Friday, December 30, 2016

Military and Law Enforcement, by Ricky

          I once served as a Deputy Sheriff in Pima County (Tucson) Arizona for just short of 4-years.  At one time Pima County extended all the way south to the Mexican border during the time that Wyatt Earp was a lawman in that part of the county.  So, he and I were both deputies in Pima County.  I resigned returning to college and pursuing a BS degree in Law Enforcement but the school, BYU, changed the focus of the course so I graduated with a BS in Justice Administration.  During my time in Tucson, I was stationed 24 miles north in the Marana Substation and also served about 9-months in the vehicle maintenance section coordinating vehicle repairs and routine maintenance.

          In those years I went to 3 fatal traffic accidents; apprehended two armed robbers—recovering $10,000 in stolen money from a drug rip-off; convinced a local “runaway” to return home voluntarily; recovered one stolen car driven by 5 escapees from a Texas Sheriff’s youth farm/ranch—the oldest being only 12; detained for ICE numerous undocumented aliens; eliminated one very potential neighborhood “feud” between a 12 yr old boy and an out of patience new neighbor; arrested four California men who came to Tucson to buy bricks of marijuana and who had an illegal sawed off shotgun; tracked burglars through the dessert; became a scoutmaster for the church troop; wrote over 200 traffic tickets; arrested 30 drunk drivers—one of which was a priest (I later learned the local “retreat” was one where the church sent its pedophile priests for rehab);  did not arrest one drunk driver because he was only 20 feet from his driveway; got propositioned by a waitress; got propositioned by the CIA; recovered a stolen purse at a high school football game—referring one 6th grade repentant boy to his father and one unrepentant boy to the system via a “paper referral” and released him to his father; was the only lawman in 500 square miles during midnight shifts; in an act of revenge, I collected enough “dirt” on one of my supervisors that he was transferred back to Tucson and decided to resign instead—2-years short of retirement; and saving the best for last, I got married.  Working in Marana was exactly like being a Wild West deputy except I drove a car instead of riding a horse.  I loved the work.

          When I resigned to return to college, I was in the process of collecting signatures to run for the local Justice of the Peace.  Although I had more than enough signatures, when BYU called and said there was an opening in married student housing, Deborah and I decided to return so I could finish my degree.  She had to quit her medical technologist position so we could go.  Shortly after arriving and starting classes, I remembered why I really didn’t like school.  I also joined Air Force ROTC so ended up on active duty once again when I graduated.

          My first assignment as an officer was to the security police squadron at Malmstrom AFB, Montana as a Shift Commander for the on-base law enforcement and base security flights.  The base security flight primarily guarded the nuclear weapons storage area.  I spent two-years in that position and then was assigned as a Flight Security Officer for the flights providing security response in the off-base missile field.  My flight and I would be away from the base for 3 ½ days at a time.  I participated in a few incidents but the one experience I really want to tell you all about occurred after I arrived at my next base in Jacksonville, Arkansas circa 1984.

          Little Rock AFB was home to a missile wing supporting the liquid fueled Titan II ICBM.  In September 1980 prior to my arrival (1983), one nuclear tipped missile exploded in its silo.  This is the story of what happened before, during, and after the incident.  This information is not classified so I won’t have to kill any of you after you're done reading it.

          Whenever a nuclear warhead is present, Air Force regulations require that at least two people must be present in such proximity to each other that each can monitor the actions of the other—absolutely no exceptions or violations are tolerated.  The Titan II is a two-stage rocket.  To save weight, parts of the very thin outer skin of the rocket are actually part of the fuel tanks.  The fuel is of two types—an oxidizer and the fuel.  Both are hypergolic, meaning that when the two chemicals touch, they instantly ignite.  The fuel and oxidizer tanks are so thin that the rocket will collapse in upon itself if the liquid fuels are removed improperly as the fuel keeps the tanks from being able to collapse.  The skin is so thin that hand-held maintenance tools to be used on the missile or its components have lanyards permanently attached to prevent the tool (sockets, wrenches, etc.) from falling between the rocket and the maintenance platforms surrounding it and puncturing the skin.

