Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

"Witch" Alexandrea, my boss's daughter who paid a visit to us at work today - BOO!


Happy Halloween everyone!  I just had my first visit from neighborhood trick or treaters.  I had my bucket of candy (properly wrapped thank you) ready for them.  Earlier I put my fake pumpkin with a light in it in the window to let the neighborhood kids that I am tricking (not the first time I've said that word by the way, but that's another WHOLE different story and this is a family blog).

Somehow, tonight just doesn't feel like Halloween.  I just cannot get in the mood.  A lot of it has to do with the election and the incredible lies and dirty politics that the Romney campaign and the Republicans are descending to in Ohio to convince those "undecided voters" that President Obama is the devil incarnate.  I think we all know who the devil is but again, I won't go into that in this blog posting.  

I'm also a bit down thinking about all those poor folks in New Jersey and New York who have lost their homes as a result of this horrible Hurricane Sandy.  I also feel a little bit guilty because when I saw that Sandy was going to hit the very spot on the east shore of Delaware where I live (Lewes) I was hoping it would move forward a bit and hit Atlantic City and New Jersey instead.  It did!  The hurricane actually took an abrupt turn and moved fifty miles north and DID HIT Atlantic City.  I now have Survivor's Guilt.  The only solace I am getting from this whole disaster is seeing how New Jersey governor Chris Christy (who I am liking more and more every day) and President Obama are cooperating to bring relief to all those affect by this monster storm.  How unlike the government's response to Katrina.  I can't believe that "Brownie", that worthless political hack that Bush appointed to head FEMA during the Hurricane Katrina crime disaster said Obama responded "too fast."  Just when you think someone can't get any more reprehensible, they prove they can go even lower.  How do these people sleep at night?  I know, they have no conscience.  

Look at me, here I've gone off in the wrong direction again. I'll be SO GLAD when this election is over.  I feel so thankful that we dodged a bullet with this storm.  I hope those who weren't so lucky lives return to normal very soon.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy - The Day After


I woke up this morning - EXHAUSTED.  I couldn't figure out why because I wasn't physically working yesterday.  Then I figured it out, after undergoing almost 24 straight hours of wind and rain pounding against our house and the worry about the power going out (which it didn't, thank God), the stress was just a bit much for this old codger.  Of course Bill is an old worry wart hen so that didn't help either.  He found three places where water was coming into the house from the sideways rain and heavy winds whipping around our little development.

I got a call this morning from my co-worker at the hotel.  She asked if I was coming in.  I asked "Is the hotel open?" She said "Yes, they're putting it back together now." My other co-worker Robert, who sacrificed his days off to stay at the empty hotel, had told me that all the furniture and everything else was removed from the first floor.  Hotel lobby exposed!  Well, time for a deep cleaning, wouldn't you say?

Bill wanted to take a "day after hurricane tour" this morning.  I really didn't want to go but he wanted to make sure I could get to work.  The way I go to work I have to cross over a little canal called Canary Creek on New Road.  That little baby frequently floods and closes New Road.  We took a drive down there and noticed that the road to our development was closed!  Apparently our entrance road was flooded yesterday.  We didn't know because we didn't go out.

The video at the beginning of this blog is one that I took of our "tour" this morning.  We also drove to Milton and as expected, downtown Milton is still a lake.  The Broadkill River almost always floods when there is a nor'easter or hurricane and this storm was no exception.  I would have taken pictures but the police and fire engines were down there with lights a flashing and I didn't want to take a chance of encountering an overzealous first responder.

Overall the damage isn't too bad around here.  We definitely did dodge a bullet.  What was even more surprising was that we didn't lose power at all.  We even had satellite reception which surprises me because usually when there is just a little rainfall we lose reception.  We did lose power for about two hours on Sunday night, before the storm even started.  We were very lucky not to lose power.  Thank you Jesus.  I'm not religious but when I dodge a bullet I automatically default to spouting religious phrases.

So we dodged this disaster.  Now my worry is that Romney might actually be elected president next Tuesday.  Now THAT really would be a disaster.  Especially since he's on record for privatizing FEMA and turning over all that responsibility to the states.  Can you imagine where we would be now if you had to PAY someone to come in and rescue you?  One thing you can be sure of, Romney would have shares in that company.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Life Is Too Short



Hey gang, I made this wonderful iMovie today in Casa Tipton-Kelly while buffeted outside by the winds and rains of Hurricane Sandy.  I was scheduled to go into work today, but since Lewes is basically a lake today compliments of Hurricane Sandy, I stayed home all day.  I had plenty of time to troll through some of my old photos (many of which some of you may have seen already) and compile this video of my life.

Since I am about to celebrate 71st birthday, I thought it was about time I made a Memorial Video of The Life and Times of Ronald Walter Tipton.  I will also make several DVD copies of this video to be played at my funeral.  I know no one else would do it.  Now all I have to do is order that headstone and I'm READY.  No one can say I wasn't prepared.

