Nan’s Story

The year was 1949 — I was just 17 years old and a college freshman. My mother had remarried in 1945 and I was resentful of my stepfather who was a professor at the local college. My parents were tired of the sulkiness and told me I would live in the college dorm, which suited me very well-freedom!

While there was liquor served at faculty parties in our home, I had never really enjoyed drinking. I did drink beer at the college hangout, and one-or possibly two-rendered me pretty silly and uninhibited. I had a friend who lived across the hall in the dorm and had a steady boyfriend. One night he came with a friend of his and we unfurled a blanket on the dorm lawn by the lake and began drinking a bottle of wine. Eventually, we drove to Bowers Mansion, a spot in the Carson Valley about 15 miles from Reno. I remember Ann and her boyfriend took a blanket and wandered off, and left me in the car with the date. He challenged me to a game of taking off our clothes, and I thought this was pretty funny. Eventually, of course, the sexual contact happened. It was painful, since it was my first time, and it seemed totally unreal and as though it were happening to someone else.

My period didn’t come and I called my mother, scared to death. They contacted their family doctor/friend, who gave them a name of someone to take me to. There was no anesthesia, much pain and bleeding and a visit to the family doctor for penicillin and who knows what else afterward. I have never regretted this- I was totally unprepared for a child and did not even know the man involved. My only feelings were of gratitude that I didn’t have to suffer the consequences of a foolish act on my part, and that my family made the decision for me. I have thought of it through the years, and only been mad that I wasn’t involved in deciding, but I was pretty panicked, so maybe it was better. I would not have decided any differently after all. Raised by my mother, I was not a sentimental baby lover at that stage in my life.