          So, one day all the counts, accounts, no accounts, and recounts (oh wait that’s different story).  One fateful day, two maintenance technicians were in the silo performing maintenance on a component internal to the missile.  One of the men needed a tool that he forgot to bring down with him.  He knew that a tool box (with tools to be used elsewhere in the underground launch complex outside of the silo) was located in the tunnel towards the launch control capsule.  These tools did not have lanyards attached.  Being stupid, careless, or just plain lazy, he left his partner alone with the missile (major violation #1 and also stupid decision #1) and went to get the unauthorized tool rather than having them both go topside and return with the authorized tool (stupid decision #2).

          The tool needed was a socket for a socket wrench.  While using the socket, it slipped off the wrench and because it did not have a lanyard, the socket fell between the missile and the maintenance platform around the missile (Murphy’s Law in action).  Can you guess what happened right after the “Oh shit” expletive?  You guessed it.  The socket fell three or more levels gaining momentum before hitting the edge of a platform below and bouncing into the side of the missile puncturing a fuel tank.  Instantly, red fuming nitric oxide began to leak setting off the chemical vapor sensors which triggered the alarm.  The launch crew ordered the silo evacuated and notified the base of the problem (good decision #1).

          The deputy wing commander responded with the emergency response teams.  Upon arrival, two environmentally suited fuel personnel went down to the silo to inspect the damage.  Upon their report the base contacted the Martin-Murrieta company (the builder of the Titan II) to get their input.  After a short period of time, Martin-Murrieta replied: 1st you can’t do anything to stop the leak; and 2nd the missile will explode in approximately 8 ½ hours your local time today.  Periodically, the two fuel personnel were sent down to check on the progress of the leak (dangerous or even stupid decision #3).  (No civilian or even some military members routinely accuse local commanders of using their brains.  Yes, I am biased.)  At one time, they even ordered the 740-ton silo cover door be opened so that the explosion would not be contained within the silo.  Instantly the highly toxic red vapor left the silo and a large red “cloud” began to drift towards highly populated centers, so the cover was closed (good decision #2).

          An order was given to send one man back down to check on the missile (the launch capsule had been evacuated by this time) (major violation #2 & stupid decision #3).

As the 8 ½ hour time limit approached, two environmentally suited personnel were ordered down to check on the missile (stupid decision #4 and also fatal).  As the expected explosion time arrived, the two suited personnel were on their way back.  The first one had cleared the stairwell coming up completely above ground.  The second one was still half underground when the missile exploded.  The first man was blown across the complex into the chain link fence where the fence fabric cushioned his impact.  The second man was “cut in half” at the waist by the force of the blast.  The debris from the incident was stored in an above ground maintenance shed at one of the remaining missile complex sites.  I had the pass-key and I actually saw the remaining parts of the destroyed missile and the bloody environmental suit of the airman who died.

Here is the sequence of events at the time of the explosion.  The fuel finally leaked out enough that the missile began to collapse.  As it collapsed the other 1st stage fuel tank ruptured, the two chemicals touched and instantly exploded; the pressure lifted the 740-ton silo cover door off its foundation rails; the blast spread out circular injuring the two airman; that blast caused the 2nd stage fuel tanks to rupture and they also added to the explosion which accomplished five things; 1st the 740-ton door was lifted quite high; 2nd the nuclear warhead was blasted like a bullet into the bottom of the 740-ton door breaking it into two pieces one being 1/3rd the size of the original; 3rd the larger piece flew about 30 yards and then flattened the Air Force pickup truck that the deputy wing or base commander had been sitting in just 30-seconds earlier; 4th the smaller piece landed about 100 yards away; and 5th the warhead was nowhere to be found (major violation #3—a lost and unguarded nuclear bomb—heads will roll).

The rest of the night, military radio traffic was filled with the euphemisms “has it been found” and “where is it”.  The bomb was found the following morning during daylight hours.  One of the perimeter security guards was actually sitting on it all night.  He never reported finding it because he didn’t know what it was.