Enjoy the video.  I did!

Hurricane Sandy About To Make Landfall

Yep, that's someone's backyard trampoline that THEY left out in their backyard which is now on a power line.  Uh huh.

Rehoboth Beach is underwater.  Lewes is under water.  Dewey Beach is under water.  My heart goes out to all those who are inconvenienced by this monster storm called Hurricane Sandy.  

High tide is hitting around 8 o'clock.  Hurricane Sandy is supposed to hit within the hour.  

No fatalities so far, thank God.  The wind and rain is whipping around outside our house. Bill has detected three places where the water is coming into the house.  We are going through towels to soak up the water.  Buckets are in place downstairs in the basement where the water is dripping through the wall.  Shit.

One good thing, we haven't lost power.  We've also had satellite service most of the day.  Incredible!

I'm not embarrassed to tell you all that I am scared.  Maybe it's because I'm older.  This isn't an "adventure" for me, or Bill.  We're too old for this crap.  

Actually, there is no where in this country that you're safe from a natural calamities. 

Just heard on the TV that Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall within the hour.  

This is one of those "just get through it" moments.  


More Storm Photos From Delaware


The Wharf Restaurant, Lewes, DE - I was supposed to work at a hotel across the street today.  Didn't make it today and won't make it tomorrow either.  

More photos folks from Hurricane Sandy which hasn't even hit us yet here in Lewes, Delaware.  It's bad folks, real bad.  

These photos are from the Cape Gazette, submitted by residents.


A look down Dagsworthy in Dewey Beach. Delaware


Downtown Milton - flooded


Ducks in the backyard


Long Neck Road, Fairfield Complex


For those who want a "water view" with ducks - here you go


House by Route 5


Long Neck residents going out for storm vitals this morning - are you kidding?


Downtown Milton, where Bill and I usually go every day to shop at Food Lion.  Flooded.


Did the mailman come yet?


Hurricane Sandy didn't make landfall yet but here we are - waiting like a sitting ducks.

I have to admit folks, this is scary.  We've already detected three places in our house where water is coming in.  That will need to be fixed when we're out of this nightmare.

Thank God we still have power.  I doubt that we will later when Hurricane Sandy hits the beach in Lewes, when it is dark.  

I expect the hotel is flooded.  I called and I'm not getting an answer.  I hope Robert is all right.  

We will remember this Halloween.  

Hurricane Sandy Update In Lewes Delaware





It's bad folks. Here are some pictures that I took from the Cape Gazette.  I'm sure the hotel where I work at in Lewes is flooded as I type this.  I was supposed to go into work today.  Looks like I won't be going in this week and maybe next week.

Cedar Street, Lewes, DE
The Lewes-Rehoboth Canal near the Rehoboth Beach drawbridge:



The sandpipers wait out the storm on the beach.  No flying today.


Some funsters in Dewey Beach, DE.


We're getting a direct hit in about seven hours!


This one I call "Idiots on the beach" - Lewes Style


Where do seagulls go during a Frankenstorm?  Nowhere.


I expect the power to go out any moment.  I wanted to post these pictures from the Cape Gazette before I lost power.  Isn't this exciting?

Hurricane Sandy Update 9:28 am


Okay folks, I'm trying to update as much as possible in real time here.  The previous video was of poor quality so I asked Bill to take this video of me with my iPhone.  I'm in my office talking to my friend Larry who lives in upstate Delaware.  The video is now in HD, which should do away with the bleariness of the previous video.

I'm surprised that we still have power and even more surprised that we have satellite reception.  Usually when it rains heavily I lose my DirecTV satellite reception.  That hasn't happened yet this morning.  The gods are with me so far.  I just hope the gods stay with us when Hurricane Sandy makes landfall later this afternoon.

I heard on the news this morning that President Obama issued a state of emergency for five states and Washington D.C.  Oops!  Just had a HUGE gust of wind smack against the house. WOW!  That will take off some shingles.  So anyway, the news caster listed the states as Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut and D.C.  Uh.....missing a state aren't we?  Like DELAWARE, the state that Hurricane Sandy is going to ROLL ACROSS this afternoon on it's way to D.C. and Baltimore.  When I lived in Pennsylvania, the national news weather bureau never mentioned Philadelhia when giving out the national range of temperatures.  No wonder I have an inferiority complex.

So we sit here in our comfy house, buffeted by gusts of wind and spurts of rain, awaiting the BIG ONE later this afternoon.  Not looking forward to this folks, not at all.

Hurricane Sandy Update 9:12 am


Still holding on here folks!  This is a video of me on FaceTime with my friend Larry from Claymont, Delaware which is located in the northern part of our small state of Delaware.

We're awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Sandy late this afternoon.  I can't go to work today because Governor Markel has issued driving restrictions on all roads in Delaware.  Non-emergency vehicles will be fined $115 first time offense, $200 second time and $400 third time and they'll throw your ass in jail for 30 days.  Hey, guess what?  I'm not going into work today.  Do you think?

