Hi, it's me, Kay Littleton-Sharon, Ronnie and Kyle's youngest child and only daughter. I understood from very young that I had one mommy and two daddies, but that to the world Ronnie was Daddy and Kyle was either Kyle or Uncle Kyle. Later I learned more explicitly what that meant, and that the Gang-all my aunts, uncles and cousins-was in on the secret. In this Gang of Olympic athletes you might expect that I would be inclined in that direction. But remember, I didn't just have two parents who were nationally known scientists, I had three! Both Kevin and I were doomed to be physicists, and probably high energy particle physicists at that!
I was born in 1980, so I was twelve when we all went to Barcelona for the summer Olympics. I'm writing this in 2010, at age thirty. I guess I have a different perspective now on events of that formative teen decade than when those events were being lived. But I'll try to tell these stories from the perspective of the teenager that I was.
Let's start with Camp White Elk, that exclusive boys club that all of the little boy COGs attended every summer beginning in 1989. Don't even dream that the little girl COGs were content with this arrangement. If the Gang was going to do something special for the boys, they'd better do something special for the girls! Jude and Louise were both twelve the summer of 1989, mature enough to understand that the girls were being slighted. To be fair, it wasn't sexism. The whole thing had started at a boys camp, and it simply wasn't a place that would be welcoming to girls. But the girls, certainly not Jude and Louise, weren't going to simply stand by and wave to the boys as they went off to summer camp in the UP.
Louise drove a hard bargain! She figured that Charlie was the key to Camp White Elk, so that's where she headed. "Uncle Charlie, it's not fair that the boys all get to go off to Camp White Elk and the girls all stay home."
"You're right. Where would the girls like to go?"
"Camping in Glacier National Park."
"Have to talked this over with the other girls?"
"Just Jude, and she thinks it's a great idea."
"Aren't some of the girls pretty young for a trip like that?"
"Milt's going to camp at age four. Jenny is the youngest girl, and she'll be eight this summer."
She had Tim and the rest of the Camp White Elk traditionalists right by the balls, and both he and she knew it. He said, "Louise, don't twist or squeeze. I'll talk to your aunts and see what might be worked out."
It was a wonderful trip. All six of the girl COGs from Grand Forks-Louise, Jude, Noreen, me, Peg, and Jennie-went, along with Amanda and Paul's Nettie from Ironwood. Come to think of it, even God seemed to favor boys in the Gang, with fourteen little boy COGs and only seven little girls. I guess it was because the Gang had all those gay men and no lesbians! What the Hell, it was great fun growing up in the Gang, and the boys treated the girls as equals-if they hadn't we'd have beaned them-or worse, and believe me we knew about worse.
But I digress. Louise, Jude and Tim conned Carol, Judy and Nancy into going along on the camping trip to Glacier. Andy took us all to the store and equipped us with exactly the camping equipment we'd need for such a trip; we were bundled onto the Empire Builder very early one morning and put to bed in two bedrooms. The three Aunts shared a third bedroom. We slept till about nine in the morning, had breakfast in the dining car, and watched the scenery from the dome until we got to Glacier Park in the early evening. We were met by a hotel bus and taken to the hotel. We spent two nights in the hotel, and the next morning a local outfitter that Andy had arranged took us to the trailhead. We only had about six miles to hike till we reached the most wonderful campsite near a mountain stream. We spent five days at that site, hiking, swimming (very briefly) in the stream, cooking, camping, playing games, and learning about nature (we were amazed at how much our aunts knew). [I just reread that sentence: I need to assure you that no sexual innuendo was intended there.] We were convinced that we had a better time than the boys!
A summer trip became an annual event, and we girls worked hard to think of exciting places to go: Alaska, Patagonia, Australia, Greenland, Lapland, Mongolia! I never really understood why the boys were willing to accept our travel to such exciting places, when they simply went off to the UP. I guess the boys camp experience has to be lived to be understood. It never seemed strange to Uncle Charlie or Uncle Tim that the boys were content at Camp White Elk while we traveled the world. But, as you will see as Charlie's story unfolds, the boys didn't lack for travel experiences.
OK, Charlie's made if very clear to me that I'm not to avoid the sexual aspects of growing up a COG. I've read this story so far, and it doesn't seem that the sexual aspects of anything have been left out, and I won't be the exception. Willie and Nels' sexual exploits have already been told. Bob Carson was living in Bloomington during his early teenage years, and any stories of those years will have to be told by him. But I knew, or learned as I grew older, what was going on among the local COGs. First, you have to understand, as I'm sure that you already do, that all of our parents were completely open about sex. It was treated as normal, and homosexuality was considered to be as normal as heterosexuality. None of us thought that Tim and Charlie, or Franklin and Phil, living together was in the least unusual. None of us had the sense that having sex with other people was wrong. We did understand that it was private; that what we could say to the other COGs and our aunts and uncles was different from what we could say to other friends, teachers, and strangers. I didn't know the term at the time, but I clearly understood that I was never to be caught up in STS (Show and Tell Syndrome). I, and the other COGs, also knew that sex was a sufficiently different topic and activity that two rules always applied: first, talk to your parents first, and second, talk to the other person before you act. I know the concept of talking to your parents first is alien to most pre-teens and teens, but we were different, and, more importantly, our parents were different.