1.     All security police personnel were shown a dummy warhead during their initial orientation upon arrival at the base (it looks like a large milk can of the type used on family dairy farms);

2.     The two environmentally suited airmen were given medals (one posthumously);

3.     The surviving suited airman was given a Letter of Reprimand because he was the one who went down alone to check on the missile even though he was following orders—he was supposed to refuse to obey as it was an illegal order; and

4.     Nuclear bombs are designed to be “three-point safe”.  This means that they will not yield a nuclear explosion if burned, receive a high impact, or hit by a stray electrical charge.  The design could never be thoroughly tested.  Anecdote:  When the person who created the three-point safe design was told that the bomb was found with a large dent (from impacting the 740-ton door) having survived the explosion, he was heard to say, “I TOLD them it would work!”

5.     In 1984, I became the project officer for the installation, planning the procedures for use, and personnel training for a DES confidential real-time usage encrypted radio system.

          I know this is the true story because I read parts of the official investigation report and reviewed the numerous photographs.  One photograph sticks in my mind.  It is an overhead shot of the silo taken via helicopter.  The silo opening is dead center and surrounding it are compression circles.  It strongly reminds me of a dart board or even a target.

          Do any of you remember hearing or reading about this event?  I was in the Air Force as a Missile Security Officer in 1980 stationed in Montana; I never heard of it.

For other versions of the explosion go to:

The public versions are different than the official investigative report I read. (Nothing new about that is there?)

What did a Titan Launch Complex look like?  Go to:

© 31 Mar 2012 

About the Author 

I was born in June of 1948 in Los Angeles, living first in Lawndale and then in Redondo Beach.  Just prior to turning 8 years old in 1956, I was sent to live with my grandparents on their farm in Isanti County, Minnesota for two years during which time my parents divorced.

When united with my mother and stepfather two years later in 1958, I lived first at Emerald Bay and then at South Lake Tahoe, California, graduating from South Tahoe High School in 1966.  After three tours of duty with the Air Force, I moved to Denver, Colorado where I lived with my wife and four children until her passing away from complications of breast cancer four days after the 9-11-2001 terrorist attack.

I came out as a gay man in the summer of 2010.   I find writing these memories to be therapeutic.

My story blog is:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Blue Skies, by Ray S

Good afternoon, Class. Our subject word for today is innuendo. I trust you’ve done your homework, thus you’re cognizant of how to employ this word. Just tickle your prurient mind department and chuckle away.

First off, “Blue Skies” is the title of an old song which prompts a visit to Tin Pan Alley. You recall the next line—“Smiling at me, nothing but Blue Skies do I see.”

Now, see what these titles can do with a little alteration, interpretation, and innuendo, a la GLBTQ.

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile
It’s a long way to Tipperary
Over there, over there
Blow, Gabriel, Blow
Over the rainbow
I’m always chasing rainbows
The boy next door or the girl next door
I’d like to hate myself in the morning
This can’t be love
Me and my shadow
Brother, can you spare a dime?
Someone to watch over me
The man I love (or woman)
How long has this been going on?
Sweet and low down
Who cares?
I’ve got a crush on you
Bess, you are my woman, now
I got it bad and that ain’t good
I loves you Porgy
My blue heaven (you fill in the name of your choice)
Happy days are here again
I’m young and healthy
Over there
The varsity drag
Ain’t we got fun
Little girl
Change partners
What’ll I do?
How deep is the ocean?
Let’s have another cup of coffee
Say it isn’t so
Don’t lie under the apple tree
I hate men
He needs me
After I say I’m sorry
Somebody loves me
Hard hearted Hannah
I never knew
Frankie and Johnnie
I can’t give you anything but love
How come you do me like you do, do, do?
I wish I could shimmy like my sister Kate
After you’ve gone
Minnie the moocher
Willow weep for me
There’s a small hotel
The lady is a tramp
I enjoy being a girl
This can’t be love
I’ve got you under my skin
Why can’t you behave?
They say it’s wonderful
The girl (boy) that I marry
You go to my head
That old feeling
When I’m not near the girl (boy) I love,
          I’m in love with the girl (boy) I’m near
Don’t worry about me
All of me
You make me feel so young
Anything goes
Oh, look at me now.

         Sing along now and “Get Happy.”

