a case of mistaken identity

The year was 1968. I was 22 years old,  working for a CPA firm and living by myself in Seattle, Washington 3,000 miles from my home near Houston, Texas. I got a job by calling every CPA firm in the Seattle area from my motel room telephone out of the yellow pages in a telephone directory. When I reached the “s” names, I hit the jackpot. Simonson & Moore in Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle. They interviewed me and hired me on the spot. I was so relieved that I would now be able to pay my motel bill.

I knew no one except my co-workers – my girlfriend who made the trip with me had left to follow her adventures with a guy in California. We had rented an apartment in Bellevue that I knew I couldn’t afford without her help. I was very lonely.

At Christmas my dad sent me the money to fly home for a few days before tax season started at my job. On the 3 hour return flight from the only stop in Denver to Seattle, I sat next to a young man from Houston who lived and worked in Portland, Oregon. We talked and talked and exchanged phone numbers before saying goodbye at the Seattle Tacoma airport.

When he didn’t call me, I called him. I thought I had the wrong number because someone who sounded like a very young boy answered. I asked for Jim, and Jim came to the phone. He was very friendly, asked how I was getting along and said I should come for a visit to see Portland some time. I said I was free that weekend and would love to visit him.

I found these pictures my mother had saved for almost 40 years. On each picture I had carefully written explanations of my new relationship which no doubt had given her hope of romance for me. My mother and I were totally off base on so many levels.

“This is his den downstairs – his ‘music’ room

My favorite room in his house

That’s Jim in the blue sweatshirt.”

“That’s Vladimir, the cat.

This is Jim’s living room upstairs.

Doesn’t he look cute here?”

“He was fixing his pretty hair & was

thoroughly disgusted with me & the camera!

Isn’t he darling?”

“Which one is the real dear?

This is in Jim’s living room – his Texas decor”

Jim and I had more in common than I realized…kindred spirits even. That visit to Portland was my first and last, although we talked on the phone a few times afterward. We were never on the same flight back home again.

My mother asked about him for a while – but then gave up on him. She kept the pictures forever, though, to prove to herself that I wasn’t a lesbian.

Stay tuned.





About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to a case of mistaken identity

  1. Ha ha, almost a perfect cover boy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. M.B. Henry says:

    🙂 Funny she kept those pictures all those years.

    Liked by 1 person

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