Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Loner

Me - solo act - 1954 - 12 years old - tall for my age

All my life I've been a loner.  I realized I was a loner when I was about four years old when I knew there was something "different" about me.  Even though I had two younger brothers, only a year apart in age each from me, I was off by myself.  I note with interest the photos taken of we three back then in those black and white days of the Forties, I'm always standing a bit off to the side by myself.

Me (far right with my hand shielding the sun) and my brothers John and Isaac - 1945

Of course back in those days I didn't know what "different" meant but I did know that when my Uncle Bruce's friend came over and played "horsey" with us kids I got a bit more "pleasure" out of the ride than the rest of the kids.  Now don't get the wrong idea, my Uncle Bruce's friend wasn't a child molester, he would get on his hand and knees and we kids would take turns jumping on his back and he would try to buck us off.  Again, that was probably my first experience of that strange and new wonderful feeling that I had with a male that I never had with a female, even though I had several aunts who I was very friendly with and who loved me.

Me and my brother Isaac watching TV in the Fifties 

Let's back up a bit here.  As is often the case with my blog posts, I mean to go into one direction and when I get on my "roll" I go into a different direction. So where I was going with this blog post is that even though I grew up with two brothers, and have spent the last fifty years living with another man who is now my spouse, I am still basically a loner.

Me (center) with Isaac and John enjoying a Dixie Cup treat after competing weeding our eight rows of corn - 1953

Fifty years is a long time to live with somebody.  Our fifty years has had it's rocky moments as do almost all relationships (except Ronald and Nancy Reagan).  Almost always the bone of contention in our relationship has been accusations by Bill (my spouse) that I'm a loner.  Guilty as charged.  I am.  In fact, when Bill first asked me to move in with him I turned him down.  I told him we could be friends but I preferred to live alone.  He prevailed upon me and I succumbed.  He said "You will have all the freedom you want, I just want you to live with me."  And that folks has been the terms of our relationship these past fifty years.  

Me and Bill, officially married on our 49th anniversary 2013

Now of course some people don't understand our relationship.  Mainly because they're looking at my relationship from their perspective.  I cannot and will not concern myself with them.  They lead their lives, I lead my life.  End of subject.  This works for us and that's all that matters in our world. 

Me (far right) and my brothers -  July 25, 1956

Recently I met someone (through my blog) who is also a loner.  Someone who I like very much.  We've known each other for over a year now and have formed a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship.  

Me and Pat in Philadelphia last year celebrating our mutual birthdays

Which brings me to the subject of this blog posting.  That person and I are going to celebrate our mutual late in the year birthdays by visiting Los Angeles in January.  

Los Angeles

All the years Bill and I have been together, with one notable exception, I've always went on vacation by myself.  For years I visited Provincetown, Mass every summer . . . . by myself.  I would prefer to go with friends but either my friends couldn't afford to go or they didn't want to go with me, they had their own friends. Three times I paid the way of a friend to go with me but each time, once they got to our destination in Provincetown they hooked up with someone else and spent the whole time.  I didn't see them again until it was time for our return flight to Philadelphia at which time they showed up for their paid (me) flight.  

Bob Murphy (of New Jersey) - a friend who I asked to go with me to Provincetown (I paid for everything) - the same day we got there he met a businessman from North Carolina and spent the whole week with him and I didn't see him again until the day we were to catch our flight back to Philadelphia.  This picture was taken at the Provincetown Airport the day we arrived.  Ironically the businessman he met from North Carolina had flown up in his own plane.  When Mr. Murphy showed up at my motel room on the day of departure I asked him "Why can't your boyfriend fly you back?"  He didn't have an answer.  He was very contrite and apologetic.  Softy that I am I accepted his apology.  I post this information to set the record straight.  Maybe he'll stumble over this blog post someday and remember what he did.

Hard to believe that anyone would be so inconsiderate and ungrateful but true.  A very painful time in my life in which I learned some valuable lessons.  You can't buy friendship . . . or love.

Me at Disney World - yep, I couldn't get any of my friends to travel with me even though I had free accommodations (air fair, hotel rooms and spending money for two as a result of me being named Best Guest Representative for the Hampton Inn fourth quarter 2000) - my Aunt Mabel went with me after all my friends refused including Bill - so my "friend" is a wooden Indian - the Story of My Life

When we moved to Delaware I dropped big hints to friends and former friends who were travailing but to no avail. Perhaps the worst case was when my friends Bob and Jim were traveling across the United States.  "Oh can I go with you? Please! Please!  I'll pay my own way, get a separate hotel room, pay for my own food (of course)."  The answer was always "NO."

Me with friends Jim and the late Bob M. - 2010 

What really hurt was they were traveling by car and they took their dog with them in the back seat.  That's where I offered to sit.  But NO.  The dog goes but the FRIEND doesn't.  That one hurt friends.  Really hurt.  That's when I gave up on ever suggesting that I could go along on anyone's trip.  I'll go by myself thank you. And I did . . . often.

Me in Provincetown, Mass - by myself - 1978

However, in the last several years I've decided I'm no longer traveling alone.  It's just not the same.  Traveling with someone is much more enjoyable.  You can share all the joys and frustrations.  The bad stuff doesn't seem as bad when you can share it with someone and laugh about it.  

