Crazy Charlsie Part 19

It wasn’t long before Robert and Bobby came in to find Bessie, apparently at her leisure, with Charles and Charley getting dinner on the table.  “Bessie, what in the world’s goin’ on?  Why is they cookin’ and you’ a settin?” Robert queried.  “Where’s Freddy?  I see the truck’s back an’ left the door standin’ open.”  Robert wasn’t the type to like seeing his truck door hanging open.

“I got popped with grease frying chicken and Dr. Charles made me set an’ keep a cool rag on it?  It’s some better bit it’s still painin’ me pretty good.”  She answered.  “I thought Freddy went after y’all.”

“No, we ain’t seen him.  Howdy, Dr. Charles.  I sure hate Bessie had to put you fellers to work.  Let me wash up an’ help you finish gittin’ dinner on the table.”  Robert was uncomfortable seeing Dr. Charles doing women’s work.

“No, just sit on down.  Charley can pour the tea while I check Bessie’s arm and then we can eat.”  As he unwrapped the arm, Freddy came up the back steps with an elderly neighbor.  Mr. Roscoe was well-known as a natural healer, frequently called in by neighbors to tend burns, stop bleeding, and cure headaches and snakebites.

“Mama, I fetched Mr. Roscoe.  Remember how he healed my foot when I stepped in them hot ashes?”

Robert and Bessie looked awkwardly between Dr. Charles and Mr. Roscoe, not wanting to offend either.  Seeing the doctor’s open medical bag, the ancient gentleman set them all at their ease.  “Looks like there ain’t no need, now.  I’ll just get on back to my plowing.”

“Oh no.  Don’t leave.  There’s more than one kind of healing.  The Good Lord gave us all different gifts.  It would be a sin not to use them.”  He unwrapped the blistered arm for Mr. Roscoe’s inspection.

Bessie sucked in a quick breath as the warm kitchen air hit it. “Ooh!  It still hurts purty bad.”

Mr. Roscoe gently cupped his wrinkled old hand over the burn and muttered a few words.  When he removed his hand, the redness was gone, though the blister remained.  “Now, you need to be sure to keep that wrapped in a clean cloth till that blister goes down.”

“It don’t hurt no more!  How did you do that?  What did you say?” Bessie asked.

“Just a little prayer.  The healing come from God.  My daddy had the gift, too.”  Mr. Roscoe answered.  “I guess I better git back to my plowing, now that’s done.”

“No, no! You gonna stay for dinner.  We got to eat up this here fried chicken that tried to cook Bessie.”  Robert said.  “Freddy, git him a plate and some ice tea while I git another chair.”

As soon as Robert said grace and were through passing the food around, Dr. Charles turned to Mr. Roscoe.  “I’ve always heard of faith healing, but never seen it.  That burn just faded out and now she has no pain.  How does that work?  Did you feel something or touch it?”

“I don’t know how it works.  I just know it does.  I don’t touch it.  I just pray over it and see it gittin’ better in my mind.  God worked through my daddy, too.  I got four brothers and two sisters and ain’t none of them been blessed with the gift.  Daddy got it from his grandma.  She got it from her mama.  There ain’t no way to tell how it goes down.  My mama had a headache one day when I was about thirteen.  Daddy had tried but couldn’t help her, so he told me to try.  Her headache was gone in a minute and never came back, though she’d suffered for years.” Mr. Roscoe explained.  “Sometimes the healing don’t happen.  It ain’t enough to just want to help.  I’ve learned not to try to heal ever’thing I am asked to.  If I don’t feel “the nudge,” it ain’t gonna do no good.  A few times I have felt “the nudge” and gone when I wasn’t asked. The first time, I woke up about four-thirty one morning and felt pushed to go to Homer Smith’s.  He’d just settled in with his family.  I hadn’t met him but once after a camp meeting.  I felt like a pure fool and didn’t want to go bustin’ in on nobody that time of morning, but I just couldn’t get no peace till I got up and headed over.  I figured I could just wait around outside a little bit an’ maybe tell if they was a problem.  Sure enough, when I got close, ever’ light was on.  I went up to speak to Homer when he come out to smoke just as Miz Presser, the midwife come out.  I heared her telling him his Janie was bleeding real bad after the baby an’ they was nothin’ she could do.  She said Pore Janie wasn’t gonna last long and that puny little baby probably ain’t gonna make it without no mama to nurse it.  They was gonna need the preacher fast.  Homer was crying like a baby, hisself.  He went back to Janie and I asked Miz Presser if it would be alright to see if I could stop Janie’s bleeding.  She asked Homer and he agreed, since they was nothin’ to lose.  I prayed over her an’ the bleedin’ stopped right off.  That boy is grown now with big ol’ young’uns of his own now.  I learned then don’t never say no to “the nudge.”

