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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A True Story of Easter, Porn, Nana and Charitable Giving

After Easter Sunday service this year, Jif, LG and I went to Jif's parents' home to visit, hunt eggs, eat dinner, etc. Jif's parents used to have names, but no one remembers what they were anymore; they are now called Nana and Pop Pop.

To fully appreciate the bizarre nature of the events that were to unfold that fateful day, you need to know a couple of things about Nana and Pop Pop, and about their home. Nana is a homemaker par excellence. Their house is CLEAN. And even more than that, it is always absolutely in order. There are no "strays" of any species in their home. There is not an envelope, paper clip, measuring spoon, cleaning product . . . NOTHING of which Nana is unaware. She knows where absolutely everything in their large, lovely home, is. The other thing you need to know is that, well, how do I put this . . . they don't do porn. Remember those high school "superlatives," most likely to do this, least likely to do that? Well, if they did community superlatives, Nana and Pop Pop would totally kick ass in the "Least Likely to Have Porn in the House" category. Or so we thought . . .

After dinner, the grown-up ladies present sat around the table chatting and having coffee. The gentlemen were probably watching sports somewhere, and the children were playing quietly upstairs. There was LG, and her cousins, Hoops (8), Slugger (5) and Miss Beautiful (4) (and here, I MUST give a shoutout to Little Joe (1), although she did not figure in this story). Shiraz came back from checking on the cousins to inform us that Hoops had revealed that "LG made me look at 'an inappropriate book.'"

It seems that Shiraz had walked into an upstairs bedroom to find LG and Hoops looking as guilty as if the glove had fit, having hastily closed the book they were looking at. A book that they were, in fact, trying to keep out of view of the littler cousins.

This book, copyright 1970-something, is a very thoroughly illustrated sexual encyclopedia. Oh, yea. VERY thoroughly illustrated. Shiraz came back to the table and began describing it to us. Nana was shocked and horrified. I was trying not to over-react. Shiraz didn't remember the name of the book right at that moment, but as she described it, I thought it must have been "The Joy of Sex." You all remember that one. It is full of explicit, but sort of Picasso-like line drawings, not too, too graphic, especially for one who has never seen such goings on in real life. It leaves something, even if just a little bit, to the imagination. While Nana was freaking out, and Shiraz was trying to explain the book and the situation, and the lovely and talented Aunt Jen (whom you may remember from here) was remaining calm and rational, and I was trying not to join Nana in freakville, LG is sort of hovering to see whether she's in trouble.

I needed a moment (24-hours) to figure this one out. I didn't think she did anything wrong, because I knew her father and I had never addressed the notion that there could even BE such a thing as "an inappropriate book." That's not language we ever would have used. And we certainly never cautioned her that there were books in Nana's house that she mustn't look at. I mean, who knew?! We have always talked very openly with LG about sex, so even seeing the book's title would not have triggered an automatic "don't touch" for her. This was a tricky one. As she sort of hovered, wide-eyed and anxious, we just made casual conversation with her, not directly confronting the situation, and LG went off to play again.

Shiraz was pretty sure that the book wasn't "The Joy of Sex," so she went upstairs to get it, so I could see exactly what my precious baby had seen, so I could talk to her about it responsibly. Ohdearlordhavemercy. This, my friends, is what an "inappropriate book" looks like:



The drawings in this book are not vague line drawings. They have shading, and hair and crevices, and the appearance of moisture (Godhelpme), and they don't leave a doggone thing to the imagination. And it is a most excellent, thorough reference book. Everything you've always wanted a picture of but were afraid to ask your grandmother for! So we're looking at this and the freak-out alert level has now been raised to magenta. Nana was quietly freaking out because of the "innocence lost," and because she felt responsible. I did not hold Nana responsible. Things happen. There is no way Nana would EVER do anything, or neglect to do anything, that would result in any negative effects on her grandchildren. The book had been sitting on a shelf for probably 30 years, getting dusted regularly, along with the World Book Encyclopedia. (WHY couldn't they have looked up sex in the World Book!?)

