Jun 16, 2015

UPDATED - NO ANGLICAN COVENANT COALITION: Support Resolution D022 - 78th General Convention - The Episcopal Church


BIG THANKS to No Anglican Covenant coalition and especially Lionel DeimelJune ButlerJim BeyerAnn Fontaine and others!

As a member of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, I support Resolution D022 which has been submitted to General Convention 2015.
"Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church affirm our common identity and membership in the Anglican Communion, neither the present nor any desired future nature of which is properly described by the Anglican Communion Covenant; and be it further
"Resolved, That the 78th General Convention direct The Episcopal Church’s members of the Anglican Consultative Council to express our appreciation to the 16th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC16, Lusaka 2016) for the gift of inter-Anglican conversation and mutuality in God’s mission engendered by the Anglican Communion Covenant process."
The previous GC declined to vote a firm "No" to the covenant, and now it's past time to lay the Anglican Covenant to its final rest and give it the decent burial it so richly deserves. The courageous dioceses in the Church of England and other churches in the communion voted the covenant down, so, for all intents and purposes, it is dead, and I hope General Convention will add its signature to the death certificate.

23 JUNE 2015 -FROM JIM Thoughts

http://essaysbyjim.blogspot.com/2015/06/gathering.htmlhttp://essaysbyjim.blogspot.com/2015/06/gathering.html

Gathering

All over the Western Hemisphere, bishops and deputies are traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah. When it convenes, General Convention is the largest legislative body on the planet. Every three years, when it convenes, it has way too much on its agenda. It legislates canon law, comments on issues de jure, creates commissions, budgets, offices and officers; sets agendas, and establishes relationships. Getting all or even most of that done in a 10 day session is exhausting. Bishops routinely schedule vacation time after convention. Most clergy and lay deputies are not so fortunate, having to recover while working.

This year, unfortunately, one of the items on the agenda is the "Anglican Covenant." It should not be there, because General Convention had a perfect opportunity to deal with it three years ago. It failed to do its job, so here we are. Three years ago, it was crystal clear that the Covenant was a disaster, that it was unworkable, and that it was targeted on North American and Northern churches generally. England had already rejected it, proving, were proof needed, that British common sense lives in the dioceses, not Church House or Canterbury.

So why is it on the agenda now? Cowardice is one possible explanation, those who made the committee decision to pass, "moderte" langage to the floor, (most votes in GC are straight line up or down on committee language. It has to be that way, or the convention would never adjourn.) were afraid to, "let yes be yes and no be no" as Scripture teaches. They were afraid that relationships with Central African churches, already stressed, would deteriorate.

As so often happens when fear rules, the worst one can imagine happens anyway. Bullies and that is precisely what CafCon is, a collection of bullies, are not satisfied by moderate responses. Nigerian bullies are busily dumping their own bishops for the singular failure of not supporting their kill-the-gays law. In doing so, they actually refer to that law as part of their doctrine and dogma. Maintaining good relations with those people in charge is like maintaining good relations with ISL. Except ISL may be a touch more honorable.

So now the convention cannot duck the marriage equality issue any longer. States have made marriage equality the law in their jurisdictions, and the Supreme Court will likely do the same thing nationally while the convention meets. To my amusement, the button being distributed by marriage equality supporters says, "Let your yes be yes, and your no be no." Some of the same people who acted with such crave actions three years ago have been sighted with those buttons.

A resolution to stop the madness and finally say, "no!" is before the convention. Unfortunately, its principal sponsor is ill and has been forced to ask for a replacement. I hope that does not doom the resolution. Fear may win again. But, perhaps finally, the passage of marriage equality will siffen some backs. That is what I pray for these evenings. 

Jun 9, 2015

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Thirteen: ¨...throughout my lifetime, I have loved both ¨straight¨ and ¨gay¨ friends...I mix socially and integrate well emotionally.

Greetings From San Jose, California

Everywhere I looked there was mostly fun early to mid 1960's.  I was full of creative delight being a full-schedule Art Major at San Jose State and I was delighted with my ¨part time¨ job at L. Hart and Son department store, downtown San Jose, main branch.  My parents paid for ALL of my college expenses, all of them plus a weekly check would arrive for incidentals.  My ¨incidentals¨ were growing into weekly trips to San Francisco, bar bills, clothes, parties and restaurants. I used the extra money earned at Hart's to pay for my ¨entertainment¨ which was a never-ending event.  How many young, teen into early twenties, Gay men have their first dating experiences while making new friends and finding their way into learning how ¨to be¨ included in Gay and Heterosexual society?  I was lucky, I was given the gift of meeting people who added much to my school, work, social life...IMMEDIATELY!  New friends, just like me, seemed to be emerging all around me. Friendships flurished as people ¨came out¨ to one another, sometimes openly and sometimes secretly, but there we were, TOGETHER!  A huge new dimension of fellowship layered on in my life.  I would later know, throughout my life  I have had both ¨straight¨ and ¨gay¨ dear friends. I  am mixed socially and emotionally. I like being part of being integrated with everyone...but, it's true, LGBTI people are greatly admired by me.  We are quite the brave lot, we have positive tenacity and strive to survive ourselves and others (we always have).