He paused before going on with his story.  “The hard thing is, I cain’t always help folks when things is bad.  I always go pray for ‘em, but sometimes I know to just pray for peace and relief of pain.  It sure is hard knowing ever’body cain’t be healed.  Folks can be awful hurt over that.”

“I feel that, too, Mr. Roscoe.  It sure hurts knowing you can’t do anything for a person’s body.  All that’s left is to hope you’ve been some comfort to them and the family.



Crazy Charlsie Part 18

Drowsing as Bessie fried chicken and caught Dr. Charles up on farm news, Charley was jarred from sleep as Freddy stumbled up the back steps with a heavily-laden cardboard box in bringing supplies. Though he danced nimbly trying to regain his balance, he lost control.   As it banged to the kitchen floor, the ominous sound of breaking glass competed with the clattering of the screen door.  Bessie jumped and dropped a piece of chicken into the sizzling skillet, the back-splash raising a blister on her arm.

“Lord have mercy, Boy!  Now, you done made me burn myself with this hot grease!  Lawdy! Lawdy!  Sometimes I b’lieve the Devil owed me a debt and paid me off in wild boys!”  She turned to Freddy furiously, holding a towel to her burned arm.  Ain’t I done told about banging that confounded door?”

“Aw, Mama!  I am so sorry!  You know I didn’t go to.  I just lost my step and was tryin’ to save your jars.  Lemme git you some butter for that burn and I’ll clean them jars up!”  He was stricken as only a boy who’s hurt his mother could be.  “You know I wouldn’a never done that a’purpose.”  He was near to wailing as he dug in the icebox for the butter.”

“Here, let me help.  Charley, can you watch the chicken while I take care of Bessie?  Freddy, can you see to the groceries?”  Freddy was long gone when he looked around.  “Sit down here at the table, Bessie, while I get some ice water.  You don’t want to use butter on that burn.  That holds in the heat and makes it burn worse.”  Charles immersed a clean dish towel in ice water and wrapped it loosely around the burned arm.  “Doesn’t that feel better?  Let’s cool it a little, then see how bad it is.”  He carefully unwrapped the arm, revealing a reddened area with a quarter-sized water-filled blister.  “Well, that’s going to hurt some, but it sure could have been worse.  Let’s just keep it clean and cool till you’re ready to go to bed.  We’ll wrap it up then and you can keep it up on a pillow.  I’ll give you something to help with the pain so you can sleep.”

“I sure dread for you to open that blister.  I know it’s gonna hurt.”  Bessie moaned.

“I’m not gonna open it.  That blister will keep infection out.”  The doctor explained.  By now, things had settled down enough for him to check on Charley and the frying chicken.  “Charley, go ahead and clean those groceries up.”  He was careful not to mention the missing Freddy as he turned the chicken and Charley swept up broken glass.

“It’s not so bad.”  Charley remarked.  “Only two jars broke.  At least nobody got cut.”

“That’s a blessing.”  Charles told them.  “One of the saddest things I ever saw was a little boy that fell running home from his grandma’s with a jar of honey.  The broken jar went straight in his heart and he was dead before I got there.  It just about killed his grandma.”

The sad story reminded Bessie of Freddy falling up her kitchen steps with her box of jars.  “Aw, Lawd have mercy!  Where’s Freddy?  He might’a run off all cut up and be a’layin’ somewhere a’bleedin’ right now.  Lawd have mercy!  Is my pore boy cut up an’ me just a’hollerin’ at him?”

