My Uncle Dow's Girlie Magazines Gave Me Many Priceless Life Lessons
Uncle Dow, This Is For YOU!
My favorite uncle of all-time was Dow Terry of Hamilton, Alabama. Dow was married to my mother, Mary Dean (Lee) Avery’s middle sister, Roberta (Lee) Terry, commonly known as “Robbie.” I loved my uncle Dow more than any book can record or any orator can talk about.
Dow was just Dow. All of the time. Anywhere Dow was, he was Dow. No pretence. No false-fronts. Just who and what he was, a citizen of Hamilton, Alabama who worked for the county (who then) was in charge of our local hospital, Lister Hill Hospital, on Military Street in Hamilton. Uncle Dow was an orderly and was very good at his job.
Uncle Dow was a man of medium height and always wore a crew-cut. I guess that was an influence from his Army days in World War II where he served as a Master Sergeant and when the war with Germany was over, Dow brought home a few colorful memories along with some vintage German souvenirs--one being a knife with a red swastika that he said was worn by a German soldier. I wasn’t at the age to question uncle Dow.
My uncle Dow always wore Liberty overalls and smoked unfiltered Pall Mall cigarettes that he kept in an aqua colored plastic cigarette holder in his shirt pocket. When you saw Dow, you saw him puffing on a Pall Mall. This was part of his image--smoking Pall Mall’s, talking and laughing with friends who numbered so many that I cannot mention them here.
My uncle Dow was a true man’s man. He loved to tell edgy filthy jokes and laugh with his buddies as they told and retold his humorous punch lines over and over. But Dow was not one for telling his racy jokes when womenfolk were near. Dow had a place of respect in his heart for women.
Dow fit the pattern for being the perfect uncle. Every boy should have been blessed with an uncle Dow, for now I find that my life was made richer and deeper just by knowing uncle Dow--watching and listening to him as he lived his life to the fullest. Dow knew just about everything that all perfect uncles know. But he never flaunted his worldly-wisdom to anyone. Dow was more than comfortable just being in the sanctity of his own space in life. Dow was a simple man of simple needs at heart.
Uncle Dow loved to drink alcohol, not the store-bought kind, but home brew that he loved to make in aunt Robbie’s kitchen and store it in the gallon size plastic milk jugs that he kept in their refrigerator. He loved his own brew for as he was quick to tell anyone, “That “BLANK” bonded whiskey is just to “BLANK” high!” Dow loved to save his money. Some of my family said after he passed away, that he was cheap. I disagree with that thinking. Dow did more in secret for people in and off his job at Lister Hill Hospital than most people do in public. Dow was not one for marching in his own one-man parade. No, my uncle Dow wasn’t much on attending church on a regular basis, but what he lacked in disciplined spirituality, he made up for in serving his neighbors sick and healthy with whatever means he could use to make their lives a little easier--sometimes by sharing the produce he grew each spring in his vegetable garden and uncle Dow had a green thumb and could grow collard greens on a rock if he so desired.
And yes, uncle Dow used profanities like I use water for drinking. Dow used what some people call “friendly cussing,” that is, he never thought it a sin to speak in honesty whatever was on his mind at the time. Dow didn’t hide his opinion from anyone--sinner or saint.
I told you all of this about my uncle Dow to tell you this. It was by pilfering around in uncle Dow and aunt Robbie’s storage room that I first knew that I was hitting puberty at the tender age of eleven. It was a scary time for me. My voice had now changed from an understandable pitch to a squeaky-sounding, bird-like chirp when I talked. I kept my mouth shut a lot at this time my life.
One Saturday evening while my mom and dad were visiting with my uncle Dow and aunt Robbie--dad and Dow outside talking men stuff and mom and her sister, Robbie in the kitchen sharing gossip about neighbors, I found myself in a semi-darkened storage room that soon I would call a “private gold mine” when I discovered Dow’s secret stash of vintage girlie books.
Now I ask you. What normal, red-blooded male in America hasn’t had the sudden pleasure of discovering the real world of men and women on the pages of men’s magazines such as: Stag, Men’s Adventure, and Real Detective Stories? I am not ashamed of my newly-found wisdom about women and how they operated as I hurriedly opened each magazine and found myself hypnotized as the photos of scantily-clad girls met my wide-open eyes and the stories I read were literal pulp masterpieces. And I was careful not to tear any of the pages of each magazine as I would put them back (in order) the way that I had found them--underneath aunt Robbie’s homemade winter quilts that she had stored in this oak cabinet. And when we would leave for home, I counted the days until my mom would say to my dad, “Austin, would you take me over to see Robbie for a little while?” And suddenly my heart began to pound my chest and my breath drew short just at the thought of getting to see my ‘girls’ in aunt Robbie’s storage cabinet.
Now don’t misunderstand. As I was making my way through the pages and pages of pretty, alluring girls and racy stories, my nerves were being exercised as I was so quiet that a cat about to pounce on his prey could have taken quiet lessons from me because neither mom, dad, aunt Robbie or uncle Dow knew where I was at these times of discovery, but thought I was in their massive backyard playing imaginary games of Cowboys and Indians or Army. Are you kidding me? Cowboys and Indians? Who wanted to play these ‘childish’ games when I had true adult magazines to study to prepare me for my manhood years that were not that far off.
I was amazed, even at age eleven, at the storylines and plots to the saucy stories in Stag magazine, the magazine for worldly men. The writers must have been future Pulitzer Prize winners as they wove their stories from the man meeting the pretty girl who was always alone or their husbands had left town and of course, the man of the story was a good-looking, stud-like man with jet-black hair and a muscular build and knew all about how to handle himself around girls. If you know what I mean. (I am not going into explicit details out of respect for the HubPages editors).
