Saturday, June 30, 2018

Family Matters

Today I had a call from one of my brothers. He informed me that our other brother is very ill. 

Today my estrangement from my brothers ended. 

Whatever differences we had in the past, they mean nothing now.  Those differences are minor and probably mostly my fault due to my overly sensitive nature. 

My brothers and I are about a year apart in age, which means we're all old.  

All three of us are facing increasing medical issues. Years ago we used to take care of our Mother. We all teased our Mother about all her doctors' appointments. Karma has a way of getting back to you. Now we schedule our weeks and months around medical appointments.

My brothers and I had a wonderful Mother. We also had a good father but he was mostly indifferent to us. My brothers and I were always closer to our Mother than our father. However, my youngest brother, who I feature here in my video compilation, was the "pet" of our father, which I highly resented when I was younger.  But then I was the "moma's boy" so I guess it all evened out except for our middle brother. Oh yes, we had the classic sibling definition. But I have to say our Mother loved us all even though she didn't display physical affection like hugs. We weren't a "huggy" family but she protected us like a fierce Moma Bear. And we weren't spoiled either. She taught us all responsibility and how to fend for ourselves. A good Mother, we were very lucky to have such a mom.

Mom and "her boys" - 1951

However, as I became an adult we grew very close.  I grew to respect and like my youngest brother, much to my surprise, as I never had when we were younger.

Growing up I kept mostly to myself with my friends. My two younger brothers were best friends.

Now we're at that time of our life when we realize that most of our best days are behind us.  Now we're all fighting against Father Time.  Trying to eek out a few more good days, weeks, months and even years of peace and serenity with our families.

Labor Day- 2005

My youngest brother is very ill. I plan to visit him next month. It will be good to see him again.

I'm glad we're all back together. This is as it should be. 

Petty differences and hurt feelings. They mean nothing at a time like this.  

We're brothers. Mom always called us "My boys."

She took good care of us.  Now is the time for us to take care of one another. 

August 2010 - my father's funeral - last time we were all together

Friends and lovers come and go. 

Brothers are forever.

French Creek State Park, July 26, 1956 (I remember the day because it was the day the ocean liner Andrea Doria sunk)

Rumination of Life and Death in the Sweltering Heat

Good morning folks!  

It's going to be a hot one today!

The current heat wave descended upon us two days ago.

Here on the Delmarva peninsula where we live, when the summer heat arrives it is almost always accompanied by heavy humidity. That oppressive, you can't break Florida humidity.  Of course Florida is a peninsula too, surrounded on both sides by a body of water. In our case on the one side we have the Chesapeak Bay and the other, is of course the Atlantic Ocean. No dry heat here.

This past week was rather pleasant though because neither Bill nor I had doctor's appointments. What a relief not to see the doctor to try and keep our aging bodies going for a few more days, weeks, months and hopefully, years.  I'm reading a book now called "How We Die."  Very interesting book but depressing. To sum it up, we don't get out of this life alive. Hopefully we leave painlessly and with some of our dignity intact but this books doesn't present a pretty picture of our final days when our bodies finally say "Enough!"

My neighbor Joe loaned me this book (and I loaned him by book "Being Mortal").  Joe has health issues as do several of my nearby neighbors. One of my neighbors has pancreatic cancer. I've seen him and he looks like a ghost. I feel so bad for him. And he's not that old.

Another neighbor is in end stage of COPD.  She's on oxygen all the time. 

Yet another neighbor, who I rarely see these days, both he and his wife have serious medical issues that I do not know the nature of. He used to have a vegetable garden in his back yard which he often loaded the neighborhood down with his bounty.  

And there is my neighbor who has melanoma cancer. He is my ride to Philly and back (for my trips).  A really, really nice guy. And again, not that old, not even sixty yet.  

And then there is my lifetime friend Larry who is entering his second year of ALS.  He's doing well by the way. 

So when I start to feel sorry for myself with my arthritis, phlegm that I can't get rid of and sometimes makes me feel like I'm suffocating, my left leg that numbs up every time I sit at my computer like I'm doing now, and of course my prostate cancer which I hope doesn't make a return visit and my general lack of energy.  I remember something my Mother told me years ago when she could no longer weed that eight rows of corn after she came home from a full shift of working the conveyer belt line at Pepperridge Farms frozen layer cake. She asked the doctor "What's wrong with me? I used to be able to work all day, come home and make supper for the family and weed rows of corn before calling it a day?"  He asked her "How old are you?"  She said "Sixty-four" years old."  He said "Well, you're not as young as you used to be and eventually your body wears out".  That came as a revelation to my Mother, she thought her body could go on forever.  

Looks like I've reached that time my life folks that the old bod is starting to slow down. 

I've taken good care of my body over the years but eventually everything comes to an end. 

This summer I've tried to do as much as I can outside working in my backyard and front yard. But I need help now.  My two Mexican landscapers will be over this Sunday to trim my twenty-one holly trees. There is no way I can go out in that heat and trim those trees. Last week I almost fainted from the heat after I over extended myself transplanting some red salvia plants on our driveway.  

Bill will be ninety years old this September. I'll be seventy-seven years old. No spring chickens here. 

We're still enjoying a good life, in between all the doctors' appointments.  I have my four times a year (quarterly) trips with my excellent friend Pat of Hamilton, Canada.  

I can still type this blog and I can still go to my job at the hotel twice a week and more when needed.

I'm getting uglier by the day but hey, now I understand why old people aren't that hung up on their looks.  What it is, it is.  

My main concern now is that I leave enough of a visual history and written history behind for that person at some future date who would be interested what this weird gay guy was all about.   And of course I hope I don't go out ugly, but with tranquility and some measure of dignity. 

