powerless


Yesterday we had a fierce storm with tornado like winds, driving downpours of rain and no electricity from about 2:30 p.m. until 9:00 0’clock this morning.

As darkness fell in our family room last evening, Charly had a mindful moment hiding her face in the absence of the television sights and sounds she was accustomed to seeing and hearing during a lazy Sunday afternoon. Pretty had no Wi-Fi  so no Facebook scrolling.  The winds were howling louder than the beagles behind our house.Was the world coming to an end, Charly wondered as she hid her face behind her favorite pillow in her favorite chair?

Thank goodness Pretty saved the day, or night, with her lamp she purchased from the Thrift Store on one of her many pilgrimages across the river to her version of paradise. I tend to be less than enthusiastic about her treasures carefully picked among the donated items, but I was thrilled to have this bright light shining through the darkness of powerlessness.

.

We exhausted our conversation ideas that included wondering what in the world the people of Puerto Rico were doing without power all this time while I played Scrabble against the computer since I also had no Wi-Fi, and Pretty read a book.

The lamp was a life-saver.

We went to bed early.

Stay tuned.

Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

and soon I’m two and seventy


I had a very sweet Happy Birthday message today on my Columbia High Class of 1964 message board from one of my boyfriends who I noticed had sent me birthday greetings for the past 3 years on this website which I never check. Thanks so much to Tim for remembering me. I immediately went to Facebook and added him as a friend so that I can send him birthday greetings on whatever day his might be. I confess I have been remiss in wishing others a Happy Birthday unless I am prompted to do so by the Big Brother of Facebook who is forever watching over me.

I am struck by how soon my 72nd. birthday will be…April 21, one week from today. Sweet Lady Gaga, as The Red Man famously said, how did this happen. My first birthday card came from my personal Medicine Man Dr. Martin and his entire staff. These are the people who see me most frequently, and I appreciated the Life is Meant to Live and be Celebrated sentiments. I figure if they’re hopeful for my future, I should be, too.

I’ve received not one, but two, birthday cards from former President Jimmy Carter and the Carter Center, both of which were quite lovely and one signed by the President himself. Why two, you might ask, as I did. And then, of course, my bank ATM machines have been unusually prompt on good wishes whenever I’ve made withdrawals in April which I assume has something to do with their corporate guilt for the outrageous service charges they favor me with every month.

The message board for the 1964 Columbia High School graduating class in West Columbia, Texas took me back 54 years to that senior year when I was about to graduate from high school and leave my little town of Brazoria, Texas that was 15 miles from the Gulf Coast for summer school at the University of Texas in Austin 90 miles away. Big changes were on the way for me, but take a look at the images of my senior year when I was voted by my 90+ person class as the Best All Round favorite, or as my dad invariably teased me by saying, she was the best all the way around.

Return with me to those thrilling days of yesteryear when my mother was always so happy for me to be dating a boy.

Note particularly the hands and feet

(Poor photographer – he must have spent hours on that pose)

(our mascot was the Roughneck)

I am the one on the far left with fist pumped

Senior prom

my mother rolled my hair until I left for college

Senior Follies – and they were

I sang an unremarkable rendition of the St. Louis Blues

my lifelong love of tennis began here…

…and basketball, too

and of course, the political

The photos today are courtesy of me with my cell phone and my yearbook so quality leaves much to be desired, but you get the general idea of this 18-year-old baby dyke trying her best to be straight but  unknowingly about to add complexity to her sexual awareness through life in a women’s dormitory at the state’s largest university where the population of the dorm was greater than the population of the town where she grew up. Talk about trouble.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

good luck to A’ja Wilson in WNBA draft!


Coach Dawn Staley is ready to erect a statue honoring Gamecock women’s basketball All-Everything and All-That Wizard of the Hoops A’ja Wilson, and I say let’s put that marble statue smack dab in the front of the Colonial Life Arena asap. Coach Staley has offered to contribute the first $100,000, and Pretty and I would love to also contribute $100,000 toward any project that commemorates the fun we’ve shared with #22 over the past 4 years of her basketball career at the University of South Carolina.