My first story goes back to 1989, and involves Junior Bruder who was thirteen at the time. It was a fall day, and he and one of his good buddies from school, Aaron Taylor, had been riding their bikes over on the Minnesota side of the river. They saw a storm coming in from the west, but home was also to the west, so all they could do was race for the bridge. They got across the bridge dry, but the storm hit just as they got onto North Dakota soil. It was a worse than usual storm right off the plains, with rain driving like bullets. They kept riding toward home, but the lightning scared them-as indeed it should have. Junior passed Aaron and called as he went by, "Follow me." He headed to The Hideout, and just as they pulled up near the back door a loud crack of lightning suggested that they should move their butts inside, which they did. They came in the back door, soaked to the skin, and very cold. Junior told Aaron that they should strip in the laundry near the back door and then they'd head to the shower. They tossed their clothes, including their sneakers, into the dryer, started it up, and headed upstairs.
Junior took them into the master bedroom and on into the shower-Tim and Charlie's fabulous six-head shower. As we all know, it's a great shower for playing as well as washing, and it wasn't long before the two boys were using the loose shower heads to spray each other. Penises were an obvious target and soon Aaron found he was getting a little hard. Junior followed right behind.
Junior thought about the situation, and realized that it was pretty obviously sexual. He figured he had three possible courses of action: Reach out and take hold of Aaron's dick. Ask if he may. Ask if Aaron would like to go into the bedroom and masturbate with him. Junior remembered his father's advice, "If you can't talk about it, you shouldn't be doing it" the Gang mantra. So he asked Aaron if he could hold his dick.
Aaron responded to that with, "My God, Junior, I can't believe you're willing to talk about doing that, much less do it."
Junior said, "Well?"
Aaron answered by taking hold of Junior's dick and squeezing a little, to which Junior reciprocated. They held each other for a while, then started to rub each other's dick. Aaron came in Junior's hand and Junior followed right behind. Both boys seemed startled by this turn of events, and neither seemed to know what to do next. While cleaning up their dicks and hands might have seemed the obvious thing to do, Junior grabbed Aaron and hugged him. Aaron was a little startled by that, but soon hugged Junior back. Junior swore later that he really didn't know who started it, but they were soon kissing, tongue and all.
They stood there like that, warm water streaming over them, for quite a while. Finally Junior said, "We need to talk. Let's wash up, get out and dry. Then we can talk."
They got dry and headed downstairs to check on their clothes, which were a long way from being dry. So they headed back upstairs, wrapped towels around themselves and sat in two chairs in the master bedroom to talk. Junior said, "Wow, I wasn't expecting that when we went bike riding today."
"Aaron, you're a sexy kid. I've dreamed of doing things like that with you-especially when I jack off."
"How often do you jack off?"
"Almost every night."
"Me too," put in Aaron.
"When you jack off do you dream about girls or boys?"
"Both. But I guess I have to be honest. Mostly boys."
"Are you gay?"
"I don't know. Maybe. What about you?"
"My dad says that most people, if they admit it, are a little gay and a little straight. Most are more of one than the other. I think I'm a little more gay than straight, but I don't know."
"Have you ever had sex with anyone, before now?"
"Do you call what we did 'having sex'?"
"I guess. I guess I mean touching, even looking, anything that you couldn't do in the open on the playground."
Junior replied, honestly, "There's a bunch of kids I run around with that undress in front of each other. Sometimes we touch each other as we play. I've never spunked in front of anyone before."
"Me neither. Do you want to do it again sometime?"
"I think so. I want to talk to my mom and dad about it."
"Holy shit, Junior. You aren't going to tell your parents what we did this afternoon? They'll tell my parents, and all Hell will break loose."
"My folks won't tell anyone if I ask them not to. For sure they won't talk to your parents about it."
"Yes. Don't worry."
Once their clothes were dry, Junior called his dad, to me Uncle Hal, for a ride home. On the way home Junior talked about the shower. Aaron couldn't believe that Junior could talk about that sort of thing with his parents, and was surprised that Hal didn't make a very big deal out of the story. Aaron was very much afraid that the story would get back to his parents, but Uncle Hal assured him that he'd certainly respect Aaron's confidence. Hal went on, "It's a shame that you can't talk to your parents about your sexuality. You have a lot to think about, Aaron. If you need someone to talk to, you can come and talk to me anytime, with or without Junior."
Time passed and their friendship continued. The boys stopped by The Hideout several afternoons a week to shower and explore each other sexually. Of course, The Hideout isn't Junior's private preserve, and they would meet other COGs there. It took Aaron a while to realize that none of the others were bothered by what he and Junior were obviously doing. And when another COG brought a friend to The Hideout, nothing was ever said to give away what Junior and Aaron might be doing upstairs. The two boys seemed to be romantically inclined, but they weren't sure what that implied. They did talk with Hal and Sue about it, and were told that there was nothing wrong with a high school romance; they should enjoy it. They did, but both agreed that it was probably not a life-long love. Eventually, despite Aaron's misgivings, Uncle Hal and Aunt Sue invited Aaron and his parents to dinner and they got it all out in the open. Aaron's parents were shocked at first, but almost more by Hal and Sue's acceptance of the romance than by the romance itself. Not much was said about the physicality of their relationship, which suited Aaron just fine. It took getting used to, but Aaron's parents eventually got comfortable with the idea that their son might be gay. However, boys being boys, and fourteen year old boys being fourteen year old boys, just about the time that his folks were accepting that Aaron might be gay, he and Junior decided that they'd had enough of each other and start dating girls! They remained friends, but the sex between them stopped. They started spending their afternoons trading stories of their exploits with their latest girlfriends. It was at that point that Hal and Sue's advice, "Talk first; if you can't talk about it you shouldn't be doing it," served them both well.