That's my wish.

Have a great day folks and stay cool!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Trip to Philadelphia 2016

Hey folks, more video compilations!  I finally figured out  to put these memory video and photo compilations together.  I am so relieved to now be able to put some of my 91,000 plus photos and videos together for access long after I'm gone.  I know I kid about it all the time, but I actually don't have that many days left here on earth.  One thing that has bothered me was that all my videos and photos will be lost once I'm gone. Now I don't feel that way.

Now, this video compilation is from my annual spring trip to Philadelphia. I don't remember exactly what happened that Pat wasn't with me on the trip up, after all it was two years ago.  Last year and this year Pat takes a bus from Canada to Philly then rents a car and drives down here where I live in southern Delaware. He spends a few days here then we drive up to Philly for a week's stay at a suite I rent at my friend Don McKenzie's co-op in Philly.  At the end of the week Pat leaves by bus back to his home in Hamilton, Ontario.  My neighbor Bill B. picks me up in Philly and drives me back to home here in Sussex County, Delaware.

On this video I drove up Rt. 896 to one of our favorite restaurants in Kelton, PA called "Daddy's Kitchen".  They make the best wraps. 

Then I visited Downingtown, my hometown. I visited the cemetery where my parents are buried. Also friends who have passed. 

Then I took a train from Downingtown to center city Philly where I met a former co-worker Tom J.

We had lunch at one of me and Pat's favorite restaurant, the Marathon Grill.  I kept in touch with Pat via FaceTime. Pat came down a few days later. That visit will be in another video.

My friend Larry M. picked me up at Don's.  

Nothing earth shattering about this blog post folks other than an excuse to post another one of these video compilations, which I LOVE doing.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Palm Springs Holiday February 2017

Two years ago we visited Palm Springs for the first time. We (Pat and I) fell in love with this desert oasis.  

You know the feeling that when you visit a place for the first time and you know right away that you feel right at home? That's the way I felt about Palm Springs. I felt the same way about Cape Cod the first time I visited Provincetown, Massachusetts way back in 1974.  

This video compilation is of our visit to the top of Mt. Jacinto via a tram.  We met our friends Spo and Someone and also Tim and Larry for the trip to the top of the mountain.

We left the desert heat of the Coachella Valley to the cold winds at the top of Mt. Jacinto. I was so glad I took my hoodie with me because it was COLD up there.  What was a pleasant surprise was how refreshing the air was. Fresh air, no pollutants. Wow, I could live in that air year round. 

I am so thankful to be at this time of my life. Even though I have several health issues that are slowly bringing me down, I can still visit wonderful places like Palm Springs with great friends like Pat, and our friends. And you know what makes all this possible? Every friend, including Pat, I have met through my blogging. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

On This Day June 23, 2014

Well folks, did I go to Rehoboth Beach yesterday? 

No I didn't. I took one look (or maybe two) at the traffic streaming down Route One to Rehoboth Beach and decided to forego that headache.  

I might go this week. Weekends are out, at least during the summer season. I've sat in that traffic to know it's no fun to stop and start down Route One just to find no parking available in Rehoboth.

During my walk this morning I stopped and talked to my neighbor Howard.  He said the best time to go to the boardwalk is early in the morning, real early.  Years ago, when I first got my Subaru, I used to go early, around 6 am and leave before the morning weekday rush of traffic at 8 am. I also didn't have to pay for parking. These days, I usually don't get up until around 7 or 7:30 am.  However this morning I did get up at 6 am. Maybe later this week I'll venture down that way. I need some new photos and videos for my "productions" that I've been featuring lately on my blog. I'm loving these Memories that my iPhone produces, with a little editing by me. Takes the laborious work out of producing them on my iMac by iMovie. Plus I save a lot of space on my computer by storing my productions in my account at You Tube. 

Today is a beautiful day, unlike the past several days when the humidity was overbearing. I just can't work outside in that heat and humidity. Last week I almost passed out after only doing about a half an hour of pulling weeds. I still have a big pile of mulch to lay. I enjoy working outside but not in the heat and humidity we had last week. 

I'm off now to Milton and the veggie stand. Have to get some of those Georgia peaches for my morning cereal.

Have a great day!

Note: featured in todays video is Pat (of course at his previous home in Toronto, Canada). Our home with our wonderful back yard oasis.  And lastly Rehoboth Beach and Semara, the hostess and owner (and a belly dancer) at a fabulous Middle Eastern restaurant in Rehoboth Beach called (of all things) "Semara's Mediterranean Grill.

This was the last time I was at her restaurant. Have to go back.  I LOVE falafels!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Rehoboth Beach This Time Last Year

Bill and I live in a resort area. We live ten miles from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  

The trip to Rehoboth Beach in normal traffic takes about twelve minutes. "Normal traffic", alas in the summertime "normal traffic" moves like a lava flow.  Even though getting to Rehoboth Beach is a straight shot from our development straight down Coastal Highway (Route One), traversing four lanes of clogged highway is no fun.  Thus, I rarely if ever visit the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach during the season. 

The season lasts from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For most of us year round residents, we venture little if ever to Rehoboth Beach.  There are plenty of days in the off season when we can visit Rehoboth Beach. Of course those days we're missing experience the "summer feel" of throngs of tourists and people watching. Many of the shops, restaurants and other facilities are closed except on the weekends. 

Today is a warm, summery day. I'm thinking of taking Bill and taking that ten mile trip down to Rehoboth Beach today. After all, think of all those thousands of people who travel many miles to visit  Rehoboth Beach, braving all that traffic. Surly I can endure ten miles. 

Yes, I think I will go today. 

"Hey Bill, want to take a ride to Rehoboth Beach?"

