31 August 2008

Real estate

Saturday 30 August

The day dawned as though it would rain and Jessy and I were disappointed. Mother made pancakes which we ate in the kitchen, both of us sitting on our personal towels and with linen napkins in our laps. Little J.J. sat up on his booster chair and devoured a whole pancake himself. Lisa usually gets up in a perfectly happy mood and will take on half a day's activities before breakfast. She put on her lavender ballet leotard and tights and played happily in her room for an hour before either Jessy or I even opened our eyes. Then Mother took J.J. with her to take Lisa to her lessons and we two were left alone.

Daddy had gone up to the house in Delaware where he has a certain band recording in the studio. Jessy and I did our laps in the pool together and then, because we had no one to stop us, decided to stroll down the lane. For the hike we each put on shoes, sunglasses and hats. I put on my wide straw hat, just because it would seem outlandish, and the low-heeled sandals, and Jessy had on her Converse mules and a plain cotton fishing hat.

Our house is at the end of a private lane of nine houses, none of them occupied yet, that my dad had built here over the last two years. Recently two of them have got sold, both on the northern side of the lane, but no one is scheduled to move in till their houses are done. Jessy and I walked out the gate to the lane and darted over to the south side, ducking under the shrubbery and emerging in the back yard of the fifth house on that side. From there we had the whole side of the tract to ourselves.

The first three on this side are not large, the smallest sections in the tract. The three houses are all similar, all block and stucco with the same mullioned windows as in our house, raised up on a so-called English basement with a two-car garage on the side. Daddy drew up the preliminary plans for all of them and they are very conventional, with no gimmicks (whirlpool tubs, angled walls) and stupid planning errors (they have doors on the kitchens and separate formal and family areas). He and Mother are big believers in propriety, especially in architecture, and so all nine of these houses are based on old-fashioned lifestyles and sensible, traditional design.

The first three on this side are not large, the smallest sections in the tract. The three houses are all similar, all block and stucco with the same mullioned windows as in our house, raised up on a so-called English basement with a two-car garage on the side. They are very conventional (Daddy drew up the preliminary plans for all of them) with no gimmicks (whirlpool tubs, angled walls) and stupid planning errors (they have doors on the kitchens and separate formal and family areas). After those three we forded the creek and came up on the second one from the road, the one that is like the three smaller ones but turned 90 degrees so that the garage is in front and the section of land is wider at the front. Jessy stepped up to the unlocked back kitchen door and we went inside. It's still dusty from the wallboard work and the floors are covered in cardboard. We through the whole thing from basement to second floor, partly checking on things and mostly dreaming about having one of these places ourselves. This one is my favourite and I like imagining what I would do with it, how I would decorate, what colours I would paint, and so on. It's only three bedrooms but the master bedroom has a cosy dressing area with a door to the back stairs and leading to the big room over the garage.

Out on the street a carpet truck had arrived at the one Daddy has just sold. Both of us wrinkled our noses. As an authentic 18th-century English-style development these houses are all built, like ours, with raw-oak floors. It's actually cheaper and easier to maintain than any other flooring. Apparently the new people are going to carpet the whole thing.

'They'll probably put sheet vinyl stuff over the bathroom tile too,' Jessy said.

We went down stairs and out the kitchen door, dashing round behind the fourth one and into the shrubbery-shrouded yard of the last one. Here the yard is separated from the main road by a stucco wall, but being here naked we are reminded that there is traffic on a public right-of-way barely ten yards away from the inside of the wall. Jessy and I have got used to feeling safe behind these houses, though, and we sat on the folding chairs on the terrace and soaked up the sun till it had passed overhead and abruptly ducked into the clouds again.

'You know it will rain while we're out here,' I said as we got up.

Jessy shrugged and reseated her hat. 'Well? Do we care?'

I giggled. It's not like any clothes will get wet in the drizzle anyway.

We went in through the back door of the fifth house. This one has four bedrooms but two are small because they're in a tower, like Lisa's room in our house and the one above it. There's a roof deck up there too. Jessy and I ascended to the third-storey room of the tower, where we drew up chairs and sat just inside the window, looking way up the road towards the highway. No one ever looks up, or at least we hope not. If this house is not my favourite of the houses, this bedroom might well be my favourite room. It's been painted and the cardboard removed off the floors, and the electricity in the house is all done. It will probably be the next one to be sold, and then I will never have this view again. Someone else will, but I will only have the memory of having seen this road and the surrounding country on this angle from this height.

I often wonder what happens to a view, like that, especially when the house is torn down. I feel sorry for a house that is condemned, because I think about how people once lived in it and where they sat and where they slept. When the house is gone, what happens to the view from the upstairs window? No one will ever again see things from that perspective. The next building will not be as tall, or as wide, or it will be situated differently. If you were to take the GPS coordinates of some spot in that house, it will be true that eleven feet off the ground, at this spot, people once tucked in their sheets and went to bed. But the sensation of having been in that place on the planet, in fact the whole sensation of having lived in the house that was there before, will be gone forever.

