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Half a century!!

A retrospective, inspired by rootbeer1 and many others:

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?


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC)
I had no sucking reflex

You've sure changed!
Jun. 22nd, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
I'm Shocked!!!!!!
Jun. 23rd, 2005 08:02 am (UTC)
Well, I've made up for it since then....
Jun. 23rd, 2005 07:57 am (UTC)
Lucky for you.....:o)
Jun. 22nd, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
Even Jackie O smoked while pregnant with Caroline, John-John and Patrick--so your Mom's in stellar company.

Have you heard the latest? You're the greatest!
Jun. 22nd, 2005 11:03 pm (UTC)
I second that, and raise it to Big Baboo Status, if that is permissible. :-)

*Jimmy Durante Voice*

Jack is Da Big Baboo!
Jun. 23rd, 2005 08:01 am (UTC)
And you're my Sweet Babboo!!!
Jun. 23rd, 2005 08:00 am (UTC)
Aw, gee, thanks...I think you're the bee's knees too!

Mom smoked like a chimney, yet never had respiratory problems. All us kids took up smoking at one time or another, but after Dad's diagnosis we all quit. I think Billy is back smoking, but he has various substance abuse problems, so that's not all he's doing.
Jun. 23rd, 2005 03:10 am (UTC)

The first person I ever fell in love with (not like there have been a bunch) worked at (and maybe still does) Indus. For the life of me, I don't remember ever knowing that you or Steve had too. Of course, that was back in 96, so by the time you guys were in SF and there, that was long over; but still, kinda interesting, especially since Rusty definitely still worked there when you guys first moved to SF....at least I'm almost certain.*G*
Jun. 23rd, 2005 08:05 am (UTC)
Rusty is still at Indus, and also in our square dance club. He had gastric bypass surgery a couple of years ago, so he looks quite different now.

Of course you do too...:o). And you did it the traditional way, like I'm trying to.
Jun. 23rd, 2005 08:36 am (UTC)
oh, WOW! That's very interesting about Rusty, and explains some things. Several months ago, my best friend called me up from a local bar and said he thought he saw Rusty, but that Rusty had lost a lot of weight from the last time he saw him. He later told me that it was Rusty, but didn't say much more. I'm very happy to hear that Rusty is active, healthy, and I hope very happy. And it sounds like him to just make a decision like that and follow through with it. Gastric Bypass wasn't a practical option for me, financially and every doctor that saw me said that although I was clearly, dangerously overweight (not that I'm not still), I was luckily physically capable of losing the weight naturally... I probably would have jumped at the GB solution if I had the chance, although the idea scared the crap out of me. (Hell, at 265, I probably could be a candidate still.*G*)

I used to subscribe to the stigma associated wtih procedures like GB; but these days, I think it takes just as much effort to want to live and change to have a procedure like that, as it does to lose it "naturally".

It's obviously no secret whatsoever that Weight Watchers and that specific timing that made all the difference in the world for me. I consider myself lucky every single day. And I think it's great that you are actively trying to lose it. Any activity whatsoever is better than nothing. Good luck with that and definitely write about your progress either way. If it might be of any value at all, I can elaborate on my experience (which I feel like I should on my journal, not just post vanity pics*G*) and I'd love to hear anything and everything you are doing.

Thanks for the info and update on Rusty. Next time you see him at Square-dancing, feel free to mention I'm very glad to hear he's doing so well.=)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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