“No, Bessie.  I didn’t see any blood.  He probably just ran off to get Robert.  You just sit here and let me and Charley finish cooking.  Robert and the boys will be here any minute.  Here’s you a glass of tea.  Now, don’t that feel fine, watching somebody else cook?”  Charles asked.

“It shore does, but I don’t reckon I better get used to it.  Nobody but me has cooked in this kitchen since Miss Geneva died.  Bless her heart.”


Southern Fried Chicken

Chicken pieces of your choice

1 cup flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder(I use about 1 tsp on each)

oil (canola, corn, peanut vegetable)

Combine all dry ingredients in l gallon zip lock freezer bag.  Add washed and dried chicken and shake.  I usually shake about six or eight pieces at a time.  Drop in hot oil 350 degrees.  (if you have the nerve to try it, drop safety match in hot oil.  will ignite at exactly 350 degrees.  My husband always swears I’m going to burn the house down, but I never have, and he loves my fried chicken.) Fry  6 to 7 minutes on each side till golden brown.  Test with meat thermometer.  Internal temp should be 165-170 degrees.  Drain on rack.


Crazy Charlsie Part 17

Bessie was waiting in the bright kitchen with a pitcher of iced tea.  “Y’all come on in and set  a spell. I’ll have some cookies out of the oven in just a minute.  Shoo cat!  Git off that chair.”  She tipped a ladder-back chair and a fat orange cat landed on all fours, even though she’d been asleep seconds ago.  Bessie hurried to pour two Mason jars full of iced tea.  “I made that tea real sweet, just the way you always liked it, Dr. Charles.”

”It hits the spot after that dusty drive.” Charles finished his glass and poured another.  “How have you been, Bessie?  Before I forget, Cora was hoping you’d fattened up a rooster for her church’s dinner on the grounds, Sunday.  She also told me to hit you up for some butter, cream, eggs, and greens, if you had some to spare.”

“I got plenty.  She called me last week to be savin’ up.  Now you come out, I won’t have to git Robert to run it in to her.  Charley, I know you been sick, but you looking good, ‘ceptin’ you too skinny. I’ll git you plumped right up and you’ll forgit you that ol’ pneumonia tried to git you. Maybe you and Freddy can pick Cora a couple of gallons of dewberries if you up to it.  He’ll be back in just a minute.  He run down to the feed store.  I b’lieve he’s sweet on that little gal whose Daddy runs it.

“Is that Soupy, Grandma’s old cat?”  Charley asked, rubbing the cat’s ears. The cat hopped nimbly on Charley’s lap, sensing a welcome.

“Naw, this here ‘s Bubbles.  Soupy was probably this cat’s granny.  I always keep me an orange housecat to keep mice on the run.  I don’t hardly have to feed this one, just put out a little cream everyday.  She’s a good hunter and keeps the mice and snakes away.   A couple of times,  I even seen her with a rabbit  she kilt.  Many’s the time I’ve heard her calling her kittens when she catches sumpin’ and they come just a skittering.  She even taught them kittens to catch minnows in the cow pound.   I kept two kittens out of her last litter.  I never gentled them much so they stays in the barn.  They follers the fellers out to milk and dance when you squirt milk in their mouth just like Soupy done.”

Bessie rambled on, reminding Charley of  simple childhood days making no mention of his late difficulties.  The warm conversation between Bessie and Charles from the judgment and cruelty of late.  The waxed linoleum  and deep rugs before the sink and stove were indistinguishable from those of his childhood.  A jar of jam, one of pickles, and salt and pepper shakers  rested on a lazy Susan centered on the bright, oil-cloth covered kitchen table. Bessie’s housedress and crisp apron completed the familiar picture.  The return to familiar comfort was a balm to Charley’s  bruised soul.

“These cookies ought to hold you over,” she said as she put a plate of cookies on the table before them.  “Y’all want some milk to go with these?  I got to git started frying  up that chicken.  The menfolks will be in at straight-up twelve.  I can’t keep ‘em waiting. When y’all git done with them cookies, you can put Charley’s stuff up in the old room, if that’s where you want to sleep, Charley.  I got it aired out and fixed up with white curtains, a nice crazy quilt of Miss Geneva’s, and a new rag rug I made you.  All your old stuff is in a box in the attic if you want any of it.”