© 27 June 2016 

About the Author

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

When Things Don't Work, by Phillip Hoyle

My marriage to Myrna Kay Vance Hoyle worked very well for many years. I am sure Myrna was trying to have the world’s best marriage, to live the dream of being the princess with her prince charming to fulfill the purpose of her mother’s rather unrelenting discipline that focused on making her a housewife so she could rear and educate children and care for her husband. So Myrna approached her life as a wife with enthusiasm and talent and a wonderful attitude.

I was living into the cultural fantasy of the straight life even though from an early age I was far from straight. I wanted a family not as the fulfillment of a dream but as a matter of course. How else could anyone live? I wanted the pleasures and security of family life and so worked in my way with good humor, consideration, kindness, and reliability to make it possible. I liked family life with its endless variety—Myrna’s and my family life spiced up with children, foster children, unusual friendships, and great tolerance.

Myrna was interested in home economy and observed I had little interest in keeping up with domestic bookkeeping. “Would it help you if I kept the books?” she asked. “Sure,” I replied. I wasn’t into some stereotype. Perhaps she was since her mother kept the books for the family farm where she was reared.

My focus was outside the home although I loved my wife and our children and the other denizens of our house on Volutsia Street or our apartment on Las Vegas Boulevard or our rental on Bald Hill Road or the apartment on Ellis Boulevard or our townhouse on Morris Street or the apartment at Sixth and Lead or our residence in the basement of her parent’s farm home or the apartment on Boulder Blvd. I came home every night, twice a month happily turned over my paycheck, occasionally helped solve domestic conflicts, all this with joy, calm, commitment, and laughter.

My wife and I respected and loved each other. Although we both worked to lessen or avoid conflict, we certainly could talk through, even argue our different perspectives and come to a mutually agreeable solution. Neither of us was selfish although I had a much greater capacity for being so than she. And I had this longtime nurtured gay self that I appreciated and loved. I didn’t repress my homosexuality but realized that in order to live my life as a minister in a church I had to sublimate any number of my urges. Still I found ways to respect this part of myself, and even satisfy some of it without hurting other people or myself. I was skilled in my duplicity. I was also always aware that what was gay about me was certainly not hidden. I knew myself and I knew that others—at least some others—surely perceived this other part of me.

Myrna and I had a great marriage, and we reared two most interesting kids and nurtured many friends and inspired other couples to do likewise. So why the separation? Why the eventually divorce?

When the children left home and Myrna and I were back at the one-on-one life all the distractions and responsibilities of rearing children lessened. Oh we still had others living with us from time to time, but I finally could satisfy other needs, and without the children present, I did so. I did worse than break one clause in our marriage vows: “and keep yourself only for her.” I broke that vow with other men whom I liked intensely. Feeling the emotional change in me, Myrna finally let herself see what she’d long known. Finally we talked, but rushing the matter we were unable to resolve the problem. Emotion can cause such failure, but the real failure was the institution of marriage itself.

When we divorced some years later, a longtime friend said, “I wish you wouldn’t. Yours was the only marriage I ever thought was worth all problems.” I thought about her kind words and finally realized the problem was that no one had ever developed marriage for bisexual folk. Drat.

Still, Myrna’s and my friendship survived the conflict and pain, as did our commitment to our children, grandchildren, and many friendships from our married days. Marriage as a reified institution with a long history of mythology and law to bolster it eventually didn’t work for us. No matter how hard we both tried. Still what brought us together in the first place—friendship and love—continues to flourish between us.

© 8 December, 2014 

About the Author 

 Phillip Hoyle lives in Denver and spends his time writing, painting, and socializing. In general he keeps busy with groups of writers and artists. Following thirty-two years in church work and fifteen in a therapeutic massage practice, he now focuses on creating beauty. He volunteers at The Center leading the SAGE program “Telling Your Story.”

He also blogs at

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Mark Thompson, by Pat Gourley

Mark Thompson (August 19th, 1952 – August 11th, 2106) a pioneer and chronicler of gay men’s lives with particular focus on the phenomenon of gay male spirituality, defined and given direction in part by the Radical Fairie movement, died this past week on the 11th of August. Mark was 63 and just a few days short of his birthday with plans to celebrate with friends in Palm Springs. Mark’s contributions to the Queer Revolution are legion and extensive.  He was preceded in death by his long time partner Malcolm Boyd, the well-known gay activist and Episcopal priest who died in February of last year (2015).

