Mar 282012
 

I encouraged a senior to write a letter to “us” – he would like to get to know people for conversation and friendship. Please write to me so I can get you in touch with each other.

I grew up in the worst of times. It was just after the depression and at the beginning of World War II. Not only was my family poor, but the war brought on many hardships. There were times we did not have much food, and our house was very cold. I remember sharing one egg with my mother. It was all the food we had. The only way I could keep warm was to snuggle under a blanket with my dog. I think he liked it too.

My mother went to work in a factory to help the war, and I was placed in a day care home managed by a German family.

My father enlisted in the war, and was gone for the duration of the war. My mother struggled to keep our house, and rented it for some income, while we moved to grandmas and slept in her back room (formerly a wood shed) which had no heat. The cold was brutal. I went to grade school and was always afraid of our city being attacked. We had air raid drills in school and we were instructed to get under our desks. That always frightened me.

Father returned from war as “damaged goods” He became mean and abusive. He ridiculed me for not having an interest in sports, and called me queer! I had no brother or sisters and our home was so secluded I had very few friends. There was no TV at that time, only radio. There was a big radio in our living room, but when I went to my room, there was nothing. I longed to have a radio, and finally at the age of 14, I found a working radio at a thrift shop for the sum of $2.00. It was a very large table radio, one of the first, but it worked. It had a separate speaker that sat on top of it.

It took me two bus trips to bring it home. It was very heavy and i had to stop several times and rest when I carried it down our street from the bus stop. The radio was my pride and joy. One day, I did something that my father did not like, and he deliberately broke the radio! I was heart-broken. I missed my programs like the Lone Ranger, Mystery programs and musicals. Eventually I got a book at the library and built a crystal set.

It did not need electricity, and brought in one station. I was able to hide it on the bottom of my bed without father finding it. The bed springs acted as an antenna. I had part of an ear phone under my pillowcase and I could listen to a few programs as I drifted off to sleep each night.

Many times I would be awakened in the night by my parents quarreling and having physical fights. This included screaming and breaking of glass. That scared me and I felt very insecure.

The abuse continued into high school, and I was very frightened of my father. All the family was so frightened of him they refused to defend me from the abuse. Eventually I could not stand it any more, and moved out of the house. I moved in with a kind neighbor lady, who understood the situation and made me feel loved and welcome. My life improved a bit. In high school, I realized that I was gay. It was a very difficult era at that time and I did my best to hide my gayness. I had a lesbian girl friend and we covered for each other, playing the parts of “boy and girl”. The ploy worked, and we each went our separate ways, with the exception of family gatherings, where we put on a good show.

About that time I had my first love affair. I really did not know what it involved but for the first time in my life I had someone who loved me and felt better.

After awhile I learned that my first love was not very sincere, and had others on the side. About the same time a high school teacher seduced me and I actually enjoyed it. We developed a relationship that lasted about a year. By the end of the year, I believe he was getting frightened of being discovered. He began making excuses not to meet me after school. About the same time, I met a German immigrant. After dating for a few months we fell in love. The relationship lasted about 7 years. I was very young and still in high school, He was six years older than me, and things went well for a while. I longed to have an apartment and live with him, but his family was very dependent and I did not realize the importance of it. Often he would cancel our plans, to accommodate his family. Eventually I had enough of that and moved on. I went on vacation by myself and met a very nice Belgian man. Within a year we had fallen in love. Unfortunately I had a job in the city of Rochester, and he had a job in New York City. Neither of us could leave our jobs and our relationship dissolved sweetly. We remained friends the rest of his life. He died in 2002.

I was single for several years, trying my best to socialize and meet someone. Finally at a country auction, I met a farmer from a small rural town outside of Rochester. We discovered we shared similar interests, Within a year we decided to make a home for ourselves. My grandparents had recently died and left me a small summer cottage on a lake near Ithaca, NY.

We decided to make it our home. Everyone said it would be impossible to live in the old summer cottage without central heat, or plumbing. With no other choice, we settled at the lake house and gradually made improvements ourselves. We insulated, added wiring, plumbing, new floors, and even put on a new roof, doing the work ourselves. We were extremely happy together, and I always told him “every day is a Holiday with you”

Our happy life continued 38 years. The last year, he began having pain in his hip. He decided to have hip replacement surgery. I was not happy about that, but I loved him so much I did not wish to shatter his dreams, and said nothing about it. He entered the hospital on July 26th and had the surgery on July 28th. At 1 AM July 29th, I received a call from the hospital telling me his heart had stopped beating but they were able to resuscitate him. I rushed to the hospital and found him to be recovered and cheerful. I brought him some flowers and spent the afternoon with him. I returned to the hospital every day. On August 5th, 2010, He was in a very cheerful mood and we chatted until noon, and went to the hospital cafeteria for a sandwich. I returned to his room and we were talking about him coming home the following Friday. He was so happy about that. Suddenly his heart monitor sounded. He told me not to worry, it was frequently, having false alarms and he felt fine. Doctors and nurses came running and were giving him resuscitation. I held his hand and he told me how much he loved me, and died.

Since then, my life has been a very difficult struggle. He was my life we were together more than half our lives. I am lost. I have no family, and I have out-lived the majority of my friends. Essentially I have no one, other than a neighbor and a couple of friends who live in distant places. My home is very secluded, and now very lonely without my dear Billy. His beautiful flower gardens are slowly going to ruin. He never taught me anything about gardening. It was his hobby and I did better at electrical wiring and minor plumbing and doing things he was not good at. It was a perfect trade-off.

I write in hope of meeting someone in a similar situation.

Sincerely,

Lumberjak (he affectionately called me Lumberjak (misspelled purposely) because I cut and hauled so many trees for fire wood to heat our home.

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