Immediately I wanted to do a great job working at Hart's.  I liked retail. I liked waiting on customers and I was a good salesperson, stock person and make-shift display person too (we set up sales and rearranged/merchandised the floor continously with ¨best sellers¨ or featured ¨new¨ merchandise). The Divisional Mens Merchandise Manager was a seasoned New York/NYC department store executive, Harry Schlisky. He was brilliant stock/sales planner/lead buyer and his wife, Vivian,  was a ¨pottery maker¨ who was lovely, funny and a fully active artist. Some of us younger/student coworkers were invited to their home for meals and parties and they were gracious, ¨with it¨ and FUN! The Men's Furnishings Buyer was also a married man who I really liked working with.  Nick Marafino was a tall and dashing Italian-American who was loaded with merchandising talent and energy...lot's of wholesome energy. My job was originally working part time in the Mens's Furnishings Department,  Fall into Christmas Season 1962.  I worked 20+ hours a week and I worked extra hard because I wanted management to keep me on after the Christmas rush.  They did

BUSY/BUSY it was as Hart's Department Store as it was quite the volume operation and the weekly sales, door busters and moonlight madness, White Sales, Beauty Salon sales, Cosmetic Guest Stylists (Charles of the Ritz, Helena Rubenstein, Elizabeth Arden N.Y. salon representatives) and  special openings/etc., were wildly successful in this famous old downtown San Jose department store.  We, all of us, sometimes could only keep selling and we didn't have time to replenish the stock.  L. Hart and Son gave away S & H Green Stamps too. There were endless lines everywhere. The Giftwrapping department, Green Stamp redemption, downstairs restaurant...the place was a merchants delight.  Customers quite literally were backed up and waiting at the doors to enter most mornings.  Hart's was the #1 advertiser, always FULL Page Three, in the San Jose Mercury News (a Ritter Newspaper).  Customers raced accross the Main Floor after the BELL rang! Then, down the central staircase to the Home Furnishings, Gifts and Housewares and/or ¨Budget¨ Departments and U.S. Post Office branch or over to the bank of elevators that would take them up/down all three floors (and to a walk-up 3rd floor mezzanine too).  The place was like New York department stores on Herald Square...Macy's and Gimbels, but smaller.




Mr. Alex Hart, grandson of founder, Leopold Hart, was President of L. Hart and Sons.  He was a dignified, attractive and generous man.  He was our leader, a civic leader, we loved him and I think everyone did. He had many good and innovative merchandise ideas regularly.  I learned, I experimented and our sales went sky-high...profits too. Mr. Hart was a teacher to the young assistant buyers and held a weekly class in his stunning office (framed/signed and very personally dedicated photos from the STARS and a Zebra print sofa too)!  I was dazzled. He took us every week to the Garden City Hofbrau for lunch after our training session..delicious and just accross Market street.

 A.J. Hart II was one of the children of several generations of HART notable citizens who were admired for their hard work and generous donations as they helped build the thriving community of San Jose, Santa Clara county. Hart's was the biggest (and highest volumne) department store between San Francisco and Los Angeles!




Mr. Harts brother, Brooke Hart, had been the victim of murderous kidnappers years earlier in 1933 and I don't think Alex Hart ever recovered from the loss of his much loved brother.  Workers and clients at Hart's Department Store rarely spoke about the tragedy...never openly.  He mentioned it once to me. Some of the longtime Retail Clerks Union employees I worked with shared the events of 1933 with me...Brooke and Alex Hart and their sisters were loved by all and the community reacted passionately.  

http://leonardoricardosanto.blogspot.com/2010/08/alex-hart-he-was-philanthropist.html

Within a few years I became first an ¨Executive Trainee/Mens Division¨ and later became Buyer of Stationery/Greeting Cards and Gifts at Hart´s while still attending Art School. Mr. Hart, became a friend. On ¨off duty¨ hours he became  ¨Alex¨ during the many elegant and fun dinner parties he hosted at his home off the Alameda and then the Rose Garden, San Jose.  Delicious moments in my young life where excellent food, beautiful table settings, cocktails before dinner and singing at the Grand Piano afterward were featured treats.  I became civilized (mostly) when dining at the home of Alex Hart. Alex was a very well known person-famous-celebrity and a gracious host too in Northern California.  Alex often had very famous guests, from retail world giants and famous movie STARS and others as his weekend guests.  Important film executives and other well-known professionals and politicos visited his home for parties.  Sometimes I would be included too.