My brother Isaac in Pennsylvania called this morning.  High winds and rain in Downingtown.  My friend Bill B. texted me.  He just got up and wanted to know if I was still here.  Yep, I haven't floated away yet although Bill K. (my lover boy) is checking out a leak he found in the electrical box downstairs in the basement.  WTF?  That's all we need.  We've never had any leaks here before with our annual "Storms of the Century" rolling through here in southern Delaware, now we have a leak?

My brother John called from his home in Greenville, South Carolina this morning checking on big brother Ron.  Yep John, still here!

I tell you folks, this is one of those "just get though it times".  Seems like we're having one of these "storms of the century" every year now.  It is getting REAL OLD. Oh sunny days come again soon.

Hurricane Sandy Update - Monday Morning

AT 8:25 pm last the the lights blinked off and on three times before they went off.  Yes folks, we were without power for about two hours.  Why?  The winds had hardly began, Hurricane Sandy was still a day away, 580 miles away, slowly creeping up the Atlantic coast.  Unlike right now at 7:29 am this Monday morning.  Wind gusts are whipping around Casa Tipton-Kelly, the skies are an ominous fifty shades of gray, and rain is falling down, sideways and straight up.  Bill says the barometer is the lowest he's ever seen it.  Yes folks, were in for IT.

I just finished my Three "S's" this morning.  You all know what that is don't you folks?  Blankety-blank, shower and a shave.  I put Monday morning's wash in the first thing this morning.  No need to dispense with our regular "Monday" routine as long as we have power. I just heard Bill put those now wet, clean clothes (Monday's we wash "the whites") in the dryer.  With any luck we'll be able to finish our laundry.

Back to the loss of power last night.  I was on the computer working on my latest iMovie (which was about me of course) when "blink! blink!" the lights flickered, went off, came back on, went off, came back on then went off for good.  Darkness descended on our humble abode.  I looked out the window and yep, medieval times had descended on our little upscale neighborhood.  I could see a lone light snaking it's way through my neighbor's house across the street.  At least there was some solace in knowing that our house wasn't the ONLY house without power.  When we lived in Pennsylvania, in the middle of the woods with LOTS of trees, our power went out almost once a week.  It is so frustrating to be without power and yet see your neighbor's houses all lite up with festive gaiety and them going about their business as usual.  We don't lose power often down here in Slower Lower (aka Sussex County, Delaware) but when we do EVERYONE in the neighborhood loses power.  Such was the case last night.

I texted my friend Bill B. in PA.  Yep, he still had power.  I texted my co-worker Robert at the hotel.  Yep, he still had power.  Shit.  I got my little hand light that I keep for such emergencies and headed to my bedroom.  Nothing to do but to go to bed AT 8:30!  And I wasn't even sleepy.  I know I wasn't going to go to sleep because I need white noise to go to sleep and without power I wasn't getting any of my sleep inducing air filtration machine noise.

I lay on my bed, feeling sorry for myself and thinking how much I hate going through yet another weather induced inconvenience.  I finally drifted off to a half-sleep when I hear a "blink! blink!" The power was back on!  Quickly I reset the digital clocks on the microwave and oven stoves (such an annoyance when the power goes out).  Bill said not to bother resetting them because the power will eventually go out again but I can't stand that blinking digital light. I have enough things around this house (including Mother Hen Bill) to annoy me when we have one of these annual "Storms of the Century" pass through our way

So I did all my necessities this morning, including this latest blog update for by blog audience.  I took a short video of the TV coverage on the Weather channel with my iPhone and uploaded it to my YouTube account.  If I don't lose power I'll take another video of the wind and rain outside and upload that video later.

Fun times folks.  It's another "just get through this" time.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"Déjà Vu All Over Again"

Yep, that's me in the path of Hurricane Sandy.  I live in the middle of the Delmarva peninsula.


We're still here.  Our house is still intact.  Still have power.  So far anyway.  One can only hope.



I called into work a while ago.  My co-worker Robert told me that everything is cleared off of the first floor, including the lobby.  Deep cleaning time!  He's staying there overnight with his cat...on the second floor.  Our hotel is located right next to the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal and about a half a mile from Rehoboth Bay.  Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall tomorrow night just at high tide.  Lovely, just lovely.  I can see all those canal jelly fish floating around the hotel lobby now.

I was scheduled to work tomorrow evening but I decided not to go in, with not a "little help" from Bill.  Bill goes bonkers every time one of these "storms of the century" rolls around, which seems like every year.  Didn't we just go through this last year?  And the year before?

As a matter of fact I won my all expense paid, four day, trip for two to Disneyword in 1999 because I risked life and limb to go to my job at the Hampton Inn in Lionville PA.  I really did risk life and limb.  I tried several different routes to the Hampton Inn only to find five of them flooded.  Finally I wound my way up through a heavily wooded housing development to Rt. 113, past several downed power lines that were dancing sparks on the highway!  At one point I was even racing my car ahead of flood waters that I saw rapidly approaching the bypass I was trying to make an escape.  Thank goodness the Hampton Inn was on high ground.

