It Takes as Long as it Takes

V Pendragon
8 min readApr 8, 2024

How I Got Where I Am

My parents were doctors — pathologists, to be exact. My father was a doctor by choice. His father had been a doctor and, as I came to understand his situation, it was generally assumed that he would follow in his father’s footsteps because that’s just what one did. So he did. My mother was a doctor by decree. She had been born in the vicinity of the infamous “Crash of ‘29” during which debacle her father — who had once been one of the wealthiest men in the United States — “lost everything,” and by “losing everything” he meant that he had to give up the one of his three houses that was situated in Beverley Hills. He managed to hang onto the one in the mountains of Pennsylvania and the one on the beachfront in Ocean City, New Jersey. (Poor guy, right?)

Because of her father’s self-perceived fall into ignominy, he’d insisted that all three of his offspring become medical doctors or he would “disown” them. The eldest two did as they were told; the youngest fled halfway across the county and did not return or make contact again until his parents were approaching death.

With that history, I suppose that it’s not too much of a surprise that my mother should have felt that she had every right to determine my path in life and the woman landed me, as a grade-school kid, first, in dance classes — ballet, naturally. Not really my thing. I loved to dance… to rock and roll… but ballet???

Not so much.

Fortunately, at the very first dance recital that I was forced to be a part of, I managed, with one mistakenly directed grand battement (a high kick) to take down all the scenery on the left side of the stage and get myself out of ballet forever. (Still have left/right issues… if you want to call them that. I can write with either hand… backwards if I want to. My skills are dubious, but they’re there.)

As I had disappointed in the ballet area, mom then suspected that I might have her gift of playing darn near any musical instrument that she could hold.



But she refused to give up on me.

How she stumbled across the idea that I should pursue art, I have no idea. I was no more adept than any other kid with crayons and a coloring book. Nevertheless, I was shipped off to Saturday classes at the Philadelphia Art Museum. The classes were lost on me. The countless paintings of naked men that hung on the walls, though, were not. Those caught my eye. I did love a naked man.

Both my parents walked around their bedroom naked all the time. My mother’s body interested me not at all, but my father’s? Oh yeah. I was fascinated. And then, there was this TV puppet. Willy the Worm… need I say more? A talking penis? With a hat? I was all over it.

As it turned out, of all the things that I was introduced to in my so-called formative years, the one that impressed me the most was male genitalia. I was hooked. Needless to say, I suppose, my very personal introduction to male genitalia, of all the influences of my childhood, had the most potent effect. It influenced ever bad decision I made from puberty right through my 30’s. I liked sex. I was good at it. No problem… except trying to be “faithful.”

What? Just the one penis? All the time? Eh.

Becoming a Playboy Bunny at the age of 35 didn’t help… immediately. But when my apparent inability to control my libido became a very real problem — what with being married and having kids and all — it was determined jointly — by my husband and I — that some sort of counseling might be in order, especially as I was taking crazy risks. He visited — and had one session with — a woman whom he deemed to be an appropriate choice for helping to set me straight. He assured her that he was fine. He didn’t require any help. I was the only one with a problem… and it sure did seem that way.

At any rate, he had the first visit and lay down the basics for her. At my first lone visit she gave me homework. She wanted me to write down, in detail, one of my escapades and bring it in at my next visit. I did as instructed and, at my following visit, she remarked enthusiastically that I should be writing erotica professionally, so I figured, what the heck? Might as well see if I could make some money off my errant ways.

Penthouse accepted my first submission and invited me to create a monthly column… under a pen name, of course… and so I did. One thing led to another and my erotica was getting published in a few different venues. One day, while looking about for more places to handle my seemingly endless flow of erotica, I came across a local underground publication that covered prostitution in the area. I submitted a short sample of my work and was invited to join the staff… so I did.

The “girls” loved me. I took “nice” pictures of them. I talked with them about their hobbies and their kids, as opposed to the various approaches the male staffers had taken. It was a good job, but I was still me. I fell for the editor and divorced my husband who would only agree that I could leave if I turned over custody of our children to him. It was, I knew, the smart thing to do. I was still a kind of an idiot and I knew better than to trust myself with such a precious task.

