I hereby announce
HOW I BECAME A LESBIAN
(and other stories)
I hereby announce
HOW I BECAME A LESBIAN
(and other stories)
Look at this guy. The protest sign he displayed in Longview, Washington’s busy intersection suggests the stance of a one-time Trump supporter. Without anyone protecting him, his act of singular courage gives me comfort.
Maybe his daring deed will give you comfort too.
While strolling around Lake Sacajawea two days ago, I came across a sight to be feared: a Burmese Python. Its handler, named Franklin, sat comfortably in the grass, showing no trepidation as the snake slithered all around his body.
That’s a real change from idyllic ambience at the Japanese Garden.
What’s out of order? Aren’t Burmese pythons the scourge of Florida’s Everglades? This female is 12½ feet long and growing every day. And already in Longview, Washington, according to Franklin, there’s one snake larger.
Egad! I didn’t bother to tell Franklin how many eggs this female expels. That’s because he told me the name he’s given this snake:
When I started my memoir/love story, I was numb from loss. Yet I was given a mission.
The love of my life, Alice McCormick, had me promise “to write” ONE DAY before she left this planet. I was not about to let her down.
Then the Aphasia Network stepped in to comfort my loss. Sixty-three days after discovering Alice’s lifeless body, I was invited into a grief session on Zoom but paired with two naive, early-year students. With nothing else to talk about, I sought their input to determine a politically correct way to identify a racial epithet that neighbors and my grandfather used in the 1950s.
The two of them had no clue. They hit the PANIC button. Then they disappeared into the comforting arms of a supervisor who condemned my speech.
Welcome to cancel culture, and the scourge of it. I am anything BUT a racist; yet that word was hurled later at me. Is it because I emerged from that world and wanted to report on it? Do we choose to ignore how much African Americans have evolved since their squalid beginnings?
It makes me wonder what qualifies as history.
I learned about discrimination firsthand in Princeton, New Jersey, because I could not travel with much-whiter boys to perform in 1950s Ohio. That kind of stupidity never fails to enrage me, but I persevere.
I’m running on the fumes. Maybe reviving my Go Fund Me account would help.
No matter what, I’m writing the last two chapters. They’re about Alice.
Thanks to everyone for your enjoyable birthday remembrances. Facebook is, indeed, a social medium.
The photo above was made possible by my one-time sister-in-law, Mary Schenck, who called a Longview bakery on Commerce Avenue named the Sugar Pearl. Mary asked if they could prepare an Amaretto liqueur cake to make my 80th milestone birthday a special one to remember.
Boy, did they! Not only did I receive a VIP-worthy delivery from the bakery’s owner, but this sweetheart of an all-natural-ingredients marvel measures 8 inches in diameter and 4¼ inches in height. That’s mammoth!
I attempted to take a selfie sitting next to the cake, but it doesn’t do justice to either of us. I’ll post it anyway, because the pressure now is on. I must make a dinner worthy of this sweet introduction to my dining room. What about spare ribs? And what about a sauce that celebrates my father when he functioned as a sous chef at the Waldorf-Astoria? Over egg noodles, of course.
I haven’t left this plane of existence, yet. I’m sticking around, because I have to finish this book-length homage praising the pitfalls of life. I survived because of some dedicated women who loved me, and it’s time I give something back.
Thanks for my great birthday memories!
Amid the Christmas/Chanukah cards you see this season, this one’s being promoted on Facebook: the social medium we love to hate.
Well, considering how much we pay for Internet service, it’s time – since I am one of billions inhabiting this crazy planet – to get on board.
So this is my humble card, with a little news.
Over the Christmas holidays, Kremlin-based Russians who hate my liberal ass have been trying to hack this website over the Christmas holidays, because of a previous post characterizing Vladimir Putin as an elite troublemaker.
That’s too bad. He’s making a nasty bed for all Russians to lie in, and the country has to change from within.
As you might infer from the photo above, there’s only a place-setting for one. Nevertheless, I dine at an Alice McCormick-inspired holiday table, and I thought you’d like to see it.
I have one wish for the approaching New Year, keeping in mind America finally left Afghanistan. Russia should leave Ukraine alone.
That is all. That is enough.
May we have peace worldwide in 2023.
Ten minutes before sunset on Christmas Day, I was treated officially to a White Christmas, and the photo taken the next morning depicts a bird’s large footprints outside my townhouse. Lovely, right?
Well, reiterating a conversation at our Christmas gathering two weeks ago, all is no longer peachy. I was warned not to give any of this condominium association’s officers any publicity, even if it’s favorable.
Two of them cite fear of the Internet for choosing to shun attention, but it causes this experienced journalist to wonder why. Or could it be because I am now an East Coast widower in their closed circle?
So much for hometown hospitality.
Since the portrayed happy mood of the pre-Christmas gathering is inaccurate, I am removing that post. But thank you for reacting positively.
I better finish my book. And soon.
Why do I look so happy? How have I survived misfortune?
In my last missive on this website, I reported that a fire impacted my Longview condo four months and five days ago. As aggravated as I steadily became, I kept my impatience quiet, because waiting for insurance to take effect magnifies the tedium. While adjusters battled to save every last penny, it would have been premature to describe my fly-by-night, day-to-day existence at a local Quality Inn as the future.
