Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
RICHARD NOLAN AND ROBERT PINGPANK!
January 2007 – December 2007
With boxed and bracketed reflections on the past
twelve months (since January 1, 2007), our annual online letter is a
chronological supplement to our online Soul
Mates: More Than Partners.
The purpose of this lengthy online account is to
provide further insights about one gay couple which
has been together for more than fifty years – what
some of their thoughts are, and how they spend their
time. Trinity College (CT) our alma mater has
agreed to maintain this website along with our
www.philosophy-religion.org as part of the
future endowed Nolan-Pingpank Fund.
quiet day at home on New Year’s Day – with a welcome,
unrushed call from Ken and Alec, some emails, and a delivery
of Ann’s steaming, home-made, lentil soup! A marvelous treat
We wondered momentarily why
we are not frenzied, leaping about, or overly exuberant
about the New Year – or for that matter so many of the
other major holidays and special events.
Perhaps we have just grown
accustomed to virtually every retirement day being
self-paced and filled with an easy-going, contented
happiness. There is absolutely no reason for us “to get
away from it all,” shriek, get drunk, or exhibit similar
American traditions and values. For us, each day brings
its laughter and very little solemnity. Unhappiness
occurs only when we share someone else’s sadness or when
a medical “event” gives us pause – with its dose of
apprehensiveness, a conscious touch of our mortality.
And, then, there’s a smile, a touch, or a word – and the
best parts of reality again lead the way. We are an
Is it unwholesome,
especially for retirees, to be truly contented – neither
cowering before challenges nor requiring chronic stress
or frequent bursts of high-energy activity? Does our USA
culture promote constant euphoria as the clue to a
quality life for all?
In this regard we are fine
with being very “un-American!”
President Ford’s televised funeral was very touching. He was
an exceptional man of decency, integrity, candor,
understated dignity, courage, intelligence, overall
humility, and religious modesty - the last such President we
can remember who combined these qualities. The grief so
evident in Mrs. Ford and her family was devoid of any
accompanying theatrics – as were all the observances. What's
more, despite the hysterics and awfulness of extreme
right-wing Episcopalians (all in the name of
“orthodoxy”) the Episcopal Church shone within the
National Cathedral liturgy (as well as during the
televised Christmas Day Service).
President Ford was “one of the
last of the moderate Republicans and a vocal supporter of
gay rights in his later years. In 2002, he joined the
advisory board of the Republican Unity Coalition, a group of
gay people and straight allies working for more acceptance
of LGBT Americans and issues within the party. At the time,
he was asked by lesbian columnist Deb Price if gay couples
should receive equal benefits and replied, ‘I think they
ought to be treated equally. Period.’” An ideal Republican!
In his Cathedral sermon,
President Ford’s California rector the Rev. Dr. Robert G.
Certain commented, “Early this past summer,
as I prepared to leave for the General Convention of the
Episcopal Church, President Ford’s concern was for the
church he loved. He asked me if we would face schism. After
we discussed the various issues we would consider,
particularly concerns about human sexuality and the
leadership of women, he said he did not think they should be
divisive for anyone who lived by the Great Commandments to
love God and neighbor. He then asked me to work for
reconciliation within the Church. I assured him I would,
just as he had worked for reconciliation within the nation
thirty years ago.”
Ornell (former lay canon administrator at “Rich’s”
Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford) and her spouse
Canon Ken Ornell concluded about a 1 year interim ministry
at Holy Trinity, WPBeach. Before they left the region in
mid-January for an Indiana assignment, we all had lunch at
Legal Seafood. With common roots in New England, the four of
us share similar perceptions of Southeast Florida and of the
Ken and Peggy Ornell at Legal Seafood – Jan.
evening pot luck supper and guest lecture on religion and
science at St. Andrew’s was on the calendar for Friday,
Epiphany Eve. Margot, hostess of the event, sat the speaker
(a very attractive woman probably in her 30s) and
her friends/colleagues from Florida Atlantic University
(Boca Raton) with us, and we chatted non-stop. It is
rare for Rich to have an opportunity to talk here with an
academic who shares so many of his academic interests. The
parish hall was filled; her presentation was tops!
In the gentlest of morning breezes, the
Epiphany flag welcomes a new liturgical season
Excerpt from Steve Gushee’s
Friday column in the Palm Beach Post: “The Christmas
season may end on Epiphany, but the Epiphany actually
enhances and extends the Christmas message. The emerging
holy season makes the glad shout that this child born of
Mary is the visible presence of God in the world. Wise
men bring him gifts indicating their obedient submission
to his will.
“The Epiphany encourages
the faithful to continue the celebration of Jesus'
birth, and that season lasts for 4 to 9 weeks depending
on the date of Easter. Easter itself, the longest season
in the Christian calendar and intentionally 10 days
longer than Lent, is over and done with for most of the
faithful by sundown on the day of Resurrection. Having
spent 40 days in penitential preparation for the
Resurrection, the faithful sing a chorus of Easter hymns
and return to an existence essentially unchanged by the
miracle of new life that Easter proclaims.
“Centuries of a deeply
penitential Christian faith have taken their toll. Much
popular Christianity is preoccupied with the temptation
to sin, driven by a compulsion to earn salvation and
convert everyone to that grim gospel. Christmas,
however, brought the Christ child to everyone. Epiphany
makes him known as the son of God. Easter is the promise
of new life to the world. Joy, not
penance, is the essential mark of Christianity.
Exuberant celebration is the fundamental sign of the
faith, boundless joy its greatest witness.”
trip to Legal Seafood on Epiphany (Saturday)
for an always delightful luncheon with Trish W. –
indisputably a close and faithful friend! With no evening
church responsibilities, we stayed home with some Netflix
joined us for a noontime Sunday dinner on the 14th followed
two days later by our noon (main) meal with
by Vance O. and John L.
