The Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina is where I used to consider
my home base to be. Granddaddy and Grandmother had a house within walking
distance of Freedom Park and Wad's Soda Shop.
It was a nice middle-class area at a time when class was more important than it is
now. The Mayor's mother lived in one of the houses that my oldest brother and I
walked past to play at the park. We knew most of the people who lived in the houses
on the street where Granddaddy and Grandmother had their house and had
various relatives living within walking distance or a five minute drive away.
My brother and I didn't go to public school. We went to a private Protestant academy
that we often walked to and from. We played with the children who went to public
school though, though they seemed wild and a little too knowledgeable about some
I never had a need for wildness and don't expect to ever even go through a wild
phase. There are many things that I truly enjoy and the pleasure that involvement
in interesting things has always given me more than the temporary sensation-
seeking that other people have recommended as 'exciting'. I got a sense very early
that people, including children, who seemed to need some extra thrill, were actually
sort of numb and the thrills they sought just made them boring. For instance, their
breath holding to get dizzy made them pass out after turning white and gray. The
kids who liked the carnival rides usually threw up. It seemed they were trying to feel
good by feeling bad--not too smart.
The church took up quite a bit of our life, and I remember the fun that we used to
have with the sort-of extended family that the church members seemed to be.
Church dinners and camping trips, swimming and water-skiing, skating, hiking and
all the usual community church type things.
I had a knack for lucking up on semi-
precious stones and minerals and had quite a collection of them in my school years.
There were garnets found near the basement door. There were some fine specimens
of snowflake obsidian from near Memorial Stadium. There was a huge quartz crystal
point from a hike in the mountains. There was some soapstone that was soft and
funny dents. People said that that type of stone was ground into talc. There was
some square fools gold or iron pyrite. There was some petrified wood with leaf
designs. There was some sandstone. There was the big chunks of mica. There was
some real gold in little pieces that was in a big chunk of rock. There were some
others that I don't remember how to spell the names of.
Since my father was in the military service for a while, we got to ship overseas for a
few years. We lived in Orleans, France and only stayed at the base for a little bit of
that time. We boarded upstairs rooms with some French family who had a big farm
then with a family in town.
The Castles and Chateau's really are something to see.
The architecture of many of them reminded me of upside down ships. We toured
around France and Germany and England and some other places but I didn't get a
chance to visit Rush, Ireland near Dublin. The most northern lands of
Europe and America have always attracted me.
Military life has a way of bringing a different perspective in that you become more
aware of how small and vulnerable you are in comparison to all the different people
that you see having different types of lives, and yet you become sophisticated in
the realization that we are all people and have much in common.
After getting back stateside, the family moved to Virginia and then Tennessee then
back to North Carolina.
I got to go to a co-educational Protestant private boarding school for my sophomore
and senior years of high school. That was really fun since it was in the years that
most kids are wanting to turn their backs on their parents to become more
independent. Most of the students at the boarding academy were traveled and from
The first public schools that I got a chance to go to were colleges. That was a huge
culture shock for me. People were talking about things that I had never had any
experience of including TV Shows, drinking, smoking, cruising. I never cruised.
I watched a little television but never got into it. I had not been allowed to dance and
though I have since learned to dance a little, I still don't shag. The Shag is that
Carolina dance that looks as though two people are pretending to take a hickory
switch to each other to the beat of the music.
I still have not been to a concert other than the church choir type things.
I don't think of myself as a prude, but I was a virgin when I dropped out of one of the
colleges I was going to and got married.
There were lots and lots of boyfriends and plenty of dates before then. We almost
always had fun. Sex is not the only way that two people of different genders can
enjoy being together.
I never had trouble getting along with guys and still have respect for their masculine
ways. Stomping them or letting them know when they got to crossing my boundaries
was never a problem either.
I appreciate the differences of gender that help us cooperate and enhance each
other. There doesn't seem to me to be any real need for the power struggles that
so many people seem to get involved in. There are natural differences that are
really an advantage and why anybody would want to change that I have no idea.
Some of the things that have been minimized in recent years are the things that
have always been the most important to me.
Such as craftsmanship in the various arts of building furniture, houses, vehicles,
clothing, toys, machinery, or even a dish of food.
There are still guys who make love to their cars while they wash and wax them or
attempt to repair them. It makes me wonder how they can be so tender with their
cars and obviously get such sensual pleasure from touching them and then they
often treat their female friends as though they were an alien life form.
The old classic cars with the big V8 block style motors were a work of art.
I enjoy woodworking and furniture refinishing and really enjoy giving a rubbed
finish of linseed oil and turpentine to the finely sanded wood.
In college I took mostly secretarial and business courses since secretarial seemed
the most profitable feminine type work at that time. Now after years of working
at various office type jobs, taking time off to spend at home with two sons and
fighting to get back into the job market, I can work at data entry if their aren't any
good employment opportunities available. Though I have to admit I really loved
the years that I took off from work and stayed the busiest because I had some
opportunity to 'work' at fun things.
Needlework, crocheting, knitting, cooking and canning and freezing and pickling,
gardening, breadmaking, sketching and painting, sewing clothing and upholstery,
gathering firewood, small appliance repair and general house maintenance are all
things that I feel I have done for a few lifetimes and still enjoy.
Oh, and reading! There are a few libraries that I have read everything in a few
categories and wanted more to read. Since I am not into television watching, I
substitute other things like reading, needlework, or whatever.
Something that I used to wonder at while visiting other families as a child, was the
way that some of the 'working class' and even some of the 'middle class' families
shuffled the man of the family off to sit in front of the television. That seemed to be
the only spot or space that 'he' was allowed. The rest of the house 'belonged' to
the female and children. Some of the guys who were supposed to be head-of-
household, were lucky enough to have a workshop or study where they could be
It doesn't make sense to be that a man can be satisfied with a couch, a television,
a car or truck, a beer, maybe a dog to pet or holler at.
One of the things that I always admired about men who have the ability, is their
mental ability. Men think different and I like the way they think differently. Even
the most humble of men takes a certain pride in something about himself and
tries to show his advantage. I have never been able to handle simple mathematics.
Numbers seem to compute so much easier in guys brains along with mechanical
parts and categorical meandering of various types. Mental brawn has always
Guys used to be competitive with their mental ability until somebody in the mass
media boo-hooed it.
I don't know who has been trying to change people from their natural tendencies.
I don't think that they can actually.
Copyright@1997 Miki Terry