I was often among several young people who were gifted with kind and welcoming invitation to his home for spectacular, large and small, social events that were way beyond-my-young-imagination (and everyday dreams of splendid/elegant living reality that included artwork by Picasso and other famosos and his home decorated by Hollywoods most famous interior designer to the STARS). I learned my very extra best manners, sense of style, merchandising savvy and the general way ¨to be¨ in my adultlife from Alex J. Hart. Today, again today I´m deeply touched and grateful because of the many kind and helpful words, acts and general ¨marketing¨ direction that Alex Hart offered to me. I remember well. 


Later in my retail progression, about two years after I moved away from San Jose and Hart´s, Mr. Hart discreetly supported my ongoing retail career by offering a unsolicited personal reference that resulted in me securing a very prestiges, BIG JOB at another Department Store in another city. As it turned out, Alex Hart was a very close friend/business acquaintance with the President of a chain of very fine/high-end fashion department stores, GOLDWATER'S/ARIZONA  (Associated Dry Goods) where I had been presented as a candidate for buyer. I got the job, it was a very ¨big¨ opportunity for me. I´ve never forgotten the many kind deeds of Alex Hart.


San Jose, California was/is a wonder of a place: http://geography.howstuffworks.com/united-states/geography-of-san-jose.htm

to be continued

May 25, 2015

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Twelve: I learned from others. I learned through my personal experiences. I learned how to capitalize on my own authenticity



In the early 1960´s when participating in San Francisco nightclub nightlife it was quite an adventure for someone, me, who was not legally old enough to drink.  Gay Bars in San Francisco were mainly ¨protected¨ from the California State Department of ¨Equalization¨ or the local ¨Vice Squad¨ . They didn´t bother the larger Gay bars nor clients (much/mostly).  I remember the candidates for city office of San Francisco would come into the bars (with uniformed police escorts) and campaign during election times.  I liked that.  

My favorite bar was The Rondezvous on Sutter street. Upstairs/over a interior design firm. The Rondezvous was filled with hundreds of underage/undergraduate college students from the Universities in the San Francisco/San Jose Bay area.  There was always an older ¨friendly¨ doorman who checked ID´s (and he chose acceptable clients) but he didn´t check our ID´s...ever. Weekends (and sometimes during the week) were endless  college parties. Whopping fun Springlike vacations and many of us became close friends as we met in ¨The City¨.  We often met for dinner and/or brunch at Gay Restaurants like ¨Jacksons¨or ¨Gordons¨  (older men purchased drinks for us at Gordons) and we went to many parties before ¨going out¨ to the bars...we had after hours parties too. 

We, our group from San Jose State, became a larger group of friends after we encountered one another, SURPRISE¨I didn´t know you were Gay¨! We became pals with students from Stanford, University of San Francisco, University of Santa Clara, California at Berkeley and San Francisco State too.  Our own Intercollegiat dating games began and they went on for all of our College years.  

Many of us became close friends for life and our extended Gay family ¨friendships¨ grew up around those friends who gathered under the center chandelier at the Rondezvous.  I still celebrate some of those friendships today and those ¨first¨ Gay brothers became the solid foundation for a life, not a lifestyle, that would extend up to this day as I write this.  I love my brothers both now and before now.

I extra appreciate my early exposure to Gay life in San Francisco because there had never been any clear understanding for me (or anyone else) of ¨how¨ it would be to live and survive (myself and others) as a ¨Gay¨ person in a still non-inclusive (mostly) culture. I discovered how to live a productive life. I discovered how ¨to be¨ exactly who I was/am (almost) in the dimension quite apart from the heterosexual majority.  

I learned from others.  I learned through my personal experiences how to capitalize on my own authenticity and personal talent as I shared ¨secrets¨ with other Gay young men who intended to LIVE and not be denied their part at all levels of everyday life.  We would survive until the ¨Gay Cancer¨ took many of our friends and loved ones in our mid 30´s into 40´s.  

AIDS became a deadly dread as we faced it, campaigned to raise funds/awareness to stop it, became of service to oneanother along with the support of our beloved ¨straight¨ friends and families. We would love one another, mourn one another and some of us would survive the tragic time and tell you what it was like and who we loved and lost to AIDS.

