A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century: A Memoir by Jane Vandenburgh

By Jane Vandenburgh

Jane Vandenburgh's existence begun more often than not sufficient. Born into "a convinced type of family"—affluent, white, Protestant—she got here of age in the course of a time while the sexual revolution used to be sweeping our cultural panorama. Her father, an architect with a admired l. a. enterprise, was once arrested a number of instances for being in homosexual bars in the course of the Nineteen Fifties. He was once despatched to a health facility to be "cured" of his homosexuality; he dedicated suicide while she used to be 9. Her mom used to be a Bohemian who believed that she was once glamorous and proficient and will write her personal principles for how she lived her existence. confident that she used to be being persecuted for being "unconventional," she misplaced her brain and used to be despatched to a psychological health center. Vandenburgh and her brothers have been raised by means of family in an prosperous suburb within the San Fernando Valley, a spot the place medicinal drugs, intercourse, and generalized appearing out have been the waves of social swap that have been simply hitting the shores the place they spent each weekend. Quirky and extraordinary, A Pocket heritage of intercourse within the 20th Century is an interesting mix of memoir and cultural revelation.

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Geo resembles a certain saint in this, our father says, the one who was too crazy for people to listen to, so he spoke his wisdoms to the birds. Geo accumulates living things; they accrete to him by magnetism. He has recently brought home a damaged parakeet with only one good leg. He found it wounded in the dirt of the alleyway behind our house. This bird hopped to him, then rode home perched on Geo’s finger. 19 A pocket history of sex Another time he found a baby finch and took it home wrapped and cradled in the hem of his T-shirt, a bird so small we had to feed it with an eyedropper.

A. County outlawed fireworks. Ziggy is short, black, and fattish, and our favorite dog. Anytime we’d get a new pet we’d take it to Olivera Street for the Blessing of the Animals on the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi. And now we want these puppies. He always says yes, but this time he’s different. Not this week, he says. You won’t be here this weekend to take care of them. I’m out of town and you’re going to the Whites’. The Whites are my mother’s parents. The Whites are a piece of work, our mother says, scary business, hell on wheels.

Listen! she’ll say to our heavy bodies, struggling to climb out of sleep. This is what your parents do to you! They make you believe all sorts of idiotic stuff, lousy shitty useless things that are in no way true—do you understand me? We stir and nod and nod, though this makes no sense to us. Other wisdom she needs to impart is that you do not, for instance, get sick from sitting on a toilet seat. Urine is sterile, she says, which is why soldiers in battle are told to pee on their wounds. Her banker-giving-loans-on-the-basis-of-your-shoe-leather father is the reason my brothers and I are hardly ever told to put on shoes.

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