This morning I have that rare treat (for me) of being alone. I just dropped Bill off for his American Legion ride to the Wilmington VAMC. Bill has a dermatology appointment this morning.
So, for the next four hours or so I will be alone.
Think about it folks, I'm never alone. NEVER.
At home, Bill is always here. As much a I love Bill and our life together, I do occasionally like to be ALONE. Not having to explain where I'm going, how long I'll be going somewhere, when I'll be back. What I'm going to do that day, and tomorrow and . . . . . on and on.
I grew up in a "Grand Central" type household. The oldest of three son of Ike and Betty Tipton. We lived in a second floor apartment on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, PA. What was then and still is, the
Two of my father's brothers and their families lived in the same apartment building. Every day was Open House as families freely walked between lower socioeconomic apartments on cracked linoleum floors (carpets? you got to be kidding).
By the time I was twelve years old I longed to have "my own place." Privacy. No longer sharing a bed with my two brothers. No longer having to wait to go to the bathroom.
When I graduated from high school the plan was to get a job and "get my own place." HA!
I couldn't get a job so I joined the Army. Well, you know what kind of privacy I had in the Army.
Three years later I got out of the Army. I would've stayed in but back in the Dark Ages queers were against the law and I knew I definitely was a queer by the time I got out of the Army.
I moved to Pittsburgh near an old Air Force friend of mine and got an apartment.
I only stayed in Pittsburgh three months. I wasn't making enough money to support myself as a hotel night auditor (Pittsburgh Hilton, $250 a month before taxes) and I was LONELY. Yes, I had alone in my apartment but I was LONELY.
I moved back to Downingtown and my parent's house. I arrived Friday night. Went out with a friend and stayed out late (innocent). Next morning at breakfast my father wanted to know where I was the previous night. I told him it was none of his business (it wasn't, INNOCENT). He told me "If you're staying here you have to tell me where you're going." He had a point. It was his place and he made the rules.
I checked the classifieds and got an apartment the next day.
For a year and a half I lived in that apartment ALONE. I LOVED it.
Then I met Bill. We saw each other for six months then he insisted that I move in with him. I didn't want to. I told him that I would still like to see him but that I preferred to live ALONE. For the first time since I meet him, he became very angry with me. He told me he would never see me again and would break off our relationship unless I moved in with him. He told me I would have complete freedom of movement but that he just wanted me to live with him.
I weighed my options then I decided to move in with him in February of 1965. We have lived together ever since.
With few exceptions (those times early in our relationship when Bill would go on business trips), Bill is always at home. Always.
Now fifty years later I think, for the 12 year old who always wanted to live alone I am basically never alone. Either I'm at work behind the desk at the small hotel where I work in Lewes answering the same questions over and over again (What I call the Big Three Questions that I am asked EVERY TIME I am on shift):
"Do you have a pool?"
"What time is breakfast?"
"Where is the ice machine?"
"What time is check-out?"
When I come home I am NEVER ALONE.
I have friends who live alone and who have complained about being lonely. I remind them that they never, NEVER have to always report:
Where they're going
What time they will back
Why they are going
I remind they how lucky they are to have the FREEDOM of movement and decision making.
So the next few hours I'm going to cherish.
No explaining, no nothing. Just peace, quiet and no guilt trips.