I am jumping ahead in my story again.

to be continued

Apr 14, 2015

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Eleven: Drinks, Dinner, ME? (whatever happened to the Tonton Macoute)

Our trip to Haiti (my first of two) included Voodoo rituals 
His name was Ron.  Ron was married and finishing up a Masters program at San Jose State.  We worked together in the Men's Furnishings department at L.Hart and Son, part time student employees, both.  Ron was a very enjoyable person - intelligent, handsome and he made friends easily and most people found him extremely appealing in every way.  I liked him as a friend.  He and his wife lived at the Spartan City which was a special community of bungalos for married students. Spartan City was away from campus and near the stadium.  His wife was getting her Masters too, they were both finishing up their time at San Jose State.  They would soon head out for training and then Peru . They were among the first volunteers accepted for the Peace Corps.  President Kennedy's Peace Corps. Everyone loved our President and First Lady Jackie.  Ask anyone.  

One of Ron/Wife family members owned a cabin in the moutains between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz, and one weekend, after working on Saturday, Ron invited me to go to Santa Cruz for dinner.  Dinner and then stay overnight at the cabin as his wife was working and out of town on a field trip.  ¨Sure¨ it sounded fun...off we went.  First dinner with lots of drinks and then my car weaved our-much-lost way to the cabin for sleep/pass-out.  That's what I thought was happening. I was wrong.  This *situation* was about to become the first time in my life that I was actually in a very awkward sexual exchange that I didn't expect (or want) to happen.  I was drunk.  I was in the middle of the woods in a little cabin somewhere and I didn't want what was staggering my way.  I was genuinely shocked. There was strong insistance and some weak resistance.  I didn't like it at all.  Not at all.  It was over fast. I was embarrassed. I was not stimulated but that could be blamed on the booze? Yes, no? Never happened before! Yes! I blamed it on the booze and that was the one and only time my friend and I engaged in sex and we never discussed *it* again...Ron soon graduated and off they went. Hasta la Vista.  (I self-apologized but felt shame for doing something that I thought I ought not to have done...was I a quirky homosexual prude or a gay guy with good sense? Who knew? Not me) 

Two years later (lots of overseas air-mail tissue thin/four fold back and forth letters) we would become friends, in person, again. After Peru, after his divorce, Ron returned to San Jose, worked at Hart's again while applying for overseas NGO directorships and we rented a big old house on 4th Street...we had lots of after-hour parties there and that was during the time I met Richard (more later, but he often left boquets of flowers on my front porch during the night - handsome/tall, too) my first, mutual, love blossomed...¨Oh, Sweet Pea, Won't You Dance With Me¨ (often dedicated to me as a song-of-endearment but it made me cringe and I loathed it). 

Ron received a very big job offer in the Dominican Republic and off he went after his nine month layover in San Jose.  I visited him the following Summer for a month. We partied hard and met lots of great people (and a famous young playright from New York who is still famous, more famous, but now exciting in a olderman way) in Puerto Rico and then we traveled back to his lovely/rented/paid-for home in Santo Domingo via Prinair (memorable only because the hostess served huge trays of sandwiches during heavy turbulence without a crumb lost).  It's in the hips

A week later we went to Haiti. Nobody was in  Port-au-Prince but Papa ¨Doc Duvalier¨  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Duvalier and the Tonton Macoute http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonton_Macoute (one of the Tontons was to become our driver from airport arrival to departure) and slept in the car in front of our Hotel Castle Haiti.  We were the only guests. Our Tonton driver knew lots of colorful stuff and took us to places that I still have nightmares thinking about...he had a wrapped/bloody bandage on his upper right arm the whole time (I didn't ask and he didn't tell).  Every night we visited the patio and home (accross the street from the Main Cemetery/Zombies) of Papa Doc's official photographer and drank lots and lots of Rum and chipped ice off a block (like the olden daze)...we ate Conche meat snacks on white bread.  The photographers wife and daughters (presented the last night) were charming and fun and they were great hosts even in the dark as sometimes the city lights were blacked out....I think I'll have one more drink or two. 

Ron and I were to live together a few years later in Scottsdale, Arizona. He became a Probation Officer for Maricopa County, I was already a Buyer at Goldwater's Department Store (a division of Associated Dry Goods).  We were never lovers...we were good friends. As we Gay people say, we were ¨running partners.¨  Ron thought we were a pair of Sebastian Dangerfield charactors out of¨The Ginger Man novel he prized...I didn't agree. However, there was, in fact,  a allnight party we hosted in the middle of Summer for a young, handsome and non-fictional Marquis from Spain (Ron met him on an earlier trip to Europe)...it, that party, was as bazarre and decadent as any wild party would ever be.   A sort of desert studio 54 right there on our leased acre out  among the Saguaros.  I think Fellini ought have directed it. I passed out early/went to my bed at 3:00 A.M., afterall,  I had to leave on buying trip the next day...oy vey. A young woman ran through our arcadia glass sliding door around 4:00 in the morning and they rushed her to the hospital and reattached part of her nose. I didn't know. 

