50 years ago. A 6-month old fetus, I am less than two months away from being prematurely born. All of my siblings were preemies too, probably due to my mother's continual smoking through her pregnancies (who knew in 1955?) . When I was born, I weighed 4 pounds 10 ounces. I was left in the hospital for two months in an incubator, then sent home to die. I had no sucking reflex, so my mother had to feed me with an eyedropper like a baby kitten. We lived in Cohoes, New York, in a little two-bedroom house that my father had built out of a 3-car garage some promoter built on our property, next door to my father's parents.
40 years ago. 9 years old. Still living in Cohoes, though my father built an addition to the house, bringing it up to 5 bedrooms. My younger brother Jimmy was 5, but little Billy was still a year away. Big sister Judy had just graduated from high school, and my older brother Freddie was just about to start junior high. I was about to enter the fifth grade, with my first male teacher, who was kind of stocky and hairy (note for future reference). Not much into sports or outdoor games--spent a lot of time reading and watching TV.
30 years ago. 19 years old. Just finished my sophomore year at RPI. Also had my first, er, "adult" experience with another person. Of the same gender. Hmmm...maybe someone's trying to tell me something....anyway, it really freaked me out. I spent the summer taking makeup classes to prepare for my change of major from civil engineering to architecture. I would last a semester, then drop out and go to work in a group home with developmentally disabled adults. My maternal grandmother would pass away this year.
20 years ago. 29 years old. Working as a computer programmer for the New York State Department of Social Services, and finishing my bachelor's degree in computer science nights at SUNY Albany. Heavily involved in a charismatic, sort of evangelical yet funky Episcopal church, getting ready to start formation for ordination to the permanent diaconate. Living on a horse farm 5 miles east of Troy, NY. Idyllic, except for the torture of living with my straight roommate, with whom I am secretly madly in love. Rather conflicted vis a vis being Christian and possibly gay. One year later would attend ex-gay conference in Nashville and attempt to take the cure. Getting ready for my first (and so far only) trip to Europe, with two ex-roommates. Taught myself how to play the guitar. Weighed 160 pounds--went running three times a week, was the fittest and skinniest I've ever been. In two years I will buy my first house and start living by myself.
10 years ago. 39 years old. Living in my house in Cohoes, but spending every other weekend or so in Stamford, CT with my new boyfriend Steve (rootbeer1). Guess the "cure" didn't take after all. Getting ready for a big road trip south with Steve to meet his family. On sabbatical, sort of, from being a deacon, though soon would start ministry at the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany. Still working for the State. Two years earlier my mother was placed in a nursing home with early-onset Alzheimer's. She was 63 when she started having symptoms. In another year my father would pass away from emphysema, aggravated by a lifetime of smoking cigars. I'm sure the alcoholism didn't help.
5 years ago. 44 years old. The year after Dad died Steve and I moved from our house in Cohoes to San Francisco, following an exodus of friends from our bear club (a gathering of big, hairy gay men -- remember that 5th-grade teacher?). We are settled in an apartment in the Castro--convenient but cramped. I'm now working at Charles Schwab as a software engineer, and Steve is at Indus, my old software company (well, I didn't own it, I just worked there when we first moved west). We have lots of nice friends and we even go to church occasionally. Getting ready for a vacation back east, where I will see The Lion King for the first time on Broadway. One year later we will be back in Albany for my mother's funeral. A few months after that we will buy a house together in San Francisco and live happily ever after.
What about you? What have you been up to these past decades?