|Nate, Cubby, Dr. Spo and Pat|
When I was a teenager I discovered the satisfaction of having pen pals. At one time I had as many as 60 pen pals. Oh how I used to look forward to receiving their letters when I came home from school each day. When my great aunt Grace found out that I was writing to 60 pen pals she asked my Mother "Doesn't Ronnie have any friends? Why does he have so many pen pals?"
Well folks, I have to admit I was embarrassed when my Mother asked me that question. I did have friends in school. I didn't have oodles of friends but I did have a few very good friends. We did a lot together. But I wanted more.
I don't know why but for some reason I was always intrigued by the aspect of widening my horizons for making new friends by writing to others my own age outside of my small town. I didn't want to limit myself.
Most of my pen pals were in the United States but I did have a pen pal in Japan and one in Germany. From the time I was 13 years old until I left to join the Army at 18, I wrote everyday to my pen pals. However, once I got caught up in the Army, and made many new friends, my interest in pen pals dropped off.
|Toshio Oba - my Japanese pen pal - 1958|
|Nancy Jo Stoker - my American pen pal Waterloo, Iowa - 1957|
Fast forward to 2006. I retired from my full time job as a bank trust operations manager at a major Philadelphia bank. I moved to Delaware, to a heavily gay populated area. I did not want to spend my retirement years paying high taxes to support my straight, mostly indifferent neighbors in Pennsylvania. I knew few gay people where I lived in Pennsylvania and we certainly did not socialize. For many years I had been visiting my friend Bob (from 1970 on) in southern Delaware. I knew southern Delaware (Sussex County, east of Route 1) was mostly gay friendly. So to me it was a no brainer to spend my retirement years in southern Delaware where my "gay lifestyle" wouldn't be discriminated against. Where I wouldn't be ignored except to pay a higher rate of taxes to support my straight neighbors' kids to go to the best schools.
Since moving to Delaware I have made a few gay friends but nothing like I thought I would. For the most part the gay population in southern Delaware and I don't mix very well. Most of them are from the Washington D.C. area. They have their own
I've always considered myself a likable guy. Sure, I have my opinions and I'm not in the same income category that most of my gay brethren are but I think I make a pretty good friend. But, my integration into the gay social swirl here in the Rehoboth Beach area just hasn't happened the way I envisioned it to me. Maybe it's me, maybe it's them. Or maybe it's a combination of both of us. Whatever the reason, I don't even try anymore. Again, I have made a few friends (who I sincerely appreciate) but basically I'm by myself.
Then I started to blog. Wow. Have I made friends. And what a wonderful bunch of folks, straight and gay, that I've made friends with!
|The view from my hotel room at 17th and Walnut Streets, Philadlephia, PA|
Last week I realized a longtime dream celebrated my birthday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Several of my blogger buddies made the trek to my hotel room at the Latham Hotel in Philadelphia to take me out to dinner. The guys traveled from Phoenix, Arizona; Washington D.C.; and Tornonto Canada. Nate, Cubby, Dr. Spo and Pat. What a wonderful group of friends.
Thanks guys! You're proof that I just have to expand my range to have friends. And what a handsome group of fellas too!
|Dinner at the Knock Restaurant and Bar in Philadelphia November 9, 2013|