce. There were letters and photos of girls I’d long forgotten. Years ago I had bundled the letters together according to their sender. One particularly large group of letters was from Carolyn Alexander. Carolyn I do remember. She was one of the very few t-girls who wrote to me that we ended up actually meeting. After an exchange of a few letters we decided it would be nice to get together and as we lived close by it was relatively easy to arrange.

Carolyn was usually kept on a very tight leash by a non-supportive wife. However each winter the couple would go to Florida, each March Carolyn (Ron) would return early to Ottawa while his wife stayed in Florida. That would be Carolyn’s time to emerge. She would claim her belongings from a storage space, rent a room in a local motel and apparently for the most part spend her time in the room, dressing, changing outfits and sitting alone drinking wine and reading or watching television.

It turned out that despite what her ad said Carolyn rarely went out in public en femme. That was a shame as she turned out to make a fairly attractive woman.

Somehow I convinced Carolyn that we should meet in Montreal. The plan was that we would take in the FI show at Café Cleopatra where we knew t-girls were very welcome. She was then supposed to feel comfortable going out en femme in the future. Although very slightly wrinkled with age Carolyn had the height and physique to be quite passable. The chosen weekend arrived. We had rooms in different motels. I met Carolyn at her motel but to my surprise a man met me at the door. ‘He’ had decided to go Cleo’s the first time in male mode. No problem for me; it was nice to have a man on my arm. It all worked out well. We were well treated and my friend got to see that ‘she’ would not be out of place in that environment. The next night ‘Carolyn’ joined me at the popular nightclub.

That was about 1987. For the next six or seven years we would meet at least once a year each March, almost always at her motel room in Ottawa. I enjoyed her company. She had led a very interesting life. Over time I got to know many of the details. We had a lot of similarities. Carolyn was the child of a very successful female tennis player; so was I. In fact, Carolyn thought that her first crossdressing feelings came from having a dominant mother with which she identified and that she loved seeing her mother walking around in a short tennis skirt showing those special tennis panties. Same here.

Carolyn had served in the Canadian military; so had I.

Carolyn loved to play golf; so did I.

Carolyn had been close to the levers of power in the Canadian Government and particularly in the Foreign Service. There we differed.

Carolyn told me of how relatively early in their marriage she had confided her enjoyment of crossdressing to her wife only to see her wife leave the conjugal bedroom, never to return. Thankfully there we also differed. My partner was much more accepting.

Carolyn told me of one fascinating adventure where she had been in a Middle Eastern country, out for an evening stroll on the beach en femme. She was confronted by a security policeman. Fearing arrest and exposure she says she did the only thing she could think to do. She dropped to her knees and gave the man a blow job. He then let her go on her way.

She had dozens of stories. As we were both very secretive to others about our crossdressing the stories I related to best were the ones of close calls where her secret almost came out. For instance, she had a cottage on an island not far from Ottawa. It became a Carolyn refuge as her wife didn’t like to go there. One fine summer day she was sitting on her deck, resplendent in make-up, skirt, blouse and sandals when she saw a boat approaching in the distance. She recognized the boat as one likely to be coming to the island. She had no more than a few minutes to de-femme and tidy up her Carolyn things. It was a rush but she got it done… mostly. In her haste she left out a purse, the sandals and a very feminine pair of sunglasses.

The boat arrived and the guests were welcomed with some hastily prepared drinks and snacks. However, they hadn’t stayed long. Carolyn figures they looked around, saw the purse, etc and thought there must be a lady friend hidden somewhere on the island. They quickly and discreetly bade farewell and never spoke of the incident.

In time Carolyn and I became intimate lovers, something between Brokeback Mountain and Same Time Next Year. I don’t know how she managed it but it always seemed to be my turn to perform the ‘boy role’.

Carolyn became a great help to me in another way. Twice in the space of those years I came to have girl friends that had learned of my penchant for crossdressing. These ladies understood and were sympathetic to my habit but both were dubious about what other crossdressers were like. They had accepted the stereotype image.

What better way to disavow them of their views than to introduce them to the witty, urbane and cultured Carolyn? She could talk to the ladies on any subject and equally flatter them for their liberalism in accepting me.

