Sunday, February 24, 2013
Throughout history women have masqueraded as men as a means of working in a field closed to women... like the military. Many times, they are only discovered when injured or killed. Your story, as told, doesn't go into many details of how you pulled it off. Care to share?
I'd traveled as a boy before. At the end of the war, renegade rebs beat and violated my mama, I was next. I know it. The Sarge showed up in time to save me, but just barely. Mama let me wear britches when I was doing chores so I changed into them and packed up a few valuables I could carry. I only had a couple of dresses and one of them was near covered in blood from Mama. I didn't mind leaving them behind with my bonnets and ribbons.
Okay, but you were much younger without as much... shape. And you had an accomplice. How did you pull it off alone?
Aunt Adele took me by buggy to the city to catch the train east. She saw me settled beside a widow visiting her sister in Rhode Island. As soon as Aunt Adele left, I changed trains and headed south. Of course they checked my ticket and "my mistake" was discovered. When I was let off, I asked where the telegraph station was, so I could send a wire to my family. I left my trunk at the station. I took my handbag and cut through a few backyards, and, I'm ashamed to admit, stole some clothes off someone's line.
It couldn't have been that easy.
I planned ahead. I had an old chemise in my bag from when I was younger. I'm not a very shapely woman and the tight vest squashed down what little shape I had. I had an odd sock to give me a bit of shape where I needed it. Mostly though, I'd been dealing with school boys for years so I knew how to act like one. The hardest part was finding a place to make the transformation. I would love to know how the owner of the tree fort looked when he found a lady's dress and smalls there. I spent the night in the fort and left before dawn: Marly Landers the boy.
What was the hardest part of the masquerade?
Keeping clean. Even a bowl bath is a challenge when you got to keep yourself covered. I spent nights in haylofts and once sharing a stall with sick colt. Mind, that job got me a fifty cents and two good meals. It was a pure joy when I finally got to have a hot bath in a private room.
That was at the Oasis in Fortuna.
Yes, sir. Er... ma'am?
Read about Marly Landers in Under A Texas Star. Available FREE on Kindle February 24-27, 2013.