I had discovered Playboy (accidentally) when I was about 5 years old. Though, don't worry, I didn't start thinking about having sex until I was a about 14 years old (thinking is the key word there!)
When I was about 5, I had misbehaved (shocking, I know!) and my mother put me in a "timeout" on this brown leather recliner that was my dad's favorite chair. There was a magazine rack next to the chair, so I picked out a magazine and started to flip through it.
I remember being a bit surprised to see naked women in it, but I remember clear as day being shocked (as well as entertained) that there were CARTOONS and they were naked! (unlike the Sunday Comics in the paper which I'd loved), The comics even had a naked man with his PENIS doing things to a woman. The man looked nothing like my Ken "Barbie" Doll!!!
My mother was horrified to find me looking at it. She grabbed it from my hands and yelled at me.
So, I knew then, this must be something SECRET that only adults knew and, of course, if she didn't want me to have it, then...it meant it was probably something good.
Of course, they disappeared after that, but I later found them when I a babysitter explained to me the truth about Santa (I'll never forgive her for that), and showed me a closet full of presents. I was crushed. I also became a snooper, looking for more presents, and found even MORE Playboys.
That Christmas, when my parents realized I was not surprised by anything, they threatened to take my presents away because they realized I had snooped. Then I explained that the babysitter had told me/showed me the presents. I also told them, because I was angry about their threat, that I found the stack of my fathers naked girl magazines.
After that, the Playboys disappeared.
Now, keep in mind, when I was young, there were only a few channels on TV. And by a few I mean: 3. We would watch the Disney Movie on Sunday nights as a family. I remember Leave It To Beaver, The Brady Bunch, and Gilligan's Island. Oh and I Love Lucy and Candid Camera (my favorite!).
When I was young, life was very, very innocent. The most outrageous show (well, aside from soap operas) was Three's Company, which I was forbidden to watch!
My mother always worked. As long as I could remember, she worked. I was a latch key child since kindergarten. There was only a short time my mom didn't work (I think I was maybe 5th or 6th grade?) and she hated staying home. I hated her being home because by that time, I loved having freedom for a few hours when I got home from school. Mostly so I could roast marshmallows over the heating element on the stove top!
Back to the Playboys.
Shortly after finding the Playboys, my mom sat down with me and we had a "talk." She explained what the "private" parts on a woman and man were called. She explained, very briefly, that babies did not come from storks, they came as a result of mommies and daddies being in love, and someday, she would explain all the details to me. She also showed me this picture of how men evolved from apes.
And for a very young girl, this was all HUGE news. I felt like I was in on some very adult, cool, secrets. I knew something other kids didn't because MY MOM WAS SO COOL.
However. I also was going to CCD at the time. CCD is a religious education program for children by the Catholic church.
So, this whole thing of apes was a bit distressing. Because I'd learned (in CCD) that God created Adam and Eve. Yet my mother had shown me a book that said humans evolved from apes. I had also learned about heaven and that the only way to get to this fabulous peaceful place was by dying. I remember lying awake staring at the white curtains in my bedroom dotted with pink and purple flowers (they were very pretty, I loved them) and being overwhelmed (and confused) by all these very big (and very different) ideas. In CCD I got in trouble for bringing up the ape to human idea, and at home I got in trouble for telling my CCD teacher about what my mom had told me!
I couldn't win.
Story of my life.
One more thing to note; I didn't have an extended family anywhere near us. My dad was in the Air Force so we moved often. My parents did separate for about a year, and I was sent to live with my Grandmother and Grandfather (who lived in a very very small town in Pennsylvania). There were no Playboys at Grandma and Grandpas house. We watched Lawrence Welk, Candid Camera, and I Love Lucy. We went to church every Sunday. Grandma was home all the time. There, I had a large extended family. I went to a Catholic school (and arrived in the middle of the school year). Of course, I really missed my parents and didn't really understand what had happened between them.
So, not only at an early age had I discovered that girls, when they grow up, grow up to have a voluptous body and women take off their clothes to be in a magazine (that also includes comics) but I also had learned that there was no such thing as permanency/security. One day you are living with your parents, and one day you are living thousands of miles away with grandparents and an extended family you barely know. I had to learn quickly how to adjust, and I also had to learn how to fit in with a new set of friends in school. I had to learn how to belong and be accepted.
My parents got back together and after almost a year, sent for me to come back. By this time, however, they had moved to Box Elder South Dakota, my dad had left the military and we were now living in a trailer. In a trailer park. It was very different from the small cozy home I remembered in Rock Falls Illinois and very, very different from my Grandmothers very large single home in Nesquehoning, Pa.
I hated the trailer park.
But I was very happy to be back with my parents. And now, once again, I was in a new school. This time a public school. Again, had to observe the dynamics of a new class and new kids, and figure out how to belong.
And no sooner had I moved back in with my parents (again, becoming a Latch Key child) before I was, once again, exposed to naked women.
This time, my friend who lived next door (a few years older than I was, and I was about 7/8 at the time) had found magazines under her parents bed. This magazine was far more explicit than Playboy. It was filled with women with huge naked boobs that had milk in them, and the women were squirting men with their milk.
As a young girl, this seemed revolting, horrifying.
But, again, the magazine had been hidden. So that made it something fascinating Even though it was disgusting to me, it was a bit exciting that we had a secret look into an adults world. Though I really had no idea why women had milk in their breasts! My mother had never explained THAT. And I wasn't sure how I could possibly ask my mother without alerting her to the fact that my friend had snooped, found something that obviously children shouldn't see, and perhaps that is where my curiosity about finding information started, after realizing that I'd have to seek the answers to the question on my own, since I didn't want to get my friend (or myself) in trouble.
And then my friend found her father's Penthouse and Oui magainze. Sacre Bleu!
I'd say that finding out there was no Santa Claus ruined a certain childish optimism and mysticism (that children should have!) but seeing a Penthouse/Lactating Boob Mag/Oui at such a young age not only confused me, it was far more disappointing and bleaker than finding out Santa wasn't real. Is this what I had to look forward too when I was an adult? It this what my parents did? Is this what women did when they grew up? Take off their clothes and do very strange things?
Thankfully, we moved out of the trailer park, out of South Dakota, (away from sticky adult magazines!) and into a wonderful, big (but drafty!) house when we moved back to Rock Falls Illinois.
Finally, Rock Falls offered me some real stability. My mother had another baby (when I was 8 or 9 - I'm bad with remembering dates/birthdays but I can sure remember events!). I attended a Catholic school again. I arrived during the last week of third grade; but the small class was wonderful and though, once again, I had to figure out how to fit in and be accepted, I was very lucky that the kids were all wonderful. I would have some strong, really positive influences.
But it wouldn't take long before I would discover Judy Blume, Jackie Collins, and Madonna would convince me that sex was way cool, boys were everything, and being first is always best. Oh, and also, Luke would rape Laura (on General Hospital!) and then, she would marry him!
To Be Continued....