Happy birthday to my shadow

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Yesterday would have been my little brother’s 61st birthday and he would have been delighted that the Oscars were on his birthday. To look at him, he was a big gay bear who seemed fairly conservative. He loved wearing suits and he looked great in a tux. When he was 2 and being potty trained mom put him in his first suit and he had an accident. He went to my mom and said “Dirty! Change me!” and never had an accident again. He hated getting dirty and messed up. Not like me who has a propensity for playing in mud and dirt and doesn’t mind a bit. I was really surprised when he took up gardening when he moved up north.

Growing up in Southern California and having been born in Hollywood like we were, makes you take some things for granted. I think we dress up more to go out. I know we did growing up. Now it would take an act of Congress to get me in a gown but in my teens, it was normal for us to do for choir concerts, when we were in the ‘Happening’ we dressed up every Sunday night at church, and once I came out it was tux fashions to go to Women’s Music concerts like Holly Near or Cris Williamson.

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Over time I got to hate dressing up except for Goddess events and even then I tended not to do long and flowy and drapey except when someone made it clear that was the dress code. I was more likely to show up in men’s Ren Faire garb. It looks cool and is way more comfortable than women’s clothes and is suitable pagany and dykey at the same time. My brother loved dressing up until the day he died. If he hadn’t been cremated he would have been laid to rest in a tux or his favourite suit, I’m sure.

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He loved Hollywood and all the trappings, me? Give me a mountain cabin and a pair of cargo shorts and a tshirt. He could be a very flamboyant gay man when he wanted and I’m afraid I can be the stereotypical Girl Scout camp dyke who hated pink and tolerates lavender. Mom got three queers out of three kids.

fb_img_1488218010454He would have loved the new miniseries on tonight “When we rise”. I’m not sure I want to relive that period in my life. Some of that period hurts too much. I still l miss all the guys I lost so much. How many times did we march in our Uppity Women Unite & Lady’s Sewing Circle and Terrorist  shirts? Now I feel like I need to dig them out again for the same reasons we marched the first. Getting yelled at by Fundies dressed in black along the parade routes. Not always good memories. Having to protect my brother and his friend at the Rose parade from idiots from Iowa out for the game. I do remember how funny it was to watch them run when a bunch of rugby playing dykes went after the little turds. How stupid do you have to be to walk up and yell Faggot! At two gay men who are surrounded by a bunch or short haired tall women who are all muscle. Darwin material. I spent a few years being on call clergy for the AIDS Service Center in Pasadena and it was right before the cocktail started to work and it broke my heart. I was almost relieved when the new staff member in charge came in and was anti pagan and I mysteriously wasn’t invited to meetings anymore. He was really passive aggressive and wouldn’t tell me to my face.

We grew up knowing when it was Oscar time. We couldn’t get haircuts easily in award season because the woman that still cuts my sister and my hair was busy. Or we would be rooting for Mr Urioste across the street if he was nominated for film editor. Or for a Disney film that family friends or the man up the street had worked on. The night Mr Urioste won you could hear yelling all over the neighborhood from people watching their tvs. Everyone watches because everyone knows someone. When we did musicals at school we got scenery courtesy of the dads who worked on sets. When our choir director wrote us a musical called Hooray for Hollywood all those lovely golden men came for a visit and were on stage and framing the entrance to the auditorium. Our choir teacher had worked his way through college acting in movie musicals and had been friends with my parents in the college dept at church. I got in a lot of trouble with him when I outed him to the rest of choir at school because I told them about being in “Meet Me in St Louis” he was the guy who spoke to her on the streetcar. Boy, did Mr Wilson yell at me.

We were raised on movie musicals and theater so living here was fun when you met people but heaven forbid you say something about it. You just didn’t and I still don’t. We went to school with actor’s kids as well as director’s kids etc. That’s just growing up here but every once in a while you still can get star struck. I know I did when Jimmy Stewart used to sit next to my grandparents in church. After my grandmother died, mom sent me down to ask my Grandpa if he was coming to lunch after church and I was in my choir robe, no less. I have one eye that can confuse people about who I’m looking at and Jimmy Stewart thought I was looking at him and asked if I was asking him and I blurted out NO! and took off running I was so embarrassed. Luckily, he was teasing me and he and my grandfather thought it was hysterical. Next time she sent Cam because there was no way I was going again.

The one thing that is irritating is there are more ads “for your Consideration” on films on all the local stations, billboards and on the radio than there are ads for regular elections.

Cam took me to my first Star Wars and I introduced him to the Harry Potter books. When he needed to find shoes once (He had huge feet) he asked me to go along and the minute we were in the car, he said he had a question for me and said his friends had decided I was gay and he told them I wasn’t but was I? and since my friends were insisting he was my answer was “What do you think?” He told me forget the shoes we were going somewhere else and he took ne to the grand opening of a “Different Light” bookstore when they were in Silverlake. We had a great time but we had to race home and run throught the Broadway at closing time so we wouldn’t be lying about looking for shoes.

But yesterday all I could think of was how much Cam would have enjoyed the show and not helped by the fact that midway through the show I was getting text from Cam’s friends about how he would have loved it.

Happy birthday Bugro Nelson, my shadow, my partner in crime. I still miss you and think of you every day.

 

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