Friday, January 16, 2009


What do you do on Memorial Day. Do you observe it as was intended,to honor all those that died in all the wars? Probably not, most of us don’t. It is still a special day for putting flowers on the graves of family members. A day for honoring the dead. A pretty serious subject.

I have a special place in life for Memorial Day. In 1958 on a Memorial Day I met my best friend in life, Kaye Dickie. She was a beloved friend for over 39 years. Why write about a dead friend,well why not? Some people are just worth talking about.

I am not as interested in telling you about her death. (all though she did die next to her swimming pool reading a book and she would think that would be a wonderful way to go. She was an avid reader and swimmer.) I want to tell more about her living. Kaye lived a life filled with love,joy,and a quick wit that would leave you hysterical with laughter.

Kaye was mildly deaf when I first met her. After having surgery to correct her hearing it lasted for sometime but in later years she became profoundly deaf. It never slowed her humor or her zest for doing what she wanted to do.

She had a Master’s Degree in elementary education,she was an outstanding teacher,a gifted musician, a golfer and a terrific letter writer. Her wonderful humor overflowed into everything she did. I received a letter from her the day before she died.

Kaye and I were both raised in homes where reading was taught to be the most important thing we could do. We both loved to read. We began playing a game game 39 years ago during the time of diapers and baby talk while we were raising our children. We continued to play it every time we saw each other. We would take play pens, beach blankets, picnic lunches to
Fontana Beach on beautiful Lake Geneva, Wi.

It began this way: We were going to be sent to a tropical island and we each could only take three books. What would they be?

We both agreed we would each take a Bible,Gone with the Wind and etc.
Over the years we picked different books,except for the Bible. That remained a constant with both of us.

Then we expanded to five books each and finally seven. (We both needed blank books so we could write.) As we grew older the game became sillier and we both loved it. Somehow it was a fine thread to our youth. When we saw each other every week or so we only thought of it occasionally. In later years we were a 1000 miles apart. Now we only saw each other two or three times a year so now it became a silly secret of ours.

Our conversations would be come wonderfully outlandish:
“Do you know how to fish?”
”No, do you?”
“Don’t you think we should take a book on fishing?”
Well I'm not giving up my copy of James Michner’s Hawaii for a book on fishing?”
“OK,I hope you don't mind climbing trees to gather coconuts.”
“We’ve got palm trees on our island? Nobody told me about that.”
On and on it went. Kaye loved puns so on our make believe calendar we changed our monday to Punday--we could only speak in puns on this day. Thursday was the day for building sand castles. We had to get away from reading sometime. As we had these absurd conversations we would laugh like children.

Over the years our love and laughter for each other never changed. We always ended our phone calls and our letters with “”I love you.” When we greeted each other twice a year we would hug and kiss and say,”I love you sooooooo much.” This was standard greeting for our children when they were little.

Our two families have been tied together by love for since 1958. Our children grew up loving each other. Our sons have camped and hiked all and white water rafted all over Colorado parts of Wyoming. Our daughters live 1000 miles apart and always take up right where they left off.

I shall always treasure the day I spent with Kaye in 1996. She rode with me out into East Weld as I called some clients. I took her to Roggen and introduce her to writer Elfy Dornan. I bought her Elfy’s book Prairie Winds.” I teased her about being afraid to be caught anywhere with out a book. As we traveled over the plains we talked and talked. That night we talked until 3 a.m. in the morning catching upon our tropical island and our books. That was the last day I saw her.

Memorial Day. I will always be a day to remember Dear Kaye for the love,joy and the goodness of a woman who knew no bounds. We shared many secrets and she took the most important one in my life she took to her grave. She never revealed my homosexuality to anyone. In the early days when I told her I ask her to please not tell anyone because of my children. She never did. When her husband visited me last spring I asked him and he said she had never mentioned it to him. She adored her husband and he swears she never said a word about it. How many times can you find anyone in your life that can keep a secret? What a woman!

Oh, Kaye if you are on our tropical island on the other side,keep your hands off my books until I get there! I still love you sooooo much.

Monday, January 12, 2009


When Lady Love and I moved back to Greeley she was particularly looking for a church--you know one that would accept gays. She found the the Unitarian Church here and she had been a life long member in Kalamazoo.

Greeley's UU Church is a wonderful diverse group of people and we felt at home there.We joined and we became involved in the Book club and over the years several study groups. We studied the Jefferson Bible in 2007 andin my this resulted in giving this report to our congregation:

I would like to quote from one of Thomas Jefferson's letters-----------
“It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.”

