Friday, September 8, 2023

A Box of His/Her Treasures

By Paula Gaikowski

The old Maine farmhouse stood silent in its corner of the world. Its hidden treasure lay dormant, tucked away from the prying eyes of the world, forgotten by those who had once cherished it, the box, a piece of personal history lost to memory.

Years turned into decades and the farmhouse continued to guard its secret. Perhaps it was stashed away in a dusty attic concealed in the darkness of an abandoned room or relegated to the depths of a basement corner. As the seasons changed and generations passed, the box's significance faded into obscurity, its story locked away waiting for the right moment to resurface.

Then one fateful day, the farmhouse's secret was revealed. The box, once cherished and hidden, found itself amidst the bustle of a church yard sale. Tossed aside as just another forgotten box of stuff, it waited patiently for someone to recognize its value beyond its worn exterior. And that someone, a person who understood the emotions and struggles behind the box, would breathe life back into this long-lost treasure, ensuring that the story it held within would be told once more.

In a small Maine town, I was volunteering at out Labor Day yard sale. This annual event draws donations from across the community and it was here that I discovered an unusual vestige of the past, tucked away amongst the numerous boxes of items on display.

Among the treasures and memorabilia, my eyes were drawn to an old wooden box, its weathered exterior hinting at years of stories held within. The box had once been secured with a padlock, a safeguard for its precious contents. As I opened it, an assortment of women’s clothing, large sized high heels, foundation garments, stockings, old lipstick, makeup brushes, and most notably, a wig, greeted my eyes. 

As femulators, many of us have had creative hiding places for our clothes and feminine accessories. To coin a phrase, it takes one to know one. Other persons, my fellow volunteers, just saw an old box of clothing. But to me, it was a guarded collection that seemed to whisper secrets of a life lived in shadows, far from the prying eyes of the world.

The clothing, perfectly preserved from the 1960s, was a heartbreaking testament to the struggles and the identity of its previous owner. As a transgender person, I couldn’t help but feel an immediate connection, a sense of camaraderie with the individual who had cherished these possessions. It was as if their silent history resonated with my own journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

The 1960s in Maine, like much of America, was a time of established social conservatism. For transgender individuals, it meant navigating a world filled with secrecy, guilt and fear. Each time this mysterious figure slipped into these clothes, applied makeup and donned that wig, it must have been a courageous act of self-expression, a defiance of the norms of their era.

What went unsaid within that wooden box was the incredible courage it took to maintain this hidden collection. I pictured this person in the solitude of a cold and dark Maine winter night  seeking solace and identity in the sanctuary of her secret world.

Though separated by decades, I felt an undeniable connection to the owner of these belongings. I longed to reach back in time and offer a message of understanding, support and acceptance. Regrettably, all I could do was silently pledge to remember to honor and ensure that the memory of this mysterious figure endured.

In a world that has made substantial progress in embracing diversity and inclusion, this discovery served as a poignant reminder of how far we have come. It also underscored the importance of continuing to advocate for the rights and dignity of transgender individuals today.

As I reflect on this noteworthy encounter, I am reminded that history often speaks to us in whispers. Sometimes it takes something as simple as an old box of clothes to bridge the gap between generations, kindle empathy and ensure that the struggles and triumphs of those who paved the way are not forgotten.

In this silent connection, I find hope and a solemn promise that our collective journey toward understanding, acceptance and love for all will persist, leaving no one behind and preserving the memories of those who, against all odds, dared to be themselves.

Source: Rue La La
Wearing Rue La La

Sam Brown and Darren Trumeter
Sam Brown and Darren Trumeter femulating on a 2007 episode of television’s The Whitest Kids U'Know.


  1. Your post always makes me wonder what our kids would say if my wife and I were to pass away together in some terrible accident. Heck with the yard sales, they could open a woman clothing store.

  2. Lovely post Paula- thankyou

  3. Thank you for a compelling article - as a closeted cross dresser from the late 60's, your prose transported me back to that time.

  4. Wonderful story Paula! Well written. Great that you recognized the instant bond with an earlier generation of femulators. This story now lives on thanks to you. It would have been sad if someone else had bought this and unknowingly lost the story forever. We can all relate in spirit! Some things never change.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wow, I can relate to that. As a young adult I was mostly a closeted crossdresser. I began to store my supply of women's clothing in a foot locker which I'd used in college. Inside I stored my lingerie, pantyhose, assorted outfits that were carefully folded into plastic bags. A wig was kept too. On days when I was home alone, I'd climb into our attic, pull out a couple of outfits and dress myself up as a woman and simply savor all the feminine feelings I felt.

    My wife never approved of my crossdressing, but she knew of my stash and we maintained a "don't ask, don't tell," policy between us. She didn't want to know when I dressed up as a woman, but she didn't forbid me to either.

    Around the time that our son graduated from college and was returning to live at home, our attic became infested with mold. Everything had to be taken out for remediation. I didn't know what to do with my trunk. I couldn't take it to my office and I didn't want it out in our home where anyone could see it and ask questions.

    Finally, I told my wife that I was removing everything from it and disposing of it. She asked me if I was certain that I wanted to do that and I said that I was. The trunk also contained some photos of me dressed as a woman and I burnt all of them with their negatives on our grill. It was a total purging.

    I haven't dressed up in some time, but the desire is still there. However, for now my secret is still safe from the rest of my family and friends. I know many would handle it differently, but I think what I did was right for me.

    Oh, and soon I'm going to become a grandfather for the first time. I can't wait!


  6. Paula, what a wonderful story. Thanks for posting. While things are a bit better these days, it was much rougher back then. I feel for those people in the past.

  7. brought a tear to my eye

  8. Wonderful. Beautifully written. Thank you for posting.

  9. You wonder.. what was the reaction when the (presumed heirs) opened the padlock? Shock? Or.... did they always sort of know? To be ignored if they never actually saw? Or would they have accepted... but couldn't reach out themselves?

    1. My general feeling is, that the original owner lost track of the box because of an injury, old age or perhaps death. My Intuition tells me that the true contents of the box was never recognized by those who cleaned out the barn these old barns in Maine are huge and often filled with decades of accumulation, I’m guessing whoever picked up the box just thought it was some old clothes and never made the connection just a note the box itself was well crafted out of Pine with sturdy hinges and of course a clasp for a padlock on the front I’m guessing the original owner built it just for a certain purpose, it was purchased at the yard sale by someone looking for on eclectic looking antique Paula G

  10. Paula
    Is it worth getting pictures of the dresses, as selfies if they fit, and keeping an eye on 1960s/70s Tgirl pictures to see if any turn up on their original owners?

    1. The box along with its contents is gone, never thought of that idea it would be interesting to match a face or person to this anonymous figure or perhaps this person is all of us? Paula G

  11. AnonymousJuly 08, 2024

    I am a CD whose been dressing since I was 8 years old in 1965. I never own clothes until 1975 when I was 16. I crossdressed for a long time closeted. I established an entire Type A male personality to cover my female side. When I joined the military in 1980, it was illegal with a dishonorable discharge. That added to the excitement of doing something totally taboo. I'd dress whenever I could. Wife never knew. Even today. I still crossdress and in the past took it to the next level as a beta sissy for men, doing things that brought out the real me to others. I did allot of that up until 2016. Kind of stopped there. Still have several bins of sexy clothes in a storage I'll visit when I have the urge. Lots of guilt in me and all. No one suspects.