My Mother’s Virginity
When growing up, I suspected my mother wasn’t like other mothers of the 1950s. For example, Mom wasn’t embarrassed to talk about sex. I knew she had participated in heavy petting when dating my dad. One of Mom’s funniest stories was about the time her mother came home early from an evening out playing cards.
Mom recounted: “When we heard her at the door, I jumped up, straightened my clothes and went to sit across the room. Nick was stretched out on the couch. But just in time I saw his thing was sticking out of his pants, so I went over and sat on the couch in front of him. While we talked to Mother, I put my hand behind and tucked it in.”
But I also knew Mom remained a virgin until she and Daddy married. Throughout the years, whenever we talked about relationships and people sleeping together, Mom said she “waited, because I wanted to save something special for marriage.”
For the last seven years of her life, I lived next door to Mom in Harrisburg. One day we took a boat ride on the Pride of the Susquehanna. Mom, in her mid-seventies, was reminiscing about all the good times she and her friends had on the river when they were young. Looking at the slowly passing landscape, I listened as she rambled on about how they would meet to picnic and swim.
When she pointed and said, “Nick and I did it in the water near that river bank,” I turned toward her, disoriented because I thought she had been talking about her teenage years.
To correct the timing, I asked, “You mean after you were married?”
“No,” she said casually, “We weren’t married then.”
“But you always said you hadn’t slept with him.”
“Oh, I didn’t, we didn’t sleep together. I wanted to save that until we got married.”