Nine months later, they are pregnant and married. In that order. (Rumor has it the day after I was born, we went shopping. Remember this tidbit for later.) Oh well, it's better than graduating from High School, or is it? He joins the military (navy I think), she and her adorable baby boy live with her mother and father on the 9 acre family farm, 7 miles out of a small town in the middle of Oregon. (We actually lived in San Francisco for a while. I hear my first words were "Damn bug, Damn bug." You can guess why we didn't stay. The only memory I have of that place is a vague recollection of what the building we lived in looked like from the outside. It comes to me in dreams sometimes. I don't know why.)
So for the first, what 4 years, I only saw my dad on his breaks from the military. My friends were the two kids (of my moms best friend) who lived across the road at the a farm. One was a year younger than me the other was 2 years younger and shared my first name, Scott. (Actually we have the same middle name and last initial too.) I hang out with grandpa often, and mom built me a tree house in the back yard. One of them taught me to use a hammer and I spent a lot of time adding on to my little oasis in the backyard. Grandma and mom are into crafts of all sorts and get me interested in them too. I even seem to have a knack for it (as much as a 1 to 6 year old can anyway). Life is good most of the time. Cartoons on Saturday morning, Church every Sunday, just your normal only-child life. When ever dad comes home he and Mom seem to spend a lot of time arguing (I thought that was normal though ‘cause my moms friends across the road fought with her husband a lot too). I usually left them to it and went outside to go play. It's easy to get lost in your imagination when you have 9 acres to back it up.
Grandpa used to call me his "little Indian" ‘cause I was always tan and wearing nothing but shorts. (Back then I could get away with it cause I was so damn cute!) I ever only remember wearing shoes in public, and not liking them much.
Grandpa raised cows, chickens, ducks and we even had a pig and a sheep for a while. We had a garden, several horses, 5 dogs, a couple of cats. We grew our own hay and stored it in the two barns. The farm was bordered on two sides by the road, and one side by a river. There was even a covered bridge over the river out by the end of our driveway. Talk about Norman Rockwell.
I remember one morning getting up early and going down to the river with dad. He made me a fishing pole out of a branch and I even got a real hook and an fake pink fish egg for it. I never really liked fishing, especially since you had to kill the fish. My father and I never had any problem getting along as long as I did what he was interested in. He never tried it the other way around though. That's the whole theme of our relationship and the biggest problem with it.
1973 - I'm four and now so is our family
We moved into a three bed room mobile home in preparation for the arrival of my baby sister. We put it right were our little one-bed one-bath trailer used to be on the farm. My sister arrived. Boy she screams a lot. She can't keep it up forever though can she?
Dad is out of the military now.
September 1975, Age six. Started school, First grade.
It was then that I got labeled shy. (The first label of many to come.) Actually I was always told by my parents to be quiet (you know the old phrase "don't speak until spoken to"), and that my opinion was stupid and so I figured that meant it didn't matter, so I kept it to myself. It didn't help that I was the shortest kid in the school either. (My second label and it's only the first day of school. Not a good start.)
Lunch - "Once you finish all of your lunch you can go outside for recess."
I guess I wasn't a fast eater, because me and the cook got to be good friends. I was always the last to leave the cafeteria. In truth I hated recess. I don't know why, too many kids maybe. I don't really remember, so the cook would sit and talk with me while I ate. She was a neat older lady who reminded me of my grandma only a little older, she even had a grandson my age who went to another school in town. (In High School he even ended up hanging out in the same group as me.)
Second grade. 1976.
I discovered recess.
Made my first real friend. Not someone Across the street, not a relative, just someone who liked me. Plus he was the same height as me! What could be better? To this day, I consider him to be the one truly positive role model I had in my life. He always seemed to be there when I needed him most, and taught me right from wrong. He also taught me that my opinion was valuable and that I was a good person after all.
He had just moved from California to Oregon, his mother is a realtor and had bought a house a few miles from us. He says we met at the sandbox. Truthfully I don't remember, but I do know we were good friends almost from the get-go.
I remember I used to get spanked what seemed like an awful lot when I was a kid. I also remember that they seemed to be for the stupidest reasons too. One that has stuck in my mind is as follows:
My new friend is over at the house and we had been putting together beaded candy cane decorations with grandma and mom (they are really simple, pipe-cleaners with beads on them and you bend them at the top). Well my friend is telling us that his family had to get rid of all there Christmas decorations (along with most of there other possessions) when they moved here. So my mom or my grandma suggest that he take some of the homemade decorations that we were just making. His eyes lit up and we (mom, grandma, and me and my friend) start picking out some for him to take home. I remember even my dad and grandpa got into the act. Christmas is about giving right? That's what were taught isn't it?
