So nice / Tan agradable

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

It was so nice yesterday to get a shot of the view from beach level. I walked only about .75 km before the heat and humidity knocked me out. I’m aiming for a bigger walk this afternoon. I don’t care what it does to me.

My opening words, “so nice,” reminded me of my maternal grandmother. Although San Geraldo and I had been together a couple of years, had already moved together from Boston to Los Angeles to Washington D.C., he had already met a few of my cousins, and my extended family were city people who knew all about gay people, my mother wasn’t ready to be “out” herself. So when my grandfather died in 1983, she didn’t tell me until after the funeral. I was appalled. She said she didn’t want me to make the trip (a short trip from D.C. to NYC). I knew she was afraid SG would come with me.

A year later, my mother phoned, “Mama won’t be around much longer. I want you and Jerry to come up for a visit so he can meet her before she dies.” We did. My grandmother of course adored him although she didn’t realize we were a couple. When we said good-bye, she said to SG, “You’re such a handsome, successful man! You should be married by now. You, too.” My mother said, “Ma, they don’t need to get married.” My grandmother added, “Sure, you’re having a good time now, but when you’re old and have no children to take care of you, you’ll be sorry.”

That evening, my father and I went to visit my Uncle Harry (my mother’s sister Sylvia’s husband) while San Geraldo met a friend for dinner. Uncle Harry had had a mild heart attack and was home. Sylvie and Harry had two seriously developmentally disabled sons. The younger son lived at home until his father died in the early ’90s and now lives in a group home in Brooklyn run by an Orthodox Jewish organization, and the other, who was institutionalized at around the age of 11, now lives in a wonderful care home in upstate New York run by nuns. I figure, if there is a god, we’ve got things covered. San Geraldo and I are his advocates. So much for my grandmother’s rule of having children to take care of you in your old age.

But back to the story. When we arrived at the apartment, Sylvie buzzed us up and was waiting at the door. She craned her neck around us both and asked excitedly, “Where is he?” “Who?” my father and I asked. “Your friend?” She then explained, “Mama phoned me this afternoon. She said, ‘I had two wonderful surprises today. Meetchell came to visit. And he brought his friend. And he was SO nice.’”

The door to the extended family had been opened and, surprisingly, all but a few of my 50+ aunts, uncles, and cousins welcomed SG with open arms. My father died 3 years later, in 1987, and we heard my mother tell a nurse that SG was her son-in-law.

Fue muy agradable ayer poder tomar una foto de la vista desde el nivel de la playa. Caminé solo unos 0,75 km antes de que el calor y la humedad me dejaran inconsciente. Estoy apuntando a una caminata más grande esta tarde. No me importa lo que me haga.

Mis primeras palabras, “tan agradables”, me recordaron a mi abuela materna. Aunque San Geraldo y yo habíamos estado juntos unos años, ya nos habíamos mudado juntos de Boston a Los Ángeles a Washington D.C., él ya había conocido a algunos de mis primos, y mi familia extendida eran personas de la ciudad que sabían todo sobre las personas homosexuales, mi madre no estaba lista para estar “fuera” ella misma. Entonces, cuando mi abuelo murió en 1983, no me lo dijo hasta después del funeral. Estaba horrorizado. Dijo que no quería que yo hiciera el viaje (un viaje corto de D.C. a NYC). Yo sabía que tenía miedo de que SG viniera conmigo.

Un año después, mi madre llamó por teléfono: “Mamá no estará mucho tiempo más. Quiero que tú y Jerry vengáis a visitarla para que pueda conocerla antes de que muera. Lo hicimos. Mi abuela, por supuesto, lo adoraba a SG, aunque no se dio cuenta de que éramos pareja. Cuando nos despedimos, ella le dijo a SG: “¡Eres un hombre tan guapo y exitoso! Ya deberías estar casado. Y tú también.” Mi madre dijo: “Mamá, no necesitan casarse”. Mi abuela agregó: “Claro, ahora te lo estás pasando bien, pero cuando seas mayor y no tengas hijos que te cuiden, te arrepentirás”.