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Father's Day 2018 and a Bonus Trump Rant

What do two men who are not fathers do on Father's Day?  We visit the Laurel Flea Market.

One of our annual summer traditions living here in southern Delaware is to visit the Laurel Flea Market. This is where we get a taste of the real Sussex County, Delaware. 

Delaware has three distinct demographic groups. There are folks like me and Bill, transplants from another state who moved to Delaware because of the low taxes and milder climate. Most of us live near on or near the Route One (Coastal Highway) corridor which includes Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, Milton, Dewey and Bethany Beach. We are a diverse group of folks. Many of us are old folk, retirees. Also there are many gays and lesbians, looking to live in a more tolerant climate. 

The population of inland Sussex County Delaware are more of the many generation Delawareans. Often called rednecks, sometimes with justification. 

The third demographic group are the Hispanics, many from Mexico and also many from Central America. This group are the people who do the work many of the longtime Sussex County residents don't want to do like mowing lawns, laying mulch, landscaping, and working in the chicken processing plants.  Many of them would rather go on disability and look for their next meth hook-up. They're the people who attend the "Make American Great Again" Trump rallies, ratifying racism and hatred in our country by our ten-cent Mussolini wanna be dictator president. You the know the one, who took over 2,500 children from their parents who were seeking legal asylum in our country and dispersed them throughout our country, without any plan to reunite them with their parents. Yes, this president who has made me ashamed for the first time in my life to be an American. This president who lies every day, spreads hatred and divisiveness among us and our closest allies and can't get his nose far enough up the asses of Putin and the world's worst tyrant dictators like Kim Jun Un, Rodrigo Duterte, and Recep Erdogan. This man who is the most reviled person on the planet now except for his ignorant racist supporters who would literally still support him (as Trump bragged) "If I shot someone on Fifth Avenue".  Yes, THOSE people.  Those people who never got over that a black family occupied the White House for eight years. But I digress. Back to our wonderful Father's Day visit to the Laurel Flea Market. I felt I had to do this rant after "Mellissa" (a commenter) accused me of being a racist.  Apparently she failed to note my tongue in cheek reference to "right, white guys" (we're white but anything but rich, believe me) or she disapproves of my term "redneck" when referring to native Sussex Countians. That's a term I learn when I used to visit my friend Bob McCamley in the 70's and we had to keep very low key, lest one of the "natives" burned down his single wide as they did other gay men and two gay bars (The Renegade and The Boathouse).  I know these folks, they're dangerous just as the Trump supporters and enablers are dangerous. Sure, there are some well meaning people who voted for Trump, hoping to either shake things up or they just couldn't bear to vote for Hillary (I never got the "Hate Hillary" thing but be that as it may). But how anyone could still support Trump these days after witnessing how ignorant, incompetent, hateful, and destructive he is, truly baffles me. I heard last night that Sarah Huckabee, the "Good Christian" who lies every day at the press briefing was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant last night, I thought "Good, here's a taste of your own medicine. You think it's alright for a baker to exercise their "religious freedom" and deny service of making a wedding cake for a gay couple, goes both ways Sarah. Maybe that restaurant owner doesn't like the damage you're doing to our country every day by lying for Trump, justifying his destructive and divisive policies. Maybe that restaurant owner's "religion" not to despoil her restaurant with a known liar and enabler of a wanna be despot. 

While at the Laurel Flea Market, with the exception of me and Bill, I only saw the two demographic groups of rednecks and Hispanics. I didn't see any fellow rich, white, retired transplants like me and Bill ("rich, white" being a tongue-in-cheek reference sometimes lost in translation to the written word). Did we feel like a fish out of water?  Oh yes!  But still, we do enjoy our occasional foray deep in the Sussex County culture. 

When we returned home we met our neighbor's new pooch, "Roxie Mae". We have the best neighbors!

And this is these two old gay guys spent their father's day.

Note: this blog was rewritten with the "Trump Rant" after one of my commenters called me a racist. I've been called a lot of things in my life (some earned, some not) but this is a first. Oh well.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Bill's Vascular Test

Last week Bill had a vascular test on his legs.

Bill recently completed wound car caused by scraps on his legs not healing because of the poor circulation in his legs.  

Bill will be ninety years old this September.  His body is slowly giving out just like my body is slowly giving out. Even as I type this post, my left leg is swollen from sitting too long here at my computer.  

There's not much Bill can do about his poor circulation except to keep his legs elevated and avoid scraping his legs. The problem is "stale blood" that doesn't circulate up his legs. 

Getting old is a bitch isn't it?

Heartless and Cruel

Folks, I am  trying to keep this blog light and interesting but with the human right's atrocity of the Trump regime separating immigrant children from their parent's who are seeking asylum in our country, I cannot.

Yesterday Melania Trump visited a shelter (nice and clean and small, not the one with children in cages), in Texas. She wore a jacket which said:
"I don't care, do you?"

How cruel, insensitive and tone deaf. 

Anyone who supports Donald Trump after this human rights abuse of those thousands of children whose lives he has ruined for his own political gain, they too are guilty.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

On This Day, June 18, 2014

Time for a happy post. 

This is another one of my video productions of a compilation of old photos and videos. These photos and videos were taken June 18, 2014 when Pat visited me and his newly purchased lot.

We also visited my longtime friend (since high school), Ed Cage of Elverson, PA and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

I was unsure what kind of music to add to this video because there is sadness involved. Ed died of liver cancer six months after the photos were taken. I didn't know how sick Ed was. He didn't tell us. I didn't know it at the time but that was the last meal we had. Ed's last words to me were "That was nice", referring to the dinner. 