I was 22 years old and living in Georgia when my friend Bailey Jones first told me about the Jefferson Bible. He was a retired history teacher and he loved Thomas Jefferson. He would go on and on about Jefferson and his bible. Bailey Jones was a highly respected Baptist and a wonderful story teller. But Bailey Jones was also a flaming alcoholic and I took everything he said with with great reservation. We had many long talks about many subjects. Bailey had a wonderful mind.

Bailey had a stroke 6 months later and died. His wife ask me to paint a scene of the River Jordan in the baptistry of the new baptist church in his memory. I submitted a canvas for approval with three other artists and mine was accepted. I spent the next 3 months working in the baptistry.

When our Chosen Faith class mentioned the Jefferson Bible---I was all for it. I hadn’t thought of Bailey Jones and his Jefferson Bible in years. I would finally after 50 some years get to read it.
When I was asked to think about what we would like to report on from our Chosen Faith Class, I chose Jefferson Bible. I was very interested in studying and discussing this book. But when we began reading I found that I was much more interested in the history of the”why and wherefore” of its origination.

As a young man Jefferson had been greatly influenced by the philosophical writings of Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbrooke. His religious skepticism was engaging to Jefferson and it prompted him to record passages from Bolingbrooke's writings into Jefferson’ s “ Literary Bible”,which was composed during the 1760’s and1770’s.

In 1798-1799 Jefferson wrote of of “several delightful conversations” with Dr. Benjamin Rush, a well respected scientist and outspoken Universalist. Their conversations were often of Christianity and Jefferson told Rush he would write down his views on the subject. Dr. Rush over the years continued to remind Jefferson of his promise.

In 1800 politics was rearing its ugly head. Jefferson was then standing as a candidate for the presidency. There were those who were already reviling him as an infidel too impious to be president.

The following spring a triumphant Jefferson wrote,”Our countrymen have recovered from the alarm which art and industry had thrown them ; science and honesty are replaced on their high ground and you,my dear Sir, as their great apostle, are on its pinnacle.” This”great apostle” was Dr. Joseph Priestley, prominent scientist and Unitarian theologian.

Dr. Benjamin Rush and Dr. Joseph Priestly, helped reestablish Christianity for the reasonable and enlightened such as Jefferson. Rush was an ardent champion of theological openness. Priestly had determined that much of Christian doctrine was either defiant of or unnecessary to the Christian message and therefore not only obscured, but distance from the lives of many persons who had neither the time nor the means to investigate it.

Thomas Jefferson thought of Jesus as eloquent,benevolent,innocent, a victim first of the Roman state and then of the Christian Church.

In a statement of his faith,Jefferson wrote to Rush, I quote “I am a Christian,in the only sense he wished anyone to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others;ascribing to himself every human excellence : and believing he never claimed any other”.

Jefferson’s quest-- I would call it began with passion in 1798. He finish the Gospels in 1820 at the age of 77. They had been sitting on his shelf for a decade and a half.

So this was the why and the wherefore. I feel that Jefferson believed he was creating a concise book that would be for Christian and non-Christian and would reach those seeking a good and moral life. He wanted to create and a real human Jesus. A reader’s digest version.

Do I think he did that? Yes, but I believe he looked upon it as something he must finish. But after all this was Jefferson and I am happy he did give us the Jefferson Bible at age 77!

For me studying the Jefferson Bible was something else. I will cherish it because it reminded me of an old storyteller that walked into my young life in a strange and wonderful way and returned again when I was an old woman.

Friday, January 9, 2009


What do you say when you find out your Grannie is Gay?
Do you say that she is happy and glad?
We didn’t find out what Grannies was about
until she left our Grand Dad

There were whispers and talk about the reason she came “out”
She was in the “closet”, they say
We overheard all this stuff
And as if this isn’t enough
No one will tell us what it means to be gay

Grannie said:
It means your expression of love can be free
to love some one of the same sex ---in my case a SHE
Or a gay man would prefer to love a HE
It is about love and choosing the right one for you,do you see?

It makes sense to me. Shouldn’t we all be free
to love any one we choose? But will you explain to us about
what it means to be in the “closet” and “out”
These sounds kind of strange to me?

Grannie said:
In the “closet” means you are afraid to come “out”
to tell anyone you are gay
You hide in fear and are consumed with doubt
What if family and friends turn you away?

So you stay in your “closet” afraid to come “out”
Do You understand what I mean?
Remember during a storm when thunder was about
You put your hands over your eyes so the lighting couldn’t be seen.

Now the thunder was there, the lighting was, too
Truly everything was the same
And hiding your eyes seemed a safe thing to do
But it was just a kind of a game

Covering your eyes you were safe and private
Do you see what this is about?
Covering your eyes was a kind of a “closet “
When you uncovered your eyes --you came “out”

Gran, all your life you hid that you were gay
I think that this was bad
That means you were in a “closet” for all those years
That’s like being in jail.How sad.