Well, me and dad take my friend home and we come back and mom meets us at the front door when we get home. She is crying. "Scott gave too many decorations to his friend." Now if you'll remember, mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa were all helping to fill the bag, but I was the one to got the kindling across the butt, repeatedly, for it.
What's the moral I was supposed to learn here? If you know, please tell me, it still escapes me to this day.
On a lighter note, I just saw my friends mom (in July of ‘97), and she thanked me. She said if it wasn't for me they wouldn't have even had a Christmas that year (they ended up decorating a chair), and they still use the decorations to this day, 21 years later.
1977 - Summer Of The Future
I remember it like it was yesterday. We are watching this show that has everything. Shiny robots names C-3P0 and R2-D2. A hero names Luke, a princess named Leia, a villain in black armor name Darth Vader, and a furry creature named Chewbacca. No it wasn't STAR WARS, not yet, it was "The Making Of STAR WARS". It blew me away. That was when I realized Movies were actually a different form of story telling. Imagination in physical form. And the wizard behind it, my new hero, George Lucas. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up. To be able to tell incredible stories in ways that have never been seen before.
After the show my dad went down the long dark hallway to his room and mom turned off the TV. All of a sudden a long purple shaft of light bursts from the darkness at the end of the hallway. I recognized it immediately as a purple light sword like the one in the show. Then there came the loud breathing like that of the bad guy in the black armor. I screamed and hid only to find out it's just my dad with his black-light.
My parents were always pulling stunts like that. Scaring the sh*t out of me and my sister all the time.
Then we went to see STAR WARS for the first time. We all loaded up in the van and took off for the Drive-in. Before the show there was a Laurel and Hardy short, and a Woody Wood Pecker cartoon neither of which interested me in the least. Then before STAR WARS started, it began to rain, so I watched the whole thing through windshield wipers and foggy windows. I didn't understand the politics of it, but I was completely mesmerized by the spectacle of it. I hear it was the first movie I didn't fall asleep during. Not only that I was completely quiet through the whole movie.
From that moment on I lived STAR WARS. Wore STAR WARS. Dreamt STAR WARS. I was STAR WARS. My goal, to grow up and make STAR WARS (I'm shooting for Episode 8). It became my religion, my hobby, my life. When the real world got to bad, I drifted into the STAR WARS universe to hide with my friends Luke and Leia.
1977 - 3rd grade
Mom and dad buy the farm from Grandma and Grandpa so we can live in their house and they get a new trailer to put where ours was.
My friends parents by a new house in town an he has to go to a different school. His parents and mine keep us in touch though. In fact about every other weekend (sometimes every weekend) he got to come over and spend the night. We would sleep in sleeping bags in the family room in front of the fire place, playing with Micronauts (and STAR WARS figures once they finally came out) under my dads black-light (which he never got back BTW), until we would fall asleep. On the other hand, when I would go stay at his house, his parents favorite game at dinner was to try to make milk come out my nose or see how embarrassed they could get me from all the "dirty" jokes they told at dinner. They loved to tell "Fag" jokes.
My parents and his got us into the local 4-H so we could see each other more often. My parents even taught some of the classes, and got really involved. The disadvantage of that is that my parents got interested in raising rabbits to sell as food. Guess who had to feed them before going to school? Me! Of course I got attached to them and then they would be slaughtered. I started to question eating meat, especially since I found out our hamburger and steaks had names too. It was bad enough when it was a nameless fish, but now....
1979 - Age 10, My baby brother is born.
My sister is still a screaming b*tch most of the time. Everything has to go as she wants it or there is screaming (a lesson she obviously learned from our parents). Now I have a brother too. I hear he was born to save the marriage. (He didn't do a very good job as you'll see shortly.)
"The Empire Strikes Back" comes out. I definitely want to be a director.
1981 - 6th grade, age 12
I now have reading glasses.
Started playing trumpet in the band after school. I had been taking piano lessons for some time now. I really didn't like them, and I really didn't catch on. I like the teamwork of band better.
My friend is now going to the same school as me again and my mom and his mom are being den mothers in cub scouts for us. Toward the end of the school year he moved into town again, if I remember right.
My teacher is into drama and I get to act in the Halloween play. I find I don't like acting, but I finally get to see directing in action. (The teacher is going through a divorce. A fact for later.)
The Summer Of Hell
I didn't have enough guy friends now that my best friend had moved back into town. All the guys in school played football at recess except for me (I don't like sports, I like STAR WARS), so I used to swing, or play two (or six) square, or handball with the girls. Even learned to jump rope.
