Monday, July 10

Another loss for NY State

For a country that thinks it's got it's shit together, they could surely learn a thing or two from others, in particular their views towards homosexuals!! How many police forces in the US can say they are completely open?!?! I know for a fact that here in London it is truly open. My friends Jim & Rob have a lesbian skipper and if you asked them what they think about it they look at you funny as if to ask why are you even asking? She's one of the team members & we back her fully! Probably the other reason I get so hot headed about this topic is that it's near & dear to my heart. Most of you who read this blog have known me a long time, if not my whole life. Do you think I'm a "normal" person (yeah yeah yeah, what's normal). Let's remember how many of you "grew up" at my house . . . close to every weekend, Kris, Colin, Patrick, Matt, Kevin, Adam, Pete, and I'm sure I've forgotten someone where sleeping over at my parents house . . . why you ask? Because I had parents . . . yeah I know that might sound funny but when you think about the family situations these boys were coming from (drug dealing dads, alcoholic moms, deadbeat dads, etc) my parents became everyone's parents. I know on more than one occasion poor Kris got taken into "Mr O's office for a talk" - that's one place I never wanted to go for any talks!! To this day Kris talks about it, not in an "I got yelled at by your dad" way but more of a role model supportive way. Maybe hard to understand if you've never hung out with my dad for long periods of time, but bear with me.

In the fall of 1999, the week of Thanksgiving to be exact, Chas & I flew from Albany, NY to Austin, TX to visit with my cousin Ned & his wife Terri. Chas & I had the week off from Norwich so we went down a few days before the rest of the family was meeting us. We were having a fantastic time boating on the river, touring around the city, relaxing by their pool.

Auntie Ann arrived 2 days before thanksgiving & a few hours later dad called to say he'd missed his flight & would be arriving later. The day before Thanksgiving Chas' mate (Doug who had been at Norwich with us)was driving up from Waco to have lunch with us. I will NEVER forget this lunch, it was so surreal. That morning Dad asked if Chas & I could talk to him in the TV room about some personal family business. Understand Chas was a part of my family we'd been dating for 3 years. Dad, Chas & I all sat down on the couch & dad pulled out his legal size yellow pad of paper which he always had no matter where he was, he brought some with him. He said something along the lines of, I have something important to tell you both about our family and he started to cry. I of course immediately thought he was dying or that something was wrong with Patty or Mom. To be honest I'm not sure how the next few minutes went or what he said but the bottom line was he was coming out of the closet. To be honest my first reaction was happiness that nobody was dead or dying. I was in such shock about what he had said I didn't really say much aside from, "you'll always be my dad" we hugged and he asked if I wanted to call mom or Patty or one of my godparents who knew. I said no thanks & just went back to the room I was staying & tried to comprehend what he had just told us.

Then Chas walked in to say we had to leave to meet Doug & his girlfriend at the BBQ place just down the road, as we were leaving the house (me still in a haze) I recall Dad asking if he could come along, I have no clue what I responded but I think Chas said "yeah sure". I got out of the car & could see Doug's brand new silver mustang from across the parking lot. We walked over introduced my dad & Doug's girlfriend, then proceeded inside. We got seats by the river, ordered our food & I'm sure there was talking, but I'm 90% sure I stared out the window most of the meal. I could barely eat, I just wanted someone to pinch me so that I would wake up.

The rest of that night was uneventful - nobody talked about it & when my sister called us she told me how mom had told her while she was driving on I-87 and she nearly drove off the road. Neither of us knew what to say so I said, "see ya on Saturday" and we hung up. Chas & I tried to talk about it before going to bed but I still didn't know what to say. Chas was so supportive, I know I might not have been able to hold it all together if not for him.

Thanksgiving day went without a hitch, Terri's whole family came over & the day after Thanksgiving we went Christmas tree shopping, eat leftovers & went swimming.

Saturday we flew back to NY and everyone met at my parents house on East Shore Drive. Part two of the whole surreal experience started here. For some reason up to this point I think it had not truly sank into my head, but now with my mom, dad, Patty, and Chas all sitting around the living room table discussing what was going to happen next it was slowly starting to seep into my brain, "My dad is gay" Again came offers to call family or friends & again I still wasn't sure what I would say after they answered the phone.

To be perfectly honest I have no clue when it all "sank in" and I think there are still days when I wake up and wonder if this has all just been a dream - I don't say that in a bad way, just that what I thought my life would be has been dramatically different with my dad being gay & my parents understandably getting a divorce.