”That sounds fine, Bessie.” Charley said.  “It’s so good to be back.  It almost feels like Grandma’s gonna come through that door any minute.”

”I sure miss her.” Bessie said as she turned from the chicken she was flouring.  “We gonna take care of you just like she would’a.”








Crazy Charlsie Part 16

Charles and Charley rode along in companionable silence till they were out of town.  Charley was obviously deep in thought but finally spoke.  “Dad, I need a new name.  How do I do that?”

“I’ve been thinking about that, already.  I talked to your Uncle Louis about it.  He thinks the easiest way would be to request a correction on your original birth certificate for your sex and name as though the original was wrong.  He is a well-known lawyer with friends in the courthouse and won’t be questioned like the average citizen when he files the request.  Think about what name you’d like and I’ll get back to Lou. We should be able to get this taken care of before you go off to college in the fall.”   Charles was glad Charley had brought this up, now.  It had been on his own mind for weeks.

”How about Charles Louis so I can go by Charley?”

”That ought to work.  I’ll let Louis know.”

Charley hummed distractedly as he often did when thinking.  “Son, what’s on your mind?”  Charley was a bit startled at being addressed as “Son” for the first time.  “I’ve been wondering what kind of life I’ll ever have.  I can’t be a normal man.  I never wanted to be a girl, but I’ll never be a real man.  I can’t get married or go in the military.  I probably can’t even get in college.  Everybody is going to know I am a freak.  What the point?  I can’t have any kind of normal life.”

“Charley, I don’t have any answers, but I believe you’ll make a place for yourself.  You’re not obligated to tell anyone your business.  Folks don’t generally go around asking personal questions.  I recommend you get familiar with the changes in yourself before worrying about getting too involved with the community.   There’s no reason they would connect you with the little girl who used to visit the farm, even if they remembered a couple of little girls used to spend time there with their grandma.  She and Cousin Frances both pretty much kept to themselves, never even going to church.  I truly believe one day you will find someone who will care you, just for yourself.  That’s soon enough to worry about explaining.   You aren’t the only person who’s had to deal with such a thing.  I have a patient in a similar situation.  You’d be shocked if I told you who it was.  She was married with children.  She moved here a few years after you were born.  I delivered her babies or I’d never have known.”

“I’ll bet it’s Jody Fischer, ain’t it?”  He mentioned a very masculine-looking woman who drove the school bus in from the country.  “She looks and acts just like a man.” he snorted.

“No, it’s not.  I don’t know anything about Jody.  I suspect she’s a homosexual, but that’s none of my business.”  Charles answered.

“You mean it’s not the same thing?”  Charley was surprised.

“Not at all.  A homosexual is interested in persons of the same sex.  A heterosexual is interested in persons of the opposite sex.  It’s as simple as that.”  Charles knew he was the only person Charley could ask, so he was anxious not to confuse him.  “You have mixed genitalia.  At birth,  you looked more like a girl.  As you grew up, you looked and acted more  like a boy the older you got.  You know as much of the story as I do from the time of your surgery.  I never expected that to happen.”

Charley pounded his breasts  “I hate these!  I wish I could just cut them off!  He wept with despair.

Charles tried to console him.  “I know it’s hard, but some things we can’t change.  You’re are already flatter since you got so thin while you were sick.  I’m hoping, you’ll develop more like your brothers since you don’t have female hormones anymore.  You’ll get more muscular working on the farm with Robert and the boys.  That ought to help.”

Charley didn’t speak for a while.  “Could you pull over?  I need practice driving.”  He composed himself before getting in the driver’s seat.

As he settled, Charles changed the subject to spare him.  “You’re not going to have anything that drives like car this on the farm.  Cousin Frances’s old Model A and the tractor are going to work you over.  I know Robert is going to be careful about trusting you with the farm truck till he knows what you can do.”

“No problem.  I like that old Model A.”

Charley’s mood brightened. “Hey, Dad!  Did you hear the one about the traveling salesman and the farmer’s daughter?”