I'm not sure it's an important thing to lose, when a house is torn down, but it is true that something is lost. I just wonder if anyone has ever noticed that before.

Jessy and I went down stairs and dashed past the gap between the fourth and third houses, hoping the carpet men didn't happen to look up a the very moment we were ducking past the bushes. The next challenge lay in getting into our own yard, but when we peered out past the corner of the first house we saw that the carpet van was obscured by trees and bushes, so we would be obscured from then. So we only casually walked out and in through our gate. I pressed the button and closed it after ourselves, and then we strolled round the long way, over the little creek and back to the side gate of the garden wall. The sky had got really gloomy, but I dropped the floppy straw hat and sunglasses in the chaise, stepped out of the sandals, and dove into the pool to cool off.

It started raining about five minutes later and didn't let up till well past dark.


29 August 2008

I am sick

Thursday 28 August 2008

This morning we drove way down over the bridge to Norfolk to shop for school supplies, mainly stuff for our art classes-- Jessy and I are both in the same class, plus choir-- and leotards for Lisa's dance class. Little J.J. was very good for the ride and insisted on walking most of the day. We no longer take a stroller anywhere for him-- he will walk at least half the time we are out and when someone has to carry him he is tired enough that he is no bother. He is actually a very affectionate little guy and is very good to us all.

On the way back up the Shore in the van I started feeling ill. This is unlike me-- I am hardly ever sick in any way. We'd stopped for cold drinks on the way down and I'd had to get a Pepsi, which I hate, and other than that all I had was Burger King when we stopped for lunch. Normally I can handle that, and we have not gone for fast food in at least a week. But I felt full and sluggish and heavy in the head. When we got home I went up to lie down but it wasn't getting any better and finally I had to go into my bathroom and get rid of it, which was very messy involving both ends. There is nothing worse than having to clean up the sink after yourself, you know. When I could stand upright I took a very warm shower, dried off only a little, and collapsed on my bed without putting on anything.

There are three ways into my room. Over in the corner is a door leading to my parents' dressing room, actually one of their walk-in closets, but it's bolted and we never use that. My parents' room is above the dining room and their door is in the front stair hall. Round the mezzanine above the front hall, my room is above the parlour with a door opening off a little lobby. This is the door to be used in case this room ever becomes a guest room. The front gallery connects from the lobby and leads into what gets called 'the children's wing', where Lisa's and Jessy's rooms are. The third door from my room goes directly from the hallway outside Lisa's room into my little dressing area where my closets and bathroom are.

I lay still on top of the mussed sheets of my bed, in what Daddy calls the 'dead dog' position, on my left side with my head on the pillows and my arms and legs extended partway out towards the edge. It was the only way I had got comfortable. I was staring straight through the dressing area at the half-open door when it swung into the room and Daddy appeared. 'Hey,' he said softly.

'Hey,' I said hoarsely, as my throat still hurt from its ordeal twenty minutes before.

He came in and leaned over me, pushing a strand of sweaty hair off the side of my face. Of course my daddy has seen me undressed plenty of times, but he's always looked right at me-- meaning my eyes-- and it's stopped being awkward. The other day I showed him a bug bite on my bottom. He looked at it, because I couldn't, and said to put Anbesol on it. That was about as awkward as it got. 'What happened to you?' he asked.

I gave a little shrug. Lying like that it probably only looked like I was wiggling one shoulder. 'I guess something I ate.'

He nodded, glancing over once to see that I'd opened one of the windows, and then bent down again to lay the back of his hand against mt forehead, and neck. I was not very warm now, after the shower. 'Do you need something to drink?'

I made the shrug again. 'Jessy will get me something.'

He smiled then. 'You're lucky to have each other,' he said-- he says that to us often. 'Well-- no one's expecting you for supper. I think we were just going to have leftovers. We have some of that macaroni left.... Just let your mother know if you want anything.'

I smiled. I know it was for our sake that he began referring to our stepmother as our mother, and not by her name any more, after the wedding. But we had been calling her 'Mother', because that's what Liesl calls Maria in 'The Sound of Music', almost since the engagement. Maybe she is not my mother, really, except if you count motherhood as being the person who guides you, supports you, cares for you without question or condition, because she loves you more than herself... then of course she is very much my mother.

'Okay,' I said softly.

'Don't dehydrate. I'll send Jessy down for something cool for you.'


