Vivian Wheeler embraces her ability to grow a beard, and currently holds the Guinness world record for the woman with the longest beard alive: Eleven inches. But she says her childhood was dark. “Daddy didn’t want me around.”
Wheeler was born a hermaphrodite, which means half man and half woman. While doctors removed the male organs at birth, she still has testosterone. “I refused shaving, and daddy said I’d never belong, said I’d never marry or anything cause society would never let me.”
Wheeler says her father forced her into the sideshow life, and took the money she earned. And it was a rough life. “They would take me to a fair, to a sideshow, to a fair, I never knew where I was going.”
But as an adult, she proved her father wrong, and fell in love. She shaved at her boyfriend’s request, and gave birth to a baby boy. Then, her worst nightmare began. “His father took him when he was three.” Depressed and in despair, Wheeler returned to the only life she knew – the side show, but at each appearance she would look for her son. Thirty years went by without a trace.
Then one day, her son Richard Lorenc saw her in a book entitled American Sideshow, and tracked her down. He came to Bakersfield in June, and brought along a scrapbook filled with pictures of his family, her daughter-in-law and her two grandkids.
Wheeler says having her son back in her life, has changed everything. “He calls me mother, and it means a lot. It makes me feel like I really do belong, in a way. That I do really matter.”
Wheeler says her son wants her to move to Kansas and be with his family.
Story via www.iol.co.za