The first step was to find out how much Betty already knew about s-x. “Okay, I said, “do you know where babies come from?”
She said a seed, so I asked her where the seed came from, and she said, “From God, of course.” I said, well maybe God started the whole business, but once men and women got the idea, they began making babies by themselves.”
“After Adam and Eve, you mean?”
“Yes, after Eve ate the apple and told Adam what I’m trying to tell you.”
“They had to leave the Garden of Eden,” Betty said sadly. Even a Congregationalist knew that. I said, Betty, we’re way off the subject, let’s get back to the seed. I’ll bet you dont know what makes it grow into a baby. She said she guessed it just grew, like any other seed.
“Oh, Betty, there’s so much more to it than that. Have you ever seen your mother and father without their clothes on?”
“No,” she said, “have you?”
That made me giggle. “Not your mother and father, but I’ve seen my mother and father a million times. Mother says there’s nothing about the human body to be ashamed of.”
I began trying to explain how the father fertilizes the mother’s egg. She had no idea what I was talking about. I reached into my shirt and pulled out “Growing Up” and turned to the page with the bookmark. I said, “Read this part, and you’ll understand.”
Betty read it and then looked at me with a horrified expression. “My father would never do such a thing to my mother! Absolutely never, not even if you held a gun to his head. And can you picture my mother letting him?”
I pictured Aunt Emmy with her soft white hair and her sweet (most of the time) face, and then I pictured Mr. Cronin, and I had to agree with Betty. After I pondered for a minute, the answer suddenly came to me -- a fact of life I couldn’t possibly tell my friend. She and Carol were adopted. We heard Aunt Emmy’s car in the driveway, so we got busy with our game of checkers.
Saturday, November 9, 1935
Since it is Aunt Emmy’s birthday, Betty wanted to make her some candy. While we were making it, Betty told me she wanted to go in town with me to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but her mother wasn’t very enthusiastic (because of my being Betty’s bad influence).
Then Betty wiped some red vegetable coloring on my arm. I waited until she’d forgotten and wiped some across her cheek. Soon we were both plastered with it, and at that crucial moment, Aunt Emmy called Betty to get ready because they were going out. Of course she noticed the red on Betty’s face, and without giving her a chance to explain, immediately thought we had been putting on rouge. Even when Betty told her what had happened, she continued to think we had been painting our faces. You see, she hates rouge. I heard her saying, “When you two get together -- always trouble -- etc. etc.” Then she told Betty to hurry up and get ready.
“But I’m busy, mother,” she protested.
“Well, if you’re making anything for me, I’ll throw it out the window! I don’t care a snap for anything your giving me for my birthday, all I want is obedience!”
Poor Betty felt awful, so I made a joke. “Well, if she’s going to throw it out the window, let’s eat it ourselves.” She didn’t crack a smile. She said she was going to run away and she wanted me to come with her. I decided I didn’t have a good enough reason to do that.