Then he leaned down and kissed me on the side of the head, turned, and went out, leaving the door as he'd found it. Out in the hall I heard him asking those other two to be quiet around me. Neither of them had been making much sound at all. I smiled a little. But he is always very gentle with us, even to the point of overcompensating a little. I suppose having a slightly overindulgent daddy is not the worst thing!

It's 12.05 Friday morning as I type this, so apparently I've got better.


27 August 2008

Dressing up

Tuesday 26 August 2008

I love underwear. I think my fascination with comfortable cotton underthings may have began when I very accidentally walked in on my stepmother, when she was still our nanny, while she was changing. I had not even seen my mother in her underwear very often and I thought seeing someone else would be very embarrassing, but our nanny only said hello politely and went on getting dressed. I was about eight years old then but she would not let either of us feel even the least awkward no matter what she was doing. That was her way of showing trust; and we have always trusted her and she has always been open and honest with us.

A big part of it may have been that our nanny (as she was then) was so pretty. Our mother was very pretty, but a child always looks at her mother as an adult, and here we had a very pretty girl living with us, with the body and authority of an adult and the innocence and youth of just a big sister. And she was always very ladylike and proper; she wore skirts and stockings and high heels (maybe because she is so short!) and put up her hair and wore makeup. In summers she wore bikini swimsuits; she had about four including a very elegant bright blue one, but none of them were immodest at all. I have to say that our nanny, while young and beautiful and very trusting, was (and still is!) very modest. Like our mother she showed us the example of what a lady should be, and I think that is why we all (including our father, when that time came) have always been so respectful and fond of her.

When she was still our nanny she took me bra shopping for the first time. She was the one I asked about when you get your period. I also consulted her, after she had become my stepmother, about how to behave on a first date (which oddly enough was an experience she had never really had!). At each of these times she did her best to give me good advice and to sympathise with the fact that I was a total twit about what I was asking. She has always been very gentle and thoughtful with these issues and Jessy and I have never felt that we have no one to turn to. We have lost our mother, eight years ago now, but we have found someone who does not replace her but adds to our experience of having known her, mainly because our nanny loved our mother too, almost as another daughter would have. (Okay, maybe it's kind of complex.)

The Olympics are over and Jessy and I have had marked on the calendar for some time now that the season premiere of 'Greek' is Tuesday evening. For some reason, totally independently, we each decided to make an event of it. I let our stepmother know that we'd be 'reserving' the down stairs TV room for this event. Jessy dug out from the freezer some microwave eclairs (we have a microwave in the hall just outside the TV room). And, for some reason we did not discuss and did expect beforehand, we both decided to dress up.

In England we went shopping with our stepmother often, not always buying a lot, but just because the shops are so great. You will walk down a high street in Norwich, instead of a mall, and they will have the nicest little shops in the world. While there we bought plenty of pyjamas (we had not brought any with us, only nightgowns), and socks and stockings and underwear. With our stepmother I think it makes her feel feminine and ladylike that she has other 'women' (us) to shop with. With us I think we feel honoured and respected. She treats us as young women but with the knowledge that we are not so experienced in the world, and we trust her with whatever questions we have.

I came home with, among other stuff, three sets of panties and bra, very soft, well-fitting, and comfortable, all the same in different pastel colours, in celery, salmon, and a robin's-egg blue. The bottom is trimmed in soft flat lace and the top is a sweetheart cut, which works well on me... even alone, which is what I am trying to talk about in this blog.

After a very thorough shower I towelled off and put on the celery-coloured set, adjusting the fit very carefully. Good underwear will always look great on you; it lies flat and pretty much stays where you put it. If you've ever felt the waist or legs rolling under, you have got bad underwear. The top should fit properly round underneath and not have to be readjusted after you raise your arms or twist about. These don't at all, which is a big reason why I got them.

I dried and pinned up all my hair, not too carefully, and put on a little makeup, not too much, just doing my eyes and patting my cheeks a little, for like Mother says a carefree, natural look is always best. I put on a little gold necklace and stepped into my sandals, which are natural basket-weave with white straps, and I went down to the kitchen first for a pitcher of iced tea and then back through the house to the side stairs to the basement TV room. I didn't see my father or stepmother or little J.J., but it wouldn't have mattered if I had!

Jessy was already there, stylishly dressed in a plain black leotard and little black ballet flats, with makeup on and her hair put up almost the same as mine. We stood there, me in the doorway and she down at the corner of the couch, and looked at each other and giggled. 'You too?' I laughed.

'Me? But I did it first!' And we laughed some more.

Then, to make it even cuter, little Lisa who just turned five this month came down, in her little flowery lavender panties and what Mother, who is really English, calls a 'vest' and Americans call a tank-top. But we knew that she had seen one or the other of us going down tonight and chose to join us... as she often does. She ended up sitting between us on the sofa.