The other sad story was of the man who is in the photo with Pat (two photos).  I won't mention his name out of respect for his family. That man was very kind to Pat. His son mowed the grass on Pat's lot that he had purchased in the development he lived in.  That man died three years later. He was shot and killed in a domestic dispute. So sad. 

The original music added to the video was slow and sad. I decided to add more upbeat music.  Especially since Pat is such a happy guy. 

Life goes on.

Trump Jails Babies

Several months ago I decided not to post any more of my political rants on this blog. This has been a hard decision for me, especially lately with Trump's decision to separate children from immigrants on our southern border seeking asylum. That's right, immigrants seeking asylum, not people illegally crossing our border. These people are presenting themselves at the border seeking asylum.

Now Trump has decided with his new policy, and don't believe his lies that this is "the Democrat's fault", of using children as pawns to build his fucking wall.  That's right, the wall that he claimed "Mexico is going to pay for", another Trump Lie.  

Trump's ONLY goal is to satisfy his base so he can appear at his "rallies", strut down the runway to the rapturous applause of "I can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any supporters" audience. 

Trump is holding these children as hostages. How can anyone be that soulless? 

I can write thousands of words about the venality of Trump but I will keep this short. 

This atrocity has to stop. 

This is not who we are as Americans. 

Trump is making American great again? Each day we sink deeper and deeper into becoming the pariah of the world. 

This breaks my heart. 

I never thought I would say this in my lifetime. I am actually ashamed to be an American today.

The one thing I and we always had in this country was that we were better morally than the rest of the world.  Sure, of course there was and is the underbelly in this country of darkness of the American soul. 

A black men dragged to death behind a pickup truck just because he was black. James Byrd.

A gay man tied up to a fence crucified style, tortured and left to die. Matthew Shepard.

That element will always be in our country. Fortunately it was almost always been held in check. 

No longer. 

Now we have a person as president who actively seeks to divide us. And to shore up his base he appeals to the worst of us.

Last night on during a TV interview, Corey Lewandowski, a former Trump campaign chairman, mocked the Down Syndrome child of a woman who was arrested trying to cross our southern border for asylum. 

This is where we are at now folks. Today I am ashamed to call myself American.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Gay Pride Month

June is Gay Pride month. 

I've only been in two "gay pride" parades or marches in my life. 

The first one was in 1979. It was the first LGBT march for equal right in Washington D.C. 

1979 March on Washington D.C. - I'm somewhere in that mass of people - oh how I wish I had taken my camera. What was I thinking?

I lived in Philadelphia at the time.  I was told a bus was taking folks down to Washington at no cost to participate in the march. At first I hesitated to go, fearing for my safety and embarrassing my family when I was arrested, which I sure would happen. I was so sure, I didn't take my camera with me because I didn't want it confiscated and destroyed. I thought what would be the point of taking pictures only to have them confiscated?

I was very nervous when I rode that bus full of participants in the march. The bus was so full, there were people sitting and lying on the floor.

When we arrived in Washington, the ominous quiet and sense of danger in the air was palatable. I'm not ashamed to admit, I was afraid but I was determined to march.

Several things from that march stand out so clearly. First was how the march was lined with D.C. cops lining the parade route, sitting on their tiny motorcycles. I thought at the time how comical they looked on those motorcycles who were so much smaller than the gay bikers in the march. 

Another thing I remember was how many "normal" marchers there were. I was expecting the Sisters of the Perpetual Indulgence 

drag queens and biker dudes but 98% of the marchers were just plain guys like me. Oh sure, those marchers were there but the greatest majority of marchers were like me, just regular gay guys (and women).  

And the last thing I remember was the deadly looks of some of the straight tourists who lined our march.  That "look", like we were some foreign species. That "look" seemed to say "There go THOSE QUEERS".  "How dare they show their faces in public."

My fears of being arrested were greatly overrated. The police were polite and protective. Sure, we got the dagger stares from some of the onlookers of the parade but for the most part, the parade was uneventful.

Oh, one more thing I remembered was how many people were there, at least a half a million. All those gay people and others who supported our cause. Man did that make me feel good. I wasn't alone. 

When I got home I expected to find that coverage but was disappointed to discover that most of the news media fixed on the extreme marchers. There they were, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the leather thonged clad biker dudes. Oh well.

In 2009, the 30th anniversary of the first march, another march was planned. Again, a free bus ride was provided from Rehoboth Beach (where I now lived) to Washington D.C. 

I had no hesitation this time about attending this march. And I even took my camera. In fact, I took over seven hundred pictures. Some of which are in this video I put together the beginning of this blog post. Yes, I took all these photos. I did miss taking videos though, iPhone weren't out yet in 2009.

What a difference this march was! In fact, there was another march for a different cause going on at the same time. This time there was no need to protect our parade route with D. C. cops on tiny motor cycles. 

The air was festive.

Smiles abounded. 

Even the tourists went about their business of touring. There were no stares of disgusts some thinking "What do THEY do in bed?"  

I won't be participating in any gay pride marches this month. Not that I have anything against them, but unless I get a free bus ride and have a friend to go with, I'll let others express their freedom to be who they are. 

Me and my friend Bob C. resting after the march near the Capitol - it was a beautiful day for a march

Monday, June 18, 2018

Reflections on the Estrangement of Relatives

My brothers 1954

Dr. Spo, one of my favorite bloggers recently wrote a very thoughtful post on the estrangement of a relative. This prompted me to think and now write about my own personal estrangement of relatives. 

I've been thinking about this subject for sometime. I've been reluctant to post about it for a few reasons. The main one being that it is just too painful. Another reason is why add to this sadness. I know some of my relatives read this blog.  They either read it or someone they know does and they report back to them lest I write anything that concerns them. I also haven't written because I do respect their privacy. But that time has ended. 