As soon as I got to the hotel the power went out.  The hotel lobby was full of panicked travelers who detoured off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  My co-workers didn't know what to do when the power went out.  "How do we check in the guests?" Without hesitation I said "By paper.  Just write their name and credit card numbers on the form and we'll update it when the power comes back on." Now mind you, my co-workers were in their late teens and early twenties.  I was fifty-nine years old.  I remembered the old fashioned way to check in hotel guests.  We got everyone checked in and even had guests sleeping in the lobby because all the rooms were full.  No doubling up on the rooms either.

Imagine my surprise four months later when I received an award for "Best Guest Service Representative".  The president of the Hampton Inn called me personally to congratulate me.  I told him "I was only doing my job" which is what I thought I was doing.  Still, I was glad to win the award because I WAS GOING TO DISNEYWORLD for the first time in my life!

Me and "The Mouse" (Mickey is on the right)
I won't be going into work this time.  Robert is taking care of the guests (of which there are none in the hotel as I write this).  Hey, maybe the owner of the hotel will send Robert to Disneyworld for his over and above dedication to his job.  Thanks Robert!

Getting Out Of Dodge


We await Frankenstorm.  The wind is picking up, the rain is spotty but coming.  It is inevitable, this is the:


END OF TIMES!  


I am SOOO tired of the latest STORM OF THE CENTURY warnings.

Our governor has issued a mandatory evacuation for everyone here living in coastal Delaware who lives within 3/4 mile of a body of water.  Here at Casa Tipton-Kelly we're TWO MILES from the water.  We are exempt!  

My first inclination is not to evacuate but if we did live right next to the ocean I guess I would evacuate.  Just like the shower scene in "Psycho", I will never get those images out of my mind of those people in New Orleans stranded on the rooftops of their homes after the levees broke.  OMG!  NOT ME!

New York City mayor Bloomberg on on TV now giving a status report on New York's preparation for Hurricane Sandy, aka "Frankenstorm."  Gee, I guess he's taking time off from issuing orders on 7-11 Big Gulp container size restrictions.

Looking out my home office window here as I type this Sunday morning blog I see where the rain has begun.  Ah yes, here we go again.  

Bill and I have filled buckets of water just in case our electric goes out so we can flush our toilets.  I just got of FaceTime with Dr. Spo who lives in Arizona.  I had to explain to him why the need for water - TO FLUSH THE TOILETS WHEN THE ELECTRIC GOES OUT.  Of course my friend Dr. Spo just had to show me his sunny, blue skies.  Thanks Dr. Spo!

So here's the deal, I'm supposed to go to work tomorrow.  We have an event scheduled, a fund raiser for Governor Markel.  I assume that fund raiser is off.  I talked to Robert, my fellow front desk person at the hotel.  He's staying at the hotel overnight with his cat.  He said he would take my shift and I could take his shift later on in the week.  Sounds good to me!  

We do what we have to do here folks.  I just hope our power doesn't go out.  If it does, this may be the last blog posting you get from me for a while, especially since there are many predictions of being without power for A WEEK!  

This is really getting old folks, real old.  

This just in, Mitt Romney PROMISED that if he's elected president there will be no more Frankenstorms!  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Changes


Just sitting here on a Saturday night waiting for Frankenstorm to hit the coast of Delaware.  I was going to post about the original Frankenstein and was checking You Tube for an interesting film clip. I ended up looking at "Young Frankenstein" outtakes and laughing my ass off.  I was going to post those but decided instead to post this "Changes" compilation video of movie stars.  I'll post the Young Frankenstein outtakes closer to Halloween.  They are funny.  In the meantime check out this video to see how some of our favorite Hollywood stars aged.  Notice that some aged well (Barbara Stanwyck) and some not so much (Marlon Brando).

Enjoy!

Skin Cancer Redux



Another week, and another visit to my dermatologist.  Seems like these days I can't go a week without visiting my dermatologist for yet another "procedure." Yesterday's procedure was to take a bigger chunk of flesh from my left forearm.


A few weeks ago a wart-like growth appeared on my left forearm, almost overnight.  During one of my regular visits to my dermatologist I ask them to check it out.  They determined it was actinite keratosis, which a precancerous skin anomaly.


Two weeks ago they removed the growth and sent it out of a biopsy.  Last week I got the news, the actinite keratosis was "medium" which meant it was "moving."  "Moving" meant that it could change into real skin cancer.  Thus I had to schedule yet another visit to my dermatologist for have a larger chunk of meat taken out of my forearm.


My doctor came in with a student (why do I almost always have a student observer?)  Injected my forearm four times with a needle (it hurt) to numb up the area designated for surgery.  He left, giving time for the anesthetic to take hold.  He returns, puts a towel on my lap, and paper over the top of the area to be cut, with a hole cut out in the paper for surgery.