“Okay, I’m glad you’re feeling better, but I’m not quite ready to swap Traveling Salesman and Farmer’s Daughter Jokes with you.  You got to give me a little time, too.”

“You big sissy!” Charley laughed.  “I’m not the only one with something to get used to!”

Crazy Charlsie Part 12

Geneva was tearful as she bade goodbye to Birdie.  Birdie had been with her forty years, since the day her own mother, Ella, had brought her to work with her at Geneva’s house.  Ella’s healthwas failing and she had wanted to see Birdie settled before she died.  Birdie cooked, cleaned, and helped Miss Geneva raise children, living in till she married and started her own family.  In turn, she’d brought her own daughter to help Geneva out with the girls during their mother’s illness.  Her Josie had married Bobby, one of Geneva’s farm workers and was raising her family on Genva’s farm, so he families were deeply interconnected.  Birdie grieved, knowing the life they shared was ending, even though she’d see Geneva had on visits to her daughter and grandchildren at the farm.  Birdie had three children and a husband at his me, so she was staying on to take care of whomever Charles found to lease Geneva’s house, though Geneva gave her a handsome check and references should she decide to move on.  The women had spent more time and shared more of life than most people ever do.  Birdie held her tears till Charles’s car drove out of sight, then wept her loss.

Geneva took her last look at her home and the town she’d known so long, and felt  a brief, but possibly the most important part of her life was starting.  She prayed God would give her the time and wisdom to guide Charley into his new life.   Ginny was one of life’s fortunate s who saw joy in every day.  Charles’s black Lincoln was piled high with the family’s belongings.  Robert and Bessie met them at the car to welcome them home.  Their grandchildren ran to get hugs and peppermints from Geneva.  While the men carried bags in, Bessie put fresh coffee and tea cakes out on the bright oil-cloth covered kitchen table.  “Miss Geneva, I got you a pitcher of hot water and some fresh towels in your room.  I aired all your house dresses if you want to slip one on, ” Bessie said.  “I got lemonade here for you young’uns.”

“Thank you, Bessie.  I believe I will freshen up.  Ginny, can you come brush my hair and powder my back?” Geneva asked.

In about ten minutes, the two were back. Geneva smelling of Cashmere Bouquet Talc.  “It’s so good to be back home.  Makes me wonder how I could ever stay away.”

“It’s so good to have you back, and me and Bessie are sure proud to be stay in’ in the house with you.  Them wild chillun’ was ’bout to wear us out.  That little ol’ house was Justin’ tighter and tighter.”  Robert said.  ” I love ’em, but they sho wears me out.”

“You ain’t gone off far enough to do no good.  You know they gonna follow you right over here, don’t you?” Bessie reminded him.

“It’s  good to be home.” Geneva said.


Crazy Charlsie Part 11

Grandmother Geneva’s heart was failing.  “How much longer do I have, Charles?  I’d like to go back to Cousin Jean’s farm to spend what time I have left.”

Charles’s heart was breaking dreading Geneva’s loss, but he didn’t insult her by covering the truth.  “Maybe three months to a year, but you’ll need someone with you.  You don’t need to be alone.”

“I’ve already talked to Robert and Bessie.  They’ve agreed to move in with me.  Their youngest  son and his wife and three babies live in the house with them and it’s bursting at the seams.  Robert and Bessie would like to turn the farm over to them and take it a little easier.   They’d love to stay on after I’m gone and keep the place up for Charley.  Of course, hat’s Charley’s decision.”  She still had a hard time saying him when referring to Charley.

“We’d  all miss you, but I know you love that place.  Robert and Bessie will take good care of you.  We’ll be out to see about you every few days.” Charles told her.  “They can do anything I’d do.”

“Then it’s settled.  I’d like to go out as soon as you can take me.  I’ll call Robert and Bessie to get ready,” she said.  “and Charles, I’d like Charley and Ginny to spend as much time as possible with me.  School let out yesterday.”

“I thought you might want that.  I’ll let Cora know the plan.  Would you like to go tomorrow?  I’ll get all your medications  refilled and instructions for Bessie,” said Charles.

“Another thing, Charles.  You’ve grieved long enough for Ellen.  You might think about marrying your lady friend.  You’ve been seeing her long enough.” Geneva smiled at him m.