I was trying to maintain control of my own freaking out, because it really was not the best timing for LG and Hoops to have seen these images. Children, especially pre-pubescent children, should not see graphic sexual images. What happens, in my opinion, is that when children see images that they could not imagine on their own, those images become strongly imprinted. There is no "compartment" in which to put them, and they take on greater prominence than they would if they fit neatly into a healthy category that already exists in the child's catalog of images -- oh, that's a tiger; oh, that's some sort of small rodent that looks like it could be a pet, I'll put it in the "hamster" file -- that's how I think a child's brain works. Then when they experience, "OH! What the HECK is THAT?", the THAT becomes a very prominent memory. Think about it; if you had the experience of seeing graphic sexuality as a child, I'll bet you have a strongly imprinted memory, probably with some strong emotional component as well. So I'm thinking about all of these things, and how to navigate through this parental mini-crisis, and feeling bad for Nana's feeling bad, and trying to maintain a sense of humor and perspective, when LG comes back into the room and sees us pondering the pictures in the inappropriate book.

Because she's in no trouble YET, and because she has heard some anxious laughter from us, she is a bit more bold than on her last visit to the dining room. LG inquires, "What are you going to do with that book?"

Grown-ups react differently to anxiety-producing situations. I get quiet and ponder. Nana, not so much. She and Aunt Jen started offering possible future uses for the inappropriate book. I began to find this amusing, and knew that laughter would have added a whole 'nother level of impropriety, so I bit my lip and turned my head to the side, hoping that I would seem to be still deeply considering what, if any, consequences LG would face.

Aunt Jen offered that she often takes old books and donates them to the library.

LG wasn't having any of that. "You're not taking that book to the library!" she says.

"Sure, we donate books to the library all the time. It's just a book, libraries have all kinds of books . . ."

And then Nana comes in with reinforcements to Aunt Jen's "we give sex books to charity" theme . . .

Nana says, "I take my old books to the hospice." That did it. I lost it. WHY OH WHY did she have to say THE HOSPICE?

There goes my head turned, lip-biting, LG wondering where I stood. I couldn't stop laughing. "THE HOSPICE? You're taking porn to the HOSPICE?"

Nana backtracks, "Well maybe not THAT book; I'm just saying, I DO take books to the hospice . . ."

"Oh, yea, that's a great book to take to the hospice. And you can volunteer to read to the patients and show them the pictures. You'll say, 'See THIS? That's another thing you ain't NEVER gonna do again!'"

I think Nana may have told me to "shut up" then. Which, of course, is so inappropriate. I'm just sayin' . . .

58 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Oh my oh my oh my!

That is a GREAT story, Susie!

I felt all the anxiety the adults were feeling, the wonder the kids were feeling, and the laughter bubbling up.

And a hearty good morning to you! :)

 
Blogger August95 said...

Oh My, I wonder where such a book would have come from.

I agree with you about child brains. I was about LGs age the first time I saw The Joy of Sex. I remember those pictures better than my multiplication tables, that is for sure.

 
Blogger Random and Odd said...

Mwhahahahhahahaha.

I'm sorry, i'm just laughing and can't think of a thing to say!

 
Blogger SierraBella said...

Well this gives a whole 'nother reason why your last Easter Sunday post mentioned "He Is Risen."

 
Anonymous kalki said...

Fabulous story! But who will believe LG when someday she tells that her first experience with porn was at her Nana's house?

 
Blogger echrai said...

Oh man, that's better than the time I took playboys into school in the fourth grade. It was just naked women, I didn't get why the guys made such a big deal out of it...

That's a GREAT story.

 
Anonymous Sharkey said...

". . . as guilty as if the glove had fit" made me laugh out loud.

That is a great story--scarred for life by porn at Nana's house.

 
Blogger LadyBug said...

That was hilarious, Susie, except for the Mom in me totally freaking out, right along with you.

 
Blogger Robin said...

It reminds me of when my son found a taped up brown paper bag filled with porn mags at Papa's house last year. Papa (my father-in-law) is a VERY conservative Christian, and denied they were his. Of course they aren't...

 
Blogger marybishop said...

