Monday, February 20, 2012

Where I Live and Why I Live Here

Our home is the corner lot facing Fleming Drive and Whitehall drive to the front - big back yard no pool...yet!


Yesterday I posted about making the Big Change in my life.  I went from making Big Bucks at a big city bank to working party-time as a hotel front desk clerk.  Bill and I had a big house in the country.  I had the job title.  I also had the stress of a daily commute and a high responsibility job.  I got up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning to be to catch the 6:02 a.m. train in the morning to my job in Philadelphia.  It was all I could do to catch the 5:32 p.m. train out of Philadelphia at night to arrive home at about 7:00 pm at night.  More often than not I caught a later, local train which got me home at 8 or 9 at night. I showered, at a late dinner and went to bed just to get up in the morning and do it all over again the next day.  I was living Ground Hog Day.

Downingtown Train Station - Downingtown, PA - I spent many a day standing on this platform in the cold

That was my schedule for many years.  It was killing me.  I was depressed.  I was suicidal.  I was trapped.






Then one day, standing on the hot and dirty train platform below ground level at Suburban Station in Philadelphia, waiting for the conductor to open the cars so I could get in, I thought to myself "Do I want to do this until I retire at 65 years of age?"  Then and there I decided "NO."  Thus began my long journey to realize my lifetime dream of Living Near the Water.

Casa Tipton-Kelly - our home in Delaware

The ariel view map at the top of this post is where I live now.  I live in a Ryan Homes development called Covington Chase.  I live three miles north of Lewes, Delaware and six miles north of Rehoboth Beach.  I live on the east side of Route One (also called the Coastal Highway).  I live two miles from the Delaware Bay.  I don't live "on the water" because:


  • Too expensive
  • Bill doesn't want to live THAT close to water
Thus a good compromise. I work at a hotel in Lewes which is "right on the water", the Rehoboth-Lewes Canal thus I get my Water Fix.  

Lewes-Rehoboth Canal - where I work


I live in a beautiful well maintained development with the best neighbors in the world.  Of course I realize the neighbors one has is always a crap shoot (we had the WORST neighbors in Pennsylvania).  Here we got lucky.  Ironically, even though I moved to a heavily gay populated area, my best neighbors are straight.  Just goes to show you.  People who I thought were my gay friends have left me down (or I let them down, depends on your point of view I guess).  The gay people I met who I thought would be friends turned out not to be friends.  True friends accept you as you are, not the way they want you to be.  And I especially have a problem because I don't let myself be controlled by anybody and I certainly don't kiss anyone's ass, and that attitude has proven to exclude me from forming any gay friendships but I always hold out hope.  I've met some other gay folks who seem nice enough but they are in a clique to which I do not belong.  I  have friends from my Previous Life, who are wonderful people.  They are also straight.  I find that having gays as friends requires a lot of extra baggage and attitude that I just don't need at this time of my life.  Having only straight friends isn't that bad. :)

One of my many failed attempts to make friends with another gay person here in Delaware - I'm just not a good fit - maybe I should be bald and have a tuft of white hair to fit in


So this is my/our life now.  I have Bill and he has me.  I have a good job with friends at work as well as wonderful neighbors as I mentioned before.  I am living "near the water" in a mild climate.  I am not crowded (I get claustrophobic easily) with wide open spaces and a big sky.  My health is still relatively good even though I have the possibility that something will eventually bring me down whether it be prostate cancer or just plain skin cancer.  I take one day at a time and treasure each day.  

Ironically, one of the main reasons I moved to Delaware other than to escape the high taxes of Pennsylvania was for a support group of my gay brothers and sisters.  I had a long-time friend who has been living in Delaware since the Seventies.  He has dementia now and I don't get along with his selfish and self-absorbed partner so that friendship is dormant at best.  Other gay friendships have failed to develop  either because someone doesn't like what I say in my blog or because I didn't provide a home for them when they were homeless.  These are the same people who tried to control me, which as I said before I do not bow to anyone except maybe Bill, and even then that's sometimes a problem.  This perhaps has been my biggest disappointment in moving to Delaware.  Whether it's my fault or their fault of a combination of both, I don't know.  All I know is that the lake may be wide but it is shallow.  Something I hadn't counted on.

The retention pond at the end of our development.  Lots of water, about a inch deep.   A perfect metaphor for my Delaware gay friendships.



So that's where I am today folks.  It could all change in a heartbeat but for the time being I'm making the most of each day.  And I'm smiling.

A man in charge of his own destiny - and smiling




17 comments:

  1. When we moved to Smallville, and were looking for a place to by, our realtor showed us the house we ended up buying. But, just before we entered the house, she turned to me, and whispered, "There's another gay couple in the neighborhood."
    I asked if the neighborhood allowed for two gay couples.
    Apparently it did.

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  2. Hey Bob,

    That's funny! She whispered to you huh?

    Last week at the hotel I was making a reservation over the phone and the woman told me she was staying at our hotel because she didn't want to stay in Rehoboth "where all THOSE gays are." Uh, I'm gay, the hotel where I work is owned by two gay men and the full-time front desk clerk, Robert, is gay. Of course I didn't divulge any of this information to her. We don't work in drag so I guess we'll pass.