I have to tell you about the group we called the quartet, Gary, Louise, Cam and Shel, the children of the foursome. Gary and Louise were the oldest, born at the end of 1976. Cam came along about three years later and Shel about three years after that. You've already heard of some of Shel's exploits, and can well imagine that he had little trouble keeping up with his brothers and sister, only three and six years older than he. Gary and Louise, born less than a month apart became very close friends-to the world they couldn't be brother and sister, but they thought of themselves that way. That's probably a good thing, because otherwise sex would certainly have become an issue for them. I remember them telling of an afternoon in the fall of their seventh grade year-their first in junior high school. Gary invited a friend to come over to his house after school and so did Louise. The invitations were quite independent of each other and the four kids all arrived home at about the same time. Louise suggested that they play Dungeons and Dragons, which was very popular in their junior high school right then. The other three agreed, and Gary, without thinking of the implications of this, said, "Good idea. Shel is usually the dungeonmaster, and he'll be home any minute."
Cam and Shel came in together and Gary and Louise's two guests were shocked at the idea that they were expected to play D&D with a first grader and a fourth grader, and the idea that the first grader might be the dungeonmaster was just too much. Gary calmed everyone down and said, "Let's give it a try. I promise you, Shel is a very good dungeonmaster."
"Can he read? He's just starting first grade."
Shel was unperturbed. Had he lost his cool at that moment, the afternoon would've been lost. But he calmly sat down at the table, set out the characters, dice and books, and invited everyone to pick their character. With Shel, it was very easy to forget how old he was, and the players were soon into the swing of the game, disturbed only by the passage of time and the need to head home for dinner. Word got around the junior high school that there was a good D&D game at Gary's house most days after school, with Gary's little brother as the dungeonmaster. Shel was in like Flynn.
Of course, by the time Shel was ten he was involved in figure skating and not much else. He was well supported in this by his siblings, but they didn't follow in his footsteps. Louise was very tall for a girl and played basketball in high school. Gary was clearly going to be the entrepreneur among the COGs, following Andy and Fred in the sporting goods business. He worked for Fred's Sports all through high school and by his junior year was helping with the buying. The summer after he graduated from high school they sent him down to manage one of the stores in Fargo where they'd had to fire the manager and needed an immediate replacement. At first, Andy was uncertain that Gary was ready for such an assignment, but Fred insisted that he was. By the end of the summer the problems in the store had been resolved, Gary had trained a new manager, and was ready for college-UND, of course. How would you like to have been hired to manage a sporting goods store and been told you'd be trained by a kid just out of high school? Gary pulled if off.
Cam was sandwiched between these three superachievers: Gary, Louise, and Shel. He was no slouch: he got excellent grades (if not Gary's straight As); he played ice hockey and tennis (but not with Shel's fierce determination); he was popular at school (but wasn't president of the student body as Louise had been). His parents, all four, worried that his ego couldn't stand up to the success stories of his siblings and the other COGs. Luckily, they had the good sense to voice their concerns to Cam, and not just worry behind his back. But good communication was the hallmark of the Gang, and it seemed to Andy, Jim, Amy, and Kara that this shouldn't be an exception. Cam had thought about the question a while. In fact, his immediate response was, "Let me think about that." He did, and it was almost a month later that he responded-at dinner one evening. "OK, I've been thinking about this ego thing. What you're asking me is, 'What's it like to have a brother who's going to run the biggest sporting goods store in the world, a sister who's going to at least be a senator, and a little brother who's going to win gold medals in the winter Olympics?' It's an interesting question, and the best answer that I can come up with is, 'It's kind of neat'."
Everyone decided to stop worrying about Cam's ego; he certainly wasn't.
My brother, Kevin, was about 2 Ω years older than me. He was totally absorbed in science. I grew up listening to dinner conversations that perhaps 50 people in the whole world could understand, and my brother Kevin was one of them. I soon fit in. I was 14 in 1994, when the super collider opened-on time and under budget-my God that was the mantra for the whole damn project. Nobody believed they could do it, but they did it. Kevin and I were up front at the ribbon cutting, standing very near to President Clinton. Kevin, Chelsea (who was exactly my age), and I were there to represent the "next generation" and the three of us jointly cut the ribbon. It was quite a thrill. But to the many people who told me, "Oh, that must've been the thrill of a lifetime," I answered, "Oh, I hope not. More exciting things than that better be in store."
Kevin and I went out to the collider site with any of our parents that were going and would take us. For both of us, our dream was to work with our parents at the super collider. We both were physics majors at UND, but we both took our parents' advice and went elsewhere for graduate school. Kevin went to MIT and I went to Cal Tech, mainly because everyone thought that we should absorb what different schools had to offer. Kevin and I agree on a lot, but we'll never agree on which is the second best school for particle physics. We both agree that UND, the home of the United States super collider, is number one.
Tim was worried that the university would be accused of nepotism in hiring Kevin and me for the physics faculty and the super collider staff. When they hired us, Tim insisted that the work of the search committee be reviewed by an outside review team. The chair of the group, the physics department chair at Stanford, told Tim, "If you don't hire Kevin, I will. He has a standing offer." The report on me, I'm glad to say, was just as good.
OK, Charlie wants me to talk about sex among the COGs, and I guess you are interested in that as well. I don't think Charlie's going to learn much new by reading this, but I think it insures that he and Tim will have a grand night when Charlie's bedtime reading arouses him!