So, all dressed up like we could never have done to go anywhere else, we sat down to microwave creampuffs and iced tea, tuned in to 'Greek' and watched snooty Rebecca get her butt kicked for what she truly deserved. Lisa didn't get all the finer points but she did understand that the girls (and the boys) were all guilty of having been mean to each other at least a little, and that's what anyone is supposed to have got out of that episode.

When it was over, at 10.00, little Lisa was nearly asleep. I prodded her up two flights of stairs while Jessy put away the movie and put out the lights. Lisa went into the potty and brushed her teeth, and I went into mine, and then Mother came down the gallery and tucked in Lisa. So when I came out she was just going and Lisa was lying in bed with the sheet pulled up to her neck. 'Janine?' came the small voice.

I had stepped out of the sandals in my bathroom and tiptoed into the darkened room. 'Yes, sweetie?'

She looked up at me with those wide admiring eyes as I came in and sat down on the edge of her bed. 'I had fun tonight. Watching your show with you and Jessy.'

I smiled, stroking her head gently to keep the hair out of her face. 'I had fun, too, sweetie.'

We sisters always call each other things like 'Sweetie'. It's something we got from our stepmother too... from when she was our nanny and Lisa wasn't even an idea anyone would think to think of.

'Can I ask you something?'asked the little voice above the sheet.

'Of course, sweetie.'

'When can I get a bra?'

I blushed. I knew why she asked me that, why she would not have asked Jessy, for example, and why also she did not ask her own mother. After all this bra fits really well-- 'Aw, sweetie.... You will get one when it's your time to get one. I promise.'

'And when is that?'

I didn't know to explain all the physiological evidence about it, not while she is still five, so I just said, 'God will decide. Just trust God about it.'

She nodded a little. 'Okay.' she said. 'I just hope I'm as beautiful as you are.'

I blushed again, and it made me lean down and kiss her head. 'Oh, I'm sure you'll be as beautiful as you are!'

She smiled up at me. She is too young to know that what I said was no answer at all. She thinks it is the perfect answer.

'I love you, Janine.'

I smiled. 'And I love you.' And I kissed her goodnight and went back to my own room.


I cannot say it had not occurred to me when I got 'dressed', if you can call it that, for our TV event down stairs. But after my little sister's flattery it was suddenly hard to leave the mirror. Very uncharacteristically I stood for some minutes just staring at myself. The fit of the bra IS really good-- the sweetheart neck kind of lifts what little I need it to and with my back straight my shape is really healthy. And the bottoms are close-fitting without being awkward; it's really a good fit.

At first I reached round behind myself and opened the bra. I tossed it over into the chair and reached up to undo my hair which fell down round my shoulders, tickling my skin, and made me shiver. For a second I closed my eyes. Then I pushed off the panties, kicking them a little over towards the chair. Stepping back till my legs bumped the bed, I sat on it, still staring at myself in the mirror. Then, keeping my legs together as a lady should, I got myself up into the bed and drew up the sheet.

But it did not stay up long. Even before I'd put out the bedside lamps it was kicked down past my feet and I was well on my way.


26 August 2008

Sunning in the shade

Monday 25 August 2008

Mother and Daddy took the little ones, Lisa and J.J., up the peninsula to Chincoteague for the beach park. Jessy and I did not go, mainly because Jessy did not get up in time. When I say 'in time' I mean she did not get up before they left, at about 10.30. This is because she is a painfully pampered princess who indulges every tendency to not do anything.

I put on a t-shirt and some sleep shorts (which I had NOT slept in) to see them off and actually walked down the lane a little to watch them drive away. Daddy cautioned me to be careful as we would be alone in this house for longer than we ever have been before. But we are so isolated here and in an area already so low in crime that I was not really worried. It would not do to be standing in the middle of the lane, however, and I went back inside and bolted the door.

I went straight through the house to the back parlour, dropped the clothes on the terrace and dove into the pool, where I did my dutiful daily 20 laps, or about a seventh of a mile. Emerging from the pool I dried off and went up stairs to wake up Jessy by sitting on the edge of her bed as I usually do and gently rousing Her Highness. She rolled over to flat on her back, kicking down the last of the sheet, and smiled up at me. 'Mm,' she murmurred as she opened her eyes. 'Morning already?'

I glanced at her clock-- 11.15. 'Yes,' I replied, 'sorry to get you up so early.'

'Mmmm....' She put one hand up across her forehead and then turned to behold the sun beaming in her windows. 'Were you in yet?'

I nodded. 'Just out. I'm going to make breakfast. What would you like?'

'Mm. One of those muffins, I guess, toasted, not too light, with soft butter and strawberry jam, and a piece of that grapefruit. Also tea, if you're having.'

I made a wry face at her. 'I'm sure,' I said. Jessy will have no scruple about ordering whatever she likes, as though the choices are endless and you are her short-order waitress.