We’d love to contribute that much, but we can’t… so let’s just say we’ll add the next $100 which is given with a spirit much like the widow’s mite in biblical parables.

Thursday night is the WNBA draft. Pretty, Susan, Chris, our Gay Boys Basketball Buddies and the rest of the Gamecock Nation will be watching to see which team will be lucky enough to pick A’ja Wilson.

GOOD LUCK, A’JA! YOU GO, GIRL!

You’re simply the best.

 

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

USC Upstate – here we come!


The Eighth Biennial Bodies of Knowledge Symposium will be held this week at USC Upstate April 9 – 11. The theme for this year’s symposium is Creating a Better World for LGBTQ people. You gotta love it.

Tomorrow morning (Tuesday, the 10th.) a panel discussing our book Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will begin the day’s sessions at 10:50 in the Campus Life Center Ballroom, room 310.

I’m not hopeful that any of my cyberspace friends and followers will actually be in Spartanburg, South Carolina for the event; but I added Room 310 because that was my dorm room number for my 3 years at the University of Texas Blanton Dormitory. I thought that was somehow a bit of small world karma.

Pretty is driving two Miss Daisies, Harriet Hancock and me, to the event. I had hoped for more contributors to be able to make it, but then I began to think what could be more appropriate than to moderate a panel of the woman who was really the inspiration for the book (Harriet) and the woman who wouldn’t let me give up on the project in the dark days (Pretty).

So off we go – intrepid travelers reminiscent of circuit preachers with just  a different gospel of truth. Hallelujah. Can I get an amen on that?

http://www.uscupstate.edu/bodiesofknowledge

 

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

BONUS pics from Francis Marion trip!


I was pleasantly surprised to find a very kind note from Dr. Lance Weldy this morning when I opened my email, and he sent more pictures he took after the panel presentation when we were signing copies of Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home that people purchased…sweet.

Pretty and I sign books…

while lady who prepared yummy refreshments looks on.

Michael Haigler and Pat Patterson sign books

(while Pretty looks, well, pretty)

Pat talks, Pretty signs, while I eat probably my 10th. little sandwich

We had a great conversation with students Andi (l.) and Sierra

we were excited to hear their wedding plans after graduation

Thanks again to Michael, Lance, Pretty, and Pat for a fun time!

My special gratitude to all the students and faculty from Francis Marion University who came to the event and showed us and our book some love.

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , | 8 Comments

road trip to Francis Marion University!


What a wonderful reception for Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home at Pride Week at Francis Marion University last night! A group of 30 students plus several faculty members gathered in Lowrimore Auditorium to hear four contributors discuss the book and  their individual essays as gay alliance faculty sponsor Dr. Lance Weldy moderated the panel.

Contributor Pat Patterson was the person who originally suggested the panel discussion with Dr. Weldy since Pat is a regular participant at other Pride events. Dr. Weldy took the idea and ran with it – even giving his English Lit students extra credit for attending the event. (No wonder so many students were furiously taking notes! )

Pretty listens intently as Dr. Weldy briefs us prior to program

Pretty, Michael Haigler, Sheila –

Michael entertained Pretty and me on the road trip from Columbia

Pat Patterson makes us all smile with his stories

the old girl in action

Many thanks to Francis Marion student Amanda Montgomery for the pictures since Pretty was pressed into panel service for the evening. Amanda took pictures in between note-taking so maybe Dr. Weldy will give her extra, extra credit?

Following the book talk, delicious refreshments were provided, books sold and signed. In the midst of signing books, a young lesbian couple came to tell Pretty they couldn’t afford a book but didn’t want to miss an opportunity to talk to us. Would we sign a piece of paper they could use as a bookmark when they did buy the book later. Of course we were happy to write something for them and as we did, one of the young women told Pretty she had never talked to any lesbians older than 20…what the night meant to her and her girlfriend to hear us talk so openly about being who we are. They live together now and plan to get married when they graduate. Repeat: they plan to get married when they graduate.

