DURHAM, NH—Friends, family members, and teachers close to former little girl Sally Erhardt report that the seventh-grader is now a woman, due to a physical change that occurred in the Durham West Middle School girls' restroom Monday.
"Well, my, my—so our little Sally is a woman now!" summer-school teacher Jane McQuillan said after Erhardt sheepishly informed her of the transformation. "That's so wonderful. You must be so happy!"
The 4'11", 82-pound, red-headed woman, whose hobbies include collecting plastic Breyer horse figures, reading Harry Potter novels, and listening to Hilary Duff CDs, will now also discharge blood and tissue from her uterus about every 28 days.
Erhardt's change of status was discovered during a Math Wizards session, when she complained of mild stomach cramping and asked for permission to talk to the school nurse. On her way to the nurse's office, Erhardt went to the bathroom and discovered her passage into womanhood.
The information was almost immediately disseminated throughout the summer-school staff.
"Oh, Sally, I'm so happy for you!" physical-education instructor Terri Flieshmann said when the newly christened woman opted out of swimming. "This is such a big day for you. You should enjoy it. Just sit over there on the bleachers where I can keep an eye on you."
"This is so special!" Flieshmann added, her voice echoing throughout the natatorium.
Erhardt's cycle began several weeks ago, when her pituitary gland released Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which targeted her ovaries and stimulated the follicles within them to ripen several eggs in preparation for ovulation. At this time, estrogen was released by Erhardt's ovaries, as well.
Throughout the day, Erhardt was overwhelmed by congratulations, warm wishes, and unsolicited presentations of hygiene products. She also received special attention from the home-economics teacher, Stacy Sidran.
"This is a very special day for you," Sidran said, after having pulled Erhardt out of art class in front of more than 40 curious students. "You'll soon learn that your life has changed. People will treat you differently now that you're a woman. There will be new expectations, and new challenges."
"Do you use an anti-perspirant deodorant?" Sidran asked, after having hugged the confused and slightly frightened woman.
Though exposed to filmstrips and reading material designed to prepare them for the event, Erhardt's classmates have expressed confusion over the former girl's recently attained womanhood.
"What's with Sally today?" asked Brian Bovey, a child with whom Erhardt played before she reached maturity, as recently as yesterday. "All of a sudden, she's not talking to anyone. Is she mad about something?"
"Yeah, Sally sure is being quiet," said Tiffany Nielsen, a girlhood acquaintance of Erhardt's. "I hope she isn't going to get all stuck up now that—oh, never mind. You wouldn't understand. It's a woman thing."
While they admit that they were emotionally unprepared for the advent of Erhardt's womanhood, family members expressed excitement over the news.
"Well, my little girl's a woman now, hey?" said Mark, the woman's father, whose gift of a floral arrangement caused his newly adult daughter to hide under her bed for several hours. "That's really... I mean... I think it's great. I sure will miss seeing Daddy's little strawberry play with her dolls and her stuffed animals, but, hey, she's not a little kid anymore."
Mark then repeatedly inquired, to no one in particular, as to when his wife might return home.
The woman herself has thus far refused to comment at length on her migration into maturity.
"Please go away," the tearful 12-year-old woman told reporters through her closed bedroom door. "Everyone's been staring at me all day. Would everybody please just leave me alone? God!"
The flow of blood from Erhardt's vagina will last between three and six days each month, and is a normal part of being a sexually mature woman.