During my four months of unplanned isolation, only one person made the trek to my apartment to supply companionship and some semblance of normality: former occupational therapist for Pacific University, Professor John White. He prepared some vegetables for side dishes, plenty of tomatoes, peppers and squash to inspire healthy eating and satisfy my palate. Pear jam, too! We also strolled around Lake Sacajawea. John is not a relative; he is a friend. Thanks, John.
More relief was supplied by my cousin, Margaret Johnston, who picked me up at the Quality Inn for day trips to Mt. St. Helens and Astoria. Her thoughtfulness is appreciated. Thanks, Margaret.
But the big news: On Sept. 1st – finally, finally, finally – I received word that the check required by the contractor – ServPro – was deposited in the condominium association’s account and is now accessible for the required cash deposit. Later this week, reconstruction will begin, which will include a complete repainting of the entire interior and re-carpeting of both floors of the townhouse and inside stairs. Smoke damage is pernicious and is not easily removed.
I acknowledge help from Allstate Insurance’s local Joe Cleveland Agency – specifically Kyla Rose McCoy – and Philadelphia Insurance Companies of Bala Cynwyd, where tourists struggle to correctly pronounce its Pennsylvania location. I had to fight to have proper restoration work promised, and I empathize with anyone who has to undergo property repair from Hurricane Ida and now must wait for losses to be specified, validated and confirmed.
While trying to remain sane, I finished two more chapters of my book concerning the five years (1968-72) in Hollywood, Calif., where I was told how blues icon Janis Joplin was murdered and my stint as a deejay for L.A.’s only pirate radio station. That part of my story is now written, and now I must describe my return to Miami where I began my journalistic career 30 years ago as a full-fledged writer for two metropolitan daily newspapers.
I must relive those years in my head and clippings, then describe the remarkable events of that time, including meeting Mary Jo Vecchio, the woman famous for standing over a fatally shot student at Kent State University. It’s a sad observance how an ordinary young woman was affected while in the media spotlight.
I will be leaving Longview as soon as I can, prepping for the release of my re-titled full-length tale, “Confessions of a Boy Soprano.” Alice McCormick made me promise to write this tale, and I look forward to announce the book’s release. Once upon a time, I lived a life unforeseen. I promise you will laugh at some events, shed some tears for lost innocence and remember times that were greener than today.
Onward and upward!
Today is a special day. A very special day. A momentous day. A life-changing day.
On this day, September 24, 2010, I met Alice McCormick for the first time. And I became blessed with 6-feet-and-3-inches worth of unbridled Amazon love.
Tonight, a perfect 10 years later, I will celebrate the night I learned about true love. A longer version of how we met is planned for my forthcoming book well underway, “How I Became a Lesbian (and other stories).”
September 24 turned out to became so memorable that we planned a commitment ceremony to take place exactly one year later, September 24, 2011, guided by Keith David’s book, “The Complete Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings,” in support of same-sex couples.
Our vows to one another were witnessed by 25 close friends adjacent to Alice’s backyard pool home, accentuated by a screened-in gazebo and bubbling fish pond where brilliant-colored koi swam their approval. The ceremony was led by David DiPasquale of Pebble Hill Church and Danawa Buchanan, a self-appointed chief of the Allegheny Cherokee tribe who recited an Apache prayer uniting Alice and me.
September 24th thus marked our two-time anniversary, and Native tradition reminds me to hold dear this day in our hearts by celebrating inside Teri’s Restaurant in Longview, Washington, which became Alice’s favorite place on the West Coast to dine, dance, imbibe and hang out until closing time.
Alice may not be with me in person – at least, not in the physical sense – but her spirit is strong, and I expect a moment tonight when I feel a chill as she massages my heart. I honor her, and in doing so I honor the timeless love that Creator gifted me late in my years.
If a tear should appear in my eyes tonight, it will not be from grief; it will come from gratitude. Happy anniversary, Alice.
The forests of California, Oregon and Washington are being decimated. But pro football is back, so who cares?
The West Coast is suffering a growing crisis. The death toll has yet to be totaled, because health effects from breathing this particular toxic air are yet to be estimated. While people in the rest of the country have been paying attention to Covid-19, the West Coast is showing the world a climate-change fact of life. Fires are decimating Western forests and air quality far out West has turned beyond unhealthy.
That’s why I have been running my air conditioner constantly, even when the temperature outside never makes it above 70. Longview, Washington is on the northern periphery of the Western air-quality crisis, and my A/C recycles high-quality air inside the apartment, keeping bad air out.
The adjectives used to determine air quality are as follows: 0-50 is good, 51-100 moderate, 101-150 unhealthy for sensitive groups, 151-200 unhealthy, 201-300 very unhealthy, and 301 and above hazardous. Longview today registered 384; Tualatin, near where my cousin lives, 411.
Turn your attention, please, to San Francisco, where the NFL dictated the 49ers play football against the Arizona Cardinals today. Hmmm, the City by the Bay’s air-quality number was 193, qualifying as “unhealthy.”
But deep down why should we care? These players are being paid handsomely, right? So why not send weekend warriors into the smoke-filled confines of Levi’s Stadium, amid “lucky” ticket holders who can see the made-for-TV spectacle in person (minus the commercials, of course) and simultaneously fill their lungs with carcinogens? What better way to convince a bored, quarantined America that it’s good to play outdoors under “unhealthy” conditions.
Yes, as long as football graces American TV screens in the fall, everything’s okay. Just like we can depend upon the CDC for the most accurate guidance going forward. Perhaps some of football’s millionaires can give us more guidance after smashing their noggins against one another for three hours.
Today is no longer Sunday, but please pray for America.