The kids I hang around most are a retarded girl and a Jehovahs witness girl. I learn that there are other religions out there, and begin to wonder why, if there is only one real religion, why doesn't everyone practice it? To back up the theme, my teacher even turns out to be Jewish.
I also learn that different people aren't always bad. In fact they can be really cool.
Well baseball season starts and my parents come up with this great idea. Lets make Scott play baseball ‘cause he has too many "girl" friends (two words). *Later in life they gave me sh*t for not having enough girlfriends (one word), but more on that later.*
I protested. But when you are 12 and don't have much backbone in the first place, your parents can pretty much make you do anything they want. And one of the things they (specifically my dad) wanted was to coach baseball.
I learned two important lessons in baseball. One lesson was that even I could fight back. I never once hit the ball during a game. (Although the ball did hit me a couple of times.) My dad could make me hit it when he made me practice, but at a game he couldn't do squat.
The second lesson I learned was that the saying "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link," is a load of crap. I was the weakest link on that team and we were the #1 team that year. Unfortunately that meant a longer season for us.
To this day, my dad still says that I would have liked playing baseball if only I had had glasses. Yeah right!
1982 - Age 13 (not my lucky number), The Sh*t Hits The Fan
Now I have full time glasses. I'm starting Junior High school (7th thru 9th). My parents start there messy divorce. And my mom starts smoking and starts dating my 6th grade teacher (who is now divorced and who moves in with us by the end of the year). My dad joins a strange Christian cult who seems to blame everything on gays, blacks, and women. We have to move off the farm due to foreclosure. Grandma and Grandpa move to the coast (for the first time in 13 years they aren't next door to us).
There is this girl who sits across from me in home room who won't stop talking to me and she keeps getting me in trouble. She makes me mad, I don't think I like her at all.
The only good thing I can think of to say for that year is that I discovered masturbation. Not sure exactly what it is, but it sure feels good!
Oh, and my mom's boyfriend get's this new device called a computer. A TI 994/a to be exact. I'm the only one with the patience and drive to learn how to use it. Eventually he ends up giving it to me, but not for a few more years.
1983 - Age 14
"Return Of The Jedi" comes out. Incredible.
I realize what "gay" is and that I am one. It never dawned on me before because 99.9999999% of the stereotypes aren't true. The "dirty" jokes my friends family used to tell at dinner and the kids at school used to say don't pertain to me. I don't rape kids or animals. I have no desire to have Anal or oral sex. All homosexuality means is that the feelings that I would normally have for girls, I instead have for guys. I have never met a gay person. No one made me gay. I've always had these feelings ever since I can remember. Hell, I don't even really know what sex is at this age yet. I don't realize what that is until...
My dad is remarried by now. Mom has turned to Valium and Pot by now. I start High School. My mom's boyfriend is now teaching drama at the High School.
My new step-cousin hears that I've never seen a Rated R movie, so he takes it on himself to bring his favorite movies over one weekend for me to see, "Escape From New York", and "Conan The Barbarian". Remember the scene with Conan and the witch? Well it wasn't until then that I put one and one together and figured out what sex was.
Me and that annoying girl from home room are good friends by now. Such good friends that her friends talk her and me into going steady. At this point I am now seeing how gays are talked about even though I still don't know any gay people. Popular opinion seems to be that they just never found the right girl. So I go out with my friend despite the fact I don't have any feelings for her, and because I really don't want to be gay. Who would? Everyone hates you.
October 19, 1985 - Falling In Love In The Fall
I wasn't to impressed with him when I first met him. He wasn't that cute. Not to smart. Homophobic. Jock.
My new step-cousin who has the same first name as me, brought over his best friend for the "Harvest Party" put on by my dad and step-mom. The party was a bomb, but by the end of it I was head-over-heals-in-love with my step-cousins best-friend. No doubt about it. All those stupid song lyrics I never understood all made sense now. I wanted to know everything about him. I wanted to be around him all day, every day for the rest of my life. I had never felt this attracted to anyone in my life, and still haven't. I only knew him for about 24 hours, but I longed for him for well over 2 years, which seemed to go by at lightning speed.
But wait, what about my girlfriend. Here I am in love with a guy and dating a girl. Not just any girl, one who is my best-friend. One I don't want to hurt. She wanted to kiss, so did I, just not her. Things went down hill from there.
We broke up. She didn't talk to me anymore and I couldn't tell her why I couldn't give her what she wanted. She started smoking and who knows what else.