Do check out Mark’s web site to get a flavor of his broad insights and talents:

I did not know Mark Thompson well having met him briefly only a couple of times dating back to that first Spiritual Conference for Radical Fairies in the Arizona desert. At that time Mark worked for the Advocate, a publication he was associated with for over 20 years culminating in 1994 with his editing Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement (St. Martin’s Press).

I got to “know” Mark best through his trilogy on gay spirituality:

Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning (Lethe Press-1987)
Gay Soul: Finding the Heart of Gay Spirit and Nature. (Harper San Francisco-1994)
Gay Body: A Journey Through Shadow to Self. (St Martin’s Press-1997)

Gay Soul in particular was a very loving and reinforcing work for me coming at the darkest time in the AIDS nightmare in my own life both professionally and personally. It was a time when in my darkest moments I was questioning the whole gay liberation movement and wondering what had we wrought here. These bouts of anguished questioning occurring most often late at night usually resolved themselves by morning with the returning sun but twinges did often linger. It was truly juice for my “soul” to read Mark’s conversations with 16 prominent gay men several of whom I had gotten to know.

Though I would not have self-identified as an atheist (were there any atheists working in AIDS Clinics in the 1980-90’s?) in 1994 as I do now I definitely found succor in these great gay mentors discussing Gay Soul. As I have re-perused some of Mark’s writings from Gay Soul in the past few days they remain soothing in spite of my own current skeptical views on many things spiritual. I find that Judy Grahn’s words from the back jacket of Gay Soul taken from her review of the book in the Advocate still resonate strongly for me: “What Thompson has given gay men in Gay Soul is an outpouring of much-needed love-from new kinds of “fathers”.

I’d close with a few lines by Mark Thompson from the introduction to Gay Soul:

“My soul is the repository of all that I feel: my appetites and my ambitions, sadness and joy. It is the place where inspiration germinates and from which vitality grows. It is also the place of perplexity and unfathomable fear. Above all, I sense that my soul is the inner arena in which life’s combustible opposites collide, creating dissonance and upheaval as well as new harmony and stasis. Somewhere in this great container of ceaseless death and rebirth lies, too, the mystery of my being gay.”

Mark Thompson. Los Angeles. Vernal Equinox, 1994.

© 15 Aug 2016 

About the Author 

I was born in La Porte Indiana in 1949, raised on a farm and schooled by Holy Cross nuns. The bulk of my adult life, some 40 plus years, was spent in Denver, Colorado as a nurse, gardener and gay/AIDS activist. I have currently returned to Denver after an extended sabbatical in San Francisco, California.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Gay and Lesbian Community as Social Leaders in Ancient Greece and Rome, by Louis Brown

(1)                        The names of the planets of the solar system were taken from Greek and Roman Mythology.

(2)                        That brings me back to my theme, my question of why study ancient Greek and Roman history?

(3)                        When I was a High School freshman, I took an elective course in ancient history. I have been interested ever since, up to a point, in the study of ancient Greece and Rome.

(4)                        I remember when I gave my somewhat verbose report on the novel The Dictator. I got the impression that some of you listeners were wondering why on earth I was going on and on about the status of Julius Caesar – was he an emperor or a dictator? And also about the final, gruesome assassination of Cato.

(5)                        The answer is because, in the ancient world of Greece and Rome, gay and Lesbian people had a completely different status from that we had in the 19th Century in the British Empire under Queen Victoria who persecuted us mindlessly and irrationally.

(6)                        It took me a while to understand what certain gay classical history scholars were trying to tell me, but, thanks mainly to Alexander the Great, gay men had control of the ancient Greek military establishment.

(7)                        Straight heterosexual men, the “breeders” were expected to stay home and bring up the children. The freer uncommitted population of gay men were expected to become the nation’s warriors, which they did.

(8)                        In other words, for gay men and Lesbians, ancient Greek and ancient Roman society constituted our golden age. An army of gay lovers was invincible, didn’t Alexander the Great prove that?