Esa noche, mi padre y yo fuimos a visitar a mi tío Harry (el marido de Sylvia, una hermana de mi madre) mientras San Geraldo se reunía con un amigo para cenar. El tío Harry había tenido un leve ataque al corazón y estaba en casa. Sylvie y Harry tenían dos hijos gravemente discapacitados del desarrollo. El hijo menor vivió en casa hasta que su padre murió a principios de los 90 y ahora vive en un hogar grupal en Brooklyn administrado por una organización judía ortodoxa, y el otro, que fue institucionalizado alrededor de los 11 años, ahora vive en un cuidado maravilloso, hogar en el norte del estado de Nueva York dirigido por monjas. Me imagino, si hay un dios, tenemos las cosas cubiertas. San Geraldo y yo somos tutores del primo que vive con las monjas. Hasta aquí la regla de mi abuela de tener hijos que te cuiden en tu vejez.

Pero volviendo a la historia. Cuando llegamos al apartamento, Sylvie nos llamó y estaba esperando en la puerta. Estiró su cuello alrededor de los dos y preguntó emocionada: “¿Dónde está él?” “¿Quién?” mi padre y yo preguntamos. “¿Tu amigo?” Luego explicó: “Mamá me llamó esta tarde. Ella dijo: ‘Tuve dos maravillosas sorpresas hoy. Meetchell vino de visita. Y trajo a su amigo. Y fue TAN agradable’”.

La puerta a la familia extendida se había abierto y, sorprendentemente, todos menos algunos de mis más de 50 tías, tíos y primos recibieron a SG con los brazos abiertos. Mi padre murió 3 años después, en 1987, y escuchamos a mi madre decirle a una enfermera que SG era su yerno.

• My mother is to the right of my grandparents in the back row. Aunt Sylvie is in front of and to the right of my mother. Uncle Harry is far right holding one son, while the other sits at his feet. Early 1950s (before I was born) at Belmont Lake State Park, West Babylon, New York.
• Mi madre está a la derecha de mis abuelos en la última fila. La tía Sylvie está enfrente y a la derecha de mi madre. El tío Harry está en el extremo derecho sosteniendo a un hijo, mientras que el otro se sienta a sus pies. Principios de la década de 1950 (antes de que yo naciera) en Belmont Lake State Park (parque del Lago del Belmont), West Babylon, Nueva York.

Click the thumbnails to enlarge.
Haz clic en las miniaturas para ampliar.

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..

37 thoughts on “So nice / Tan agradable”

  1. I enjoyed reading about how your mother finally accepted SG into the family. It reminded me of my own mother. It has been hot here as well in central Virginia, but I don’t think the humidity has been quite as high. And yes, thank the heavens for air conditioning!

    1. mcpersonalspace54:
      My mother said some hurtful things years later, which surprised me, but she mostly came around. We would be miserable without AC this year.

  2. My mother called Carlos her son-in-law the day we moved in together.
    My father still sometimes refers to Carlos as my partner and gets a little twitchy if I say husband. Old school, I guess.
    My nieces have always called Carlos uncle, and all of them called the day we got married and said they were happy he was now officially their uncle.

    1. Bob:
      My mother still had her moments (not good ones) years later, but I do have to give her credit for growing and learning. Sadly, with a few extended family, it was always Uncle Jerry and Mitchell. They had no idea how much that hurt. The nieces and nephews rose above it and started calling me Uncle Mitchell anyway.

    1. Debra:
      Absolutely. The few that missed, missed big time. But they were in the minority so it was easy to write them off.

  3. In my unbiased opinion, nobody in their right mind would dislike or disapprove of SG! It would be like hitting a gigantic puppy! You, on the other hand, Scoot… Heh
    I always love your family stories and pictures. Don’t you have an anniversary coming up?

