Monday, November 5, 2012

Trip up to 24th Street

When I was around the age of 7 my mom used to take me on her weekly trips into the city.  We'd drive up in her old Studebaker (it was a 'three-on-the-tree') into the hilly bits of San Francisco and make our way up 24th Street and into Noe Valley.  Mom would have her appt. with Marnie in an office located in one of the old, three-story Victorians along the block across from a strip of shops and restaurants.  While Mom was in with Marnie for the better part of an hour I'd be allowed to walk across the street to an ice-cream parlor called, 'Bud's Ice-Cream'.  Gripping my change, I'd go in and ask for a scoop of mint-chip ice-cream.  I liked the flavors of both mint and chocolate, but I really liked that the ice-cream was light green in color.  Mom's weekly ritual was a visit with Marnie and my weekly ritual was a visit to Bud's.

If this car were white, then it would be just like Mom's.

In 1978, during the period of time in which Mom and Dad divorced, Marnie gave me a book about questioning gender roles.  I can't remember why she'd given me the book, but I'm very glad that she did as it quickly become my favorite to read.  I still have the book and it's still a favorite of mine.

Mama, Papa, and Baby X!

'X: a fabulous child's story' tells the tale of parents who set out to raise a baby without disclosing its gender to the outside world.  The raising of Baby X is an 'Xperiment' and the parents are instructed by a group of 'Xperts' to give baby X toys meant for both genders and to speak to baby X in language used for both baby boys and baby girls.  Although Baby X initially has a difficult time winning over both its classmates and their parents, X is eventually accepted by those around it and prospers as an X!

Lois Gould, the author of this book, died in 2002.  'X' was her only children's book.  I'm sorry to say that I never thought to write a 'thank you' letter to her for creating such a 'fabulous' and thought-provoking book.

'X' is out of print (and, no, you can't have my copy!), but one can find the story online in PDF form sans the lovely wood-cut artwork from the original book by author and illustrator, Jacqueline Chwast.


  1. Aside from the divorce it all sounds lovely, what a strange but interesting book. :)

  2. Yes, the ritual of getting ice-cream every week (by myself!) was such fun. The book, too, is really groovy. X turns out to be one of the most well-adjusted kids in class and can both bake a killer cake and throw a football really far! Ha!


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