Ha ha - great story and I second, third your statment about what children see at an early age and how it affects them..

I was about 4 or 5 when my Aunt's dog had an erection -- I thought it was sick when I saw a pink protuberance flopping in the breeze.

For years I believed all males had this extra pink extension --

 
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Aaaaaah, Susie, even on my lousiest days, I know you can make me bark with laughter at my desk.

The appearance of moisture? Did you, aaaaah, happen to scan in any of these illustrations?

I'm just askin', you know, for a friend.

 
Blogger Susie said...

CK, you've posted such a sweet kid story today, and here I've got a porn story. No wonder I get all those hits.

august95, I remember finding a book with photographs, and I still remember EVERYTHING. I think that this book is the type that would have been a "Book of the Month" kind of thing, back when the Joy of Sex was popular; it was the suburban thing to do to have a matter-of-fact sex book in your library. I think. And Nana was completely oblivious to its presence, just another old book on the shelf.

kristine, with your herd of kids, I'm sure you could tell some stories . . .

sierrabella, the time you're spending at the Cotillion is affecting you, dear . . . and you reminded me of another story, yay!

kalki, another benefit of blogging -- it will be documented!

echrai, YOU! I had to talk to kids and parents at a Catholic school where I worked after a kid brought in his dad's porn and EVERYONE freaked! I had to go through all the pictures and tell some parents what to say . . .

sharkey, thank you; I wondered if people would catch that; it was the most "guilty" thing I could think of ;)

ladybug, I know. I HATE that it happened, but it did, so you do what you can and blog it funny, right?

robin, Uhoh, Papa. That had to be a tough one to explain, for everyone involved.

MB, well, they sort of do . . .

katy40, you just stop right this minute, having a lousy day! I didn't scan it, but I did lift the picture here from Amazon, so you can go buy yourself the whole dang book if you want to, I mean, now that you're 40.

 
Blogger Andrea said...

I'm chuckling that you managed to take a picture of the cover. Did you do that on the sly, or did you tell Nana, "I'm totally blogging this?" :)

 
Blogger Greenthumb said...

OMG! that was a top 10 story right there. Totally made me think of the time that I and my cousin found inappropriate literature and gramma and grampa's house...in the bathroom?!?!

 
Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Susie -- just goes to show the level some people will stoop to for hits on their blog... ;)

God help me when I have to discuss this with Punkin... my Mom tells me I just giggled when she told me about "things". I do remember a drawing or two from the kids' book she checked out of the library for my sister and I.

 
Blogger meelo said...

wow...i could totally imagine something like this happening with my own (future) kids. i would be the mom who laughed hysterically and anxiously looked through the book to make sure i hadn't missed anything important! great story!

 
Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

Oh MAN! I'd hate to be in your shoes with just the conflict over giggling. I am no good at holding in giggling.

 
Blogger Torrie said...

Great story, as usual.

 
Blogger WILLIAM said...

Thanks for sharing the hospice porn story. Truly funny.

 
Blogger Squirl said...

Susie, if I weren't at work I'd be howling with laughter. Of all the things that really caught my attention, the main one was where you described LG as waiting, wide-eyed. That must be something with those large, gorgeous eyes of hers. Or should I say booty flies?

Anyway, this is the first time I've commented since I put in my profile pic. If it works, give Bucky credit. If not, then I musta screwed something up. :-)

Great story!

 
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee, and so on. Finely writ, Princess.

 
Blogger Shannon McKelden said...

You realize now, that the next person who Googles "Easter Porn" is going to hit on your blog? he, he. Loved it!

Shannon

 
Blogger Susie said...

andrea, NO, I was too distraught that day to whip out the camera. I lifted the pic from Amazon.com.

greenie, was that Lemuel and Lena . . . I'm close but not quite right, huh? "literature," you say . . .