Our friends Richard (yes, Mr. true love-flowers-on-my-porch) and Albee were visiting from San Jose. Richard was my first lover and all previous ¨love¨ for one another ended that night behind the Camelback mountain when I encountered Richard with a handsome young guest of a guest of mine. The dried-up arroyo ran behind our house seemed like a good place to say adios to Richard for betraying me (again). There was lots more  on the free love (make love not war)  front in those days/daze. It was still the sixties and Janis Jopin/Jimi Hendrix still survived .,why ought not we? Some did, some didn't, more later.  Ron didn´t a few years later. One interesting, to me today, party detail, is that one of my beloved longterm friends and coworker from Goldwater´s was at the party that night/morning with her husband...I remember we had a great time dancing the night-into morning away. 

(Today she is a facebook friend whom I still adore...she probably could tell you more)

I´ve jumped ahead.   



One morning I woke up in my lower bunk in my bunk bed at Ana's Non-Greek All-Greek Boarding House.  I was hung over and late for class.  My clock radio had gone off and I was fighting to stay in bed.  I heard the radio ¨The President has been shot¨...over and over again.  I didn't know what they were talking about and was wondering ¨President of what¨?  It was President Kennedy and he was in Dallas and I leaped out of bed as I heard ¨The President is dead.¨  The world became silent and all the classes were cancelled at school.  We wandered around staring into space.  No one said much.  Maybe nothing at all...the television had updates showing Vice President Johnson being sworn in and Jackie standing in her blood drenched suit.  We, every person I met, were silent.  That evening I went downtown to the ¨Crystal Bar¨. ...there were a few scattered customers seated down the long bar.  Craig the bartender was on duty and gave us free drinks.  The guy I was sitting next to turned and said, ¨I feel like I lost my best friend..¨  That was it. I said nothing, I walked home.  The world and our hearts had stopped and it/they remained that way for a while. (I can still feel the pain if I pay attention to the innermost spirit inside of me).

to be continued 

Mar 14, 2015

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Ten: My favorite cousin is dying. We just now laughed together on the telephone and said our goodbyes. I love him.

Leonardo y cousin Ricardo. BONUS! We´ve always accepted one another as we really are!
Remembering.  Wondering.  Wishing I could change some *things* that I can not.  What a waste of time! Wishing I had been less frightened about my sexuality and more open/willing to receive love when, in truth, I was literally avalanched with much kindness and love since birth. Gay or not, ready or not, I was ashamed of who I was.  Go figure?  Did public opinion drag me down?  Not much.

In this part of my story I will mention that I always drank a lot as a late teen until I was 35 years old and abandoned the hooch.  Drinking alcoholicly impacted my choices heavily in the first half of my life.  I always drank too much whenever I had the opportunity to drink at all.  That would include drinking left over drinks when my parents and their friends were at the piano singing ¨Let Me Call You Sweetheart¨ down in the recreation room, post dinner, when I was a child. 

After arriving at college at San Jose State I drank regularly.  Regularly meaning at least a couple of times a week, at night, after school or after work.  Drinking many drinks nightly as of the Fall of 1962 into the year 1963.  I'm not going to turn my personal story into a drunk-a-log but I can´t pretend my life is/was any different than it was/is.  I strive for a clear view of my very own reality because I have a tendency to pretend it is nicer/better/prettier than it is (or worse than it really was). I am now 71+ years old, I have been alcohol free for more than half or my life and I am the the person I think I was intended to be.  Quite a trip so far.  Reality just takes some getting used to.


I just NOW spoke with my favorite cousin.  He is dying of congestive heart failure.  He lives with one of his children in Texas. He has hospice care call on him daily. He is going to be moved shortly to ¨special¨ care facility soon. We, really, just a few minutes ago,  were laughing about ¨how could you ever end up in Texas?¨ He said, ¨I´ve lived here for ten years now and I still haven´t found much.¨ So there you have it, we are Pacific North/Westerners all the way through until death do we part. Even far/far back in our memories where the pine trees grow all the way up the steep mountains and where the cold delicious water flows. I can taste it. We hiked a lot. I know he can taste the pure mountain water too.

