When I was a kid in the mid-1960s, my mother worked in a discount department store that went out of business long before the arrival of Wal*Marts and K*Marts. Mom worked the 5 to 10 PM shift in the fabrics department, cutting yards of fabric for customers to take home to sew.
Everyday, my Dad, who worked 7 AM to 3:30 PM, would send us kids to bed around 9:30 PM and then drove across town to pick up my mother from work. During that drive, we were supposed to go to sleep. Sometimes I fell asleep, sometimes I did not.
On those nights I did not fall asleep, I would hear my parents come home and listen to them exchange stories about their day. I don't remember many of their stories, but I do remember a story concerning one of my mother's customers. Evidently, this woman was a regular customer, became friendly with my mother, and confided with her that all the fabrics and dress patterns she had been purchasing were for outfits she sewed for her son. The boy was about my age and preferred dressing as a girl; his mother willingly complied with his wishes. At one point, the woman brought her son to the store dressed as a girl and my mother remarked that he was a very pretty girl.
As you can imagine, this story impressed me. I wished I was that boy. I wondered if my mother would do the same for me.
My mother was a whiz at the sewing machine and sewed outfits for her and my sister. I am sure if I confided in her, she would have sewn a few dresses for me, too.