I’m from Rochester Hills, MI.

by Jerry Langdon

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

Back in the day, the Religious Wrong exclaimed that “joining the Gay Lifestyle” would shorten our lives, cause depression and lead to alcoholism and suicide. Our lives were destined to be miserable and fulfilling.

My vision of two gay men was a whole lot more hopeful. With two incomes, we could have a large house, visits abroad, huge dinner parties, designer clothes, expensive cars, and jewelry. That was my Gay Agenda.

Twenty eight years ago, Arnold and I met, fell in love, and began an unbelievable journey that still amazes me. We started our family with three of our six kids living with us. Having the only swimming pool in the neighborhood, our home was filled with kids who arrived on Friday after school and stayed until parents called for them to come home on Sunday.  Part of the “Two Incomes” paid to feed all of them, and the dream of “expensive cars” quickly fell to the bottom of the list. Graduations and marriages quickly came and went (nix the jewelry). The family Christmas Eve tradition began to grow with the children’s girlfriends and boyfriends. Eventually, with only the two of us left, it was time we picked an item on our list. We chose to build our home, an octagon shaped house containing a large wooden spiral staircase with a view to the river. Ah, the splendor of it all!

By the time our dream house was completed, our first Christmas Eve was spent admiring and rubbing of the bellies of our four pregnant daughters-in-law and one daughter. I can remember telling my daughter at a family function, “Don’t touch them, they’re breeding.” We would have five grandchildren in one year. The Grand Staircase overlooking the river? Well, it would have sheets of Plexiglas woven between the bars to keep the babies from falling to the lower level. The next few years gave us thirteen grandchildren and both of our mothers moving in with us. One of the grandbabies, Melissa, would live with us for the next twelve years. There went the designer clothes and visits abroad.

This year, history repeated itself. On Christmas Eve, our home entertained 33 family members and the announcements that we will have four Great Grand Babies again in one year. (And “They Said” we couldn’t reproduce). In May, two babies, Ava Marie, and Nathan Allen, were born.  Both are beautifully blessed by God and healthy. Because of economic hardships, Melissa and Nathan are living with us. Arnold and I were sure that we had forgotten the skill of diaper changing and feeding a baby. We soon realized that it’s like riding the so called bicycle. We did, however, forget the feeling of holding a little tiny person. The little hands and feet, that smell of a new baby, is all so wonderful! (I don’t care what they say; he does smile at me after I feed him.)

As I made my usual morning coffee, I glanced at the breakfast nook and sighed heavily. Created to have breakfast as we looked out over the gardens and watch the birds on the feeder, it is now filled with diapers, baby wipes, and has a changing pad on it. The counter top, which was designed to hold appetizers for grand dinner parties, is filled with baby bottles, formula, nipples and remnants of a breast pump. I laughed to myself as I headed down the “Grand Staircase” overlooking the river and shook my head. “There just ain’t no way I’m putting up the Plexiglas again!”

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