So this year folks I'm taking a big trip.  I'm going to California this January.  I've always wanted to travel to warmer climes during the cold blasts of winter.  This year I'm doing it and I'm not doing it alone.  Nor will I in the future.  As long as my health and finances hold up, I'll be traveling at least a couple of times a year.  Fasten your seat belts.  My life isn't over yet. 

Me, some puppet and my Aunt Mabel at Disney World April 2000


  1. I describe it as being a soloist, I enjoy time alone, I need time alone. Not all the time, but from time to time. Most of my business travel is alone, I usually visit family alone. Jay and I also enjoy traveling together. We have had some grand adventures together. As long as I am able to do so, I will keep traveling. Go as much as you can, do as much as you can. Travel is fun and it changes you.

    It has taken me a long time to realize that each personal relationship, is based on what works for them Mine is unusual at the moment in that we work 500 miles apart 9 months out of the year, and we make it work - a lot of couples couldn't. Your relationship with Bill, is what works for the two of you and has kept the two of you happy for 50+ years,

    1. David,
      You understand. I do need that time alone, but not all the time. Your advice on travel is right on the mark. I'm glad I found someone who will enjoy traveling, although he doesn't care to travel overseas (I'll talk to him about that). I do believe traveling changes you, gives you a better perspective on life. I've always wanted to travel and here I am now, near the End and I haven't done much at all. At least I can get off the North American continent one time.
      You're also right about personal relationships. Whatever works for two people is their business. All too often some folks think one size fits all. That thinking is probably a result of our media which love to brainwash us into what is "right" and what is "wrong." Whatever two consenting adults agree to is "right" and no one else's business to pass judgment. It's a shame that some feel it is their duty to pass judgment. One would think they have enough to worry about in their own lives instead of being concerned with my life and how I live it. All I know is that I'm happy and this is what works for us. And I have to admit I get sort of a perverse pleasure in seeing some trying to figure it out. Have at it I say while I go on living my life.

  2. Anonymous9:09 PM

    I get you, Ron. I was always the opposite of you - always around people. Until the day. Then, for almost 5 years, I was a loner. The pariah.

    Finally, life got back on track. I am glad you are experiencing wonderful times now with Pat. I doubt many would understand my new relationship either, but I don't care. Let 'em wonder and fret. I am happier than a clam in sand! At 73, you deserve the same!!!

    Peace <3

    1. Jay,
      I am always glad to hear when someone gets their life back on track. We only have one go around. LIfe is not a dress rehearsal as someone said. And it isn't. This is it and if you're lucky enough to have friends and someone who cares for you to share it with, that's all the better. As I see some of my longtime friends slip away, I value every moment and day that I can still enjoy life. Much more than I ever did in my wasteful youth, that's for sure.

  3. I used to live in San Diego, back in the day. If you can stand bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway doing 80 knots, as well as "nuts-to butts" traffic on the sidewalks at a slow running pace, then you'll enjoy the 60 degree sunshine and smog-filled scenery that is WEHO.

    If you ever get a chance, drop by the "Faultline" - a Levi and leather bar on Melrose, off of Vermont just south of Los Filos. It's right behind the Mobile station (if that is still there), and the custon Harley-Davidsons are a sight to behold :)
    On the Hollywood Freeway (U.S. highway 101) northbound, take the Vermont offramp, then hang the first left at the Mobile gas station

    1. FOGGY,
      Thanks for the tip! Bumper to bumper traffic I do not like but I'm used to it here in the summertime capital of Washington D.C. Also, when I visited Pat in Toronto this past August, most of the traffic in that city was also bumper to bumper. In fact, in my old hometown of Downingtown, PA, which used to be a sleepy, boring Fifties small town, it is now bumper to bumper because it's a bedroom community of Philadelphia. Not much getting away from heavy traffic unless one moves to North Dakota.

  4. Ron,
    Enjoy California, I think everyone should see Los Angeles at least once in their life. Those who have never been have a perception of exotic beauty and glorious weather. However, as Foggy says if you can stand the heavy traffic and crowded sidewalks (he is not exaggerating) you have the opportunity to enjoy the weather when the smog lifts.. I'm only commenting because I don't want you to be too disappointed if it isn't all it's cracked up to be. However, all that aside, where you are going to celebrate your birthdays isn't as important as to who you are going with and you have someone you care about with whom to enjoy the trip. It's a win win situation. You spend time with someone you care about in a unfamiliar place that you can explore together.
    Enjoy the journey.

    1. Jack,
      I am quite prepared to see the less than exotic Los Angeles and California. I've only been to California once before and that was a weekend in the Seventies when I visited San Francisco. I have to admit I wasn't disappointed at all in San Francisco. It was everything and more than I expected. This visit to California will be enjoyable too because I will be sharing my time with my good friend Pat. We always have a good time together, no matter what the circumstances. It's all an adventure for us to be shared.

  5. Ron - well again I'm a little late on this one. I didn't drive much during my short visits to LA. In fact, my second visit, slightly longer than the first, I didn't even rent a car. I did mostly city touristy things. Just catching all the places I'd heard and seen in songs and movies. Also some of the architecture. The older downtown bldgs are being transformed into lofts - and they are wonderful to see as well. But a car riding day to the Hollywood Hills (just thought of the Bob Seger tune) would be good and a visit to the Arts community which is built up around an old brewery (like Toronto's Distillery District) would be fun to do - and at tmes when traffic is less. I'm sure it will be all good - even the simple scrabble games to relax.



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