HOW long? / ¿CUÁNTO tiempo?

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

IT HAS BEEN 39 YEARS since San Geraldo and I first set eyes on each other on a Sunday afternoon at “tea dance” at a bar called Chaps Boston. The bar was on the ground floor of a building on Copley Square around the corner from Boston Public Library. There’s now a new building in its place, but we’re still together. SG was “the hunk by the pinball machine” as my friend said that afternoon. It was good product placement; the glowing lights of the pinball machine made it look like he was surrounded in an aura. I wish I had a photo of that.

We count that day as our anniversary because we didn’t have anything else to count from at the time, our relationship not being considered legitimate or of value by many people and, especially, not by the government.

I suppose we could have set our anniversary as the day seven months later when I gave up my apartment and moved all my things into his. It was a tight fit, the furnishings of two one-bedroom apartments squeezed into one. We didn’t keep both beds; mine was bigger — and we had broken his. (Those were the days.)

We finally did legally marry in October 2010, because we were applying for Spanish residency at the time and we realized, after 29 years together, that we had no legal proof of our relationship. Spain had recognised same-sex marriage more than five years earlier, but the United States still had not. At the time, six states permitted same-sex marriage and, although a marriage in one of those states would not be recognised in the remaining states, we knew Spain would recognise ours. So, we flew to Iowa, because it was close to SG’s sister Linda in South Dakota. Linda and Tom could be our witnesses.

Our two nephews and their wives were hurt; they thought we didn’t want them at our wedding. We said it wasn’t a big deal; all we wanted was the piece of paper. But, they joined us as we were made legal one evening in a park on the Missouri River in Sioux City, Iowa. We’re so grateful they were there. Like I said, all we wanted was the piece of paper, but I cried anyway.

The truth is, we have been together almost every day and night from that first day in August 1981, so that’s the date we use. Our love was made legal in 2010; it has been legitimate since 1981. Our plan is to celebrate at Mesón Salvador tonight. But, just waking up next to San Geraldo this morning was enough for me.

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HAN PASADO 39 AÑOS DESDE que San Geraldo y yo nos vimos por primera vez un domingo por la tarde en un bar llamado Chaps Boston. El bar estaba en la planta baja de un edificio en Copley Square, a la vuelta de la esquina de la Biblioteca Pública de Boston. Ahora hay un nuevo edificio en su lugar, pero todavía estamos juntos. SG era “el hunk [como galán sexy] de la máquina de pinball”, como dijo mi amigo esa tarde. Fue una buena ‘colocación del producto’; las luces brillantes de la máquina de pinball hacían que pareciera que estaba rodeado de un aura. Ojalá tuviera una foto de eso.

Contamos ese día como nuestro aniversario porque no teníamos nada más con qué contar en ese momento, nuestra relación no era considerada legítima o valiosa por muchas personas y, especialmente, no por el gobierno.

Supongo que podríamos haber fijado nuestro aniversario como el día siete meses después, cuando renuncié a mi apartamento y mudé todas mis cosas al suyo. Era un ajuste perfecto, los muebles de dos pisos apretados en uno. No mantuvimos ambas camas; el mío era más grande y habíamos roto el suyo. (Esos eran los días).

Finalmente nos casamos legalmente en octubre de 2010, porque estábamos solicitando la residencia en español en ese momento y nos dimos cuenta, después de 29 años juntos, que no teníamos pruebas legales de nuestra relación. España había reconocido el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo más de cinco años antes, pero Estados Unidos aún no lo había hecho. En ese momento, seis estados permitían el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo y, aunque un matrimonio en uno de esos estados no sería reconocido en los estados restantes, sabíamos que España reconocería el nuestro. Entonces, volamos a Iowa, porque estaba cerca de la hermana de SG, Linda, en Dakota del Sur. Linda y Tom podrían ser nuestros testigos.