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  3. Very nice, contemplative post.
    People, gay or straight, are who they are. Because we have children, I mostly hang out with straight Families. It's the children that keep us connected. Not that I had any problem with the gay community, but once we started having kids, we just didn't have anything much in common any more. Life just took us all into different directions. And that's okay!
    You know I love your house. But then I loved your PA home too. Too bad I can't afford that one.
    Happy Monday Ron!
    m.

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  4. anne marie in philly9:47 AM

    "...she was staying at our hotel because she didn't want to stay in Rehoboth "where all THOSE gays are." - bwhahahahaha! what a dumbass bitch! charge her double for her room!

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  5. Thank you Mark. Of course you're right; people gay or straight are who they are. Here in "Gayberry" where I live there is a different dynamic that I didn't count on. I expected to make "friends" not potential lovers or one-night stands or provide a home for someone to live in. Not that there is anything wrong with gay folks looking for those things. I had assumed (wrongly as it turned out) that there would be other older gay guys like me who I would form a friendship (only) with but that was not to be. Either these guys are looking to hook up or they are quite comfortable in their cliques. I have spent the last five years trying to change that dynamic but after "losing" my last "friend" over something he imagined I said in my blog about him, I give up. It just isn't worth the effort. I have a good life her with Bill and I have a nice home. I don't need the aggravation of trying to please and kiss up to this gay crowd down here. By the way, our PA home finally sold for $309,000! Someone got a bargain!

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  6. Anne Marie,

    I had to bite my tongue when I made her reservation. Little does she know!

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  7. Like you, I had a terrible commute, but moved in the opposite direction. We moved into the city and now I have a 15 minute commute to work and love all the city has to offer.

    As to gay or straight friends? I have a good combination of both, I really don't make a distinction. A friend is a friend.

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  8. Bill,

    You're right as to friends, gay or straight. I thought I would make a lot more gay friends where I live because it is a heavy gay population but it was not to be. Maybe I was trying to hard (probably). I'll just relax and let whatever happens, happen.

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  9. Ron,

    I don't know, Ron. I never felt I fit in anywhere so when it came to friends I never cared much what they were labeled by somebody else - Gay-Straight, Black-White, Man-Woman, Rich-Poor. It seemed all that was important was where our heart and mind touched.

    Lar

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  10. Lar,

    We "fit" together didn't we? I'm glad we still have our friendship. I think I deluded myself that I could get "instant" friendship by moving to a gay area but people are people whether they be gay or straight. One builds friendships over time. Real friends are rare. We're lucky to have each other and I truly value your friendship. Thank you.

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  11. ron, i hope this comment gets to you, as i don't think my others have. anyway, a lot in this post! but i love that you shared your process of making the "big change". of course, that is what my writing is all about at this time. moving to the bay area is not going to be my first big change though. that would have been when i left the naval academy at the age of 19 to become a dancer. yep. BIG change. i have been making big changes since, and find that i NEVER regret them, even though they are initially uncomfortable and/or difficult. i also relate to your dislike of groups of gay men. i don't do groups of gay men, because when people in general get into groups, i feel that i can no longer see who they are as individuals. suddenly, it is "showtime"! perhaps this is less obvious with straight folks--and i, like you and mark, have more straight friends than gay. but my best friend is gay, and we respect and love each other. i feel very fortunate.

    thanks for writing so many wonderful posts! -tony

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  12. You are a fortunate man, to smile so and with good reason.

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  13. Tony,

    So good to hear from you! I often wonder how you are doing. I think you and I see life the same way. You're right about gays in groups, they turn into a whole different dynamic. It is "showtime!" Most of my life I've been a solo act. Even though I've had a partner for 47 years, he prefers to stay at home. I go out on my own. He doesn't mind. I like the freedom.
    The "Mark" you're referring to, is he the "Mark" of "Fred and Mark" with the four adopted kids? I've meet Mark a couple of times and he is the real deal. Is he exactly the way he is on his blog. Honest and open. I like Mark. My best to you always Tony.

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  14. Jim and I have had periods in our lives where we have had a bounty of friends and stretches where we had few to none. I am always reminded of the Bette Midler song when thinking of that.
    We are the token gays in our neighborhood, but everyone treats each other with respect and warmth, which is the best.

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  15. Scott,

    I can see why you and JIm are treated with respect and warmth, you both seem very nice. I wish we had neighbors, gay or straight, like you two gentlemen.

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  16. ron, yes, i was referring to mark of "our simple lives". there is something wonderful that happens when gay men get away from each other: they find out who they are. there is so much "branding" that happens when we cluster around each other, that after a while i can't tell the difference anymore--they all talk and look the same. of course i am generalizing, but you get my drift. as i have said before, i live in a huge city where there are thousands of gay men i could be socializing with. i have ONE best friend, and that is enough for me.

    glad that comments finally got through!

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  17. Tony,

    I would like to have another "best friend" where I live now but that hasn't happened. My best friends are from my school days. I just got off of FaceTime with my good friend Larry. We're still going strong after sixty years. You're right about some gay men when they get away from the group. I always traveled to Provincetown by myself. I was a rarity. I noticed that almost all gay men travel in groups. It's like they're afraid to be alone. Like you all I need is one best friend. That is Bill (my partner) for now.

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