He begins his incision. I look away because I cannot abide the sight of blood (I faint).  I feel the pressure of his cutting into the flesh of my arm.  He continues to cut, and cut.  Finally he finishes.  He tells me his assistant will be in to "clean up" and bandage my arm.  They (the doctor and the observer) leave).  I wait for the assistant, feeling no pain but woozy just the same.  I get that way when I am cut upon.

The assistant comes in.  She removes the paper towels and clothes and discovers I have blood on my pants (near the crotch area...of course) and on my shirt.  She complains that the doctor didn't place the surgery papers properly.  I got the feeling he's done this before.  I don't care.  I just want out of there.

She cleans me up, bandages my arm.  She gives me instructions how to bath (showers are all right but don't soak my arm in water).  Before I leave I make an appointment for next Friday to have the stitches removed.  Yet another weekly visit to my friendly dermatologist.  I notice the now drying blood on my pants, near the crotch (naturally).  I don't care.

I leave and meet Bill, who was waiting for me in the lobby.  He looks at my pants and says "It looks like you peed yourself."  I don't care.

On the way home I stop at the thrift store looking to check out any new books.  I know my crotch looks bloody.  Again, I don't care.

I then stop at the grocery store to stock up to prepare for Frankenstorm (the subject of my next blog post).  With my bloody crotch in full view, I must have looked like a deranged escape from the local prison.



I returned home and removed those bloody pants.  I sprayed the bloody area with "Spray and Wash."  I'm washing those pants (and shirt) now.

My arm didn't hurt yesterday but it is hurting now.  Yep, it's hurting and I'm feeling a bit woozy.  I don't know if my wooziness is from my bloody episode yesterday or the knowledge that Frankenstorm is on it's way to cause major disruption here on the east coast of Delaware.  Yes Virginia, we are the entry point of this Storm of the Century.  Oh joy.

"Frankenstorm" on its way

Friday, October 26, 2012

Is There A Heaven?


That is the universal question we have all had at one time or another in our lives.  I would like to believe that there is a Heaven.  However, my common sense tells me that there is no Heaven.  I think that when we die, when our bodies cease to function, when the emptiness of death replaces the life that is in our faces; on that day there is nothing.  That when we die, our soul or whatever life force that inhabited our bodies for all the years we were alive; that spirit disperses into the endless vastness of eternity.

Of course it is nice to contemplate that some great reward awaits us for enduring this existence on earth.  I want to believe that there was a reason for my existence.  That my life had some purpose. I mean no offense to my friends who find comfort in religion but for me, I find the religious propaganda line that we exist for the "glory of God" and to "accept Jesus Christ" a fairy tale invented by man to control other men.  I've always believed that.  Even down to the point were Christians always refer to God as "the Lord" as in medieval times when real lords presided over serfs and justified their treatment of serfs with a promise of a better afterlife.  Sorry folks, I don't accept the precepts of any "man made" religion at all with perhaps the exception of what little I know about Buddhism.  Some of that eastern religion at least makes sense to me, some of it.

Smokey

We've all heard of the near death experiences in which an all enveloping bright light welcomes us into unconditional love.  Now THAT makes a lot of sense to me and I would like to believe that is what happens when we cease to exist in our human form.  Oh how I would LOVE for that to be our Great Reward for enduring this existence on earth.  When I think of unconditional love it is not something I associates with my fellow human beings.  Oh sure, we make friends during our lifetimes and even a few of us are fortunate in that we find someone we love during our human existence.  But let's be realistic, no matter how great the love or friendship, don't they all have conditions?  Sure they do.  The only "unconditional love" I know of is the love that we receive from our pets, specifically a dog.  Isn't it ironic then that "dog" spelled backwards is "God?"  When you look into a dog's eyes don't you see unconditional love?  I do.  Cats are good pets too but none of us can claim to look into a cat's eyes and see unconditional love returned to us, only a dog's eyes are capable of communicating that feeling.

Horace

At this time of my life, when I am rapidly approaching the end of this train ride called "My Life", I often think of what if anything awaits me when I enter my Eternal Sleep.  I know what I want to happen.  I want to see my pets again.  With them, during my life I did experience unconditional love.  I would like to see my mother and father again.  I would like to see my friends like Ron and Sal, my two Army buddies (Sal was in the Air Force actually but I met him when I was in the Army).  I would LOVE to meet my grandmothers, who I never knew when I was alive.  I also never knew my paternal grandfather; he died two years before I as born.  I bear a striking resemblance to him.  I am curious if our personalities are similar.  I also would like to meet all of my grandfathers, maybe there was a gay one (or two) back there during the eons that it took to produce me in November of 1941.

