Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Jett Sherman (18), grandson of the late Fran Sherman (90), reminisces on his most potent memories of his grandmother. She was known to carry Werther's Originals in her purse, to repeatedly teach him how to play Backgammon, and to still use the word “oriental.” But her collection of over 2000 rare vintage tampons — used — always puzzled him.
“She was weirdly secretive about it,” says Jett. “She would say ‘you’ll get it when you’re older.’”
Little did he know, Jett would actually get the collection when he was older.
Jett was unaware that he was the heir to her blood-stained throne until a tattered box arrived at his dorm room. “I thought my mom had sent me a care package. I was really looking forward to some homemade cookies and Easy Mac, but instead I got a spray bottle of chemicals and some old, bloody cotton.”
In Fran’s last will and testament, she leaves the collection to her grandson with a long message recorded on a cassette tape. In Fran’s weak voice, she says “the men in my life were always grossed out by periods, and my final straw was your 4th birthday party. You screamed at a small girl who tried to share the ball pit with you at Chuck E Cheese. You told her she had cooties, and said that girls were icky. Now, you will be FORCED understand the ick we went through! MWAHAHAH *cough, cough…. cough* okay how do you turn this fuckin thing o-”
In addition to the message, the will features in-depth instructions on daily care for the tampons, and includes helpful graphs and laminated pictures. The duties range from spritzing the blood-stained members 3 times daily with a hydrogen peroxide mixture, to taking them out for walks every Thursday, and even dumping them into a large cardboard box for 20 minutes a day in order to promote “co-mingling between the tampons and pads, whom are known to be quite feisty to one another.”
“At first I was like, gross, this sucks, ya know? But then I remembered — Grammy Fran was a girl too. The girl in the ball pit didn’t deserve the shame I put on her, and neither did Grammy Fran. If carrying around smelly old tampons for the rest of my life will do her justice then… I guess I’ll do it.”
When asked what he plans to do with the collection moving forward, he says he will continue to take care of the tampons until he can pass them on the family heirloom to his own offspring.
Jett says having the collection for a short period of time already is helping him understand the reality of what women must endure each month. “ In my intro to physics class this week, I asked a girl if she needed an Advil for her cramps,” Jett beams when he says this, showing us he’s proud to finally pay his respects to women everywhere.
— A Well-Mannered Grump