As a kid, peeking at the women in bras in the JC Penney catalog was the height of sexual titillation. Now-commonplace Victoria’s Secret commercials would’ve made our heads explode.
I never got the “birds and the bees” talk from my dad. Luckily, my friend’s dad had a collection of photographic instruction manuals produced by Larry Flynt.
In 9th grade, I had a sexual education class and the teacher was a timid young woman named Ms. Young. I sat in the back of the room and Bebang Bordallo sat in the front. While we didn’t coordinate it, Bebang and I would take turns asking graphic questions to see who could get Ms. Young to turn the deepest shade of red.
Others shared remembrances:
JoAnn Hinkson Beebe: “In 1965, my senior year at Armijo, I had Mr. Aranita as my physiology teacher. He believed we should know the ins and outs of sex and the responsibility that went with it. He blocked the window in the door with paper, swore us to secrecy, and showed a film that was both anatomically correct and informative. The subjects – birth control, condoms, STDs – were taboo. The man was truly ahead of his time.
Maureen Obrien: “Sex was about baseball, wasn’t it? First base, second base, etc.
Nanciann Gregg: “I got married my junior year, January 1958, and quit school a few months later because I was ‘in the family way.’ After I had the baby, her father left for a two-year overseas assignment with the USAF. I went back to Armijo in January 1959, but Principal Lucas said I was married and could not attend. My mom took me (I was still 17) to the Superintendent of Schools, Casey Golomb, and he said no, too. I told him two other girls had been allowed back married with babies. I had to sign a contract that I would not discuss my ‘marital life’ with any students. The word SEX was intended, but not used. It was laughable because I knew younger single school girls who could have taught me a few things.”
Michelle McNeice Cummings: “In the 1970s when they were offering sex ed to the fifth-graders at H. Glenn Richardson, my mother was the only parent to ask to view the material before she would sign the release for my brother and I to take the class. It was embarrassing, but I get it now that I am a parent.”
Tamara Beck Watson: “My seventh-grade teacher, 1963-1964, kind of hid in the back of the room while the sex ed film ran. I remember when the lights came on he was RED! I thought the man was going to stroke out. Being raised a country girl, I didn’t get what the big deal was.”
Dan Monez: ”In the 1970s, topless bars with names like The Cherry Tree (capitalizing on the popularity of other tree-themed I-80 establishments like the Nut Tree, Coffee Tree, Black Oak, etc.) and The Crazy Horse sprung up in the unincorporated areas of Fairfield, Vacaville and Dixon, along the I-80 corridor. Alongside the topless bars, ‘massage’ parlors sprang up, often owned and operated by the same people. These were mostly houses of prostitution.
“At the time, I was a deputy sheriff with the Solano County Sheriff’s Office and we often conducted undercover narcotics, gambling and prostitution stings at those establishments. At least one of the topless bars was associated with organized crime and the FBI sometimes showed up looking for wanted ‘wise guys.’ It wasn’t the Wild West, but not far from it.”
Gail Reed-Bond: “Once, when I was around 13, I said ‘pregnant’ in front of my grandma and she scolded me and said the proper term was ‘in a family way!’ Can you even imagine what she would have done to me if I had said ‘knocked up?’ My mom gave me the quick version of the birds and the bees chat when I started my period at 12 years old. She had me so scared that when a group of us sixth-graders were gathered around our teacher’s desk and a boy bumped into me, I just knew for sure I was ‘in the family way!’ ”
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at email@example.com.