The way I see it, when I die it's all good.  Even if there is nothing and all is a void then I do have eternal peace.  As much as I enjoy life now and don't want to leave just yet, I do look forward to the day when all this comes to an end.  To me life is a constant serious of tribulations of just getting through.  Recently I have been somewhat depressed over the fact that two heartless frauds might actually be elected president and vice president of this country.  It is depressing enough that Romney and Ryan could actually be elected despite their obvious and blatant deceit and selfishness but what is even more depressing is that so many of my fellow human beings would believe their deceit.

My life as  is most others, has been one of survival.  At this time of my life I am barely surviving.  I just manage to pay my bills.  My weeks are punctuated with more frequent doctor's appointments to repair this 71 year old body so I can last a few more years on this earth.  Because of my old age, I am increasingly relegated to the corner of the room reserved for Senior Citizens, an object of irrevelence good only for whatever money or possessions that can be squeezed out of me before I pass on.


"Fuzzy"


Don't get me wrong, I've had a good life.  I haven't had to endure too many hardships.  In fact, for the most part I've had a good life in spite of the fact that I was born gay and lived most of my life the object of discrimination, hate, and danger.  I've had an easier time of it than most in my situation which I attribute to luck and my survival skills.  Life to me has been one of dodging potential pitfalls and trying to extract some measure of happiness out of it.

"Brad"


I've enjoyed most of my life but I can't say I've been deliriously happy all my years.  Oh sure, there were a few times when I was actually deliriously happy.  I can remember each one of the instances.  They were brief and they were with my amour of the moment, which was always another man.  Unlike the fellow in the video at the beginning of this post, if there is a heaven and I am met by my guardian angel, he better be a man.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Aging and the Gay Male

Bette Davis - 1929


Bette Davis has always been one of my favorite actresses.  She has also been one of my favorite personalities.  When Bette said something, you know she meant it.

As a young actress Bette wasn't the most beautiful actress but she wasn't bad looking either.  In fact, she was quite attractive in a Bambi-eyed type of way.

As she got older, she didn't let her aging face and body stop her from getting the maximum out of life.  She wasn't one of those actresses who hid behind a locked door (think Marlene Dietrich) when she became an old lady.

Bette Davis - many years later


There is a myth in some quarters that most gay males hate to get old.  Personally I don't know of any gay men who are hiding behind locked doors, hiding their wrinkled visage from the peering eyes of the public.  That includes me.

Like Bette, I wasn't the most handsome man in my youth but I wasn't bad either.  In fact, I didn't know that until I got older.  That was a result of being brought up in a household by a father who constantly belittled me but that's another story for another blog posting.

During my walk tonight I was thinking that I will soon turn 71 years old.  I'm thinking "I should feel bad about getting old."  Guess what?  I don't.  I really don't.  Would I like to be young again?  Only with the caveat that I know what I know now and have all the earthly goods that I posses today.  However, that is not possible so I face the reality that I am that dreaded OLD GAY MAN.  Notice, I didn't say "AN OLD QUEEN."  I'm not a "queen" thank you.  Maybe that's one of the reasons I don't have that many gay friends.  I don't "nellie it up" with other gay men.  Or as Bill and I call  it "fag it up."  I know "fag" is a grossly politically incorrect term these days but it is the only way I can accurately describe gay men who have that bad habit of acting like imitation women.  It's not a practice neither Bill or I engage in.  We were both born men and we will remain men until we die.

So I'm thinking "Why don't I feel bad about being an OLD MAN"?  My real feeling?  I feel pretty proud to have made it this far.  What I don't feel good about are my increased doctor's visits.  Yes, I'm visiting my dermatologist again tomorrow.  These visits are getting to be a regular occurrence for me.  It is what it is.  I feel like my body is just like an old car that has been well taken care of over the years.  Eventually "little things" start to "go."  As well as I take care of that car, parts will eventually have to be replaced.  And, eventually the car will stop.

When I was a young, smart assed kid of 21 I had all the answers.  Fifty years later, I realize that I DON'T have all the answers but you know what?  I feel pretty good that I've made it this far.  I feel good about myself too.  Probably just the way Bette felt about herself.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween - 1979

Me -Halloween - 1980
Halloween is my all time favorite holiday. When I was young I could hardly wait for Halloween to arrive so I could dress up and go trick or treating. When I was young (the Fifties), trick or treating was a serious activity because we were so poor and I loved candy.  Halloween was an opportunity to clean up and get a LOT of candy for Ron.  There I go talking in the third person (feels good sometimes).

We lived in an apartment building on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, Pennsylvania which was/is a small town thirty-seven miles west of Philadelphia.  I went to the East Ward Elementary School which was also on Washington Avenue, three blocks away from where I lived.  Those three blocks from our second floor apartment building to the school was my trick or treat destination at Halloween.


Scarlett O'Hara
I bet you're wondering what costume I wore.  You are aren't you?  You say you're not?  Well, I'll tell you.  This is something I've never divulged to anyone before in my adult life but I'll do it now.  What the hell?  What do I have to lose now?  I dressed as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With The Wind!"  Yes folks, Butch Ron dressed in a big hoop skirt and sashayingdown Washington Avenue in drag!  Thank goodness I left that phase.  Not that there is anything wrong with drag queens but that wasn't Ron's future (there I go in the third person again.)