Our 14 year marriage had come to an ignonymous end. A 23 year marriage with some truly unexpected outcomes would follow. Long story short: not too far into that second marriage I contracted a “fatal, incurable disease” that crippled my hands something crazy (typing, even now, with the sides of my thumbnails); experienced what I can only call “a vision” in which I was told that I was to help people heal and, so, following those ethereal directions, I became a Reiki master and established what became a thriving practice. A couple of years later, I discovered that my husband had essentially stolen all my income to play the stock market and invest in online porn. I then left him and moved to another state to be closer to my daughter. But the stock market crashed and I had to move back to where I had been, take a job at a company that manufactured business cards, and ended up living in the basement of a fellow employee who ended up becoming a very good friend.

Because, a year or so after I’d moved in with her, I felt as if I need a damn break, I booked myself in for a week-end at a clothing-optional resort that my second husband had introduced me to. The resort was a few hours away. I called a couple of friends — a husband and wife that I’d met there on one of our earlier visits — and arranged to hang out with them since, as a single woman, as I knew from observing the crowd at previous visits, was likely to attract a good deal of attention and dance requests. Everyone was always polite in the extreme, but it was just nothing I wanted to be bothered with. Her husband was no dancer so I had a ready-to-go partner in her; I didn’t need — or want- a male partner.

The trip went smoothly; I was surprised at how well I remembered the way there as it was a good few hours south of where I was staying and my memory is notoriously poor. I’d reserved a room in the motel-like section of the resort that was just across the way from the large old barn where the dance would be held. My friends showed up right on time and everything went as expected, including my being asked to dance by a very polite man who turned out to be a resident of the community. I’d turned him down, explaining my quest to dance ‘alone’ so I was a little surprised to see him re-approach.

He’d come back to let me know that he was leaving and to give me directions to his home, which was close by, in case I’d like to share a cup of coffee with him in the morning.

I finished out the night with my friends, slept well, and woke up in the morning thinking that a walk and a cup of coffee sounded just about right. Seeing that it was already in the high 80’s and the sun was at its brilliant best, and I was at a clothing-optional resort, I opted for wearing nothing but socks and a pair of sneakers. Half way through what turned out to be an entirely uphill journey I wished I’d brought a bottle of water with me. By the time I got to the door of what had to be the coolest house I’d ever seen I was both exhausted and parched.

I knocked on the door.

No response.

The car was there… and I could hear some odd noises coming from what sounded like the back of the house. I listened. Figured it right out: exercise equipment. He couldn’t hear me knocking because of all that metallic racket. So thirsty that I was about ready to lick the sweat off my arms, I marched around to the back of the house where it sounded like the sounds were coming from and sure enough, they were… but on the second floor!

I hollered.

No response.

I would later discover that the man was hearing impaired.

After a couple more vocal attempts, I set out to find the biggest fallen tree branch that I could, dragged it to within whacking distance of the second-story windows, hauled it up and aimed for the source of the noise, the large picture window that faced into the woods.

It didn’t take more than two of my pitifully lame swings to attract his attention and he slid open the window to let me know that he’d meet me at the front door. I let him know straight away that I was exhausted and required water so he let me in and led me up spiraling stairs to a huge round room that seemed to take up most of the second floor. He showed me to the couch which was covered, as nudist etiquette requires, with a couple of towels, and I collapsed there.

He brought me water and we talked and talked and talked. He, fully clothed, in sweats, and me wearing socks and sneakers. Ultimately, I had to get going as I hoped to get home before dark, so he drove me back to my room at the resort. We’d exchanged Email addresses and phone numbers. He was headed off to Italy with one of his kids but contacted me as soon as he returned and we arranged to meet.

That was fourteen years ago. We didn’t have to spend too much time together before we knew it was right. We were in our 60’s… who knew how much time we might have left? We married on the afternoon of that New Year’s Eve because, as he said, a) why wait? And b) they’ll always be a party on our anniversary.

Not that we always go. Home is awfully comfy.



V Pendragon

Artist; Author of self-help books on healing with Ozark Mt. Publishers; survivor of two 'fatal, incurable' diseases and a healthy dose of CSA