Me (my hand on my father's shoulder) and my two younger brothers - 1946

I have two younger brothers. Both of them know and have known for years that I'm gay. They know Bill and I have been together for lo these many years (54 now).  We have all gotten along well over the years. However, with one brother I've always had the problem with his far right wing nut rants at me.  He literally has screamed at me "Clinton is a rapist!" and thrown me off his property because I voted for Clinton. In later years, since I moved from Pennsylvania where he was my neighbor, I had to endure his anti-Obama rants. 

Me (center) with my brothers 1953

My other brother is more reasonable, ironically so because he is a evangelical pastor at a Southern Baptist church in South Carolina.  He never ranted at me but it was understood that when I visited I had to be very circumspect in my gayness.  A "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" attitude. I respected him and his family and his life and consented to being discounted.

Me (center with my niece and her daughter) and my brothers - 1980

I haven't spoken to my brothers in five years now. The estrangement began when Bill and I got officially married. You see, it was all right in the past when Bill was just my "friend."  But once we got married, that was another whole story.  Our marriage received national attention. Apparently that coverage got back to my pastor brother's congregation. Embarrassment ensued. This I can only assume. What I do know is that all contact was cut off.

I attempted to two years ago when I tore my quadricep leg muscle. The response I received was a get well card from my sister-in-law's dog.  That's right, their dog. That showed me the level of respect I got for my outreach. I decided then and there that I wasn't worthy of respect in their eyes.  Their religion and congregation was more important. I was discounted as a human being. I guess I was always discounted in their eyes, I just choose to look away. 

Me (left) and my brothers - about 1986

My other brother, the far right wing nut brother, I cut off. He would call me on the phone occasionally.  Almost always the phone calls from him were accusatory rants at me because of my liberal views. And God forbid I would say anything about my gay life, because I would invariable be met with a statement like "Why do you always have to say something gay?" Yes, I would have to do the old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" charade with him too. I'm tired of it folks. I stopped taking his phone calls. About two weeks after that he unfriended me from Facebook.  Fine. I know he's also bad mouthed me to his daughters and son because they have no Facebook contact with me either. Radio silence. 

My two brothers will always be my brothers, as long as we're alive. I don't hate my brothers. I care for them. But I will no longer be discounted as a human being. I will no longer accept rants because of my political views. I will live my life without them or their families.

When I met Bill fifty-four years ago, he had just became estranged from him family. They found out he was gay and confronted him at his Mother's funeral about his gayness. His sister said "We KNOW all about you!"  When Bill left his mother's home in Toccoa, Georgia he never had saw any member of his family again. Over the years I urged him to make contact but he refused. I thought he was being unreasonable by not making a move. But now I understand why he decided to leave his family. 

Our last (and only) professional portrait and picture together - 2005

I never thought I would be in the same situation but here I am, estranged from my family (brothers and their children) five years now. 

I will continue to be estranged. I will not discount myself in order to be accepted by them. One for my homosexuality and the other for my political views. 

Not to be too dramatic but I am at the end of my life. I don't have time for this nonsense. I certainly won't accept being discounted as a human being. 

I doubt if I will ever seen them again. That saddens me but you know folks, I would be surprised if that fact saddens them. 

Now I will go on with my life.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Brad - Summer 1980

Continuing with my video blog memories series, this video is a compilation of my last boyfriend, Brad. Yes folks, I have had a long stretch between boyfriends. I never had another boyfriend until you know who in 2013 (check yesterday's blog).

I met Brad in the summer of 1980 at the Drury Lane bar in Philadelphia.  I didn't know it at the time I met Brad that he was homeless, but he was. He had been thrown out of his boyfriend's home and was staying temporarily with a married couple, who were friends of him and his boyfriend. 

At that time Bill and I were building our house in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, thirty-seven miles west of Philadelphia. Since the house wasn't completed, I rented an apartment at 2124 Spruce Street in center city Philadelphia so I could continue to walk to work at the Girard bank. Bill lived in our house in progress in Downingtown.

After spending the night with Brad at his temporary residence, he told me he was looking for a place to live........temporarily...... until he could find his own place.  I told him he could stay at my apartment until he found his own place.

It didn't take long for me to discover that Brad would never find his own place because he didn't have a job.  He also had a drug and alcohol problem.

I fell in love with him.  I thought I could save him.

Me and Brad at Bob McCamley's single wide in Georgetown, DE early in our relationship - when he still "loved" me - 1980

I arranged for a job interview for him. He showed up an hour late, drunk. I was mortified.

I was in love with him. I thought I could save him.

I overlooked his drug problem (uppers and downers and marijuana). 

I gave him money. 

I supported him.

I loved him.

I was a fool.

I asked him to go with me for my annual vacation to Provincetown, Massachusetts.  My friends Bob McCamley and his boyfriend Gino would be in Provincetown at the same time, as would our mutual friend Joe Murtha.

Brad, Gino and Bob in Provincetown, Mass 1980

While in Provincetown, Brad met a married couple and spent the night with them. That's when I discovered Brad also had another problem, he was promiscuous . 

I loved Brad. His actions hurt me terribly.  The pictures of us biking was after he returned from spending the night with married couple.

The happy photos of us on the sailboat ride was prior to him spending a night with the married couple. I can count on two hands (and maybe a foot or two) the times in my life that I've truly been extremely happy. That sail boat ride with our friends was one such time. Even when my friend Bob McCamley tossed our styrofoam cooler in the bay (and then retrieved it), was all fun.  

That week I experienced the extreme highs of a summertime romance and the extreme lows. 