Me and my friend Bob dressed as monsters -  during out Philadelphia Gay Bar Tour - 1979

After I grew out of trick or treating, I didn't dress up for Halloween.  Many years went by until I got in "drag" again for Halloween.  The year was 1979.  I talked my good friend Bob into going out with me dressed as Frankenstein (he) and me as a vampire.  We planned to hit the gay bars that had Halloween parties.  We had a ball!  In fact we had such a good time that we went out two nights in a row.  The second night I went as The Wolfman.

"Frankie" feeling my ass
For the second might Bob and I attended a Halloween Party at the Gay Community Center in Philadelphia.  Funny thing happen to me.  I got drunk~!  I was pretty well out of it but I do remember one guy who approached me in my drunken state.  I had my mask on and was sweating profusely.  I guess he liked what he saw with my Wolfman raggedy pants with the rope belt because he asked me what I really looked like.  I took my Wolfman mask off.  He took on look and said "Put it back on."  WHAT? !  I half expected him to ask me to go home with him and do the nasty with my mask on.  He didn't.  I wouldn't have anyway.  Are you kidding?

Me and my friend Bob at the Philadelphia Gay Community Center - 1979 - look at those teeth!
From the Gay Community Center shindig Bob and I stumbled down Broad Street to make fools out of ourselves in several of the gay bars.  I don't remember much, just patches.  I did meet a couple of guys but nothing came of it.  Ron was smashed.

This is the guy who told me to put my Wolfman mask back on.  Note that there are two weird things about this photo.  There is an extra hand and I am in the photo TWICE!  My friend Bob took the picture and it was a double exposure.  Actually it turned out alright I think.

Bob and I continued on our Bar Tour and ended up at the Midway Bar on 13th Street.  By this time I was feeling NO PAIN and very VULNERABLE.  I think I made it home alone that night.  Not sure though, much of the night was a blur.

"Miss Piggy" hugs an unmasked Wolfman
One of the best pictures I have of my time in a gay bar, in fact the ONLY picture I have is the one below.  I'm not sure who took it.  The picture is a double exposure that shows me with a new "friend" and my friend Bob off to the right keeping an eye on me so I don't fall flat on my face.  I think that was the most drunk I've been in my life.  Actually, it wasn't that much fun being drunk.  I could never be an alcoholic, I like to know what I'm doing.  I don't mind a buzz but not falling down, toilet bowl barfing drunk.

An "accidental" collage of me (bottom left), Miss Piggy and friend (middle) and my friend Bob (on the right)
The next year, 1980, I also dressed up for Halloween and did the Gay Bar Tour thing again.  This time I was smart and didn't get drunk and thus enjoyed myself so much more.  There was one problem though, I dressed as an Arab sheik.  I had a problem, this was the year of the gas shortages.  When I walked into the first bar I was the target of not a little hostility of several bar patrons.  I realized that I had chosen an inappropriate costume.  I asked the bartender if he had a bag.  He did.  I took my costume off and continued my bar tour dressed in my regular 40 year old gay man attire.  That worked.

Me in work drag (my bank job) - celebrating the Philadelphia Phillies 1980 World Series win



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Loneliness - Friends

My four pet chickens - good friends


Who among us isn't lonely at one time or another?  One doesn't have to be alone to be lonely.  You could have a Mother Goose house full of kids and an adoring spouse and still be lonely.  You could be the Belle of the Gay Ball in Rehoboth Beach and be lonely.  And yet, you could live alone and not be lonely.

I've also considered myself a loner.  I like to be alone.  Yet, I often feel lonely.  Sounds crazy doesn't it?  Hey, I've been trying to figure myself out for the last seventy years.

I am the oldest son in a family of five.  I have two younger brothers.  Growing up they were best friends, I kept myself aloof from them.  Probably because I knew I was "different".  By "different" I knew I was gay by the time I was four years old.  Of course I didn't know what "gay" was or even the word but back then I certainly did know I was "different."

Me and my two brothers - 1947 - check the distance I have from my brothers - body language


I grew up (from four years old to eleven years old) in a second floor apartment building in the small Pennsylvania town of Downingtown during the Eisenhower years of the Fifties.  Several of my aunts and uncles and my cousins also lived in the same apartment building.  Even though we were poor (didn't wear shoes in the summertime) I never lacked for things to do or friends.  I am the type of person who has one or two Best Friends.  I'm not really a social butterfly with tons of friends.  I specialize.

Growing up I didn't consider myself lonely.  There was my friend Chubby (who wasn't fat by the way), Eddie Rose, Lee Harris and perhaps my best friend ever (even to this day) my comic book trading buddy Larry.