I love my cousin. I was Junior Usher in his wedding when I was 16 and he was in his 20´s.  He had just returned from Germany where he served as a MP (Military Police, not Member of Parliament). He was/is a giant and muscle bound guy and I never stopped being his ¨little cousin¨ ...including right now on the telephone.  Nice. We didn't really get any older, I just found that out.

We have always lived far away from one another.  He's had two families and many children.  He and I are very close in some kind of deep-down spiritual (not to be confused with religious) way. Best of all, bonus, we always accepted one another as we were/are: Different from each other, but  very/very entertained by our differences. Laughing, loving, free and glad.   Lots of real life adventures, both. I love my cousin, Dick, who just announced to me,  not ten minutes ago, that ¨I am about to croak¨...then he laughed until he couldn´t talk any more.  Gasp (and his hearing aid fell out)!  ¨I love you¨ he said.  I said ¨I love you too.¨  We meant it, we always have.

A telephone call from Guatemala to Tyler, Texas...forever memorable in the very best way.  We didn't need to say much because we knew it all...already/anyway. 

to be continued

Feb 7, 2015

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Nine: Telling the truth, true confessions of the intimate variety and/or keeping my eye on the authentic in me.

Mom and ¨Lenny¨  at three!
¨Little Lenny¨, Front Center, looking down at my cousin Lauren.  Mom with Gibsonish hairstyle  center/top and Dad, ¨Big Lenny¨ top/right sunglasses (Southern California, vacation at the beach)


Since I´ve started telling my story, I´ve also noticed it is normalike in some ways.  Although it is quite ¨normal¨ in some very important ways, it, my private/personal story, also carries a sub-content of real life events that are secret. A real/important and major part of my life. Another living version that you do NOT know must be told. I want to stay honest with you and with me.  Most everyone realizes today, year 2015, that Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender people have always existed at home, school and work/etc.. We are with you. We have mostly enjoyed/supported social activities, family celebrations, dating gossip, engagement parties, baby showers, weddings, anniversaries and every other possible special moment in the lives of our families and friends. What you may not have realized is that heterosexuals were often not celebrating those same occassions and moments, good or bad, in the lives of people like us.  Sometimes we celebrated those same happy/sad moments in our private space or alone in our own minds.  Fact. 

Often, especially in the past, we, LGBT people, joined in with our heterosexual family and friends in all that they celebrate and we shared in every moment of any emotional/spiritual suffering or any tragic loss too.  We have been there, almost always, and we have been genuinely caring for you/yours and ours. I realize there is some generalizing going on, on my part, as I write. 


My sister, Marilynn marries Paul (I was in the wedding party but there is no picture of me in the professional photos, odd)
I feel no great sense of blame but the reverse was not always true. 

We, LGBT people, often lived double lives, we had to in order to survive the verbal abuse, physical brutality, bigotry, demonizing, discrimination and even the excluding/shaming at Church.  Literally, for as long as I remember, I have been attracted to men (I find women breathtakingly lovely in many ways).  I knew that was not OK with others in my everyday life to have ¨crushes¨ on men. I knew I was *different* but I didn't know exactly how different, different would be.  


(A couple of years after this photo I became a horse thief for one day, ¨barrowed¨ one of my uncles horses...he was not amused)
I felt different, I think I looked a little different as I wasn't especially a strapping/masculine child (I've posted the family pictures to prove it, above) .  Odd thing, to me, even now, is that I enjoyed friends, neighbor kids, sporting stuff, fishing and general romping with everyone.  I was not ever apart from other children in life. I was always right in there, part of, playing, sharing and often leading the pack.  My personality/spirit was always strong and I didn't cower from anything (including baseball or basketball which I was not good at and hated). I liked swimming, wrestling, boxing (watching) and stock car ¨bang/crash¨ races.  I was fast. I was energetic and I had a vivid imagination and many friends. When I was alone I never had any down time. I was always building houses or factories or airports with my building blocks, or later with construction sets.  When I needed more elaborate structures I made them out of cardboard boxes, used my toy cars and airplanes or whatever I could combine into my very industrious play life.  Once I was sketching a womans dress (I sketched everything) and my sister came up behind me, was horrified, and yelled at me that ¨boys don't do that!¨ So, I hid when I sketched anything ¨unboy¨...screw that silliness! I LOVED flowers (and so did everyone else in my family) and I sketched/painted them, gathered them, inhaled/swooned with them and admired the colors a lot...I still do, they make my senses almost burst with joy.