I made what she asked anyway.

We sat out under the umbrella on the terrace and had our breakfast, and then 'to walk it off' as Jessy said we had a stroll round the grounds, going past the garages and round to the front of the house. We walked very slowly, talking about the weather and the birds and the grass and the water. Daddy's development, of which we live at the end, is not done and there is no one else living in this lane but us, so it was not too risky to walk past our gate. Down at the other end of the lane a few cars went by on the road. None of them cared to see us. We walked round to the side yard and discovered at least two new nesting-places for birds amidst the undergrowth. Along the water's edge, avoiding the bird poop which is everywhere, we investigated the bottom for turtles or crabs. There were a few of both.

We went in the side gate and up the steps to the walled garden again. In the back parlour we played cards for a bit and had iced tea, and then Jessy suggested we lie out in the side yard, something we have only done once before since we've been here. Almost all our lying-out gets done in the garden. 'All right,' I said.

So we dragged two of the chaises down to the grass and out into the sun and arrayed ourselves, upon our towels, with just two chilled water bottles and a tube of lotion between them and lay there for maybe twenty minutes. It got hot, of course, and neither of us needs any more sun, but it was very relaxing just lying in the open air, so we came up with the idea to drag the chaises farther across the lawn to underneath the big old shade tree. Both of us, I think, napped a little into the early hours of afternoon.

'Mm,' I heard Jessy sigh once, and opened my eyes. She lay still, eyes closed, half a smile on her face, with one hand up to trace her fingers round on her body. I smiled a little and half turned to look at her. 'This is pleasant,' she said.

'Mm, I bet.'

She giggled and looked at me. 'Do you mind?'

I shrugged and then lay back down again. 'Don't make so much noise about it this time.'

'Mm,' she sighed, and then giggled at the memory of last time. 'I'll try not to.'

If she did make much noise, I don't know, because I was involved in something very pleasant myself as well.

When Mother and Daddy came home, we knew it because Lisa, still in the bright pink tank suit that she'd worn to the beach, came running out across the lawn to greet us. But we were each well finished by then. 'You guys!' little Lisa chirped excitedly. 'You're all the way out here!'

I sat up, leaning back on my elbows. 'It's cooler here,' she said.

'You look like you're having a shade tan.' Then she giggled at her own joke.

'We are,' I said, 'but I am glad you are back now.' I lifted my chin and she leaned over and kissed my cheek. That's how we are. 'Is it tea time?'

'Almost! Jessy!' she called across me towards the other chaise. 'Are you awake?'

Jessy, flat on her back on the chaise, sighed deeply. 'Mmmm....'

'Oh, she is awake,' I said. 'The poor dear has had such a busy day....'


'She looks like she's just been lying there,' Lisa supposed.

I nodded. 'Oh, she really has.'

Lisa giggled. Then she proceeded to tell me all about her day, which had actually been quite busy, as she helped me drag he chaise back across the lawn.


23 August 2008

Sweet awakening

Saturday 23 August 2008

I slept... 'fitfully' last night... which is to say I awoke in the middle of the night with a certain urge. I tried thinking of other things, trying to imagine how silly I'd feel just doing myself, but of course that only made me more interested... so I finally pushed down the panties and did it. And it was pretty good, if I say so myself.

I don't always sleep on my back. When I awoke there was a soothing sensation of having my shoulders rubbed-- caressed, is more how it was, and a soft voice. 'Sweetie.... Come on, time to get up....'

I would have recognised that voice at any time. I half smiled, sighing as her fingers kneaded gently into my back.
'Wake up, sweetie....'

We started calling each other 'sweetie' when we were very young, really after we had seen 'Sense and Sensibility' and how those two sisters care for each other. Our stepmother, who was our nanny then, thought it was very old-fashioned and only encouraged it. The truly beautiful part is that even as we have got older we have not let go of the sweet childlike goodness that we have always known.

I lay, mostly on my tummy, my face turned sideways against the pillow, the sheets cast down past the bottom of my bottom. Jessy sat on the edge of the bed, her bare bottom pushed back against my hip, her body twisted round to reach my shoulders with both hands. 'Psst!' she whispered, low over my ear, not realising I'd already heard her. 'Are you awake yet?'

'Mm,' I sighed. That's about when I clearly realised where I was and who was rubbing my back.

'It's a beautiful day,' she said. 'Mother's going to make waffles... unless you want a quick swim first.'

That was enough to rouse me! 'Sure,' I said, rolling round and then sitting up, almost in her arms. She sat back and looked me in the eyes. 'This is fine,' I said. 'You waking up before me.'

'You had a long night,' she said.

I shrugged. 'One-thirty... till now. What is--?'

'Almost nine.'

'Almost nine! The pool won't even be warm!'