    1. Deedles:
      Thanks for reminding me about the anniversary! 42 years Wednesday. Hard to believe.

      1. I have you on my e-card list, I just wasn’t sure that I had the right date. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief. I wrote it up on Monday so expect it Wednesday sometime. I’m not sure how the sending times work in different zones. We had our anniversary on the second. Forty-eight semi-blissful years. We were zygotes!

      2. Deedles:
        Card received and passed on to SG! Thanks. It was here when I woke up this morning. Time zones don’t matter to ecards. Happy anniversary to you and Balder Half!

  4. I enjoyed reading this. Family (extended or otherwise) can be so “hit or miss”. I’m glad for both of you that the majority of yours was loving and welcoming.

    1. Kelly:
      For all my complaints about my extended family, when it came to my coming out and to SG, they were mostly exceptional.

  5. Good grief! I can’t get past the fact that your family is that big. You could probably meet my whole family in one afternoon.

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      When the aunts and uncle were alive (there’s one aunt remaining), you could have met them all in one afternoon, too. They all spoke at the same time and didn’t waste a minute. Actually, SG DID meet almost all of them at the same time: a holiday party in 1986 at my aunt’s house. I think he had a nervous breakdown.

  6. Having children to take care of you in your old age is such a fallacy. I’ve never had that kind of family, though I’m sure some do exist, but looking at what’s happening with some of my neighbors, where their children are the bane of their existence … embarrassing, abusive physically and financially, not being looked after/not having family support appears to be the norm.

    1. Shirley:
      Given my family history with disabilities, I always argued about that. My parents had children (me) to take care of their other children (my brother)!

  7. What a large family. We knew I was being accepted, when’s Jay’s mother wanted me to take sides with her in an argument with one of her son’s. In many ways I was the daughter in law she always wanted.

    1. David:
      My parents idolized SG. And my mother admitted that a daughter-in-law wouldn’t have been so pleasant.

  8. Loved seeing that pic of your mom. She had the same face, even the last time I saw her when you were in NY.

    My mom never told the family that Todd and I lived together for three years before we got married.

  9. I haven’t had any negative feedback, ever. Is that good or bad! Don’t know, all I know is that the death of my Dad set the playing field heavy for my Mom’s and my brother’s and I’s protection. We had so many relatives stepping up whenever we needed them. As the years went on, my brother’s stoic and reserved manner surfaced so much that he had to move out on his own leaving Mom and I to take care of my GM. Many convoluted results from this choice of my bro’s. ~ Jim and I still to this day discus my brother’s selfishness. Very difficult for me and him!

    1. Ron:
      The pressures in your family are hard for me to imagine, and then the added pressure of your brother taking off.

  10. What a lovely story! I think almost all the family I know have a skeleton or two tucked away in a closet.In some cases the closets had revolving doors!

    1. dinahmow:
      Oh, I know some stories about some of my relatives. Maybe that’s why they were so good to us. (Not really. I think everyone knows the stories.)

  11. I’m with Maddie – our family (at least the closest ones) has nothing on yours!

    So fab to see the beach looking so, well, Costa del Sol, really… [It’s still mainly grey and drizzly here.] Jx

    1. Jon:
      We’ve been started off with hazy sunshine which burns off. I just wish it weren’t quite so hot and humid.

  12. Beautiful shot of the beach. What struck me first is how people flock to the places where the sun beats down relentlessly, then plant a forest of umbrellas to block it out.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I suppose that’s better than the ones I used to see in Coney Island sitting in complete sun, slathered in baby oil, and holding aluminum foil sun reflectors to their faces to power tan (burn).

    1. Kirk:
      It was a long time ago. We were very lucky with both our families. There were some jerks, but mostly welcoming and kind — especially the ones that counted.

  13. I love the photo! Accepting a gay child is hard enough for some parents, and then to accept the child’s partner requires another step forward. It’s all a process, as you know! Glad your family got there for the most part!

    1. Steve:
      SG comes from a famous Yankee blue-blood family. My family were very impressed by things like that. So, it made the whole thing much easier. Anyway, the people that mattered were warm, kind, and welcoming.

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