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Having a G(r)ay Old Time

Having a G(r)ay Old Time

A few weeks ago I went through a mini-crisis when I discovered my first gray hair.  My friend, Randy, aka the Notorious F.A.G., recommended that I might not feel so bad about getting older if I went with him for a visit to the Old Queers Home, where he does volunteer work.  I took him up on his offer, and I am happy to report that there is still plenty of gay after gray.

The Old Queers Home, or OQH, is located in an old mansion in Northern Indiana.  When I say mansion I don’t mean to conjure up images of Tara or some modern Hollywood crib, instead, it looks more like a big old three-story house with a wrap-around porch that looks out onto a manicured lawn.

There are 15 residents, who all have their own rooms, 11 men and 4 women.  And the place is equipped with full-time nursing staff, two cooks (one vegetarian, the other Kosher) a cleaning / wait staff, and a rotating host of volunteers.  Stewart Bigg, the current general manager, told me that there are enough rooms for 20 people, if some of them don't mind sharing the larger, top floor rooms.  There is also, of course, an elevator, since most of the folks are on wheels, walkers, or some other mobility aid.

I met some of the residents while Randy showed me around, but I really got to know a number of them over dinner, which was held around a large round table in the Camelot room.  I didn’t record the conversation, but I paid enough attention to give you the flavor of our dinner conversation.

Almost before I’d gotten my napkin in place, a very distinguished looking senior butch named J ( just the letter J ) seized me by the virtual lapels and started putting me through the information wringer: “Where do I live?” (Chicago) “Naturally, but what neighborhood?” (Andersonville).  “Where was I born?”  (New York City, but I didn’t grow up there).  This led to the explanation that my father was an officer in the Navy and I moved around a lot as a kid.  “Oh really, what does he do?”  (He’s an admiral.) “Still?” (Yes.)  Then there was silence while this sunk in, as often happens after confessing that one has a military parent in the face of two such unpopular wars.  I imagine people wondering how warmongering I might