Pat reminded us last night that the students in the auditorium were our hope for the future – no disrespect to us oldies but goodies on the panel but these young people aren’t exhausted from the crusades – they’re just beginning the journey. Some of them will see injustice and become agents of change. Thanks for the reminder, Pat.

Michael, Lance, Pretty, Sheila, Pat

Stay tuned.

 

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

committed to home goes to Francis Marion University


Good fortune is mine this week because of an invitation to bring contributors from Southern Perspectives to Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, as a part of their Pride Week celebration…Wednesday evening from 6 – 7:30.

The LGBTS Alliance sponsors Pride Week. Lance Weldy, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the department of English and faculty advisor for the Alliance. He is also the person who will moderate our book panel.

Francis Marion was founded in 1970 and is located on the outskirts of Florence in the heart of South Carolina’s famous Pee Dee region which gets its name from the Pee Dee River that reflects its native American lineage. The Pee Dee region encompasses the northeastern corner of the state and is a largely rural area. The college has about 4,000 students and offers a wide range of undergraduate degrees and graduate programs.

Pat Patterson a/k/a Patti O’Furniture, Michael Haigler (stepping up for Harriet Hancock) and Pretty will be on the panel with me so the event promises to be fun and full of great storytelling.

I wish all of my cyberspace friends and followers could be with us this Wednesday night, but I will have a report and, hopefully, pictures.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

hail, hail – the gang’s all here


Christmas memories seem strange on Good Friday, but then the mind often ignores time or at least is able to reconstruct its meandering corridors to bring buried secrets to the surface of consciousness.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts when I was a child growing up in Richards, Texas in rural Grimes County was not one that I received but one that I gave to my maternal grandmother Louise whose name I shortened to Dude when I was unable to pronounce Louise. Louise became Dude-ese, then simply Dude.

I was two years old when my dad and mother and I moved into my grandmother’s small Sears Roebuck designed house in Richards in 1948. We lived in that little house with her for eleven Christmases, and each Christmas she gave me two new pairs of underwear that she bought from the general store where she clerked six days a week from 8 in the morning until 6 in the evening with an hour for lunch. Two new pairs of underwear wrapped in last year’s red paper she carefully saved and used again and again, tied with a gold string and a tiny tag signed in her scrawling handwriting Lots of love, Dude.

The Christmas before we moved away from Richards I bought Dude a present at Mr. McAfee’s drug store from money I saved from my allowance. I had never bought her a gift before and was so excited about my purchase: a door chime that played Hail, Hail – the Gang’s All Here. I hadn’t told anyone about my gift, so imagine the look on Dude’s face when she opened it. Just what she needed, she said, and had me believing it.

Dude had been 50 years old when we moved in with her and was 63 when we moved away to a town 70 miles from Richards leaving her with a disabled adult son, no transportation since she never learned to drive, and very little income. My dad and mother and I came back to visit every two weeks, and whenever the front door opened we were welcomed with the chimes playing hail, hail – the gang’s all here. And on those weekends her gang was there.

I was totally unaware of what loneliness and loss of laughter and love must have been for her the other days and nights of her life at that time because I was, after all, a self-absorbed teenager whose only experience with loneliness was self-imposed and transitory. I was never at a loss for laughter.

By the time I graduated from high school, my grandmother’s life had the beginnings of her roller coaster battle with depression that would plague her for the rest of her days – a war really – on battlegrounds she fought in doctors’ offices and hospitals,  fought sometimes with medicines, sometimes without medicines, sometimes with electroshock therapy.

My visits to see her became less frequent when I went away to college, and I remember being surprised on one of those visits to discover the door chimes no longer played when I opened the front door. Surprised, but totally unaware of the significance. Her gang was no longer there.

This morning I was taking a shower and for some reason the shower song du jour was Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here which brought the Christmas memories of my grandmother’s door chime pouring over me like the hot water that rinsed my hair.

