Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cast of characters...

I recently attended a wedding celebration for my best friend’s son. As I sat and looked around the table at my family of choice, I realized how blessed I am with this group of long time friends. My friend Richard of 25 years who is my soul mate, and his lover Gilles of 28 years, Karen and Sid who I have known for 30 years, and Bob and Merle, my friends for 15 years.
They are hairdressers, therapists, lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc.
Richard is known as “Hairdresser to the Stars” for which I tease him mercilessly, Gilles also a hairdresser,the kindest and most gentle-man I have ever known ( I refer to him as a “Hair Surgeon”. Karen, the love of my life, a therapist, and her husband Sid, a "Renaissance Man" in every sense of the word, a teacher in an inner city of troubled and tortured youths, Merle, a CEO of the United Way, and her husband Bob, a surgeon. We are all so different. But then I thought, everyone is just so well defined. Together. Exact. Except for me.
Well defined doesn’t quite do it for me.
As I sat there trying to figure out what words I could use to describe myself, the words hybrid, mongrel, and mutt came to mind. I certainly don’t find these words to be disparaging. I consider mutts to be the superior breed(s) of dogs. You know the type- they call them the “Heinz 57 Varieties”, traits and characteristics from many different cross breeds along the way, making them wiser and more resilient than the pure breds.
This stream of thought brought me back to another time and place.
I was 9 or so and grew up not having friends my own age. I had a step father and a mother with a different last name, and a brother with a different last name. So much for defined.
I was usually on the streets of downtown New Haven during the summer and after school. Most of the kids I went to school with had “normal” lives with normal parents.
My family of choice as a very young child included people that parents today would be horrified at.
The White Tower 24 Hour Hamburger Restaurant (where my mother worked) experience led me to friends like, Timmy the drag queen, who was more lovely in a dress than any woman you can imagine, Lonnie the gay Serbo-Croatian dancer, who knew 5 languages, and had the sense of humor I longed for, King Kong the Afro American midget who would walk with me on the streets of New Haven when it was dark, Helen the Lesbian who taught me baseball and bowling, Silent Sara, a gay deaf mute who introduced me to his world of silence, and who could communicate better than most.
These people were well defined. Together. Exact. They knew exactly who they were. I loved these people. They were real. They weren’t famous, and God knows they were far from wealthy.
But they were my family of choice then, and I loved them dearly. I was as blessed then as I am now.


Blogger jennifer said...

Love this post! Thank you for your honesty and great writing (you are really good). You were so holding out on us! Keep going, you lovely and engaging being!

1:23 PM  
Blogger Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ditto everything Jennifer said, plus, not enough has been made of the "family of choice", or as I like to call them, the "preferred family".

9:18 AM  
Blogger Go Mama said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:23 AM  
Blogger Go Mama said...

Your story just gets more and more interesting! Great characters...want to hear more about them.

With families like ours, who needs families?
Somehow, we are instinctively drawn to those who will help us though.

4:30 AM  

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