Back then it was whispered suspicion. At the young age of twelve, the word only held implications, accusations and community segregation. Lesbian. It sounded like a disease.
“It” came in the form of Lorraine B who lived down the block from us. She was my middle sister’s age. We used to pick up Lorraine and other girls for Girl Scout swimming lessons in our sky blue Chevrolet station wagon (the one I invited friends to come jump on the roof with me and got grounded for three weeks, but that’s another story). Lorraine was just another girl back then, blending in with the rest of the exhuberant young teens.She and my sister were just acquaintances. Life went on. I never thought much about Lorraine ~ until a few years later.
She didn’t look like a typical twenty-something young woman, even in the hippie 60’s days. Lorraine looked more like a – well – Larry. Her brown hair was cut short. She wore men’s jeans and a plaid shirt. And that was when I first heard the word lesbian, or at least associated it with someone I knew by name.
Looking back on those days as I’m reading, laughing and enjoying Ellen Degeneres’ book, “Seriously . . . I’m Kidding”; more than the clothes, I remember Lorraine’s demeanor. She was always alone. She never smiled. And I wonder where she is right now at this point in time. I hope she’s free and laughing and able to be herself. The world is a better place with Ellen in it. I’m so sorry Lorraine couldn’t walk down our street with a smile on her face.