When we returned home from our holiday in Provincetown, our relationship continued for a few more months. Brad said he was sorry.

Then one day I came home from work and Brad was in my rented apartment with a biker guy.  When I entered my apartment I asked the biker guy what he was doing there.  He said "What's it to you?  Who are you?"  I told him "I'm the person who is paying for this apartment and you can leave now".  He said he wasn't going to leave.  I told him he could leave on his own or I could thrown him down the stairs.  He left on his own.

After he left Brad and I had a furious row.  Brad felt I had embarrassed him.  I told Brad I wasn't renting a brothel for his tricks. Our arguing eventually escalated to the point where Brad, who was drunk, threw his arm against my throat and screamed at me to "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!"  He was choking me.  I couldn't breath.  I lost my balance and fell on the floor, Brad still choking me.  I don't think he realized he was choking me.  I was flailing about on the floor and my ankle hit the knob on the radiator, causing a cut and blood to shoot out. I couldn't catch my breath. All I could think was I didn't have a chance to take a deep breath before he started to choke me.

When Brad saw the blood he stopped choking me and took his arm away from my throat.  He then realized what he was doing.  He started to say her and over again "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"  

Sitting on the floor, I think we both realized how close we came to a tragedy.  

After sitting there a while and had a chance to think, I told Brad that as much as I loved him, our relationship would never work out. I had planned to leave Bill and have Brad move in with me.  What a big mistake that would have been.  My common sense seemed to have returned when I realized as much as I loved Brad, we could never live together.  He would destroy me.  

Brad had moved from his hometown of Cincinnati to Philadelphia to be with his boyfriend Gene, a bartender at a local Philadelphia gay bar.  Gene threw him out, which I now know why.  Brad's drinking and drug problem and promiscuity. 

As much as it hurt me I knew I had to part ways with Brad. He would drag me down with him. I was a fool in love. An old fool. At least I thought I was "old" at that time. Brad was only 26 years old. I was 37 years old. I thought I was a sugar daddy. Maybe I was. 

Me and Brad at The Cottage restaurant in Provincetown, Mass 1980

I bought a one way bus ticket to Cincinnati.  I gave Brad that bus ticket and a $100.  I watched him leave from my fourth floor window apartment as he walked down the street to the bus station. 

My heart was broken.  I loved him.  Why?  I cannot give you a reasonable explanation other than I felt a special connection with him.  He did like me at one time but later on he told me "I just fell out of love with you."  Hearing those words so casually fall from his lips hurt me as deeply.  I never know I could hurt other than physical pain could hurt as much. Again, I don't know why I would fall in love with someone who didn't love me, wasn't a responsible person, who was promiscuous and who was an alcoholic and drug addict. But I loved him.  Maybe I was reliving my youth, a youth I never had.  

Of course after Brad left, I regretted what I had done. I sent him dozens of letters begging him to come back.  He answered a few then nothing. 

The hurt I felt I thought I would never recover from. But I did.  But something had died within me.  I vowed never again to let anyone get that close to me. Never to fall in love with anyone again.  I loved and still love Bill but that was different.  Bill and I had an "agreement" when he asked me to move in with him that I was always free.  He would never cage or restrict me, as long as I was discreet.  Bill often said that you can't make someone love you.  I know that now. 

Years went by. I never heard from Brad again.

In 2012 I send Brad a Christmas card.  I often send Christmas cards to people I haven't been in contact with for years. Sometimes they send me one back, sometimes not.  Brad wrote back.

He suggested that he would like to visit Rehoboth Beach one more time before he died. Brad told me he had AIDS. He told me he wouldn't stay with me though but would prefer a hotel.  I didn't offer to pay for his hotel room.  He didn't come. I had long ago fallen out of love with Brad. I bear him no ill will but I wasn't about to pick up the tab again.

Brad - about 2013 at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio

I didn't hear from him for the next few years. Then I received a note from him asking me to call him.  I called him.  I could hardly understand him, his words were that slurred. He asked if I still had the "porn" picture of him.  And if I did could I send it too him. He wanted to show it to his friends. I had it. I sent it to him.  

Brad's "porn" picture which I took impromptu when we were staying at Angle's Landing in Provincetown, Mass 0980 - this picture was to posed. Brad sometimes walked around naked. The cat was the owner's cat (Angela) and Brad just picked her up to put her out and I just happened to have my camera handy - lucky shot - not posed - the best kind of photos!

A couple of years ago I received a phone call from a friend of his. He told me that Brad had died. 

I hope Brad had a happy life when he returned to his hometown of Cincinnati.  Later photos of him that his friend sent me show Brad smiling.  

Brad and his friend in Cincinnati, Ohio about 2013

Brad (on the right) with friends in Cincinnati, Ohio about 2013

Even though Brad and I had a rocky relationship I will always remember Brad's gentle nature. I think that's what I fell in love with, his gentle nature. And of course he was a pretty good-looking guy in his prime. I have to admit there was and still is a soft spot in my heart for him.  But it would never have worked out. But that summer, ah, that summer. 

Brad died September 17, 2014. Rest in peace dear Brad. Thank you for the good memories.You were part of my life. 

Patrick 2013

Hard to believe but it's been five years since I met my travel buddy and FaceTime friend Pat.  

I've told this story before but I'll tell it briefly again for those of you new to my blog. I "met" Pat when he left a comment on my blog as I was posting a blog. That was the first time (and last) I ever got a comment on my blog while I was writing a blog.

Pat wasn't and isn't a regular blog reader or follower. He happened to see my picture testifying before the Delaware State legislature for marriage equality. He liked what he saw and researched the Internet for more information on me. That's how he happened to come across my blog.