Remember Tim and Charlie's Grand Adventure? I was too little to go on that trip, but in the summer of 1993 Charlie and Tim repeated an almost identical trip for the younger COGs. Twelve of us were eligible, but Auggie and Shel didn't go. They hated to miss the time with the COGs, but skating and sailing were their first loves and they reluctantly turned down the invitation to go on what ended up being called Charlie'n Tim's Grand Adventure. We took a vote between that name and Tim'n Charlie's Grand Adventure II, and the former suggestion won, by a close vote. Our adventure had a little more of an age spread than the first: Nettie was 14; Cam, Bud, myself, and Bert were 13; Peg, Perry and Ginny were 12; Max was 10; and Milt was 8. Most of us, especially we older ones, knew the stories of the first grand adventure. We knew that while the kids on that bus were used to playing together, being naked together, and having a little sex play now and then, it was that trip that really opened their eyes-especially skinny dipping in Yellowstone and the conversations, both with Tim and Charlie, and among the COGs as the trip went on. Tim and Charlie knew they were playing strip poker at night, but I don't think they knew how often or where it led. In pajamas, with only two pieces, it didn't take long to have a loser. She or he laid on the floor in a spread eagle position and the rest of the COGs explored and teased until they got tired and drifted off to bed and sleep. Bob was the oldest at age ten, so nobody ever had an orgasm. But it was a lot of fun and set the stage for further activity over the years. And they all learned a lot of useful anatomy.
Well, we weren't about to be outdone on our trip. Unlike the first adventure, this trip wasn't a surprise; it was well planned and we all knew what to expect. Before we left, Nettie and Cam, being the oldest, talked to Tim and Charlie about sex. Cam said, "Look, we have a good group of kids that have passed puberty, and the younger kids are not exactly strangers to the concept of sex. We're going to be crammed into a pretty small bus. Can everybody deal with the idea that sex is going to happen; perhaps quite a bit of it?"
Tim said, "By everybody, I suppose you mean Charlie and me?"
"Sure. But our parents as well."
Charlie said, "I guess we'd better follow the rule, Talk first. Let's get everybody together, including parents, and see what they think."
Cam organized the meeting, and took the lead in the conversation when we all got together at The Hideout. He said pretty much the same thing to the whole group as he'd said to Tim and Charlie. Merle responded first. "Well, my two boys are the youngest on the trip, and I'd guess that you all would expect me to be the most hesitant about responding to Cam, since I was the most reluctant participant in the sexual games of our generation." That was probably new information for most of the COGs, and certainly for Max and Milt. I could imagine some conversations at home that evening.
Merle continued, "But I've learned a lot in this Gang, and one of my lessons has been that telling kids they can't do things, especially sexual things, is counter-productive. So my response to Cam's question, and to all the kids on the adventure is this: At your age, no fucking. And no pushing anybody into something he or she isn't completely comfortable with."
The other parents nodded their heads, and finally somebody said, "Did we really have to have a meeting to conclude that?"
Tim responded to that with, "Yes, we did. Getting it all out on the table, everybody clear and on board, is very important. It's been one of the keys to the success of the Gang, and to its members' successes as parents. And, I'll speak for Paul and Amanda who couldn't be here: they'll go along with those rules."
You might have expected that the trip was one grand orgy from beginning to end. It wasn't. It's amazing how much of a damper on illicit activity permission can be. It's no longer illicit!
I don't want to suggest that there wasn't quite a bit of sex, especially among the older ones. We knew of the strip poker game from the first adventure and one of our first nights we tried it. Max was the loser that night, and Milt was ecstatic. He giggled and said, "Spread out, Max. I've been waiting years for this opportunity. Max got tickled more than anything, but it included his dick and balls. Milt was a demon, and Max an easy victim, sensitive and vocal. Max warned Milt that retribution would follow when his inevitable loss came. That didn't happen for quite a while, and Milt teased Max about it. Then Max was the loser again one night, and Milt repeated his performance. On the second to last night Milt found himself naked, facing a delighted Max. We all held Milt down and encouraged Max to do his best, Milt deserved it. The trouble was, Milt just lay there calmly and absorbed everything Max could do. He didn't respond to the tickling. His dick even refused to rise to the occasion. Following Max's failure, we all tried to tickle him, arouse him, or just plain annoy him. Nothing; he looked like he was ready to go to sleep!
Before you get the wrong idea, you need to know that Milt and Max were best of friends, though frequent and fierce competitors. Every night they slept together wrapped in each other's arms, often rubbing their often hard penises together. They shared a room and bed together at home as well.
We did play strip poker most nights as we went to sleep. We didn't pay much attention, but I think that Charlie and Tim sometimes would watch through the door to their bedroom. They never interfered or became involved. Boys made better losers than girls for obvious reasons-at least older boys that had reached puberty. That included Cam, Bud and Bert. Of these, Bert was the first to be a loser. Cam let him get spread eagled on a foam mattress and then he said, "OK, I'm going to demonstrate how a boy works." He tickled Bert's balls and dick until he was very hard, and then he wrapped his fist around his dick and jacked him off, very gently. It didn't take long before Bert had squirted his cum, clearly somewhat embarrassed. However, it wasn't his first time and he knew what was coming. In fact, the three boys, Cam, Bud and Bert had talked about the game. They all knew what was coming and all were ready.
Just as he came Bert said, "OK, Cam, you know the deal." Cam bent his head over Bert, stuck his tongue out and tasted Bert's cum. Bert said, "Are you chicken, aren't you going to suck it?"
"We said taste."
"So, you're chicken?"