As a very young child there was no televison, only radio.  I liked what most everyone else liked and that was the ¨Inner Sanctum Mystery Theatre¨  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inner_Sanctum_Mystery, ¨Our Miss Brooks¨ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Miss_Brooks, ¨Fibber McGee and Molly¨ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibber_McGee_and_Molly, ¨The Cisco Kid¨ (and Pancho), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cisco_Kid and on and on it went, hardly anything ¨different¨ in my childhood than any other child...except, of course, I was different!  I knew it but *it* rarely slowed me down in my life. *It* did confuse me, sometimes excite me and always wondered why I carried a secret that would be such a disgrace...being different NEVER made sense to me in the respect that something may be *wrong*  with my spirit and heart. I did my best to avoid ridicule for being exactly who I was/am and developed a self-grown sense of ¨inferiority¨...but, I was determined that I would survive my secret and have a full life even as I was challenged with alcoholism from ages 18 to 35...it, active alcoholism distorted the authentic me. 

From time to time in the recalling of my ¨my story¨ I will add a chapter that will detail more fully my very human natural desires, my fondness for various people, some of my intimate discoveries from childhood onward...and my love(s).  I will tell my truth and reveal my *always* desire to be loved in the most personal of ways.  I remember ¨loving someone¨ a little older than me who simply held my hand sometimes.  Not much *different* than the feelings any other child may have to remember in their young life...but, *different* I was.

to be continued

Jan 17, 2015

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Eight: Gladness, Striving and Madness - rushing about looking for the authentic in me

I loved Art with a passion.  Who knew?
The Art Department at San Jose State  http://www.sjsu.edu/art/ was exciting. I had recently discovered I loved ART with passion.  Who knew?  Not me! Fall of 1962 I registered in every Art Department class that would instruct me in the basics of art and to build prerequistes in the Department.  I signed up for Design, I took Drawing from Dr. John Devenchensi who taught at Stanford University too (he also authored the American Art History text I would use much later). I eagerly registered for my first Art History from Dr. Crespo (visiting professor from Madrid). I didn't do especially well in any other of my classes (got a D- in Geology) but I achieved excellent grades in Art. I became a Fine Art major (emphasis later,  Watercolor) and Eric Oback was a wonderful creative influence and instructor.  I obsessed with whatever it is/was that turned me on in the Art Department and I loaded myself up with art supplies, textbooks, canvas, rabbits foot glue, drawing boards, oil paints and water-colors/papers too.  Off I went to tackle my classes with a tackle box full of tubes of paint and various brushes in hand and a BIG drawing board tucked under my arm...I also partied a lot with my new friends.  Didn't everyone? ¨Let's drive up to San Francisco, it's 25 cent Beer Night¨

There were several new obsessions for me Sophmore year, 1962 at SJS.  I simultaneously discovered the excitement of a potential retail ¨buying¨ career by starting off as a part time salesperson at L. Hart and Son Department Stores.  I loved working in the Men's Furnishing Department of the main store at Market and Santa Clara, downtown San Jose.  The Buyer and Merchandise Manager scheduled me for as many hours as I could fit in.  I liked them, I liked everyone at L. Hart and Son.  I was fortunate/lucky and well-placed and later became an Executive Trainee while going to school. Alex Hart was President and he, Harry Schlisky and Nick Marafino
 became my first great merchandising mentors in my newly formed adult life: 

http://leonardoricardosanto.blogspot.com/2010/08/alex-hart-he-was-philanthropist.html

Mr. Alex Hart, President,  Hart's Department Stores

 ¨He was a philanthropist, a businessman, a civic and community leader, a social arbiter, a charming host, a gentleman and a friend...

Working 20+ hours a week, carrying a full schedule at college and having an almost every night social life too was fun and invigorating...good thing I was full of stamina and good energy at 19.  Life was extra-dandy in my 1962 personal performance/rendition/score for Camelot...our, almost everybodies, beloved President, John F. Kennedy was alive...he and ¨Jackie¨ delivered to the world a sense of security and happiness featuring lots of panache

to be continued

Dec 28, 2014

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Seven: The Parallel University/Universe and The Making of Love Not War ( ignore the Cuban Missle Crisis entirely)

Me
The Fall of 1962.  All is swell.  I am going ¨to be¨ a ¨I have no idea what¨ when I grow-up/finish college but whatever it is that I am going ¨to be¨ is fine with me (as long as it doesn't include shaping myself into some fake form of heterosexuality). There you have it, I took my stand.  I am a 19 year old Gay man. Vamos a ver.  I am not afraid.  I am living at Anna's non-boring boarding house and Ouzo works, a full-fledged-full-time Art Major at San Jose State College and I even have a part time job...BONUS, San Francisco is only 45 minutes away on the Bayshore Freeway and the little Crystal Bar is near my new job in downtown San Jose.