When he left a comment on blog, I left a comment right back as I always do when someone leaves a comment. He left another comment and I left another one right back. We continued that way for a while then I asked him if he had FaceTime. He didn't know what FaceTime was.  I told him and since he had an Apply computer we connected through FaceTime.

For a week or so we talked on FaceTime every few days. Then he told me he was retiring from his job with the Toronto Police department and would like to take a trip to see me. I said "Sure, why not?"  I've met other bloggers before this way.  Anne Marie of Philly was the first.  

Our meeting was interesting but I won't go into it right now. What I will say was it only took me a few minutes after meeting Pat in the parking lot of Hotel Blue in Lewes, that I knew he was someone special. In fact so special, he was the "friend" I've been looking for all my life.  All those years in the bars. All those summers in Provincetown.  And here he was in the parking lot of Hotel Blue.

I initially thought was the parking lot attendant going to give me grief over parking in the lot. Turns out he wasn't the parking lot attendant but the whole guy in the flesh who previously was only the talking head I communicated with via FaceTime.  

This is a short compilation of photos and a couple of videos of those August summer days in 2013 when I met Pat, my Buddy For Life.  

By the way, Pat doesn't mind me taking pictures and videos of him unlike Bill and most all of my other friends. I always wanted someone that I could photograph and video to my heart's content. And Pat's that guy.  He's a pretty nice guy too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Trip South 2010

The last time Bill and I took a trip was in 2010 to visit my Mother who was living and being taken care of by my brother John and his wife Barbara in Greenville, South Carolina.

After our visit John and I took the two hour ride to the Pisgah Mountains in western North Carolina, right over the border from Johnson City, Tennessee to visit our paternal ancestral roots.  Also known as our hillbilly roots.  Yes, my father and his father and the rest of the Tipton were hillbillies or Appalachian residents, Pigeon Roost, North Carolina.

While there we made a side trip to Johnson City to visit our Aunt Daisy Buckles, who is the daughter of Isaac Lewis, my great grandfather and father of my grandmother Hester Lewis Tipton. 

Isaac Lewis - my great grandfather

The family moved to south eastern Pennsylvania when my father was ten years old (1930).  They were starving up in those mountains.  My grandfather was in the lumber business and there was no lumber business during the Great Depression. So Fieldon Tipton and his wife Hester Lewis and their nine sons all moved to Hester's brother-in-law's farm near Unionville, Pennsylvania as farm laborers. Two more sons were born in Pennsylvania for a total of eleven cheap day laborers. 

My grandfather and grandmother with two of their grandchildren in Pennsylvania

Ten years my father met my Mother on a double date and thus I was produced from that chance meeting. 

And that folks, is a short history of my paternal family roots. This video brings back the beauty of those mountains that ironically are so unwelcoming to me now as a gay man. I would love to live there but I couldn't love there so I don't live there. During a subsequent visit my gayness was discovered and I was given a warning. I only need one warning. Thus all I have now are my memories, shown so well in this beautiful video, of my time visiting my roots. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Twenty-Five Questions

Hey folks! I'm going to give you a break from my recent stream of videos. I haven't done one of these "Question and Answer" posts for awhile. These questions I stole from my good blogger friend Jon.  Read and be amazed!

1. Have you ever had chicken pox?

No, but I had the mumps. Is that the same thing?
2. Have you ever shopped in Home Depot?

Yes I have. Also Loew's, Lumber 94, Dicks, and BJ's. Name a store I haven't shopped in.
3. Have you ever spied on your neighbors?

Absolutely. In our previous life in Pennsylvania we had homophobic neighbors always plotting against us. We had to stay one step ahead of them. We did.

4. Have you ever ridden in a limo?

The only limo I ever rode in was the one for my father's funeral. He died on a hot August day in 2010. I made the arrangements for the funeral and opted to go whole hog and use the limo for the immediate family (me, my Mother and two brothers). Wasn't so luxurious though because they neglected to turn on the air conditioning. We arrived at the cemetery looking and feeling like we just spent 20 minutes in a steam room. So much for "luxurious" transportation. At my Mother's funeral, we used our own cars. 
5. Have you ever had a pet fish?

Yes. Both in house and ponds that I built. At our former home in Pennsylvania I had three ponds that were full of gold fish that propagated themselves and always wintered over. Of course when we sold our house the new owners neglected the ponds. Two years later we visited our former home after the new owners defaulted on their mortgage and walked away from our one beautiful home and grounds. I checked the ponds and much to my surprise there were still fish surviving in those ponds even though the ponds were full of debris that had not been cleaned out for two years. The new owners, of course, have filled in the ponds. I would love to have a pond where I live in Delaware now but I cannot, too many cranes that would eat my fish. I even had a crane clean out my pond in Pennsylvania. I restocked the pond and put in large flat stones for the fish to hide.  Here it would be fruitless because these cranes are too numerous.

6. Have you ever lied about your age?

No. Never once. Why? I am what I am, 77 years old this November and looking every day of my 77 years.  Lucky for me I'm attracted too older men. Bill will be 90 in September and Pat will be 70 in December. And I am having the best time of my life sexually.  Much better than I ever had when I was young and in my so-called "prime."

7. Have you ever fired a gun?

Yes. When I was in the Army. Basic training and once a year to qualify on the range. I failed to qualify in basic training but they passed me anyway because my "weapon" we weren't allowed to call it a "gun", malfunctioned. I passed the yearly qualifications after basic training. I haven't fired a gun since then now do I own a gun. And I won't own a gun. I don't want to take a chance on an accident or someone stealing my gun and shooting me with it. And I'm not a hunter. When my father died, my Mother told me and my brothers we could have his guns.  He had a gun cabinet full of them. None of us wanted them. She gave then to the son of his hunting buddy. Neither me nor my brother were or are hunters. And we don't feel the need to possess gun in our private life

8. Have you ever been ice skating?
Yes. What a laugh! I tried once Christmas Day 1958. All I succeeded in doing was skating on my ankles.