She smiled at me. 'Warm enough.'

We both giggled then. 'All right, let me just have a second.'

'Are you guys going swimming?'

We both looked over at the doorway, where stood little Lisa, hands at her sides, all bare but for her sandals, as though she were mimicking Jessy and me who will often wear only shoes like that. 'You're in on it too?' I teased.

She frowned. 'What? I thought we were going in the pool.'

I swung my legs all the way round Jessy and bounded out of the bed. 'And we are,' I told her, and leaned down to kiss her squarely on the top of the head.

As I went into my bathroom Jessy said to Lisa, 'Cute sandals.'

'Really? Yeah, I like them.' They both giggled.

I did a serious eighteen laps, which comes out to an eighth of a mile. Jessy swam along with Lisa, who did about three laps herself, and then Jessy left her lounging at the side in the shallow end and did my last six with me. I didn't see Mother had come out till I had stopped. She stood there, in her short shorts and cinched-up t-shirt, looking about our age, smiling to behold us all in our glory. 'Batter's up,' she said.

'Waffles?' little Lisa asked excitedly.

'Waffles,' Mother told her.

'Yessss!' And she clambered out of the pool. Jessy and I followed. For breakfast with Daddy and J.J., we wrapped in soft terry towels. Lisa didn't and sat upon her booster seat all bare. This is the influence we have had on our little sister!


On this blog

Evening, Friday 22 August 2008

Well, I have uploaded this blog (though I will undoubtedly be adding older stuff as it goes along) and people have already looked it up. It feels good to get nice comments about my writing. Now I shall go down stairs to the TV room and watch the rest of tonight's Olympics. Jessy was down there earlier, and then little Lisa came down, both of them as bare as babies. Daddy just smirked and went up stairs to watch with Mother in her parlour. And after Lisa went to bed Jessy came back up to her room. At least I have on panties-- pink ones! --and a headband... so, according to the definition Jessy and I agreed upon, I'm not totally indecent :)


22 August 2008

Musings under sail

Friday, 22 August 2008

Today Jessy and I went out on the boat with Daddy, just the three of us, while Mother took Lisa and J.J. to investigate a dance school for Lisa and to go shopping. We were not out long, but we got some decent sailing done. At first we just sailed straight out about five miles, then we tacked back towards Parramore before turning north again downwind.

We got to talk about things, especially school. Daddy assured us that we would have a ride to school each day instead of taking the bus-- we are not even signed up for it and so not allowed to ride it. He also reminded us to stay a good influence for people, as we always have been, and especially in this rural American area. Coming from a very nice girls' school in England we know this will be a big change for us. Jessy and I have not been to a public American school since that fateful November in 2002 when I got in trouble over the Jesus paper. My stepmother-- not even 21 years old then and barely five months our legal parent-- marched down to the principal and argued for a nice little girl's right to claim Jesus Christ as her role model. How dare a 5th-grade teacher say someone can't say that. The Board finally allowed the paper, but my teacher managed to smirk something like, 'Don't expect any more exceptions', and when Mother heard that she was ready to thrash her. Her response was to withdraw us from school and to teach us at home. And we had a great time doing that, wearing our old-fashioned Colonial gowns, opening our lessons with Bible readings and prayer, breaking for tea at 11 and having lunch with a pot of soup warmed over an actual fire. We read a lot, wrote a lot, talked a lot, and went on cultural trips to historic sites and hiked the beach park for our nature/science lessons. And Jessy and I were both able to transfer to HOH and stay even a little ahead of those standards. This is from having a precocious academic-genius stepmother for a teacher :)

Daddy is an extremely honest and trustworthy person who tends to trust everyone else implicitly. He truly loves all people. Being a performer was probably the best job he could have had. Before Mommy died she tended to keep him grounded and sensible, doing the chequebook, all the charity projects, and even a lot of the recording-studio work. But our stepmother, while she is a very good partner for him in so many ways, especially with caring for us four, is only as trusting and honest as Daddy is. I mean-- we have an accountant now :)

On the way back he had Jessy and I pull up the big jib and the boat slowly wandered back toward the Inlet. We were going to lie down on the foredeck but didn't want to leave Daddy all alone back there. Still we had been sitting up on the cabintop sightseeing and hadn't looked back for a few minutes when he leaned over and said, 'What are you guys doing up here?'

We both gave a jump and then whirled round to see no one at the wheel. 'What are YOU doing up here?' I teased.