Nakita
I began my part time job at famous/historic L. Hart and Son, Department Store, San Jose/Sunnyvale, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooke_Hart  about the same time as the Cuban Missle Crisis.  Although Nina and Nikita Khrushchev had no real impact on my learning, living and earning ability I started feeling  that *adult things* are not always as they seem ¨to be¨ and could blow up around me.  Real life *things* can be nasty!  What the Hell? Best to have a drink, enjoy, imagine the really bad stuff will go away.  The Viet Nam war was raging on but I had ¨Student Deferment¨..ole´.  My parents had given me a brand new medium-blue Opel Kadett car, I loved it, zoom, zoom, zoom, open up your Golden Gate, San Francisco here I come! I had wonderful new friends too.


Albee! The Beatles are coming and/or Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair (or not)
Albee invented parallel universe/university fun.  It was his own very custom invention which included everyone.  Yes, everyone. AJB arrived as a transfer student from Southern California.  He was a Roman Catholic, a Republican, a Dodgers fan and he absolutely electrified any space and anyone around him with friendliness.  Al created non-stop/daily inventions on how to have fun. Money or not, ready or not, work/study or not. Al had a plan.  He was a whiz. Al had been a child actor (born in Hollywood) and had also dropped out of a mid-west RC Seminary where they told him he wasn't quite serious enough for a priestly¨calling¨ and got sent home. Everything was enjoyable with Albee. Every moment of life was an adventure for Albert and he loved everyone equally. He and I met clandestinely/accidentally at the Crystal Bar one night and went to an ¨after hours¨ Gay  party, a first for him but not for me, with Jerry (who had been a member of my Fraternity).  We all became close friends immediately.  Al, quite literally, had dozens of friends. I think, like me, everyone thought that Al was their very own best friend.  The band/gang played on and we became a very mixed bag of fellow partypeople (some of us  disappeared in the late hours and headed for San Francisco or the Crystal Cafe, others, the straight ones, just kept dancing the night away).  We were rarely missed and nobody asked anybody much about intimacies as we ALL were very busy ¨making love and not war.¨

to be continued

Dec 7, 2014

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Six: Σ 'αγαπώ με πάθος S 'agapó̱ me páthos - it's true!



While registering for classes, San Jose State College, Fall 1962, I was standing in a very long line (trying, of course, to get the very most entertaining/good/approachable professor I could for whatever class I really didn't want to take and electives I didn't want to elect). Suddenly I glanced behind me and there was a registration table almost empty!   What class could it be that nobody wanted?  I went to see.

The guardian angel of my young life had turned me around and put me in line for some kind of beginning art class. I signed immediately. I don't know why I took art, I never had before. However, the very first day of the¨art¨ class, I did. There SHE was in person...Brilliant Artist. The visiting (one year) Professor (full) of Art (sculpture especially) turned out to be from an important University in the mid-West.  She had panache.  She had cropped hair, she buzzed, hummed, darted and chatted on/on and off/off on any topic while riding on a breeze of whatever-inspiration-it-was-that-she-appreciated-at that very moment in time. She was exciting, she was Peter Pan and Coco Chanel and Betty Davis and she filled the room with electricity...she crackled, she laughed she set us free to discover nature and its creativity!  We did. I did. I got an A.  I changed my major immediately - Fine Art (Water Color emphasis later), thank you very much destiny. 

Meanwhile, I moved into another kind of Greek house after leaving my fraternity.  This one, a room and board one, owned by Ana Poulos who was probably in her early eighties already.  Smart. Funny. A card shark. Missed nothing. Ana and her older brother, Theo Jonni, had purchased a huge old wooden house near downtown San Jose (just a few blocks from campus).  They had previously owned an Italian Restaurant in the San Francisco East Bay.  Chef ¨Uncle Jonny¨ and sister/leader Ana decided, in retirement, to bring several young relatives, directly from Greece, over to study/work in the boarding house, and then sponsor them to become American Citizens.  There we were, three floors of delightfulness eating delicious served meals served in the dining room by very handsome Greeks, plus, doing line dances up and down the stairs, eating Mousakka and drinking 5 Star Mataxa and Ouzo. There were ten other ¨boarders¨ like me (and three real Greek cousins).  I stayed for two years at Ana's and Ana never cared where I went, who I went to San Francisco with or anything else personal about me...she named me ¨the little one¨ and knew I was ¨clever¨, disappeared a lot and probably drank too much...she liked me and I adored her and I think she always knew what was ¨up¨ with me.

Σ 'αγαπώ με πάθος


to be continued