9. Have you ever played golf?

Yes. Another laugh! I don't "get" golfing. I tried Chip and Put a few times back in 1964 with co-workers. That was sort of fun but nothing I would go out of my way for. Back in my teenage days of dating girls I sort of enjoyed miniature golf but again, nothing I would go out of my way to do.

10. Have you ever hidden on Halloween because you had no candy for trick or treaters?

Not "hidden" but didn't turn on the outside lights which is the signal that you're playing the Trick or Treat game. A few times we have entertained trick or treaters but were turned off when grown kids we didn't even know came to our door wanting to load up on free goodies. Halloween is for kids. I used to go trick or treating when I was a kid and I enjoyed it but not now as an adult

11. Have you ever made a prank call?

I'm not sure but I think I did when I was a teenage with my friend Larry. Only a few. Stupid stuff teenagers do. I don't like prank calls now. I've heard Howard Stern's show do it a lot and really got turned off. People are just trying to do their business and you have these as swipes with nothing better to do than to screw around with them for a few cheap laughs. One of many reasons I stopped listening to the Howard Stern show on radio,

12. Have you ever gotten a tattoo?

No. Almost did once, when I was in the Army. It was "the thing" to do but I chickened out at the last moment. The tattoo I was going to get was a little bird right on the right side of my left ankle. No reason for the bird but the placement was so it wouldn't be so noticeable. I'm glad I didn't get that tattoo though or any tattoo.  I see all these tattoos today and wonder why?  I never seen any that I felt made the person wearing it more attractive. But then, maybe I'm missing something now that I'm an official Old Fogey.

13. Have you ever had a massage?

Yes. And informal one from a gay guy teacher massage therapist that I met through a gay newspaper classified ad. It was my very first massage and I LOVED it.  And of course I had a "happy ending". I've had several massages since then from you know who (read previous blog posts).  Never paid for a massage and would never have a massage by a woman. Not that I have anything against women but it would give me the chills to have a woman's hands on me. Sorry gals. Nothing personal.

14. Have you ever locked your keys in the car?

No, thank goodness. I've been lucky!
15. Have you ever ridden a horse?

No. Wish I had. Maybe I will in the future. Maybe next year's trip to California. I hear they have horses a plenty in California.

16. Have you ever been to the circus?

Yes. When I was nine years old we had a school trip to Philadelphia to see Barnum and Bailey's three ring circus. I was suitably impressed. Perfect age to see a circus. Wish I had taken pictures but this was before I had a camera. I got my first camera three years later at Christmas and have been taking pictures ever since, with some significant lapses.
17. Have you ever been to Europe?

No. Again, wish I had. Still on my bucket list. If I win on one of my lottery scratch off tickets Pat said he would go with me, even though he has no desire to visit Europe. I would like to visit the Midlands of England is where my ancestors came from, both sides of my family tree.

Have you ever built a fire?

No. Have absolutely no interest in doing so. However I was caught playing with matches when I was young and stupid. Thank goodness I never caused serious damage. Good thing I was caught and learned my lesson. Got a good beating.

19. Have you ever been skydiving?

No! Absolutely not. The first man I was ever with, a married man who used to visit me on Saturday mornings at my apartment in Coatesville, PA, suggested on one visit to go sky diving with him.  Absolutely not!  I just missed by a few test points from being assigned to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina when I was in the Army.  My good friend Bob McC. was assigned there and yes, had to qualify as a paratrooper.  He had to "make the jump."  I got lucky again. If I had to "make the jump" I would have probably soiled my underwear on the way down.

20. Have you ever bought something at a garage sale?

Yes. However, I'm not one of those "every Saturday morning at at garage sale." The only garage sales I've been too are some in my neighborhood. And I've gotten some good buys. My regular luggage that I travel with I bought for $5.00 a few years ago. I use it all the time when I travel. I do visit thrift stores often. Again, I've gotten many good buys.

21. Have you ever walked in on someone having sex?

No. But I did have someone walk in on me, uninvited. I uninvited him right back out of the room. I'll choose my own sexual partners, thank you. Of course this was years ago in my wild and flaming youth.

22. Have you ever faked an injury to get out of something?

No. If I wanted out of something I just said "No". I would like to get out of my HOA board membership. I won't fake an injury but I will get out, soon.

23. Have you ever been to a nude beach?

Yes. I was talked into it by a guy I met on the beach during one of my summer forays in Provincetown.  As we were lying under the hot sun in the warm sand, with our eyes covered I heard voices. I looked up and saw a group of bird watching ladies coming our way. My friend ("Tony Bellafatto", always remember his name) said "just let them go by. I covered my eyes again and continued my working on my tan. The voices got closer and closer then stopped for a minute or so. After awhile the women' voices receded into the distance. I guess they got to see two rare "birds" that day.
24. Have you ever received a speeding ticket?

No. I did receive a speed warning once. One of those speed trap towns. I went over a bridge and all of a sudden I was pulled over by a cop who looked like he was 14 years old. He asked me if I was from the area. I wasn't and I told him so. He said "Then you probably aren't aware that the speed limit drops from 35 mph to 20 mph once you go over the bridge."  Junior was very nice and only gave me a warning.

25. Have you ever run a marathon?

No. Are you kidding?  Not in this lifetime nor any future lifetimes.  God, I used to run the mile run in high school and that almost killed me.

There you are folks.  Hope you enjoyed me revealing more about myself.  More videos tomorrow!

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