By Jane Vandenburgh
Jane Vandenburgh's lifestyles begun usually sufficient. Born into "a yes type of family"—affluent, white, Protestant—she got here of age in the course of a time whilst the sexual revolution used to be sweeping our cultural panorama. Her father, an architect with a admired la company, used to be arrested a number of instances for being in homosexual bars in the course of the Nineteen Fifties. He used to be despatched to a health facility to be "cured" of his homosexuality; he devoted suicide while she used to be 9. Her mom used to be a Bohemian who believed that she was once glamorous and proficient and will write her personal ideas for how she lived her existence. confident that she was once being persecuted for being "unconventional," she misplaced her brain and was once despatched to a psychological sanatorium. Vandenburgh and her brothers have been raised via kin in an prosperous suburb within the San Fernando Valley, a spot the place medications, intercourse, and generalized performing out have been the waves of social swap that have been simply hitting the shorelines the place they spent each weekend. Quirky and tremendous, A Pocket background of intercourse within the 20th Century is an interesting mixture of memoir and cultural revelation.
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Additional resources for A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century: A Memoir
Will calls this meeting to order. He also instructs Geo on various matters of etiquette and propriety, telling him, for instance, that he has to finish his carrots and his peas. Why? Geo asks. Because you have to. Why? Geo asks again. Daddy says I don’t have to. Daddy says, All the more for the rest of us. 41 A pocket history of sex Said, Will tells him. Daddy said, but Geo just stares away. Geo’s face is tanned, sunburned, freckled all at once, the individual hairs so blond they look glassy and transparent, eyes so blue they are like turquoise marbles in the mahogany game Grandmother Delia has on her coffee table that her father brought from China, marbles that are speckled and swirled with layers of golden iridescence.
My favorite show is I Led Three Lives. My favorite singer is Harry Belafonte. Someone has given me a miniature printing press with rubber letters, so I start a newspaper called The Salisbury Court Reporter. I watch, I listen. I begin to practice the plain dumb blank face that is the pretend neutralness of journalism. I begin to write in an infinitely neat and exacting manner, forming block letters that are tiny, miraculously precise. It is an architect’s hand, I think, one that I’ve never 44 The Salisbury Court Reporter learned, but here is my father’s own printing that has been magically bequeathed to me.
Our mother would say right back. 45 A pocket history of sex W I don’t put in my paper the perhaps newsworthy item that both toilets in our house are broken and none of us seemingly has the wit or guile to call the plumber. We either can’t or won’t, but anyway we haven’t, and the toilet will not fix itself. Things do not get better by themselves. Instead, we simply come to a new low in this new Slumgullion, to which we’ve been perplexingly assigned and to which we are becoming adjusted. My brothers and I have been raised as half savages anyway, running barefoot on the beach, so we just stake off one corner of the yard, at the back near the concrete block fence beyond the overarch of the pomegranate tree, where we go quietly in the moonlight to the place where we keep the shovel so we can bury it.