Uncle RJ Remembers He Has a Column/Blog Here!
Dearest Readers...About three years ago, when Bonnie was looking for a blogger, she was steered in my direction by my fabulous friend (H.L. from Westfield). The theme was generally supposed to be a blog on living on in the LGBT community once the hair starts to get grey and you're closr to your sundown than your sunrise. [undertakers love it when you include such words and ideas for your own obituary.] Because I have only a vague memory of the name of the blog, my nephew, the notorioius Cousin Butchie, has agreed to log me on during his annual visit, He lives 3.9 miles away and I am grateful he makes this journey each year., I should point out that Butchie is my brother's reward for not going to CVS or Walgreen's or Rite Aid or Wald's when he was out of prophylactics. Today they are called by many names from rubbers to scum bags to protection. In my early years, the big attraction was carrying a Trojan or Shiek in your wallet so everyone could see it...kind of next to your driver's license. Today, I am told that a Magnum is mandatory for one's ego. (You'll either understand that or it will fly over your heads.)
For those who understandably don't know, I am Uncle RJ living in an independent senior citizen's high rise....where I am one of the few younger tenants. My apartment in this building (WELL KNOWN BY THE COMMUNITY AS GOD'S WAITING ROOM) resembles my college dorm room. I know where everything is, and I am able to entertain guests and other horny men for attention to our carnal needs. I will be the first to admit that I was fortunate to find this dwelling place so soon after both my parents passed on.
For about three years, I was vice-president of the tenants' association, so most people know me-- even if they don't know about me.
Uncle RJ here has learned that the coming out process never really ends. I have never done anything to overtly tip them off, but one man, who is apparently a true closet case (evidenced by his voice, his temperment and his general demeanor) allowed me to run errands for him-- the payoff for helping him was that he started accusing me of various nonsensical actions. He swears that I was making late night obscene phone calls AND that I had paid the security guard to let me in his apartment where I was sexually stimulated rubbing his back. Never happened. He has called me a "homosexual" and shared this with many other tenants. The honestly wonderful payoff has been my discovery that most other tenants don't care about my orientation. Some have talked to me personally about their grandchildren and family members who are in the closet and need someone to speak with. Never forget that even when we come out of that closet, some relatives and friends go into it. Fittingly enough, they also ask how hey can make their relative feel more welcome and more loved. Since this is a way of "paying it forward" I am very pleased each time it happens. Not bragging, but I am also the one person helpline for calls coming in forP-FLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) of North Jersey. Just as many scared or confused LGBT people call as do their parents.
Other ways of helping other tenants is shopping for them and helping them with minor problems, such as:
- One lady was very upset because she had run out of her blue pills, She couldn't recall why she was taking them, didn't know which of her many doctors prescribed them and had thrown away the prescription vial because it was empty of course. The patient pharmacist did a search for what med(s) were due and their colors. It was pointed out that most drugs are prescribed and filled with general meds. Often, the pharmacy changes the manufacturer of the generic....and describing a generic by color is very risky. BEING ME, WHEN SHE MENTIONED THE BLUE PILLS, I THOUGHT OF VIAGRA!
An aside here about blue pills. When my father asked his doctor for Viagra, my mom found the prescription vial among all the others on the kitchen counter. Mom was pretty sharp and she grabbed the Advil and noticed the blue color and similar shape. She flushed the Viagra down the toilet and replaced them with the Advil. I recall that she was very proud of her ingenuity and said "Let him drop dead trying."
- Another woman has made passes and extremely sexual double entendre remarks. She became a widow less than two years ago, and I like her very much as a person. She has told me what other tenants have said to her about me. What she's trying to do, I believe, is work the "cure" and have me canoodle with her. I've met her son when he showed up to check on her, and I must have acted like a total jackass. I became tongue-tied and I'm didn't see that he was wearing a wedding ring. I was with him and several other people in the elevator and I softly mouthed "woof, woof" at the very hot son. So....he goes in my memory bank right between Matt Damon and Brendan Frasier.....sigh.
- As a Roman Catholic who is a member of a good number of radically progressive organizations, I did not register as a member of the Catholic parish which is a short walk up the street. I continue to attend my parish (chosen from among several about six years ago) where I have found a fantastic pastor and a welcoming community. That's St. Bart's in Scotch Plains...not the other parish. I also have the luxury of sampling parishes in the area. St. Charles Borromeo, St. Matthias, even St. Joseph's in Raritan. and St. Helen's in Westfield (the music of the kids at 6:30 pm on SUNDAYS is awesome. Never, to my knowledge, did they preach against same sex marriage or stuff their parish bulletins with one-sided propaganda.
- Not out of rebellion, but appreciation for the efforts of a core of people, I also try to get to a group specifically for LGBT people and their parents and friends. It's called I.G.I. (IN GOD'S IMAGE) and meets during the year on the second Wednesday of the month (7:30 pm) at Sacred Heart Church in South Plainfield. They will resume again in September. The meeting centers on bible study, sharing, and motivation to have some impact on this parish as a LGBT focused group. The good word does travel to other parishes, some of which put our announcements in their bulletins.
The core group of people who make this I.G.I. group so successful includes: Father John P. Alvarado: Sister Kathleen Rooney, SSJ: Bruce Z. who was the person who made heroic efforts bringing the group into being; David & Mark who give considerable time, energy and love to the group. And the parents who often see this as their Catholic version of P-FLAG.... Porter, Betty, Nora and Manny. My mom was in this category. When she passed on, through a combination of issues, it was Fr. Alvarado and Sister Kathleen who presided at her wake service and burial. I can only imagine how much my liberated mom rejoiced when she realized that a woman was conducting her final celebration of life. ( And yours truly who never fails to devour a cookie or six, feeding the body as well as the soul.
- Truth be told, Uncle RJ here doesan't enjoy, or even like, Bingo. However, I have been called upon to oversee this Friday evening ritual. From the very start I was going to do it on a temporary basis. Three years later, it's not so temporary anymore. There are residents at Bingo who don't usually leave there apartments for any other reasons...except to keep their many doctor visits,join their caravan to Shop-Rite, throw trash down the incinerator shoot, or come to any sponsored event which includes free food.
My purpose in sharing this (perhaps in too much detail) is the fact that my younger LGBT readers (aka "friends") will realize that they may need to face more coming out moments. They will not be as profound as it may have been telling their parents and families, but they will exist when and where they least expect it. BETTER TO BE PREPARED THAN TAKEN BY SURPRISE.
As with communication for my nephew, Cousin Butchie....you may ask questions or berate me online of go directly to KippyNJ@aol.com.