Friday, June 15, 2012

Ruminations About Living In Delaware

Me at the Rockpile, Millsboro, DE


Yet another glorious day here in southern Delaware!  Oh how I love living here.  I think Bill is even coming around to recognizing that we do indeed live in one of the most beautiful, relaxed and inexpensive (if you avoid the tourist trap restaurants in Rehoboth) locations in the nation.  If someone came up to me today and asked me "If you could live anyplace in the world where would you live?"  Without hesitation I would say "Exactly where I am living now."  


It's no accident that I live in Delaware.  With the consistently ever rising taxes in my home state of Pennsylvania, and me in retirement mode, I knew I had to move someplace else if I was going to survive.  My two choices of retirement locations were either Johnson City, Tennessee (Bill loves the mountains and it is also the location of the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site which offered me a job) or Slower Lower, aka Sussex County, Delaware.  One of the reasons, but not the main reason, I moved to Sussex County and the Rehoboth Beach area was because of the significant gay and lesbian community that already lives or has second homes in this area.  Being gay I had assumed I would fit right into that community.  Well, that didn't happen for various reasons which I won't go into here again but something even better has happened.

I have a great job (part-time hotel front desk clerk at a boutique hotel in Lewes).  I work with wonderful, caring people.  I have great neighbors.  Our home is everything I could ever want and I have a backyard that isn't plagued with deer.  Even though I am not part of the local gay community I don't feel the hatred and heaviness that I did when we lived in Pennsylvania.  Believe me it is a pleasure to shop at Loew's or Home Depot and not get The Stare because we're two men together.  Down here in Lower Slower two men shopping together (or two women) is NOT UNUSUAL.  Straight people don't understand this but it is a wonderful sense of freedom to shop and go about our business without having to worry about offending somebody's sensibilities just because we are taking up space together.

Me visiting with my distant cousin in the hills of North Carolina


Bill and I can go anywhere together and we don't get The Stare.  Last month Bill and I visited the North Carolina Mountains, where my father was born and grew up on our annual trek South.  If I needed any reminder why I didn't retire there it was provided by the husband of my second cousin who lives in those mountains.  While he was the gracious host to us and provided me with much good information how to find some local family cemeteries, he did ask Bill "What do you think about Obama and the queers?"  Oh yes, I needed that reminder of the ignorance of some of the folk down there because I was almost lulled into a false sense of security of renting a cabin in the fall just up the road from this man.  Oh yes, that would have been very interesting to see how long it would take him to figure out that Bill and I were more than just two good ole boys.  North Carolina, the state that just passed a constitutional amendment outlawing marriage equality.

Me in North Carolina last month at Pigeon Roost, where my hillbilly father was born and raised until he was 10 years old


Yep, I'll visit just about anywhere but this is where I'll live out my days, in good old southern Delaware.

10 comments:

  1. I always love the big beautiful photos you post on your blog. Everything looks so lush and GREEN. Green is a color that's almost unheard of here in the wilds of West TX. It's sounds like you are settled in a peaceful and desirable place.
    When I first moved to the Missouri Ozarks, I encountered a lot of anti-gay rednecks. Surprisingly, however, there was a large "underground" gay network. I even discovered some gay bars in Springfield, MO. And one or two in Joplin.
    All of the large cities here in Texas are gay friendly (or tolerant), of course, but not in the tiny town where I presently live. I mostly keep to myself and try to act butch.

    In my Cowtown gays would be lynched, skinned, and hung out to dry.

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    1. Jon,

      Thanks for the compliment on my posting of my "big beautiful photos." I love posting them! And yes, everything is lush and GREEN! That's why I love living in the farm country of southern Delaware. I wouldn't want to live in a place like Seattle Washington, where there is too much water. I prefer living on coastal Delaware. I thought I would have a hard time getting used to the flat landscape after having grown up and lived in the hills of southeastern Pennsylvania but I actually have grown to love the flat landscape of Delaware. No rocks in the land either! I love that.

      Here, if we go far enough out into redneck country, one's well being is at risk also. The farther out you get from civilization the more ignorance you will encounter. These people are so afraid of gays. Is it because they fear their own tendencies? I have a friend who lives in the midst of these folks and for years he has an almost endless supply of straight married men who like to get serviced. That's not me. Too risky.

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  2. One of the amazing things I found out about Camden after we moved here was, even though this is the South, even though it's Baptist central, even though it's a giant Red State, Carlos and I have been welcomed everywhere with open arms.

    Of course, even Camden [pop. 8,000] has a significant LGBT community, and is one of the few Democratic pockets in the state!

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    1. What state do you live in Bob? I have a hunch that if I came out to the folk up there in those isolated mountains, and they see I'm not the outlandish, drag queen, in your face gay stereotype that they picture all gays as being, that I would be "accepted." I hate that term "accepted". It's like there is something wrong with me and I have to be "accepted" but be there as it may. It's like the development where I live now. My very conservative neighbors told us we were the first gays they knew. They said they didn't know there were gays "like us." I informed them that most gays are like me and Bill, just regular folks like them trying to pay their bills everyday and life a good life. We've never been to a gay pride march dressed as nuns and I doubt if we ever will. For gays to be "accepted", more have to live in the neighborhoods like me and Bill. Now, living in those mountains, that's a different story. It's not to easy to make a quick getaway if things go terribly wrong.

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  3. I am not gay and would love to live your state Ron. One of the reasons why I read blogs is for me to get some insight in a particular area.

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    1. Nadege,

      I love Delaware! I moved here mainly to be "near the water" and the taxes and slower paced lifestyle. That the area where I live in Sussex County near Rehoboth Beach is heavily populated with gays and lesbians I thought would be a plus but it hasn't turned out that way. The gay folks down here are very insular. I think a lot of it has to do with that most of them are retired government employees with big pensions and in their own social class. I'm not there. Bill and I come from more modest means. Also, we're not into show tunes or drag shows, and partying which is the main social activity of many of the gays and lesbians in this area. We have been more welcome by our straight neighbors. Also, I noticed that a lot of the Rehoboth gays stay in their bubble and rarely go out of that comfort zone. Bill and I are not comfortable in that gay bubble.

      Ron

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  4. one of the 5 'spokes' in the wheel of mental health is: "You like where you live" This makes you a very fortunate man, indeed.

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    1. Dr. Spo,

      You are so right. I love where I live. Bill doesn't so much but he is learning to like it. The only thing missing was his love for our old home which rising taxes drove us from living there. This weekend made all the difference because now we are friends with the new owners and will be able to visit. Bill is very happy and I'm happy that Bill is happy!

      Ron

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  5. I was born and raised Delaware and am still here. There are things that bug me - a small percentage of rednecks who are closeminded and ignorant - but most places have some group of closeminded, ignorant people so I just steer clear and not engage in any deep conversations... I love Delaware. There are at most 6 Degrees of Separation between any two people here, often it's less. Each county has their own personality, I'd never make it in NCC. I think the schools are pretty decent, the people are pretty nice, the scenery is great. I love that I can drive to the beach in 45 minutes, love the emptiness of the beach in the fall and the carnival atmosphere on summer nights. Yeah, it's a pretty good place, all in all.

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    1. Holly,

      I absolutely love living in Delaware. At first I was put off my the flatness of the land, after coming from the heavily wooded hills of Pennsylvania. But now I have grown to love that very flatness and openness. I need space to spread to breath. I also love the people, even the Sussex County rednecks. And I love all the seasons. I choose the perfect place floor me to retire in happiness and comfort.

      Ron

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