(9)                         From Wikipedia: Sir John Edwin Sandys – Latin Epigraphy (1927). [1]
Roman historiography is indebted to the Greeks, who invented the form. The Romans had great models to base their works upon, such as Herodotus (c. 484 – 425 BCE) and Thucydides (c. 460 – c. 395 BCE). Roman historiographical forms are different from the Greek ones however, and voice very Roman concerns. Unlike the Greeks, Roman historiography did not start out with an oral historical tradition. The Roman style of history was based on the way that the Annals of the Pontifex Maximus, or the Annales Maximi, were recorded. The Annales Maximi include a wide array of information, including religious documents, names of consuls, deaths of priests, and various disasters throughout history. Also part of the Annales Maximi are the White Tablets, or the “Tabulae Albatae,” which consist of information on the origin of the republic.

(10)                  In other words, the Roman historians improved over the Greeks, because the Romans attempted to base their historical reporting on written records rather than on traditional folklore. It was somewhat more scientific.

(11)                  “Pontifex maximus” was the religious title of the emperor, the Imperator. Of course, his annals of events were of course biased to extol and emphasize his own glory. It means the greatest bridge builder. Recently certain democrats and the Pope criticized Donald Trump for promoting the idea of building a wall. They said the President should be a bridge builder not a wall builder. That reminded me of the Pontifex maximus.

(12)                  In trying to study ancient Greek and Roman history, however, the novice notices that they contradict each other, so that a clear statement of actually what happened way back when was often impossible.

(13)                  In other words, before studying classical history, it would be better first to study how to study ancient classical history – i.e. “historiography”.

(14)                  To limit ourselves to ancient Greek and Roman mythology, Mercury (planet nearest to the sun), in Greek was Hermes the winged messenger.

(15)                  Venus (a very hot planet) was Aphrodite, the Goddess of Beauty.

(16)                  Earth was Roman Terra, ancient Greek was Gaia. Parenthetically, earth goddess in Germanic mythology was Erde – she had a very interesting story, in her own right. Altlho, amazingly, Wikipedia has no record. Google: Erda, Earth, Jörd- ("Earth") The Earth-Goddess Erda is the mother of Thor, with Odin. Erda is daughter to the Night-Disir Natt/Night and her second husband of three, Annar.

(17)                  Uranus was the early god of the sky in pre-classical Greek mythology. He was the father of (amongst others) Saturn who castrated his father – for some reason. Uranus predates Zeus and Hera. Saturn was the god of the Capitoline Hiss in ancient Rome, etc.

© 27 Sep 2016 

About the Author

I was born in 1944, I lived most of my life in New York City, Queens County. I still commute there. I worked for many years as a Caseworker for New York City Human Resources Administration, dealing with mentally impaired clients, then as a social work Supervisor dealing with homeless PWA's. I have an apartment in Wheat Ridge, CO. I retired in 2002. I have a few interesting stories to tell. My boyfriend Kevin lives in New York City. I graduated Queens College, CUNY, in 1967.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Lonely Places, by Lewis

I don't know where to begin writing about the subject of “lonely places" without first distinguishing them from "places of solitude".  There's a distinct difference.  People often deliberately seek out places of solitude for purposes of restoration, deliberation, and soul-searching.  They are places of respite and retrospection.  They are for clearing the mind of clutter, connecting with feelings--sometimes painful--that cry out for exploration.  They are like a shower for the soul.

In contrast, "lonely places" are more like a pity-party for the poor-in-spirit.  In the real world, there are places where solitude-seekers can be alone.  They offer peace and quiet and are a place to get one's head together and sort things out.  They are far from being "lonely places" unless made to be so by the individual occupying them.  In this entire vast and endlessly varied world, there is not a single space that is inherently "lonely", for "loneliness" is not a physical condition but a state of mind.  If I so desired, I could be lonely on a crowded city bus or at a fair or concert. 

Sometimes, feeling lonely can feel safer than reaching out to someone.  Loneliness is a trust issue.  If I trust that others can respond to pain with love, there is no need to be lonely.  I suspect that people sometimes get stuck in loneliness because they are afraid of risking rejection should they attempt to make some kind of human connection.  If one is so needy that they scare people away for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, they might well feel that they have been rejected.  The solution to this dilemma is to break out of the loneliness sooner rather than later.  One way to do that is not to pout but to pucker, not to slump or slink but to sidle up to someone.