"I am not."
Cam opened his mouth and seemed to swallow all of Bert's dick. When his dick slid out of Cam's mouth, all the cum was gone. Bert said, "OK, you aren't chicken."
Cam said, "You'd better not be when you jack me off."
The next night the three big boys announced a rule. He or she who jacked off one of them had to suck their cock and eat their cum. I was the only girl brave enough to do it. The rest just watched.
Most of the time on the trip we were in public places where sex was inappropriate, and that didn't bother us. It was, after all, a sightseeing trip, not an orgy. We did find the same hot spring for skinny dipping that the earlier adventure had found-thanks to Tim's good memory. By that time the group had begun to pair off. Cam and I were the first to become sort of a pair, following by Nettie and Bud and then Bert and Peg. Max and Milt were always a pair, and that left Perry and Jennie together for sleeping. It didn't seem to bother them, but clearly the romances that were budding with the other pairs weren't budding with Perry and Jennie. They insisted that they didn't mind, and completely enjoyed the trip.
Actually, the only romance that survived the trip and lasted was that of Cam and me. I talked with Nettie after the trip, asking her about how she and Bud were getting along. "Oh, Bud's too much in love with his computer. He admits it. Maybe someday we'll get back together, but right now I want to date boys that have time to play."
"How much did you two do on the trip?"
"You went further with Bud than I did. The second time he lost in strip poker and you jacked him off and sucked him clean. I've never gone that far with him. I don't think I'm ever going to be ready to eat a boy's cum."
"Oh, you'll get used to it. It tastes rather good. Well, I guess interesting is a better word. But I like it."
"I take it you and Cam are into oral sex."
"I think I'm in love with Cam, but we're both pretty young. Yes, we're into oral sex, big time."
"At The Hideout, and at both of our houses."
"The Gang is quite a group. Are there any other kids at school whose parents would permit that?"
"No. Maybe they have it right and our parents have it wrong."
"I don't think so. I watch the kids our age. The boys're always pushing the girls for more. If they get their hands on a boob, they want to be in your pants. They want to get your clothes off; then have you take theirs off. They aren't satisfied until they've fucked you. If you're lucky they use a condom. And not many romances last long after the boy's had his fuck. I think the fact that it's all forbidden fruit has a lot to do with it."
I said, "I think you're right. Cam doesn't push at all. We're content with our tongues. I'd guess that by this time next year he'll be fucking me. We've talked about it. But I'll be on the pill, and I may make him use condoms anyway. There are no babies in our near future."
"Good for you."
Junior Bruder didn't turn out to be the runner that I think his father dreamed he'd be. He liked baseball too much. He was a pitcher, and by his junior year of high school was the best in the city league. Hal was content with that. He told his boys that he was going to be proud of any success, and would be delighted to have a baseball player or a computer programmer in the family. "Jody can be my son, the runner. You two can be my sons, your own persons. Just be the best you can be." He meant it, and his boys knew he meant it.
In fall of 1995 Cam turned sixteen and I would be sixteen the following spring; we were both beginning tenth grade, Cam at Central High and me at Red River. We met nearly every day after school, usually at The Hideout. One day, as we approached The Hideout together Cam said, "I want to fuck you. It's time. I know I'm in love with you. I don't want to wait any more."
"Are you talking about fucking me this afternoon?"
"No, I'm not. This may sound strange for a teenager, but I'm not going to fuck you without your parents knowing about it, and mine. They've been too good to us to do it behind their backs. And you should be on the pill. I don't have a condom in my pocket. So, not today. Probably not tomorrow. but soon, if that's what you want."
"Oh, I do, Cam. I love you. I'm sure it's forever, even if we are teenagers. You know, it's been the pattern in the Gang for kids to fall in love as teens, and it seems always to work out."
"It all started with Tim at age 14. I don't think the issue is age. It's how much in love you are and how serious about it you are. I'm completely in love with you and dead serious. Kay, I want you to marry me. Maybe I ought to hear you say, 'Yes,' to that before I ask you to fuck me."
"Oh, yes, Cam. But let's not be engaged yet. We're just going steady, or whatever the words kids are using now. Let's set up a time to get our parents together and talk about fucking."
Well, it was quite a meeting. Cam had four parents, Jim, Andy, Amy, and Kara, and I had three, Ronnie, Kyle, and Sharon. Siblings invited themselves, too. At first it was going to be older siblings (who knew about the gathering because it was discussed at dinner), but trying to keep Shel out would've been like trying to stop a tornado. Cam and I had asked for the meeting with our parents without giving a subject, so no one knew what was on our minds, though I think several had guessed. When we all gathered at Cam's house, down in the basement playroom, Cam thanked the parents for coming, suggested to the siblings that they really didn't need to be there (for all the good that did him), and got straight to the point. "Aunt Sharon, Uncle Ronnie, Uncle Kyle, Kay and I are in love. We plan to be married, but we aren't formally engaged yet. It's time for us to share ourselves completely, but we'll do nothing behind your backs. May I take your daughter to bed and have intercourse with her?"
Intercourse! Do you believe that vocabulary? He just couldn't bring himself to ask, "Can I fuck your daughter?"
Shel said, "Yes, I knew that was what this was about!"
Gary, his older brother, said, "Shut up, Shel, or I'll sit on you."
Shel got the message and shut up, instead of saying something like, "You and what brickyard?"
Kyle said, "You mean you haven't fucked her yet? What've you been doing all those afternoons upstairs in her room or at The Hideout?"