Since we moved off the farm we have moved 4 or 5 times. My ex-girlfriend and I have become friends again. I graduate from High School. Grandpa who has been in a nursing home with Alzheimers, dies two months before him and grandma's 50th wedding anniversary. My mom and the teacher break up and she quits her job and has what I refer to as her mental breakdown, moving all 5 of us (mom, grandma, me, my sister, my brother) to the Oregon coast to live in grandma's two bedroom house in a small town of about 500. Actually I get my own home with a promise from mom that she will help with the rent, but she doesn't, so I have to move out and in with the rest of the family, which is fine with me because I spent every waking hour at there house anyway.
I get my first job two weeks before my 18th birthday. Cleaning rooms in a motel. Yuck! Mom got the same job too and she said I can quit if I can find another job, so...
I get my second job, putting dishes away at a cool restaurant. The guy I work with scared me to death during my interview. He told me he didn't want me calling in sick ever, and something to the effect of, this job would be my life.
Now I'm cleaning rooms in the mornings, and putting dishes away at night, just to make the rent so I can keep a house I hate. I want to quit so bad, so mom says she will go in and get trained to do the dish job too and take over for me. The excuse she tells my boss is that "it isn't the right amount of hours". Big mistake!
In my life, it seems every lie ends up backfiring on me whether or not I even say it. Now I'm a busser too. Mom lets me quit room cleaning though.
I had never met anyone else who was gay before I started working at the restaurant. Now I work with two. One was kind of stereotypical, limp wrist, lisp, kind of feminine. He kind of made me nervous at first, then I got used to the way he does, and he turns out to be a nice guy. He's like 20 years older than me, has a husband, and smokes. I never was in a situation where I could bring up the subject of being gay, but I did see the way people he worked with talked about him and it made me not want to come out even more. His name was rarely said alone, it always seemed to be preceded by the word "gay", like it was his rank or first name.
The other guy I didn't even know was gay until several years later when a friend of his mentioned he just married his husband. Something that never made it around to me at the restaurant. Unlike the other guy, this guy was your average guy. Although he was definitely an alcoholic (he also smoked and was about 10 or 15 years older than me). But again, I never was in a situation where being gay came up and I'm not sure either of them even suspects that I am gay. Unlike the first guy, I've yet to hear anyone refer to him as "gay" like they do the other guy.
Here I was, 18 working with two gay guys. According to the stereotypes, they should have "preyed" on me, but they never did. Not even close. And I worked with the second guy for 8 years and the first for about 5.
Although my two best-friends come over to visit me every once in a while, I hadn't made any new friends at work, so me and my annoying little brother started hanging out with each other. He kind of idolized me and loved being able to hang out with me and I took interest in some of the things he was into and we got along famously. I even started making him a little magazine (which came out monthly for 3 years) with info and contests about things he and I were into. Suddenly this brat that wouldn't leave me alone before, was my built in best friend. We began plans for moving back to the town we grew up in, to help each other through college when he graduated. We went to movies as often as possible, shopped for action figures together, liked the same TV shows, just did everything together. I suddenly realized one day that eventually I would need to tell him I was gay, but I decided to wait till he was older and wiser so he would handle it better.
1988 to 1997
Mom became a social worker again like she was before her breakdown.
I quit my jobs and went to the local community college for a year just like my mother told me to do. I took the only film class. By the end of the 3rd semester of the class, I was the only one who was showing up for the classes, even the two teachers stopped coming half way through the last semester.
So in 1989 I dropped out of college. Less than a week later the boss at the restaurant called and asked me if I need a job (small town, word gets around quick). I said yes and started both the restaurant jobs again.
Eventually I out lasted the other dishwashers (they all seem to think it's going to be an easy job, but they only seem to last 2 years at the most, 2 weeks at the least), and I became the head dishwasher, where I've stayed to this day. My brother even became my helper when he got old enough to work.
One day I went to say hi to my dad when we went to pick up my brother from his weekend visit. The visit went about like usual, he'd tell me my life was disappointing to him, bad job, bad living arrangements, etc. etc.... And told me I should come see him more often, "I don't bite." He would say, but his words stung like he did. But what got me the worst this particular visit is that him and my step-mother had just gotten back from that cult like church of his, and they were still wearing there OCA pins.
For those of you that don't know what the OCA is, it stands for Oregon Citizens Alliance or something like that. Basically the KKK only against gays. They lobby the government to ban gays from teaching, adopting children, owning property, etc. etc....
And my dad was a member. I was at the end of my tolerance before that, but that pushed me way over the edge. I didn't speak to him again until 1997 except at my sisters wedding (she ended up marrying the younger brother of the step-cousin who's best friend I fell in love with) and that was just business (he rented a battery for my video camera so I could video tape my sisters wedding for her).
Which bring us to 1997.