“Miss Geneva, we are fine the way we are.  She doesn’t want to complicate her life any more than  I want to complicate mine, but I appreciate your blessing.  Ellen was all the wife I’ll ever need.  You and Cora have picked up and helped my family so much.  You’ll never know how much that means.”  Tears came to his eyes.

“Charles, you are the best son a mother could want, even though Ellen picked you for me.”

“You couldn’t have been better to me if you’d carried me,” answered Charles.  “We are fortunate to be family.”


Crazy Charlsie Part 10

It was  impossible  to stem the gossip that flew after Charley’s surgery.  The tittillating story excited the town’s small minds.  Charles’s prominent position in the community only made it more fascinating……….this misfortune on top of a crazy wife?  “Maybe that was what drove her crazy.” “Weird stuff like that runs in families.  “Dr. Evans acted interested in me for a while after his wife died.  I am so glad now I didn’t get involved with him.”  “My daughter always said Charley didn’t look at her right!”

A few good friends reached out to Charles.  Their sympathy was almost worse.  No friends came to see Charley.  Charles was glad Charley had requested no company, so Charley didn’t know no one called or asked to visit.  Geneva, Cora, and Charles took turns staying with till Charley went home from the hospital and worked hard to start thinking and referring to Charley as a boy, a difficult change to make.

Charley was thoughtful, but denied depression.  He lounged around with in Charles’s baggy pajamas for a week or so before approaching Charles.  “Dad, I need new clothes.  I’ll never wear my old stuff again.  Can we go to Dallas and get me some things? I don’t want to be stared at here at in a men’s store here in town.”

“We can go Wednesday afternoon if I can get someone to cover my hospital load.  I’ll get the office nurse to cancel my patients Thursday so we can stay overnight..  You can help yourself to the things your brothers left here in the meantime.  I could use a few things, too.  It should be fun shopping together.” Charles actually looked forward to the trip with the new Charley.

Marzell dropped by after school, bringing Charley’s books and assignments.  Cora was so glad to see her.  She showed her in without asking Charley.  “I didn’t want to see anybody.  I’m not the person you thought I was.  Didn’t you hear about me?”

“I heard. That’s why I came to see you.  I didn’t call because I didn’t want to give you the chance to say no.  You are still my friend.  Nothing changes that.  Your were the first person who was nice when I moved here.  I loved you like a sister then.  Nothing has changed for me.” Marzell said.

“Everything has changed,” Charley said. “I am a boy now.  I always thought I was but now I know it’s true.  Boys and girls can’t be best friends.  You can’t spend the night anymore. I always wanted to touch you in the wrong way.  Now, I know why.  I have a man’s feelings.  You need to leave me alone.  I am a mess!  I don’t know what’s going to happen to me.”

“I don’t know what’s good to happen to you either, but I will still be your friend.  You aren’t the only person who has a hard time.  If I couldn’t come over here, I’d have to put up with Old Melvin learing at me twenty-four hours a day.  I’ll be by tomorrow to pick up your work and bring assignments.”  She left without saying goodbye.

“You don’t need to bring my assignments.  I am not going back to school . Everybody at school knows I am a freak.” Charley said.

“They already thought that.  Big deal!  You only have two more weeks of eleventh grade.  I’ll take your work in.  You can worry about going back next fall.  See you tomorrow.”




Crazy Charlsie Part 9

“I knew it!  I knew it!  I always knew I ain’t a girl!”  Charley felt like a prisoner freed from jail. Now at least I don’t have to pretend. Can you fix me?”

“We have to go in and explore your belly to free up that testicle and check the other side, but can’t change what’s on the the outside.”  Just want to make sure you understand before surgery.  If the testicle is healthy, do you want to save it?  The hormones are beneficial to men, and you’ll need it if you want to father a child.  Who knows what’s down the road for you?”  Dr. Farmer asked.

“Yes, I need it.  I want to be a man. Can you take out my female parts? I ain’t never gonna have no baby and I hate the curse!”

“I don’t know about that. I’ve never heard of taking out a healthy uterus. Do you need a little time to think about this?” asked Charles.  “It’s a big decision.”