When I entered high school Larry continued to be my BF until his family moved away when we were in ninth grade.  Then came my new BF, Bill B.  We were both in band.  Bill played the bass drum and I played the Sousaphone (not the tuba as most misidentify the Sousaphone).  Bill always saved a seat for me on the band bus and I him whenever our football team had an away game.  Even though we took different courses in high school (he academic and me commercial) we continued to be BF's even to today.  Both Bill and Larry are straight and married.  We're still friends but the wifey's come first and I understand that.

I joined the Army when I was 18 years old.  I immediately made a BF in basic training.  His name was Mike Tine.  I lost track of him after basic training.  We corresponded for awhile after we both left basic training but that correspondence faded away.  I still have his letters.

After basic training I went to Army Security Agency training school in Ft. Devens Massachusetts.  I almost immediately became best friends with Bob Mc.  We were BF's for the six months we were both at Ft. Devens.  When we graduated from the Army Security Agency training school we choose different allotments (assignments).  I spent the next two and a half years at Ft. George G. Meade in Maryland and Bob spent his tour of duty at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.  Yes, he did parachute jump.  God, I'm glad I didn't go there.

Me and my old Army Buddy Bob
We continued our correspondence and friendship over the years.  In fact, a few months after I left the Army I came out as a gay man to everyone I knew and I found out that Bob was also gay!  We both had no idea each other were gay.  We continued our friendship over the years.  My friendship with Bob is the reason I now live in Delaware.  He bought a place in Delaware back in the Seventies and I used to visit him often.  I fell in love with Delaware for its mild climate, gay presence in Rehoboth and friendly taxes (they don't sock it to senior citizens like Pennsylvania does).  Unfortunately Bob has dementia and our friendship is no more.

Now to my biggest BEST FRIEND.  That would be "Bill", my lover, partner and cohort these past forty-eight years.  Bill swept me off of my feet when we first met at the Westbury Bar back in the summer of 1964 while the Supremes played on the jukebox.  Bill and I have almost nothing in common.

Bill is thirteen years old than me.  At 22 years of age to his 35 years of age, back then he was more like a father figure to me.  That worked for me because my father was not close to me.  I wasn't one of those kids that dad played ball with or even took out to the ballgame.  Are you kidding?  His usual communication with me was to mock and belittle me.  Talk about low self-esteem.  By the time I left home for the Army I could do pull-ups on a curb.

Me at 14 when self-esteem was probably the lowest 

Over the years I grew to love Bill even though we had very little in common.  Bill has always treated my like a prince.  He never restricted me with this the usual American Puritan practice of monogamy.  We both agreed that we weren't going to live out lives by someone else's insecurities.

So where was I going with this posting?  I meant to talk about loneliness but I got off the track a bit with the "friend" thing.

So here's the deal, Bill and I still don't have much in common.  He doesn't like to eat out, he doesn't like to go to the theater, in fact he doesn't like company in the house.  He just likes to be around me.  Which I will admit can be a bit smothering at times.  Our biggest problem is that he thinks I don't pay him enough attention.  He thinks I pay more attention to my friends on FaceTime and my blog.  Well, maybe I do but I'm here at the house ALL THE TIME except when I go to work.  I try to balance things out so he doesn't feel neglected.  It's not easy.

Me when I used to eat out with friends 2011


Lately I've been feeling a bit down.  I thought it was depression but now I realize my condition is probably loneliness.  I think if I had a dog or cat (which Bill doesn't want, he doesn't like cats and can't take the loss of another dog) I wouldn't be as lonely.

My one and only cat "Bobby" - 1955

I like to go out.  I like to have a circle of friends.  Not gay fuck buddies but real friends.  I'm not into sex, never really have been and especially not now at this time of my life,  just friends.  I thought when I moved to the Rehoboth Beach area, where there is a heavy concentration of older gay men and women I would find plenty of friends.  Hasn't worked out that way folks.  Maybe it's me but I don't think so.

After all my years of experience I think it is nigh well impossible to have a monogamous gay friend.  It just isn't going to happen.  Either they're too bitchy, controlling, or just horn dogs.  I hate to be so negative but it just isn't going to happen.



And of course another BIG factor is that I am an OLD GAY MAN. To use a very worn cliche, I am way past my expiration date.  Gay and seventy years old?  What am I still doing alive?  My time was up thirty years ago.  I AM THE INVISIBLE MAN.  Oh sure, I am the subject of interest by my widowed former classmates, gay or not.  But to have a friend my age?  Forget it.

So I go on with my life.  Next month I have a trip scheduled to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.  I will go alone on the Old People's Bus.

I have my interests.  I like to blog, take pictures, garden, work at the hotel, walk, research genealogy, and read.  Most times this works but sometimes I do yearn to talk to someone my age, with my outlook, and my sexual orientation who isn't looking for something else besides a friendship.  I don't think that will ever happen again in my life and that is sad.  Sometimes that blanket of loneliness just falls down on me and takes everything out of me.

So there, did I make any sense?

Me at my computer today