Nuestros dos sobrinos y sus esposas resultaron heridos; pensaron que no los queríamos en nuestra boda. Le explicamos que no fue gran cosa; todo lo que queríamos era la hoja de papel. Pero, se unieron a nosotros cuando fuimos legalizados una noche en un parque en el Río Missouri en Sioux City, Iowa. Estamos muy agradecidos de que estuvieran allí. Como dije, todo lo que queríamos era el papel, pero lloré de todos modos.

La verdad es que hemos estado juntos casi todos los días y noches desde ese primer día de agosto de 1981, así que esa es la fecha que usamos. Nuestro amor se legalizó en 2010; es legítimo desde 1981. Nuestro plan es celebrar esta noche en Mesón Salvador. Pero despertarme al lado de San Geraldo esta mañana fue suficiente para mí.

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Seattle. May 1982.
Our earliest photo together.

Seattle. Mayo de 1982.
La primera foto de nosotros juntos.

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Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

49 thoughts on “HOW long? / ¿CUÁNTO tiempo?”

  1. Awww! Have a wonderful day! I showed Luke the picture. He had no idea who you were. Finally he got it right after several hints. ‘One doesn’t have hair anymore;)’ and I asked him what he thought about your mustaches. He said, ‘Yea, they look like good mans’.

  2. Happy Happy Happy!

    I didn’t know you got married Iowa because, well, equality.

    Lastly, thanks for The Chicks …I adore them.
    And you and SG!

    1. Bob:
      Iowa didn’t require a popular vote. Three enlightened judges made it legal. The next year they all got voted out. At the time, we were told that, since state marriages were only recognised in the states in which they originated, if we wanted to later divorce we would first have to live in Iowa for a year. SG told me, “You’d better be sure about this!”

      I so love the Chicks, too! So much talent, intellect, enlightenment. Truly great human beings. The first time I heard this song I immediately thought of SG. The first line immediately grabbed me. Anyway, thank YOU and Carlos for being out there! You make my life and the world better.

  3. well, dammit, I just HAD to go back and revise my blog post for yesterday to include your anniversary! sorry about that, dears.

    “mine was bigger — and we had broken his. (Those were the days.)” – heh heh heh. it was meant to be. good thing you were talking about a bed and NOT something else. should we insert barbra streisand’s “the way we were” here?

    many many many more happy anniversaries to you and jerry! 🙂

    1. anne marie:
      Oh, you’re a sweetheart. Thank you. I’ll go back and read it again just to see that. Mine is still bigger and thankfully we haven’t broken either one.

    1. Debra:
      Thanks so much. Can’t believe it’s been so many years. We were impressed when we made it to ONE!

  4. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! no matter when you set the date. MANY MORE YEARS OF LOVE, FRIENDSHIP AND ADVENTURE.
    You reminded me of my favorite “gay” “Wedding Song” by Ten Percent Review (Weinberg/Wilson)
    From before we were allowed to marry legally. It is nostalgic, and both sad and joyful. I’d like to share it, but it is impossible to find the song on the internet, so here are the lyrics…:

    We had no wedding, no ceremony
    No matrimony
    We’re just we
    No invitations, no rice, no flowers
    No bridal showers, we’re “we”
    ….
    No rented chapel
    No ushers or brides maids
    No movies or slides made
    We’re just “we”

    No Mendelssohn marches
    No long-stemmed roses
    No family poses
    We’re “we”

    Our marriage began with a whole lot of lovin’
    But no one gave us a toaster oven!
    Back when we fell in love, we hid it
    We mark our anniversary
    from the night we first did it!

    No silver service, No hostess or hosting
    No bright clever toasting
    No wedding cake cutting, No spun sugar topping
    No champagne corks popping

    We’re “we”
    Just him [her] and me
    We’re “we”

  5. Happy 39th anniversary! Love the photo and the story about your meeting. I can imagine SG standing by the pinball machine! It really was a different world in 1981, wasn’t it? Did you ever imagine you two could be married someday? I know I never thought I’d see same-sex marriage.