After one such encounter I confessed to one of the ladies, call her Brenda, that Carolyn and I usually ended our evenings in bed together. When Brenda said she had expected that was the case I suggested the three of us should try it. She agreed. Our next date was one of the most memorable of my life as the three of us freely traded giving and receiving oral pleasures. First Carolyn and then I proved the masculine side of our bisexuality deep in Brenda.

Did Brenda have any regrets or doubts? The one she told me about was that she was the only one of the three that could be identified by Carolyn if ‘he’ were to see her on the street. (Unfortunately and for other reasons Brenda took her love to greener pastures trading three-way sex for a wedding ring.)

As we reached a decade of friendship Carolyn and I suddenly lost touch. Around 1995 I learned about and embraced the Internet. I kept my postal box for a while but wrote few letters. Carolyn was slower to fly in to cyberspace. Then a letter to Carolyn was returned as her postal box had been closed. I didn’t follow up. I was ready to move on. A few years later I searched her male name in the Ottawa phone book. Any listings of his rare last name were gone.

I didn’t think much of it at the time. I was moving on anyway. I was more interested in going out and having fun at night clubs and shopping. Despite my urging to get out Carolyn still was content with infrequent motel room relationships.

However these many years later I find a few tattered old letters and I wonder what did happen to Carolyn. Did she get purged out of existence? Did she pass away? Did she just get tired of seeing me? One of the downsides of crossdressers’ double and secret identity is that when something happens to one part of our identity those who know us through the other part may never find out. So I will probably never know what happened to Carolyn. I miss that girl.

It spoiled an otherwise productive work day but I’m really glad to have found those letters. I will keep them for now. I couldn’t throw them out. I wish she’d sent me a photo.

Postscript: Shortly after I started writing this article I posted a message to the Ottawa T-group asking if anyone knew what had become of Carolyn.

It went:
The recent cardiac close calls of two Gender Mosaic members got me thinking about a lot of things. The first thought was ‘what a wonderful community Gender Mosaic is the way members pull together to wish their friends well.’ Then I thought ‘what if it had been me?’ I no longer live in the Ottawa area but I still enjoy reading about the ‘goings on’ in GM or maybe I should say the ‘comings and goings’ as new members burst to the forefront and veterans fade away. It also seems to be the trend in Gender Mosaic for members to freely exchange their male identities with each other. I really admire and envy that as it means members can keep up with each others’ news.

I guess I’m from the old school where my Linda identity and my male identity are both only known to me and by one person – my partner. I and many others keep our femme identity totally separate from our daily life. For some reason I like it that way but it is also an economic thing.

So what if it were one of the ‘private ones’ who suffered the cardiac arrest? And what if this person didn’t survive? Would anyone wonder why Linda or whoever was no longer writing? Would anyone care? No worries on my account. While I do not have my partner’s complete support to be Linda she has agreed to help notify Linda’s ‘groups’ and friends  if anything should happen to me. I have prepared instructions. But what about others?

That led me to my third thought: ‘whatever happened to Carolyn’?

I went on in the same manner as the article above. I described how Carolyn and I met and what we did together. Of the few replies I received none knew of Carolyn as they had all been members and in the CD scene for less than fifteen years but they had similar feelings about the unexplained disappearance of old friends where they only knew of the femme identity.

So I guess if there is a moral to this story it would be that for the sake of those who know and love you in your feminine identity but do not share in the rest of your world, have an ‘exit strategy’ that includes at least some word to them. (Oh yes, and also sign your organ donor card. It may be a t-girl needing your heart!)

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Fun & Entertainment

Linda Jensen

About the Author ()

Canadian writer Linda Jensen is a long time contributor to TGForum. Before the days of the Internet Linda started her writing with the Transvestian newspaper. Her writing ranges from factual accounts of her adventures to fiction although frankly sometimes her real life adventures are stranger than the fiction. Linda is married to a loving partner who upon learning about Linda said, "she was part of you before I met you. Although I didn't know it she was part of the package I fell in love with. I don't want to mess up that package." "Does it get any better than that?" asks Linda.

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