I would thrill as the story unwound to the point of the well-proportioned and shapely blond or brunette suddenly becoming excited with the man of the story and then the couple would leave a restaurant or bar and end up at her place because the stud of man was a world traveler and didn’t have a place to call home. Neat, huh? I always dreamed that I would grow up to be a world traveler and meet a lonely, good-looking, shapely blonde or brunette at a café, not necessarily a smoky bar. You see. It was the girl that I was after, not the booze or evil influences that were attached to back street places such as bars when these magazines were popular.
After a few stout drinks of Scotch and Schlitz beer, the stud of a man and lonely girl would ultimately find themselves in, of all places, the girl’s dimly-lit bedroom and she would softly invite “Mr. Stud,” to relax on the bed while she “slipped into something comfortable,” and my blood was now racing in my veins as the stud of man would smoke a man’s cigarette, Camel, and sip his Scotch whiskey and wait for the buxom blonde to reappear. Back then I was way too young for Scotch or Camels.
Then she would slowly walk back from her dressing area wearing a thin negligee and of course, the super-sensuous black high heels and nylon stockings held up by a black garter belt. About this time I thought I was going to collapse with a heart attack as the stud of a man would smile at the pretty girl and ask a very stupid question (in my opinion), “Uh, doll. Where is this going?” Can you believe this? Are you serious? Where is this going? I mean, I had never been with a girl at eleven year of age, and I wasn’t a ‘rural Romeo,’ but even I knew ‘where this was going,’ and I wanted them to hurry and get there.
Then came the supposedly-meat of the story where the stud of a man was in his briefs and laying next to the pretty blonde and her breathing was heavier than five founds of salami as he touched her on the cheek and gently kissed her full, red lips. Yeah! What’s next? I would say to myself. And after a few pages of highly-descriptive text about body movements and hips gyrating, I was waiting for the big pay-off and then as the stud of a man had the pretty blonde now wild with jungle passion, and he was about to ‘close the deal,’ if you get my drift, the story would suddenly stop and leave me hanging.
I would check to see if I had some pages stuck together or the story was on the next page. These early sensual writers were masters of leading us young ‘horses to water’ and never thought that we might want a drink, but would start up with the next chapter with the stud of a man saying goodbye to the now-satisfied blonde as he was leaving on the bus to head to Austin, Texas for his next private eye gig--where, of course, he would meet yet another lonely, shapely, and well-built woman who was just craving a man like him to make her life complete.
In my teenage years I searched my hometown of Hamilton, Alabama and my county, Marion County thoroughly for girls and women who were like those in uncle Dow’s girlie magazines. Sadly, I was deceived and let down to the point of seeing my dreams of ever find a worldly woman suddenly go down in a wild spiral leaving my young life empty and incomplete.
But I did come away with some bits of priceless, worldly wisdom about girls and women that I would have never discovered if I had not been pilfering around uncle Dow and aunt Robbie’s storage cabinet. Here are just a few of worthwhile items that I learned from Dow’s girlie magazines:
1. In Dow’s girlie magazines, men could call girls, “babe,” “doll,” and “sweetheart,” but today in 2011, if a worldly-minded man tries this, the girl that he is speaking to might slap him, scream at him or haul his butt into court for harassment.
2. In Dow’s girlie magazines, girls were “easy,” and never put up a fight when a good-looking stud of a man entered their lives. Today if a studly-man tries to pick up a girl with his only tool being confidence, he might as well get ready to be arrested.
3. In Dow’s girlie magazines, women loved to be treated like soft and sensual females and guys could buy them drinks, clothes, cars and dinners, but not in 2011. A guy who appreciates a finely-shaped and intelligent woman has to go through proper legal channels--her lawyer and her empowered lady friends to get a date with her. Oh how things have changed.
4. In Dow’s girlie magazines, women loved for a man to be a real man, but today, a man who tries to be a real man will only get tongue lashed by a woman who is independent, self-reliant and doesn’t have an emotional or physical need that can be met by a man. In short terms, a man today has to first apologize for his gender before he can even chat with a 2011 woman. Plus show his sensitivity in the care and feeding of newborn puppies, cats, and turtles.
5. In Dow’s girlie magazines, women’s eyes had black bars over them as to conceal their identities while the rest of their bodies were exposed. Today in 2011, there are no such things as black bars on women’s eyes in magazines such as Playboy, Hustler or Penthouse. It’s all up for the looking. No secrets hidden from view.
And these are only five nuggets of worldly-wisdom that I carried away from uncle Dow’s girlie magazines. And they all proved to be true. I wish I had been around in the eras in which these masterfully-written stories in uncle Dow’s girlie magazines were written.
And be a stud of a man who could just wink at a pretty girl and have a date for that night and a hearty breakfast at her place the next morning.
And to my uncle Dow, I want to say something that I never had a chance to say while he was still living, “Thank you, uncle Dow for allowing me to sneak into your storage room and find your priceless (to me) works of art in the form of girlie magazines. It was your girlie magazines that gave me what wisdom I had pertaining to girls and how to act around them. Thanks a million, uncle Dow.”
Today I miss my uncle Dow a lot and I still find myself wondering
whatever happened to his magazines because I have a grandson coming up and I want him to learn the secrets of how to treat girls the “Uncle Dow Way.”
Hey, it always worked for the “Stud Man” in the magazines!