|Rich with "Samantha" and Bob with "Heidi"|
I live in a Ryan Homes development a few miles north of Lewes, Delaware. In fact, the border between Lewes and Milton, is the road that leads into our development.
All my life I wanted to live in a nice neighborhood. In fact, you could say that acquiring a home in a nice neighborhood has been a lifetime goal of mine.
Some people aspire to be a great success in their chosen career. Some others aspire to get married and have a family.
Me? My goal was just to have my own home in a nice neighborhood with nice neighbors.
Folks, it has taken me most of my life to realize this goal.
Growing up my family lived in second floor apartments. Apartment buildings that weren't in neighborhoods.
Walking to school I envied what my classmates, who lived in "regular" houses, took for granted. A porch, a first floor, a second floor, and attic, a basement and a back yard. I never had that "luxury" until my parents built a 1,100 square foot, three (small) bedroom, one bath house on three and half acres of land in the country outside of Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
I was 16 years old and, for the first time in my life, I had my own bedroom. Nirvana folks, nirvana. However, my happiness was short-lived because I was a senior in high school. After graduation I left home and joined the Army for three years.
From that date in January 1963 my life has been a series of apartments until our first house. A row house in Philadelphia. We didn't have a porch or an attic or a basement but we did have a small backyard. Progress!
Then in 1980 we bought seven acres of land near where my parents lived in Downingtown. Four years later we built our dream house. We finally had a porch, basement, and attic. Only problem, where we lived wasn't too friendly to two gay men who had the chutzpah to move into and live in their straight neighborhood. Not all the neighbors were homophobic but enough were that made periods of our twenty-five year stay uncomfortable. In fact, at one time our next door neighbor went to the township police chief to "report" us as gay. She truly believed that by exposing the "gaywads" who had the nerve to live next to her (we were there first by the way, she and her husband built their house years after we had built ours). Fortunately for me the police chief knew that Bill and I were gay (his boss the township supervisor was my boss at the bank) and informed this hateful ignoramus that "They have every right to live wherever they want to" which came as a shock to this terrible woman.
We continued to live there several years after this woman's attempt to have us arrested. Of course she nor her family was "neighborly" to us. The rot continued with neighbor below who told Bill once that he made her "feel uncomfortable."
And now we come to today.
I decided to sell our Pennsylvania home and leave Pennsylvania because of their steadily increasing their school real estate tax. We just couldn't afford to live in Pennsylvania anymore. And to be very frank, I wanted to spend my remaining years in a more tolerant environment. An environment where we didn't make our neighbors "feel uncomfortable."
This morning, returning from my morning walk in the rain I encountered two of my neighbors, Rich and Bob. Both are conservative Republicans. And as you know I am not. I'm one of those PROGRESSIVES. But you know what folks? even being the conservative Republicans that both of these men are, Bill and I are appreciated for just what we are, two human beings who are just trying to live their life in peace and tranquility.
I don't have a whole lot of years left on this earth folks but I am so thankful that for the few years I do have left, I am in a nice neighborhood. And with some VERY nice neighbors.