Dude (1898 -1972)

In this final post I will make for women’s history month, I honor with love and gratitude one of the most important women in my life, the first woman to love me unconditionally with all her heart.

And on this good Friday I hope that your gang, however you define it, will be with you this weekend.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

a joyful evening with Openings


What an awesome night the panel of Committed to Home contributors and I had at the monthly meeting of Openings last night at the Jubilee! Circle Center. Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, who is the pastor of Jubilee! Circle, welcomed us warmly and shared part of her journey from journalist to minister after 9-11 in 2001. She and Rev. Tom Summers are both graduates of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.

(l. to r.) Dick Hubbard, Michael Haigler,

Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, Rev. Tom Summers

the panel did well in spite of their moderator (me)

Openings, a group co-founded by one of the contributors to Committed to Home, Michael Haigler (who remains the President of the group), is an effort to build a closer  relationship between L GBTQ people and the established faith community in Columbia. Michael has spent a lifetime of service to others beginning with three years in the Peace Corps in Africa after graduating from Clemson with a degree in architecture. His journey home to South Carolina involved several intriguing detours taken at University of California – Berkeley and San Francisco.

The Openings group of about 40 people listened intently to the compelling personal stories shared by the panel.

Rev. Tom Summers has been an ally of the LGBTQ community for many years, marched in every Pride March carrying the banner of Clergy for LGBTQ Rights, written op-ed pieces on behalf of our community and testified before the state legislature whenever bills relating to marginalizing the queer community are introduced in the state legislature.

Dick Hubbard is a realtor who has been active in the gay rights movement in Columbia  since the days  before the 1993 March on Washington which, he says, empowered him to true activism when he came home to South Carolina. In the early 1980s he and his partner Freddie Mullis focused on bridging the gap inside the gay community between what he called the “bar scene” and the “dinner party” culture and had a measurable level of success. He was a reluctant contributor to Committed to Home and only agreed to the interview because he thought the book wouldn’t be published. Oh my, good surprise..

Michael wrote today, Hanging out after the meeting, I heard nothing but rave reviews about the program and all the really interesting stories. It ties so well into our ongoing theme of “Sharing Our Stories” through our programs. Thanks to all of you for contributing so much!

My personal thanks to Openings for this opportunity to share the homecoming stories of five of the twenty-one contributors to the anthology.

Next week a panel discussing Committed to Home will participate in Gay Pride week at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina on Wednesday night from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Harriet Hancock, Pat Patterson, Pretty and I are looking forward to helping the students and faculty celebrate.

Stay tuned.

Photos today courtesy of Pretty

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , | 3 Comments

I stand with Emma – we call BS


We don’t get them back, y’all said Jennifer Hudson in the middle of her moving musical tribute at the March For Our Lives in Washington, DC today. Hudson sang The Times, They Are A-Changing with a DC choir backing her up and a clearly spiritual feel to the finale of an amazing gathering of hundreds of thousands of Americans who rallied with the survivors of gun violence in our schools and on our streets in the nation’s capitol and around the world.

Led by high school senior Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, chants of democracy in action and never again rang through the air of the nonviolent protests of our children and their families and friends who are committed to changing the gun culture that rules in the halls of Congress and the office of the President.

The movement’s major mantra was R-E-V: Register to vote, Educate yourself, Vote!

Be afraid, incumbents everywhere, be very afraid.

Pretty marched in Columbia today 

and captured this memorable image

of South Carolina teens registering to vote

Our children want to come home safely in our houses, our schools, our churches, our synagogues, our mosques. They want to feel safe on city streets and country back roads. They are crying out for help, adding organized action to those cries – and not leaving outcomes to the same old, same old. It’s a new day, America.

I don’t know about you, but I’m standing with Emma and calling BS on anyone who refuses to listen to the voices of  change for a new and better America. United we stand. I hear you. I’m with you.

Onward.

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , | 4 Comments