Saturday, November 16, 2013

Blogger Friends

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 cliques groups of friends.  While outwardly friendly, they do stick to themselves and are not very welcoming of new friends.  At least from my vantage point.  

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


7 comments:

  1. "Then I started to blog. Wow. Have I made friends. And what a wonderful bunch of gay folks with whom I've made friends!" - fixed it for me! :-)

    it still amazes me the FABU people I have met whilst blogging. I don't have any friends in real life; my friends come from my blog and my knitting social website. and I am grateful for that.

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    1. Anne Marie,

      I have to admit I am also amazed at the wonderful folks I have met through blogging. Maybe it has something to do with folks who actually take the time to blog. Whatever the reason, I am so grateful for the fine folks I have met though blogging.

      Ron

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  2. I am not sure there are enough numbers to count the number of WONDERFUL people I've met while blogging. Some of them I haven't met in person...yet, nor will I, some of them value their physical privacy, though I know their names, where they live, and almost everything else about them. Others, like you, Spo, Cubby, Nate, and so many others, I have met in person, and for the first time in my life felt accepted as a gay man, completely, totally, and as crazy as I am, without reservation. I can only thank blogger for its door-opening effects that have taken me from the depths of loneliness and despair to being happy again, giving me confidence in who I am, and what I can do. It's been WONDERFUL!!!
    Peace <3
    Jay

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    Replies
    1. Jay,

      Meeting you one would never think you were ever lonely or in despair. You had me fooled! But I too have been lonely and blogging has reaffirmed that we are all worthwhile individuals. The next Bloggerpalooza is only FOUR MONTHS away!

      Ron

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  3. I love all my blogger friends even if I will never meet them in person! Affinity, discovering different parts of the world, styles, cooking… is what attract me. Would you have ever imagined being friends with a girl who is a makeup artist? I know thousands of people in real life
    but I don't know them as well as I do some blogger friends. I love it and I take a particular pleasure at reading their stories. (I haven't been online much as I got bit by a dog and had my car stolen while working in San-Diego on a naval base. The car was stolen in the parking lot of the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay. I spent yesterday buying a new car).

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    Replies
    1. Nadege,

      You're right, I would never imagine I would be friends with a famous make-up artist. Just think, if I wasn't blogging all the wonderful people I would never have met. Some people put down the Internet age as being impersonal. I don't agree. I think we expand our horizons and become even more personal. At least that has been my experience.

      Ron

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