Grannie said:
Yes Dears, sometimes it was hard to bear
Because I could never be me
and truly there were times I didn’t care
what life did with me.

I knew I was “different when I was nine
By age 13, I told my Mother. She said,
Don’t you ever mention this again.
“You’ll get over it. It’s all in your head!”

I never mentioned “it” again
I never got over ‘it”
I married a man.
(Ffity some years later--I’m still not over “it”

But then I had babies. they filled my heart with joy
I loved raising children;they were work and fun
Sand boxes,swings,playhouses,every little toy;
They helped me get through life on the run

I ran through life in a frenzy,being “Best” at what I did
I never stopped running from the real me
I am gay, then and now who did I think I could kid?
So many times I wanted to scream”I am gay, this is me ,this is me”

But I didn’t.I acted like everything in my life was ok
I deceived friends, family and children
All the while running away, running away
Down deep inside me to my isolation

I hated my total deception. It went against everything I hold dear
I said,”I have no secrets.” What a bad thing to say.
I believe your Grandad knew and perhaps it was his fear
That I had been unfaithful and that I was gay

When I met and fell in love with a woman I had dreamed about
I knew I could no longer hide
There was no doubt in my mind that I was coming”out”
I absolutely must be true to myself before I died

This woman freed me in a way only a gay person can understand.
She gave the courage, the love and a way
And I want you to please understand
There is nothing wrong with being gay

So I went to your Granddad and told him everything
Through his anger,his disappointment and tears
He found courage to say something:
“This explains so much about you for all these years.”

He knew I had been running.
I thank your Grandad for his graciousness;
I had made him unhappy,too.

Then I went to your Mother and I told her I was gay
She said,”I never knew what it was, but I knew there was a secret unshared.”
I told her I would divorce your Grandad
I knew how deeply she cared.

But she never wavered a moment.
She looked at me straight and so true
She said,” I love you,Mom and I support you in what ever
you need to do for YOU.

Then I went to your Uncle Jeff. I told him I was gay
He too looked at me straight and true
He said ,”Mom you have been the greatest example in my life
You must do what is right for you.” He told me that he loved me.

You have to know how important this was to me
I heaved a sigh of relief and it was true
My children told me they loved me
As though what I had revealed was nothing new

All my life I had respected them as individuals
I basked in the love they gave me
I knew their response was the residual
of the relationship they saved for me.

Their love and support was all around
As I went to my computer to write my brother
I chose my words carefully and found
Here was a burden like no other

I pushed on as best I could explaining
Why I needed to finally come”out”
I realized the pit of my stomach was paining
And my mind was filled with doubt

His army life and church had hardened his heart agsainst gays
He used words like,”homos,fags,queers,” to me
when he tried to talk about ‘their” rights and “their” ways
I refused to be drawn into hate against people like me.

I didn’t know how I could change his mind
Perhaps his love for me would enter
And in his heart he would find
Understanding and compassion for me at the center

But no. My brother never called me and he never wrote
And he hates me for being gay
I will probably never see or speak to him again.
He chooses it to be this way.

He simply cannot understand why and how
I lived my life as a kid
And never let anyone know
That I was different--but I did---No one listened.

I wanted my brother to listen. He did not.
Who would choose to be gay?
He thinks gay is a choice.It is not.
It is painful and frightening and it never goes away.

His wife speaks of “family values” and yet
They cannot bring themselves to speak to me,
family,a sister, who is no longer set
in the mold of what they think she should be
And would I do it again?
YES,YES, I love being “out”.
It was frightening in that “closet”, hidden away
with my fears ,my pain, and my doubt.

I know without O’Neils love and support
I would never be free
to say,”I’m a different sort
I’m gay,I’m free,I’m me!”

When I think of her gift to me
And I think of it each day
I know were in each other’s life
In a very special way.

Thank you, O”Neil.

I fought being gay and myself for 50 years.

Yes, I risked everything to be able to admit I was gay.
I lost my closet and fifty pounds. You see,
there was no need for me to be eating away
at what was eating at me.

Is it true what they say about women that are gay
That they really can live without men?
Women that love women know another way
To make love ,to make love without men?

Oh,Yes my Dears it is true
What they say about women that are gay
They are definitely happy and glad
Women love to make love with a woman they love
They are very happy, not sad.

So what do you say about Grannie being gay?
You say she is happy and glad
Grannie loves women and she always wlll
And she was true to herself in every way
My Dears,always be true to yourself. I love you.
As ever,