CK, up on my soapbox now: Don't wait too long; make sure you're the FIRST to tell her anything. I believe parents should innoculate with sex ed., so that all info that comes after yours will have to pass through the filters of what they've already learned from you. Otherwise, parents are at a disadvantage, having to persuade that we know better than their peers do, and by that time, it's too late, we're already uncool.

camille, thanks for visiting! Yours is an interesting perspective. Maybe THAT'S what the folks in the hospice would be doing -- making sure they didn't miss anything before it's too late!

gigglepants, that is a parenting skill that one must acquire. If I laughed at every funny, inappropriate thing LG does, she'd be as badly behaved as I am!

torrie, thank you. Do you have cake pix posted yet? I'll have to some see.

william, you're most welcome. And with your help, I'll be a prime Google spot for "hospice porn."

squirl, we have an X-box and "squir" where you should be! Bucky must get back to work on that profile pic for you. She's been too distracted lately, what with emailing people pictures of her ass and all!

hoss, I thank you, and so on . . .

shannon, 'fess up . . . is that how YOU found me? Hmmmm? Welcome, and oh my, I hope no one Googles "Easter porn," or "porn Nana." EEEEeeuuuwww.

 
Blogger eclectic said...

I'm late reading my favorite sites today, but this post of yours was worth the wait! OMG - I can hardly breathe for laughing!! He is risen, indeed...alleluia! What a howl but oh, what a disaster!! Well written -- thanks for the laugh!

 
Anonymous Amanda B. said...

Ackackackack. Poor Nana, things will never be the same. :D

For me seeing pictures like that as a child was just sort of funny and a little strange.

Seeing my parent's hippy asses running around naked all the time, on the other hand... Well...that's why I only have one eye now.

 
Blogger Southern Fried Girl said...

TAKING PORN TO THE HOSPICE!!!!! I laughed so hard at that. You are so funny.

 
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

You went and visited me and said you gonna mutilate flowers. I sending the Jehovah's Witnesses your way. I told 'em not to camp in your yard more than a week.

 
Blogger mrtl said...

Does it help to realize that some day you and LG will probably laugh about this together? She'll surely remember. However, if she starts talking about buying Nana edible undies for Christmas, you may need to worry.

 
Blogger ieatcrayonz said...

That's it, all of my porn is going in the trash right now! Does that mean I have to get rid of the Playboy Channel, too?

At least LG will grow up knowing that Nana and Pop Pop got more than just their house clean.

 
Blogger Dang Cold.. said...

Oh man. Thats hilarious. When my mother was pregnant with my younger brother I asked my Dad how the baby got "in there". He looked away and continued watching TV. I was 5 and curious enough to push the matter so I continued to tug on his sleeve. He then tried to come up with the theory of the stork and how it delivers baby's in its beak wrapped in a blanket. His version was nutty and warped, though. He couldn't remember what the actual bird was called so he said. "some buzzard put it in there".

Some "buzzard" indeed!!

dc - dickensian conditions

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure which is worse -- picturing your in-laws using the instruction manual to have sex ("hey Pop Pop, let's try page 59 again") or having to explain to your daughter that some people use manuals.

Thanks to your family for being so entertaining, and to you for writing it down.

gina
http://findingmygroove.blog-city.com

 
Blogger Susie said...

eclectic, you and sierrabella! Let's leave the resurrection out of this, shall we?

amanda b., sorry about the one eye thing. Picturing your parents, I have two images -- "hippy" as in bottom heavy, and "hippy" as in flower children. I realize you probably meant the latter, but either way, I can see how that would damage your little eyes.

SFG, I don't know, maybe the folks at the hospice are happy to see Nana coming . . .

hoss, bring on the camping Witnesses -- I'll put them to work clipping and arranging my flowers! MWAHAHAHAHA!

mrtl, thank you for that. Nana has everything, is so hard to buy for . . . and she does have a sweet tooth . . .

robyn, yes, all forms of porn must go. Think of how much more time you'll have :)

dang, I don't know which is worse, grandparents' porn or dad's buzzard tale.

dang confusing

gina, LG had some questions about why someone would have that book. I explained how sex can be complicated, and people often have books about complicated things, to help them understand better, or to help them explain to someone else better . . . I couldn't have a plain ol' "where do babies come from" talk, not me, nooooo, I had to explain a giant SEX book, too!