He shrugged and stood with his hands in his pockets, as easy as a seasoned sea captain on the side deck with the boat minding its own course. You have to remember that when Daddy calls us 'guys' it means we are totally sexless to him, that he thinks of us only as personalities and intellects and not as two cute chicks in bikinis (and sometimes less!). And then there are the times when he is very particular about our femininity, always knocking on doors, allowing us to sit first at the table, opening the car door, and so on, setting the example of what a gentleman should be like towards us as we became ladies. Mommy was always a good role model for little girls; our stepmother was the one we, at least I, turned to at those awkward years; and all through it Daddy has been a perfect gentleman. We know what he means when he cautions us about remaining a good influence and keeping ourselves unstained from the world. Jessy and I have both agreed we are going to wear skirts to school on the first day, and skirts or dresses as much as we can after that. Why not? --we wore skirts at HOH. And it makes us look and feel ladylike. A lady's best defence is her femininity-- look and act like a lady, and people will treat you like one. And going into a whole new school and cultural experience, we can at least be true to what we know, and how we have been raised-- and what our daddy expects of us.


On nudity.

We were discussing what constitutes 'nudity' the other day. People in nudism chat rooms have said that even if you're wearing shoes that's not really 'nude', that to be 'nude' means to be completely unadorned and to be at risk of stepping on something. And I rather agree with that-- nudity has to include a certain level of being vulnerable, even to the elements one is trying to be a part of. Jessy and I have gone out back with hats on or ties in our hair and we've thought that didn't make us not nude. If we were to go for a hike somewhere and wear a belt or something to carry a water bottle with, would that make us less than nude? Would wearing a backpack make us less nude? Is a stripper who keeps on her gloves and high-heeled shoes still 'nude'?

We agreed that 'nudity' is really the baring of body parts which are normally kept covered in 'polite society'-- meaning at work, or at school or church, or on a public street, or at someone else's party. You wouldn't go to the Prom in a dress that bared your breasts, for example. Then Jessy suggested that some swimsuits, for example, are extremely revealing, whether a low-cut top or very brief bottoms, and we've seen some pretty alarming ones before. So we asked why a thong or a g-string is considered appropriate for a swimsuit on the beach. Some are pretty extreme, but any proper g-string or thong covers the crutch, at least in front, but appears to bare the whole bottom in back. That's not very much clothing to wear for 'polite society'. And we hoped that it covers where it should between the legs, of course.

And so from that we established a functional definition of what clothing is supposed to be-- that for women, it covers the nipples completely, and for both sexes it covers the external genitalia and the anal opening so that there is no likelihood that these areas might become exposed in the reasonable wearing of the piece of clothing. If this rule is not met, then you're baring intimate parts of your body, and it's basically nudity.


A secret adventure

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Today we got up pretty early to go sailing. Little J.J. feel asleep almost as soon as he got on board, all bundled up in his lifejacket in the forward berth. The rest of us sat up on deck as we went out through Burtons Bay and through the inlet to the ocean. This is the way usually taken by the fishermen and we waved to them all. There were four of us in swimsuits-- me, Jessy, Lisa, and Mother (our stepmother). Sometimes Mother looks as young as we are!

Since the weather is usually from the south at this time of year, we headed down the coast, outside Parramore and Hog. Just before noon we anchored in the shallows behind Cobb, as we have done before, and had a swim. Daddy waded round with little J.J. on his shoulders and then put him and Lisa into the dinghy and rowed them round the boat while Mother, Jessy and I swam and basked. We returned to the boat to have sandwiches and then Jessy and I put on swim slippers and waded in to the island. It is very empty and open, just dunes and grass and swamps down along the water. We saw crabs and turtles and plenty of fish, and we were able to see where the gulls had their nests.

This would be a very nice place for sunning but it is still public property and Virginia law prohibits all nudity on public land. Nevertheless Jessy took off her top for a while, and then so did I. We tromped down over the dunes to the ocean side and suddenly got the idea to dare ourselves. There was no one around and our parents would not see us breaking the law. So we shimmied out of our bottoms too and splashed out into the surf.

Neither of us has ever gone into the ocean naked. It was a lovely feeling, or should I say an exciting one. Both of us were sprinkled with goosepimples. 'Oh! I wish I had a camera!' Jessy said.

I laughed at that. 'I would NOT let you post them on FaceBook,' I said.


We both laughed.

Of course we still had on our swim slippers because the bottom here is always questionable. We were not in the water long and then we collected our sandy swimsuit pieces and tromped back over the dune. From up on the crest we could see the boat, flying the family flag, with two adult figures and two smaller ones sitting in the cockpit. The sun had gone overhead and we wondered if they could make us out. Actually I think they were not looking.

We took turns sitting on a piece of wood and wet our swimsuit bottoms before pulling them on. Standing up in the water we retied each other's top. 'I would love to come here alone,' Jessy said quietly, almost in a whisper. 'Just the two of us... so we could do this all day.'

I sighed. 'Me too,' I said.

She turned around and looked right at me then. 'Do you remember that time I was in the pool, and I got you to do this?'

I nodded. It was the first time I'd been swimming naked since I was about six.