Ronnie said, "Oh, Kyle, you shut up, too. You know they haven't been having intercourse."
There was that word again. I said, "Look, the word is fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Will you all please use it? Intercourse is for sex ed classes."
Sharon said, "Yes, Cam, you may fuck Kay, and you don't need our permission. But you have no idea how wonderful it is that you asked, and in this forum. Shel may be teasing you, but he's learning an important lesson watching you. All of your siblings are. Kay, we'll get an appointment with Dr. Petersen just as soon as we can, and get you a prescription for the pill. I assume that you can wait, Cam."
"I've waited two years, I can wait a week or so."
It was five weeks later, in my own bed, following a wonderful dinner cooked by my mother, and with a send-off by my brother Kevin that included an offer to help if Cam needed it, that I lost my virginity. Cam very tenderly undressed me and then himself. He picked up his pants and reached into a pocket and got out a condom. It was bright neon green, with lots of ribbing. Then he reached into his other pocket an got out another, this one just a clear plastic sheath. He held them both up and asked me to choose. I'll have to admit the green and the ribs were tempting, but I choose the other; I wanted it to be as invisible and as little a part of the experience as possible. Cam said, "You're on the pill, we could skip it."
"I've only been on the pill a little over four weeks. That's too soon for a guarantee."
Cam handed me the condom and said, "You put it on me." He has a pretty big dick and it rolled down tightly. I straddled him and slipped down over his dick. My God, what a feeling. I bounced up and down a little and Cam came so quickly it was almost sad it was over so soon. He said, "Not to worry, we're going to have lots of chances to do that for the rest of our lives. But I'm too soft to finish you, shall I use my tongue?"
"Oh, yes, Cam, please." He did, and it was wonderful. The next afternoon, his big dick, with the green ribbed condom, stayed hard long enough to give me an orgasm!
Cam and I went to UND, and then I went to Cal Tech for graduate school. Cam was well aware that his undergraduate background in history wasn't going to open the doors of Cal Tech to him, but that didn't bother him. I suggested that we consider a good school like Michigan or Berkeley where he could pursue history and me physics. He wouldn't even consider that option. "You belong at Cal Tech, and that's that. It won't be discussed further. My role for the next few years is to support you. That may be my role for the rest of our lives. I think I could enjoy that."
Cam enrolled at USC in history, working on a master's degree. He never admitted it, but I don't think he ever had any career ambitions in history, or for that matter in anything. He spent four years getting an M.A. in history, in the process writing a master's thesis about the Texas revolutionary war with Mexico, of which the Alamo is the most famous incident. His thesis was that that war was as much about preserving slavery in Texas as the Civil War almost thirty years later was about preserving slavery in all of the South. His advisor was convinced that the work was of Ph.D. quality, but Cam was quite content with an M.A. and a publishable thesis, which he did turn into a book, which was well reviewed and had a modicum of success.
But Cam's real interest in this world was me, Kay Littleton, particle physicist, Professor of Physics at the University of North Dakota, and Cam's wife since midway through our college years. He was a househusband before the term was in common usage, and a damn good one. He wasn't just content in his role, he was enthusiastic about it. And when the time came he was a damn good stay-at-home dad.
Paul and Amanda's two children, Nettie and Perry, spent a lot of their time in the summer in Grand Forks being COGs. The rest of the year, they were in Ironwood, which their parents had to admit wasn't the most stimulating of environments. Paul and Amanda did their best to provide excitement and stimulation for their kids, including trips to Grand Forks as frequently as possible. They were very eager that Nettie and Perry feel part of the Gang and that the Gang get to know them well. The four years that Willie spent in Iron River were exciting for Nettie and Perry. They made their way to as many of Willie's meets as they could, and became good friends with Hardie as well as Willie. But Willie was six years older than Nettie and eight years older than Perry, and Hardie two years more than that. The age difference was very limiting in what Nettie and Perry could get out of the relationship.
Nettie had a series of boyfriends that she dated and enjoyed, until they pushed for more sex than she was willing to give. In the UP boys pretty much expected girls to "give" and Nettie, with the full support of her parents, wasn't willing to live up to their expectations. Finally, in the fall of her senior year she started dating Marshall Chalmers. Marshall was kind of a nerd, an athletic zero, not handsome, but not ugly either, but as far as Nettie was concerned he was Prince Charming. He was kind, treated her nicely as some of her previous boyfriends had not, and was obviously completely smitten by her. They'd known each other all through school, but hadn't paid much attention to each other. Their relationship started with Marshall asking Nettie if she could let him borrow her class notes for a day he'd been absent. The relationship grew slowly, but steadily, from there and by Christmas they were dating regularly. Just before Christmas Nettie told Marshall that she'd be spending the holiday in Grand Forks with her family. "Would you like to come along?"
That was 1996 and Christmas was on a Wednesday; school got out the previous Friday. As was the norm for Paul, Amanda and their family, they left right after school on Friday, spent the night in Superior, and headed on to Grand Forks on Saturday. The usual pattern was for the parents to share a room and for Perry and Nettie to share a room. They had their usual two rooms booked, and at dinner Paul asked how the kids would like to split up the rooms. Nettie had suggested that she sleep with her parents and Perry and Marshall share a room, and that was agreed. When they got to the motel, about 9:00 p.m., Perry and Marshall headed up to bed. As they were about to get undressed Perry said, "I think you're with the wrong sibling. I'd be glad to take you to bed, and the sex would probably be interesting, but I'll bet you'd prefer to sleep with Nettie."