When Laurin died in late 2012, I lost my constant companion and lover.  The pain was almost unbearable.  I could have withdrawn into self-pity and made myself lonely.  I am not an extrovert; I'm rather shy, actually.  I do not particularly like parties or being in large crowds.  But I do crave human connection.  I like doing things for other people.  It's difficult for me to allow others to do for me.  But that's exactly what I did.  I attended a grief support group here at The Center and a wellness support group at my church.  I made a concerted effort to make new friends and freshen older friendships.  I had plenty of time to be alone, especially at night.  But I found that simply by being open to the love and caring of others I had no time or predilection for loneliness.

Social media of the electronic variety has made connecting with others easier than ever.  I would attribute the nearly pervasive persistence with which both young and old today text, tweet, and instant message to a desperate need to circumvent loneliness.  I hope its working.  But when it comes to feeling truly part of the human community, there's nothing like a warm hug--perhaps even topped with a big, wet kiss.

© 11 Aug 2014 

About the Author 

I came to the beautiful state of Colorado out of my native Kansas by way of Michigan, the state where I married and I came to the beautiful state of Colorado out of my native Kansas by way of Michigan, the state where I married and had two children while working as an engineer for the Ford Motor Company. I was married to a wonderful woman for 26 happy years and suddenly realized that life was passing me by. I figured that I should make a change, as our offspring were basically on their own and I wasn't getting any younger. Luckily, a very attractive and personable man just happened to be crossing my path at that time, so the change-over was both fortuitous and smooth.

Soon after, I retired and we moved to Denver, my husband's home town. He passed away after 13 blissful years together in October of 2012. I am left to find a new path to fulfillment. One possibility is through writing. Thank goodness, the SAGE Creative Writing Group was there to light the way.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Cool, by Gillian

Back in the hippie days, when it was cool to be cool, I was not cool. The cool years found me married - not cool, too traditional: raising four step-children - not particularly cool: working endless overtime hours - certainly not cool, for a major international corporation - just about as uncool as you could get.

No. I completely missed out on cool. Or it missed me.

The only time I remember anyone using the adjective about me was some incident when I came upon my oldest step-son and some buddies in the throes of one of his many transgressions, they were so numerous and varied that I don't recall exactly what he was into that particular time. But I do remember him shrugging and saying to his companions, "It's OK. Gill's cool."

By which he meant, of course, that I was not going to go off into some unfathomable (at least to him) rage over the smoking or drinking or sex or whatever it was; most likely all three and then some. That was exactly what his father would have done, whereas I would prefer to attempt a calm discussion. By comparison I guess I was pretty cool. But that was a slightly different use of the expression. I was never to be a cool dude or a cool cat.

These days, the term seems to have made a comeback - rather too much of one as it pops up incessantly. One particular example has rather amused me. I have been asked a few times recently, what Betsy's relationship is to me. (As I very recently went on a bit of a rave about this very topic I won't say much here, but honestly! Of what significance is the exact nature of our relationship to a window salesperson and a colonoscopy receptionist??) Where was I? Oh yeah.  When I reply that Betsy is my spouse the response seems inevitably to be, 'cool!' which I find unobjectionable but nevertheless a little odd. When I was with a man and had some cause to state that he was my husband, no-one ever found that to be cool. But I mulled it over and decided it was rather sweet. People feel the need to say something positive in response. OK. Cool.

But then, when this topic came up for today, I realized that actually I had very little knowledge of what it is supposed to mean, these days. I turned to which informed me that cool is, among other things, and I quote, '... a word to say when you don't know what else to say .....'

And that, in my book, if you're talking about my marriage, is pretty un-damn-cool!

© 16 May 2016 

About the Author 

 I was born and raised in England. After graduation from college there, I moved to the U.S. and, having discovered Colorado, never left. I have lived in the Denver-Boulder area since 1965, working for 30-years at IBM. I married, raised four stepchildren, then got divorced after finally, in my forties, accepting myself as a lesbian. I have been with my wonderful partner Betsy for thirty-years. We have been married since 2013.