 
Blogger little sister said...

LMFAO! I'm with you re the hospice...I would be very very very very very very depressed if I were in a hospice and some volunteer were reading it too me or something.

I'd pay whatever $$$ it would take to break Kevorian out of jail...

 
Blogger Closet Metro said...

I still remember the pictures from the "facts of life" book my parents gave me before my little sister was born. A cartoon man and woman hugging in a bed, and a horse mounting another horse.

 
Blogger JessicaRabbit said...

Um Yes, I am here in a hospice, and I was looking for some light Easter reading, do you have anything say in the area of love and couples?

Oh you do? Does it come with the 70's bow wow chica wow wow soundtrack? Because those are really the best...

One thing about being on morphine, it sure does make you flexable woohoo!


Your all a bunch of sickos and I am SHOCKED by the perversion going on around here. Now excuse me, I have to google Easter Bunny Nuts.

 
Blogger Jomama said...

Such a great story. I think you're a pretty great parent, because my parents would have immediately freaked out and I would have gotten a spanking for looking at the book.

I have always been facsinated by porn. It started when I was about 5 and I used to sit in my parents bathroom when they weren't around and go through all of their dirty magazines (they still don't know about it to this day). I don't know why, but I knew I was doing something bad, but it was addicting. I thought the women were pretty, but I thought that the men were nasty and perverted because they had those "things" that they did certain "things" with. I realized that all adults did this and I started to imagine people on the street naked and that really freaked me out and made me uncomfortable. Also, I was convinced that some of the people in the magazines were, among others, Bob Saget, Tone Loc, and Tina Yothers. It took me years to get over the mixed feelings (curious, yet disgusted) about sex. I could go on and on about my childhood experiences with sex and how it screwed me up, but that would take forever.

So parents, if you have porn somewhere in your house, PLEASE keep it locked up or something. If you have a nosy kid like I was, he/she WILL be going through your stuff.

 
Blogger Nic said...

That is a priceless story!

Bless you for sharing and making my morning!!!

 
Anonymous lawbrat said...

That was great. It kinda hit me in a different way. The way you spoke of kids having stronger imprints of things. -excuse my vagueness, still getting caffeine in my body- Anyway, my nieces are 8 and 7. They know more about sex than I knew when I was 16. My parents NEVER spoke to my sisters and I about it. My nieces have learned from tv. They have no viewing boundaries.
At one point, my youngest and my 7 year old niece were in the music room at my parents, and I went looking for them. Found them, in various stages of undress, (pants on) under a blanket. Neice said they were 'having sex'. I flipped. Neither of the boys are allowed to be alone with either of them. I've suspected other things with regard top my neices, I've made comments, but its met with a brick wall. My other sister- not the mom of the neices- agrees with my suspicion, but if you dont talk about it, it dosent happen. Just ignore it, and its not an issue.

 
Blogger PaintingChef said...

Oh good lord...that's perhaps a therapy inducing visit.

I remember very clearly finding "The Joy of Sex" in my parent's bathroom and just never being quite the same after that.

Oh, and I call my grandfather PopPop!!

 
Blogger Susie said...

lilsis, that's kind of what I thought; I don't think I'd appreciate porn there in the hospice, but - different strokes...

closet metro, horsey porn? My goodness, what that must have done to you. This explains so much . . .

jessicarabbit, I was terribly concerned that this post might offend you. I am so sorry ;)

rina bee, that is very good advice to parents. In all seriousness, "addiction" is the right word. As I said earlier, without any "compartment" in which to put such images in their brains, those images just float, very intrusively. Add to that the actual chemical changes that do take place in the brain upon being exposed to sexual stimuli (even if you don't know what it is!), and you absolutely have the makings of an addiction. And add to THAT some dramatic, shaming scene and you're pretty much set with a mess of sexual troubles.