"What are you talking about? Nettie's in with her parents. And I don't really think I want to have sex with you, Perry."
"Why not? Does the idea of having sex with a boy turn you off?"
"Honestly, no. You're a sexy guy. But I think I'm in love with your sister, and having sex with you wouldn't be fair to her."
"Boy, Marshall, you score all kinds of points with this family for that answer. Marshall, you've been set up. Nettie's all set to spend the night with you, her parents are OK with it, and I have to decide whether I want to watch you two or watch my parents. I think I'd rather watch you two, but I'll bet you'd rather I watched my parents. I'll go get Nettie."
Nettie and her parents were in the room across the hall, and she made it to the room with Marshall in just an instant. Marshall couldn't believe what was happening. "Your parents know what's going on?"
"And they're OK with it?"
"Yes. I have pretty cool parents. Just what do you think is going to go on tonight?"
"I haven't the slightest idea. This is all completely new to me. Nettie, I've never been with a girl at all. Never seen one naked except for my mom, and in our family that's pretty rare. I'm scared shitless about tonight."
"Don't be, Marshall. It's time. We're seniors; we'll be going to college next year. Most of our contemporaries in Ironwood have been having sex for two or three years or more."
"That doesn't make it right."
"And it doesn't make it wrong. It's how you treat a girl, and why and how you have sex with her that makes it right or wrong. Whatever we do tonight, it's going to be right."
"Perry says you were cool about his suggestion that you have sex with him. Have you ever had sex with a boy?"
"My brother Tom and I masturbate together. Well, we do each other sometimes. God, I can't believe I'm telling you this. It's my deepest, darkest secret."
"It may be a deep secret, but it isn't a dark one. I'll tell you a secret now. If you weren't along, Perry and I would be sharing this room and we'd masturbate each other. I'd use my hand, and he'd use his tongue."
"My God. Do your parents suspect?"
"I don't think suspect is the right word. They know. We've told them. In fact, we all talked about brother/sister sex before anything happened."
"And they're cool with it?"
"It worried them a little at first. Dad admitted that he was aware of a lot of boys that played around with their brothers. If that wasn't bad, he didn't see anything wrong with Perry and me, as long as we didn't fuck. We don't come close."
"What're we going to do tonight?"
"Nothing if you don't take your clothes off." As she spoke, Nettie removed most of hers.
"I've never been naked in front of a girl. Maybe we should turn the light off."
"No, no. I want to see you. It's part of the thrill. And, yes, Marshall, you're going to have a hard-on. I know what that is, don't be embarrassed."
"I can't help but be."
"You want help with those buttons on your jeans? I'd like to help."
Nettie pushed aside his fumbling hands and opened the buttons on Marshall's fly. Then she pushed down his jeans and his boxers right afterward. She was right, he had a whale of a hard-on, and was very embarrassed. Nettie took hold of his dick and kissed it on the end. She realized that this was almost more than Marshall could stand, and that if she didn't slow down he was going to come right then and there. "Easy, Marshall. Step out of your pants and lie down on the bed. She lay beside him and they kissed, more deeply and more passionately than they ever had. She worked down his body and kissed his dick again, and with a very few flicks of the tongue on his balls and back to his dick, he came. Now he was totally embarrassed, but Nettie calmed him down and got him to lay back down and enjoy her playing in his cum. Eventually she guided his hand to her cunt and she encouraged him to give her a pleasurable orgasm.
In Grand Forks they all stayed in the Hideout. It was just assumed that Marshall and Nettie would share a room, and much to Marshall's surprise Shel appeared the second evening after they arrived and spent the night with Perry. A few nights later Marshall heard a knocking on the door. He and Nettie were naked, but under the covers. Nettie, quite unperturbed, called out, "Come in."
Shel and Perry walked in, both quite naked. Perry said, "Marshall, if you're uncomfortable with all of this, say so and we'll leave. But there's nothing going on behind anyone's back here. We're pretty sure that you'd enjoy sex with me, and Shel would love to be sucked by Nettie. Are you game?"
Nettie smiled at Marshall and said, "You've been set up. You don't have to go along, and I won't hold it against you. I'll love you no matter what. But, believe me, these kids are fun and you'll enjoy the night with them."
He did, and he got quite an education in the process.
I told you that romance between Bert and Peg that started on the adventure to Glacier Park didn't last. It didn't, but it did rekindle. Twelve was just too young, but sixteen and in high school (he a junior and she in tenth grade) was just right. They started dating and soon were, in their words "an item." Bert and Peg were probably the closest to normal of any of the COGs. They weren't sports stars; they weren't geniuses; they weren't famous artists. They were good solid kids, getting good grades, enjoying school activities, more involved in sports as spectators than participants, and thoroughly enjoying adolescence. They weren't into drugs. They didn't drink. They were into sex! With each other and from time to time with others in the Gang.
Their parents, Carl and Carol (Bert) and Tom and Nancy (Peg), were delighted with their kids, and with the fact that the kids seemed to be falling in love. They realized that high school romances weren't necessarily long lasting, but the romances of both sets of parents had begun in high school, so they didn't see any reason to doubt that their kids' romance might start in high school and be as lasting as their parents.
Carl and Carol had the same worry for Bert that the foursome had regarding Cam. How would the superachiever status of Nels affect his brother Bert? At sixteen Nels was an Olympic star and gold medalist. It's a tough act for a younger brother to follow. Carl and Carol asked some of the other Gang parents, in particular the foursome. Andy (the non-Olympian to Jim's silver medalist status) suggested that they might encourage Bert to talk to Cam, who seemed to have made perfect peace with the superachiever status of his siblings. Cam and Bert did talk, and quite easily reached a simple conclusion: "What's the big deal? We aren't worried, don't you be."
