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Jenny note #13
images transcription

Dec 11, 1980

Dear M.P.W.W.S.T.O.B.P.O.P.A.P.T.I.P.L.,

I, as is my habit, was talking about my day to mine Mutter. "How was your day, dear?" I was talking about meeting period[1] and what we did/didn't do. The "we" of course being Cindy, Erika, you, and I. Mom was playing with words. She came up with a Latin word, trio-something[2], for meaning Cin, 'Rika, an' I. The only problem was that it meant a group of men – and when you feminized it it got long & awkward. So I said, "It's the glee-sum three-sum and the gore-some foursum." Sum as in arithmetic, I explained (at least that's how I spell it – to be silly.) Somehow that got it across that we included you in our "group." She asked "Does Nick enjoy being with three girls?" ha, ha. (I must explain her smile smirk [– oh well – that says enough]). "How does he feel being the only boy in your group?" So I explained that it was not a matter of boys & girls, it was a matter of friends. I also said/mentioned that before you hadn't had any friends. ("We're the only ones who are stupid enough to hang around with you," quote employed.[3]

Anyway I think I have it implanted in her (my mom, remember her?) brain that you are a friend and just a friend. To quote you "We're friends goddamnit!"

I guess i have no arguments about John F. Kennedy as a hero. Just that he seemed much more a hero in the true hero sense. People felt that he could put everything straight. Betsy (as in Tower) says that in his hometown especially he was a her. He was supposed to be there for serving the nation. It was a big blow to the country that he was killed. He was directly in charge and had contact with what went on the U.S. of A. He was one of the better presidents we had had in the recent past. If you want to know what he ever did, look it up in the encyclopedia.

You could argue that John Lennon was a mere entertainer But I wish to drop the subject please.

Are you the type of person who collects all that paraphernalia connected w/ music groups? Personality Papers? (obituaries not included) I have just re-figured out what I figured out before. I like what the person (singer, writer, actor) does, but that doesn't make me interested in the personality, family life, childhood of that person. E.g. I like the show "Alias Smith and Jones". I like the character Kid Curry. That doesn't mean that I am interested in Ben Murphy who plays the fellow. I had – still ahve – a hard time explaining that to Sandy (ya' know, me sister). Kid is a neat gun-slingin' person. Ben may be a jerk for all I know. I like the character. You know, like in books. I'm not the teeny-bopper who wants to marry th' dude......

Same with S & G. I may defend Simon & Garfunkel, but I don't make a point about it. That's why I'm not interested in Paul Simon now. I don't particularly like his music now. I liked the songs he wrote – and the way Art sang them. Those songs that I like I will continue to like. I don't like One Trick Pony just because Paul wrote it. You get into ruts that way. ah....

Hem. I hope you appreciate all the interesting bits of paper I;m finding to write on. [doodle of a page floating down onto a scattered pile of pages]

[in different pen]
Bye for now,


Somehow that got it across that we included you in our "group." She asked "Does Nick enjoy being with three girls?" ha, ha. (I must explain her smile smirk [– oh well – that says enough]).

Yeah, I was frequently reminded that it was weird for someone who was supposedly a dude to enjoy hanging around with a group of girls in a nonsexual way... and the fact that I did have these intense sex-adjacent feelings about them (especially J) didn't help me to sort through that.

It's not entirely true that I didn't have any friends; I just didn't have any that I felt close with. Jenny was the first. I could imagine becoming close like that with one or two friends from preschool (Selah, Christine E., Nancy D.?...), if we'd been regularly in contact by the time we started to reach the necessary level of emotional maturity -- but this only ever happened when their parents and mine got together, and that happened less and less.

"We're the only ones who are stupid enough to hang around with you," quote employed.

I think "quote employed" means that that was something I said about them. It sounds like me; I vaguely remember saying it.

All the rest of the stuff, about JFK and public figures... feels weirdly off-kilter. I can only think she was getting tired of the subject, which presumably came up when John Lennon was shot and we had very different reactions to it and I felt quite defensive (and probably didn't hide it) that she didn't feel the same... and also there was this unaddressed need for her to be the me I couldn't be, so I was always trying to bend her around to my way of thinking. (For the record, I was not a big collector of fan merch.)

Sometimes there was a core of legitimacy to that (e.g. the arguments about religion), even if I overdid it... but sometimes I just couldn't deal with the dysphoria of not... being united in our opinions, and I didn't handle that well because I didn't understand the feeling and so didn't know how to deal with it except through verbal bludgeoning. Ocelot. :-/

[A thought about half an hour later: it wasn't just the gender dysphoria. It was also that she was the first person to really recognize me as a person, validate me outside of the realm of academic/career achievement -- so in those areas where she didn't validate me (like this), I felt... I don't know... like our differences of opinion represented huge flaws in me that needed to be rectified, and the only way I knew how to do that was to argue about it until one or the other of us changed their opinion. Brilliant, I know >.<]

If I haven't said this before, Jenny, I'm really sorry I did that.


  1. "Meeting period" was a slice of time at the beginning and end of the day at CFS – kind of a Quaker thing – where the entire upper school just sits quietly for a few minutes, then various people (usually teachers but not always; anyone is free to speak) make announcements or statements or whatever seems appropriate.
  2. "triumvirate", I assume
  3. She also wrote "help" right after that, which I think was a reference to the fact that she was writing at kind of an angle and was about to run off the bottom of the page.