Oh, and Rina? That WAS Bob Saget!!!!

nic, listen to these ladies, lock up your porn ;)

lawbrat, good for you, not allowing your kids to be alone with their cousins. It doesn't matter who that offends, or what you are called for doing that -- your responsibility is to your kids, to heck with what anyone else thinks. Your sister is in for a lot of heartache, and sadly, so are her kids. Sex is appealing, on TV or wherever. Of course kids will want to see it. It's our job to protect them from what they're not ready for.

paintingchef, welcome. You found that book last week, right? You'll be OK ;)

 
Blogger Spurious Plum said...

How did you keep from laughing for that long?

Make sure you go WITH Nana to the hospice. She may have other books to donate that you should see...

 
Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Wow, and all the hospice down in Florida got from my Grandmother's estate was a bunch of clothes and knick knacks...

Susie, you are right, of course. I hadn't thought of the "parents, tell the kids FIRST angle. I'll talk to Hubby and put a plan together on how to talk to Punkin about "things" very soon.

 
Blogger Weetzie said...

This story is sooo funny (& reminding me of similar things in my life...)but as a parent I know how hard this topic is to deal with and so heartwrenching when your child "looses innocence" in some inappropriate way so I agree with the talk first and early theory!

 
Blogger Holden said...

Hey

What a story! Great writing and very funny... Enjoy reading your Blog.

Dancing With Tears In My Eyes

Matt

 
Anonymous SUB said...

If more people lived on farms there wouldn't be a need to explain via literature, although I did learn something about John Thomases by reading Lady Chatterly's Lover. As you should know I have a MS in breeding among other things.

 
Blogger Ern said...

OH MY GOSH, THAT IS HYSTERICAL!!! If I found that book at someone's house, I would laugh. If I found that book in my GRANDPARENTS' house, I just wouldn't know what to think!! I just don't know what to think!

 
Blogger Susie said...

plum, you have a point there. No wonder they're always giving her those "Friend of the Hospice" awards!

CK, if you want some book recommendations, I have some.

weetzie, that's right, first, early and OFTEN!

matthias, thanks for letting me know you were here. Glad you enjoyed.

sub, I have no degree in breeding. In fact, I needed remedial breeding.

ern, get a grip! You're going to be a doc, for goodness sake! Say it with me, "Old people have sex, too!" Plus, they forget things and have to look them up :0

 
Blogger ducklet said...

that is so weird. i typed 'Easter Porn' into Google and never in a million years expected to land here...

;)

 
Anonymous MrsDoF said...

I was laughing so hard that DOF came over and had to learn whassup?
Thanks for a great story!

 
Blogger Amy said...

The way you told this incident was great, that mix of panic and humour that is parenting!

I think you handled it beautifully, well, except for the end, that was just flat out funny. Poor Poor Nana with her clean clean house.

 
Blogger Susie said...

brando, yay! You sent your "WATCHOUT! for herpes..." pic! ;)

mrsDoF, you and DOF better do a sweep of your bookshelves . . .

amy, thank you. Now it's even cleaner :)

 
Blogger Kitty said...

I wish someone would have told my mom that whole "kids don't need to see that at a young age" concept. Holy cow, I got "the talk" every year from the time I was like four until now. With illustrations... and a pop quiz.

 
Blogger Susie said...

kitty, it's tricky. I believe kids do need to have their questions answered from the earliest days, but in an age-appropriate way, and frankly, how many kids ask, "May I see pictures?" And if they do, and they're little, the answer is "no." They don't need to see anything sexual that they couldn't imagine on their own, based on their own experience (assuming they have not been exploited in some way). That is all.

 
Blogger Hippo said...

With 53 comments I must read this and comment....

Dr. H.O. Potamus

 
Anonymous SUB said...

There is a joke about little Johnny asking his mother where he came from. She started to tell him some of the facts of life, and he sort looks at her as if she's crazy.
He says that Tommy comes from Cleveland. Where does he come from?

 
Blogger Dee said...

this is almost as funny as my girlfriend calling the ambulance when she started her periods. LOL....The ambulance showed and her mom was in the kitchen making apple butter, wondering why they were at her house. I hope LG can laugh about this the way we laugh about my friends experience now...

 
Blogger this.is.damon said...

I'm sooooo sorry I'm just reading this!!

LOL!!!!!

 
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