Bert and Peg talked about college, and where they wanted to go. Bert had asked her, "Do we want to stay here in Grand Forks as part of the Gang, or would we like four years somewhere else?"
Peg replied, "You know, we have to make a far more important decision. Are we going to spend our lives in Grand Forks as part of the Gang, or are we going to strike out on our own? It just might be that going to school away from Grand Forks would give us a better perspective."
"How far away? We could try to have the best of both worlds, and go to NDSU in Fargo."
"If we're going away, we need to go away. If you talk to Uncle Tim and Uncle Charlie they'll tell you that the best schools are in the Midwest, or maybe the West. For a big university we should go to one of the big public universities of the Midwest, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, or may be California. For a small school one of the small liberal arts schools in the Midwest: Oberlin, Carleton, Grinnell, maybe Colorado College."
"Why not some of the big names in the East?"
"Uncle Charlie says they tend to be very snobbish. The students tend to be snobbish almost more than the schools. He really strongly suggests that the COGs avoid them."
"Tim and Charlie give good advice. I wouldn't want to ignore it."
"There are some very liberal schools that are intriguing: Reed, Antioch, Evergreen, Sarah Lawrence, a few others."
"There's something kind of boring about a school where everyone is expected to be liberal. I think it might be more fun to be in a place where being a liberal set you apart, rather than made you one of the crowd."
"Big school or little school?"
"We're both mature enough to handle a big school, and we have each other to watch out for us. But then there's Tim's, "Elephant in a puddle," argument."
"You know, Peg, I don't think that either one of us is trying to set the world on fire. We don't need a small puddle."
"I think that classes would be much the same wherever we went. Oh, we might get some big name professors at a big university, but not often. To me the big issue at a large university is in the extra-curriculars. At a big school the newspaper is run by the journalism majors. Art shows feature art majors. The debate team is dominated by kids who devote almost full time to it. Theater is for theater majors-the productions are of almost professional quality. That's great for the audience, but not for the little guy who hopes to appear in community theater from time to time throughout his life."
"You've thought this through a lot, haven't you?"
"I guess I have."
"You'd like to go to a small school?"
"I guess I would."
"I don't know."
"Don't kid me, Peg. You haven't thought this much and not taken the next step. Be honest."
"That's near Rockford where Charlie went. What about Rockford?"
"Charlie says Beloit is a step up, but that Rockford is very good."
"What about schools like Grinnell, Carleton, and others?"
"I like the idea that Beloit's near Chicago. Chicago is quite a city; I think it would be exciting to have easy access to the city."
"What about going to school in the city. I'm not sure what's in Chicago, McAllister is in Minneapolis; that would be interesting."
"Nothing compares with Chicago except New York and San Francisco, and those don't appeal."
"Beloit it is." I have to note that what was written here as a single conversation actually took place over a month or so, and both Bert and Peg thought about it, asked questions, and did some research.
Bert was much more in love with Peg than with choosing a college. He was quite content to let her lead. But there was one problem, she was a year behind him in school. They were both born in 1980, but he was born in April and she in October. Bert said, "I'd really like to spend all four years at school at the same time you're there. I'll get a job and delay college for a year."
"There's nothing wrong with that idea," said Peg, "many kids find the extra year of maturity is good for them. On the other hand, I think you're ready. Why don't we see if I can get early admission-skip my senior year."
"You'll miss a lot in your senior year, the prom, graduation, just being top dog all year."
"Not exactly a big deal. I'll look into early admission and if it can't be worked out, you can sit out a year. Let's do have the four years together."
With almost straight A's it wasn't difficult to persuade Beloit College that Peg would make a good freshman student. She also proved to be a good negotiator. She made it very clear that she and Bert were together, both would be paying full tuition, and she didn't even have to hint that if they didn't make it this year they might not apply again a year later. As I've noted before, good solid full tuition paying students are highly sought after by small liberal arts colleges, and Beloit was no exception. I really can't say how much considerations like that figured into the school's acceptance, but you can be damn sure they weren't ignored.
Bert and Peg were off to college together in the fall of 1998. They lived in the dormitories for the first two years and then they decided they'd like to spend their last two years as married students. The marriage took place in Beloit, just as their sophomore year ended. A huge percentage of the Gang came, escorted by Fred, of course. It was quite an affair, and the two of them set off on a bicycle trip of the upper Midwest and Ontario. They covered 2,000 miles, four states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota) and two Canadian provinces (Manitoba and Ontario). It was quite a honeymoon. They came back fit as fiddles, brown as bears, and happy as larks.
Wow, I've pushed this story ahead. Charlie is going to have to back up, a lot happened to all of the Gang between 1992 and 1998, and I didn't begin to tell it all. I hope you do have a sense of what the COGs had been up to.
Lest I leave you with a false sense of the sexuality of the COGs let me end with this disclaimer. Sex among us was accepted, but never dominated. We were all taught by our parents that it was a normal part of life, and we accepted it that way. If, in telling some of this story, I've made it seem more important than it was, well that's just story-telling. I leave you with one thought as you reflect on the sex we had as teens: No member of the Gang, and no COG has ever gotten pregnant except when it was planned. That's a good record and I think it speaks for itself. No divorces either. That's an even more remarkable record, and it speaks for itself. I stand proud of, and not the least embarrassed by, this story.
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