'It felt like that this time, too.'

I felt a really strong shiver go through me then. I knew what she meant. 'Me too,' I said.

She giggled a little and then turned to wade back across the bay.

We didn't tell anyone about our little adventure. This is the first I have mentioned it.

We sailed back up the coast, mostly downwind, with the big blue-and-white genoa and matching mizzen staysail up. Daddy really likes to set sail and get the boat moving. For a while I lay down on the foredeck with my chin on the rail, staring down at the froth of water. I did think of untying my top; but what would be the point? I'm tan enough, and it'd only be awkward getting myself back together when I had to; and besides, my upper body was mostly in shade from the sail. Jessy came forward and sat down on the other side of me. 'Wee should have our own boat,' she said. 'We could go down there all the time, by ourselves, and just... relax.'

I turned my head and looked up at her. 'Are you going to be all right, there?'

She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, filling her chest. Then she sighed, almost sadly. 'Eventually....'

I giggled. 'I know what you'll be doing, when we get back home.'

She sighed again. 'I know. And why not? I'd have been doing it already, if....'

I nodded. 'I know.... If....'

She smiled. 'You want it too.'

'Sometimes I do.'

'No, I mean that place. You want that place too.'

That is how she said it, like that place could be taken, captured, owned, held. But I knew what she meant. She wants the experience of being naked there, wandering around amidst the rushes and dunes with no other human being nearby. And I admit I want it too. Maybe someday we'll get to have that place again, to ourselves, and for more than one not-so-buggy afternoon with our parents waiting.


Okay, so I have to wear something

Monday 18 August 2008

Our uncle and aunt and cousins, who came down from NJ for Jessy's birthday party, are to leave Chincoteague tomorrow, and so it was arranged that we would all drive up to meet them at the beach there. It meant that Jessy and I-- and Lisa too! --would have to actually put on swimsuits, for the first time in about a week. As a form of protest I decided that I was not going to bring anything else-- no other clothes to get into for later, whatever we'd be doing. Naturally I did not tell Mother or Daddy about this. I put on the good yellow bikini I got in England-- it's a pretty conservative cut, almost two inches high at the hips, in a beautiful shade of pale lemon with a very thin light pink stripe going round the bottoms and across the cups. I put up my hair and pulled it through the back of a ball cap and wore my 'dressy' beach sandals, the ones with heels. I brought a little white canvas purse and a plain white terry towel-- that was it.

Jessy descended in the bikini she got in England, which is a string style with a black border round shiny silver splashed in a wild abstract print of blue, light blue, and maroon. It's a great fit-- it makes her legs look really long, though she is not tall at all. She brought a bag with her which had two pairs of shorts in it, one for me although I didn't know it at the time.

We got to the beautiful big beach park at Chincoteague at about 9.15, which is the perfect time to get there. The beach does not formally open till 10.00 so there are places to park and to settle on the sand with your stuff. Daddy got out with J.J. immediately and carried him on his shoulders down almost to the crest of the dune, where he put him down and then raced him-- ON HIS HANDS AND FEET-- down towards the water. J.J. shrieked in glee. (He's 2-1/2 and is good at shrieking.)

This left Mother, Lisa, Jessy and I to carry two chairs, two big blankets, a couple of bags and the rolled-up sun shelter that Daddy made in case our little ones need to get some shade. It's just a piece of black-and-white-striped canvas, about three feet square, and two poles poking into grommets at one end to hold it up. We set this up so as to block the eastern sun and spread one of the blankets under it. Of course Jessy and I are really well tanned already so there wasn't going to be any lying-out for us here. I just dropped my towel in a ball on the sand, laid my hat on top of it, and stepped out of my sandals. Jessy peeled off the t-shirt and we skipped down to the water.

Lisa came with us, and Jessy and I held her hands and helped her duck under waves or leap over them. Soon Mother came out with us, and when our aunt and uncle showed up our cousin Audrey joined us in the water. (Audrey's 11 and getting tall like her mother.)

After noon we all got takeaway from McDonald's, went back to the motel where our cousins were staying and went into the pool there. Later Jessy and I took Lisa and Audrey down Maddox Boulevard to the shops and then back up to play mini golf. Audrey, ever sensible, got dressed and Jessy put on her shorts, but little Lisa and I stayed in our swimsuits all evening. We had a nice time-- Jessy won at mini golf although we all took the time to help Lisa do well. She is very eager to be like her big sisters (and cousin) and will learn anything you teach her.

We walked back to the motel after dark. The adults were sitting round the motel room with the Olympics on but Daddy found an excuse to get away from that and we piled into the van to go home. No one had checked the post and so I strolled down our lane home to the box, which for now is still out at the road. I was still in the bikini and sandals with heels and felt very alluring and cute.