612.6 blog post, both the ones that were left on the post and the ones that came in emails and were not made public. Of course this got me thinking about fifth grade and the morning that while combing my hair before school and avoiding any possibility of eye contact, my mother asked, "Do you know where babies come from?" "Your stummick," I replied confidently (an older, married cousin had produced two little boys in recent years, and prior to their arrival seemed to have changed shape a lot). "Well," she continued uneasily, "you are going to see a movie about this in school today. If you have any questions, we'll talk after school."
So off I went, wondering not so much about what this movie was going to be but how the heck she knew we were going to see it! The three sections of fifth grade were split up that morning. The boys all went with Mr. Dares to do something that I believe was baseball related. All of the girls followed Miss Koons to the auditorium where -- surprise! -- our mothers were already seated. We watched a movie, "Growing Up and Liking It," and then went back to the classroom where Miss Koons asked if any of us had "already started." She gave us each a little booklet to take home; it talked about the uterus preparing a "little nest" out of blood and tissue that was only needed if a baby was going to grow there. She asked about questions. No one had any. I wondered how that little nest would know if there was going to be a baby and how that happened, but kept my thoughts to myself. When I got home that day, I was asked, "Do you have any questions?" I knew that the answer had to be "no."
So that was that. Sex wasn't mentioned in the school again until eleventh grade. There we had an all-girl health class that met twice a week with Miss Pletz. (I've set aside my usual practice of creating pseudonyms to protect the guilty -- Miss Pletz's name is just too good.) The format for the class was that she had a lot of booklets and articles about venereal disease, and we spent the class periods reading the materials, and writing reports on them. I do not recall instruction on anything else apart from some dreadful slides that showed us how to identify a chancre. Certainly we weren't told how the little nest got its information. I just knew that mine hadn't let me down like it had "Shirley," who had left school back in ninth grade "to have a baby."
There was one other thing, though. You can ask any woman who attended our high school back in the sixties, "What did Miss Pletz say in 11th grade health?"
And the correct answer would be: "Girls, never sit on a boy's lap without first putting a newspaper down!"
Oh, dear. It was too late. All of us already had.