“Dad, it’s not a decision.  I’ve had sixteen years to live with this. I have always known I’m a boy in a girl’s body.   Think of how had it would be for you to try to be a woman.   Now I don’t have to pretend.  It’s over.”  Charley looked relieved.

Charles felt awful for his part in Charley’s troubles, knowing his decision had and would cntinue to effect his child forever.  “Well Dr. Farmer, I guess Charley is ready to go to surgery.  I’ll be here when you get back, Charley.”

“Dad, you’ve always been here for me.”

“Okay, Charley, while I am in there, I’ll look for the other testicle.  We don’t want to have to put you to go through this again,”  Dr. Farmer’s positive attitude encouraged them both.

The two hours of Charley’s surgery were the longest of Charles’s life as he mourned the troubles he and nature were putting Charley through.  He prayed for guidance to be able to support Charley down this difficult road.  He’d never known anyone who went from female to male and knew it would be rough.

Charley was back in two hours, groggy but fine.  Dr. Farmer gave her a few minutes to rouse before visiting.  “Good news, folks.  Charley has two healthy testicles.  There’s also an undersized uterus, which I didn’t disturb.  I wasn’t able to examine the ovaries without making a much larger incision, so I left that alone.  If you ever have gynecological issues, we can take care of those as the need arises.

“So I can expect to become more male?” Charley asked.

“I’d expect so.  You already have a lean, muscular body type, much like your father.  I do see signs of a sparse beard sprouting.  The testicles are now resting in what was your labia.  Your vagina appears normal.  Your urinary tract in normal position for a female, so that here’s no change there.  Intervention would be a painful and the outcome uncertain, and I don’t have the expertise to do that.  I recommend you continue as you are.  To sum it up, you are a healthy male with a few female parts thrown into in.  It is possible you could father children, given what I see.”  This is a lot to think about, so feel free to ask questions as you think  of them. ”  Dr. Farmer shook hands with them both before leaving.

Charles turned to Charley, “That was a good feeling,” Charley mused.  “MY first time to shake hands, man to man.”









Crazy Charlsie Part 8

Charley had complained of vague abdominal pain for about three days before she awoke to excruciating right-sided belly  pain on her sixteenth birthday.  She refused to allow Charles examine her, so he asked a surgical colleague to see her.  Dr. Farmer did a quick exam of her belly and felt Charles’s diagnosis was spot on.  Scheduling his daughter for immediate surgery, Charles was concerned, but not unduly alarmed as he waited.  He expected to see her back in recovery in about an hour.  The surgeon looked grave when he sought Charles right after takng her into surgery.

“Is she okay?  Had the appendix ruptured?”  he asked.

“She’s fine but it’s not her appendix.   I haven’t started surgery yet,  but there’s something we need to talk about.  Let’s go to a private area.”  They moved into Charley’s assigned room.  Sit down, Charles.  It wasn’t appendicitis.    I saw  no reason to do a pelvic exam prior to surgery, but when Charley was moved to the table, some  abnormalities were noted. Charley has ambiguous genitalia, some male, some female.  She has a fully developed vagina with a very large clitoris or a small penis.  When erect, it might be three and a half inches. Her right labia has a partially descended testicle which is likely incarcerated. I have manually rotated it and returned the blood flow for the present, but it is likely the cord will twist again.  That is the cause of her pain and must be explored.  There is no obvious testicle on the left, but there could be one that hasn’t descended.  We need to let her wake up and  inform her before going ahead with surgery in this life-altering situation.”

“Dear God, that’s why she was so secretive.  She doesn’t know, but at birth, she had what I thought was an abnormally large clitoris and I removed it, thinking that would take care of the problem.  She looked like a perfect female in every other way.  What have I done to my child?”  Charles cried out his grief.

Dr. Farmer tried to comfort him.  “I might have done the same thing.  How could you know it would turn out this way?  That fact is, Charley needs to know the situation.  The penile tissue that’s left is healthy, just shorter.  She may choose to live as a man.  She should be awake in a few minutes  and we can talk to her.”

“Oh my God.  This will be the hardest talk I’ve ever had.”