    1. Steve:
      It never even crossed our minds to consider being legally married some day. And, when we were younger, we didn’t appreciate the importance on so many levels. But every time we’d visit family in South Dakota we’d be aware that if either one of us ended up in hospital, the other would not be permitted to see him.

      The pinball machines (three of them) stood on a raised platform above the dance floor and open space. SG knew what he was doing.

  6. Happy Anniversary. You two deserve every happiness. I love the moustaches–kind of Freddy Mercury-ish.

    1. Wilma:
      Even after all this time, I can look over at him at moments and my heart fills up. Thanks.

  7. When I first started reading your blog, I went through lots of your archived posts, and I remember commenting on one that was about. your legal marriage… maybe it was an anniversary, I don’t remember. I had just gotten married after 25 years of living together… though we had always legally been able to marry, we hadn’t, and I was surprised at how sweet having the wedding felt, and being able to call my man my husband. Whichever anniversary you celebrate, it’s a wonderful thing, having a loving partner to wake up next to every day. (Also, 1981-82 was a big year in my life, too, as it’s when I went to live/study/work in Paris for that school year! So, it’s when I met Walt…the 4th… and Ken! )

    1. Judy:
      Yes, that post was about our wedding. Although we got married in October 2010 (right around when i started my blog), I finally wrote about it 28 December that year. Amazing that you have been friends with Ken and Walt for as long as we’ve been together. And it always amazing me how often our paths crossed with theirs over the years.

  8. Happy anniversary. I’ve been reading you for several years now, but was never sure if you two were married or not. Now I know.

    1. Kirk:
      Yep. And here in Spain we get no funny looks or moments of hesitation when we refer to each other as husbands. It’s a pleasure.

    1. mcpersonalspace54:
      Thank you! I’ve shared the story in greater detail before. I’m probably do to share it again along with the Spanish version (I wrote it when my blog was only in English).

  9. Happy, Happy Anniversary to you both! I feel really lucky to have found you fellas on this wide web. Your stories and pictures always give me life! 39 years. My goodness.

  10. A most joyous anniversary to you both! K and I count our anniversary from the day we signed our first lease together. We’ve had 37 of them. Then we traveled to upstate New York in 2012 to get married when it became legal throughout the USA. It was a very small event because, like you, we just wanted the paper. France recognizes our marriage, of course.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I remember when you got legally married. If we counted when we moved in together, we’d have 7 more months until 39. Do you even remember (without having to think about it) the date of the “legal” event? The only reason I remember ours is because it’s the date we moved from Long Island to Brooklyn when i was a 10.

  11. Congratulations on 39 years together! I know exactly where I was 39 years ago and being married to a man was the last thing on my mind back then as I buried myself ever more deeply in the closet (and married to a woman). Ah! how times have changed since then. I came out in 2006 and met my (now) husband 7 months later. We celebrate three anniversaries – the anniversary of when we decided that we were a couple (07/07/07), our commitment ceremony (11/11/11), and our legal wedding in New Zealand (because our home country Australia did not have marriage equality at the time) on Valentine’s Day, 2014. Our marriage has been recognised in Australia since Dec 2017. I hope you and SG have (or have had) a wonderful anniversary – but don’t break any more beds – not a good idea at our age.

    1. David:
      I wish we had the opportunity to break a bed now! I love your memorable dates! If we could have, we would have waited until 16 August to be legally married, but we had to do it quickly for our visa applications. I know I was in love 39 years ago but the idea of being together AND legally married 39 years later never crossed my mind. Congratulations to you both!

  12. Our similar experiences (maybe a lot of same-sex couple have these) but Jim and I have been together ever since that first chance meeting too. When you got it right why would we jinx it, eh! Best to you both.

    1. Ron:
      I think you’re right that it’s not an unusual way for gay couples to start relationships (and to start counting their days together). Sticking it out is the best part.

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