I still don't know any people my age who have a parent who came out of the closet during their teens or adulthood, but I'm guessing I'm not alone. I have to say one great thing that happened in part because of this was you found out how supportive your friends can be. I worried that maybe friends who reject me if they found out my dad was gay. I worried that boyfriends wouldn't want to meet my dad b/c he was gay. So far none of that has happened & I think that even a few friends have become a wee bit more open minded now that they actually know someone who is gay & realize he's just a normal person.

BUT I must take this time to thank the Toste family (esp Mom & Dad T) for "taking care" of me & Patty. The summer after we found out my dad was gay, my parents decided to get a divorce & move houses. Understandably Patty & I did not want to be around for the division of property etc, so we hid in Rhode Island for the summer. Thanks to you both Patty & I were able to make it through the rough bumps of the divorce & we will never forget you for that!

Okay, so what got me in a twiddle was reading Pete's blog (not mad at Pete, he was just posting something he read) that gave this reason for why gays should not marry: “Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like.”

And so I ask you, am I F***ed up because my dad is gay?

I THINK NOT!!!! If anything I think my family is more open than most in NY State or in America for that matter. Okay, done with my rant . . . I've got just about 1000 words written for my thesis, have a good afternoon/evening, Tarra xxoo

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At 10 July, 2006 23:42, Anonymous RI Mom & Dad said...

You brought me to tears, we love you both so much and would do anything for you, you will forever be my in-law-daughter. RI Mom

At 11 July, 2006 01:53, Blogger Will Powers said...

What a p-o-s-t! Hey missed you...
my girlfriends name is Sara too.

I dont get on with my Joan (my mother)...long story

At 11 July, 2006 15:25, Blogger PCS said...

Don't you really hate legal sized paper? It doesn't fit in a binder. But what is with that 'British' sized paper. That is just wrong.

At 12 July, 2006 00:54, Blogger Sara said...

the paper here is crap, A4 what is that all about?!?!?!? not legal but yet no 8.5x11!!

At 12 July, 2006 18:31, Blogger Shannon said...

This was an excellent post Sara!
Your Dad is a wonderfully, fabulous, amazing person and I think my life is better for having met him! He's one of my all time favorite Dads! Eric and I have children who are very used to all sorts of marriages and his boys in particular are equally at ease among homosexuals and heterosexuals. I don't agree with that quote all. Would it be better for a child to be brought up in a marriage between a man and a woman who don't truly love each other as opposed to being with two parents who have found the person they belong with?
I don't agree with divorce, it sucks. Big time. But I did it. We can't control other people and the choices they make, but we can choose to make the life that is right for us and our children. I know some gays who would make FAR better parents than most heteros I know. Why are some people so threatened by two people of the same sex loving each other? Quite honestly, being tolerant and open-minded is one of the things that will really get you farther in life, it certainly makes you less stressed out and more at peace.
And for the record, I'm Catholic (although I do enjoy studying Buddhism and practicing some aspects of that as well) and have two parents who have the most loving relationship and have been married for 32+ years. But we didn't all find our ideal partner the first time around...and wow, am I glad that I didn't settle! We have lots of gay friends, our children are exposed to them in equal measure and we love them too!
Oh yeah...and we love YOU!
By the way I told B and A about you possibly staying there and they didn't think it was a good idea! ;)

At 12 July, 2006 21:47, Anonymous Lindsey (Zee) said...

Wow, what a great post, Sara! I've been meaning to drop by and comment to let you know how much I appreciate your visiting my blog and leaving such kind comments! I don't know your dad, but if he's anything like your mom I'm sure he's a fantastic guy. And, as others have said, sexuality does not determine ability to parent or what kind of person you are. I know and/or have heard of plenty of heterosexual people who are just rotten all the way around. I don't understand why homosexuality is such a big deal to some people - I mean, seriously, who the hell cares how other people live their lives?

Anyway, I could go on and on but you made the point better than I can! Nice post.

At 13 July, 2006 01:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, i commented privately but I feel I must say that I'm proud for all you say about our situation and about homophobia and all the rest. For sure, there are straight people who shouldn't have children or dogs! It just has nothing to do with our sexual preference--that is, being good, honest people in realtionships and parents as well. I love you and support you. You're the greatest ever! Hugs and all my love, Mom


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