In mid-January a poinsettia plant remains in
bloom on the northwest side of the house.
table at the Seawatch Restaurant in Pompano Beach is the
lovely setting for our annual luncheon with Eva and Wolfgang
H. Eva had taught with Rich in CT; years ago when we lived
in Bristol, they gave us a mezuzah – which now greets
everyone entering our River Bridge home. We were on hand for
their daughter Judy’s marriage to Bob G.; Rich officiated at
the ecumenical home Service. Now Bob and Judy (the
former on the faculty of MIT, the latter a professor of
chemistry at Brandeis) have two young-adult
daughters who, like their parents and H. grandparents, excel
in everything they undertake.
Seawatch Restaurant – oceanside
learned that the videotaped interview for the ACLU project
on ten gay couples is temporarily available at
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmjSQ0GJTW4 and that hopefully
by Valentine’s Day it will be at
www.10couples.org. At this writing, the latter website
3rd Saturday evening of the month Rich led the adult forum
at church on Islam. The group of 21 was spirited and
inquisitive; it was great to have input from parishioner
Fred C., a semi-retired university administrator who has had
first-hand experience with Muslim cultures. The next evening
we were off to Ft. Lauderdale for a superb dinner in their
Fort Lauderdale oceanside, high-rise condo of Bill D. and
after the weekend it was necessary to have a new lawn
irrigation pump installed, after eight years of use; we’ve
been able to lower our water bills significantly
(enough to pay for the equipment and also reduce lawn
watering expenses) by connecting to our lake.
Hidden behind east side bushes, the
irrigation pump can be switched to city water, if there
were to be a need to conserve lake water – unlikely,
because the lake level is now aided by a connection to a
County managed resource.
In the morning shade with dew drops all over,
an east side poinsettia planted a year ago has blossomed
well. Poinsettias will bloom only in certain locations in
the yard. Those that do not bloom are very attractive green
We are pleased that most
all of the schools with which we have been students
or faculty members have included us as a couple in
various alumni publications. See many of the schools
www.philosophy-religion.org – the CV subsite.
Director of Gift Planning at our alma mater Trinity
College, visited with us mid-morning on Friday the 26th.
Much reminiscing and exchanged information.
days later New York University’s Erin D. (a Senior
Development Officer at the Steinhardt School of the
University) joined us for our evening meal and
conversation. We were shocked to hear of the death of the 54
year old wife of NYU President John Sexton. Out of the blue,
a brain aneurism took her just a week ago. Dr. Sexton could
not be present for Monday’s NYU gathering in Boca. So very
chatting with Dr. Debra L. (Senior Vice
President for Development and Alumni Relations),
Rich mentioned his folder containing his N.Y.U.
administrative papers (letter of admissions,
research design for his dissertation, vote of the final
examining committee recommending that the Ph.D. be granted,
a letter from Dr. Cherbonnier, and so on). She
suggested that he send the material to the University
Archives! Alan Shapiro (NYU’s Director of Gift
Planning), who has visited our home in past
years) said that he would be glad to receive it and take it
to the Archives. Properly bound, it was sent on Feb. 5th.
Later in the month Rich was notified that it is “a
great asset for NYU” and “our researchers will benefit.”
With Erin D. at the NYU gathering at the
Boca Country Club
An entryway doorpost in our home greets
everyone with symbols of the three Abrahamic religions:
Judaism, Christian, and Islam. The mezuzah (top) was a gift
years ago from Eve and Wolfgang H. and graced our
Connecticut home for years, and now in Florida. The first
cross was positioned below it in 2005 as we celebrated our
50th anniversary, and the cross beneath is one we have had
for quite some time. In January (2007) the Islamic symbol
“The first and foremost characteristic of Islamic art is the
universal usage ofArabic script. A beautiful artistic
expression of faith in Islam is the scripted ‘Bismillah’ -
which translates: In the Name of Allah, the
Beneficent, the Most Merciful.”
See Sumon Studios at
www.sumon.com. Also, see the articles about Islam at
12th birthday was on January 30th. He wasn’t pleased with
his monthly bath – which, however, he and Comes put up with
Happy Birthday, Tenno!
Friday the second at St. Andrew’s, the Rev. Harry S.
Coverston delivered an evening lecture “Religion, Science
and Sex.” Having earned an M.Div. (seminary degree),
Ph.D. (scholar), and J.D. (lawyer)
– a spectacular combination, he gave permission for posting
the lecture in the “All Handouts” section of
(We had to leave at the midpoint, because Rich wasn’t
feeling well, but fortunately we had the script.)
Harry and Rich at the pot luck supper
preceding the lecture
“cashed in” our winning Compass certificate with a Sunday
afternoon sitting with a very fine West Palm Beach
photographer (who has very flexible hours).
Our 70th birthdays due at the end of May, we had our picture
taken - dressed up far more than we usually prefer. It is
amazing what can be done via computer to touch up colors,
unwanted folds in a suit coat, razor burn, and stray hairs!
With our consent, he plans to use the picture in his ad for
the coming PrideFest booklet. Have we, at 70, become “male
models”? (photo on website home page.)
before we met, Rich enrolled in a post-graduate course at
(MA); the 1954 Tabor summer program
preceded the 1954-5 school year. During that summer, Rich
and Eugene “Frosty” P. met and decided to room together for
the September through May period. Frosty was an excellent
student and athlete, and after Tabor completed his B.A. in
economics at Harvard. A few years ago they, and Frosty’s
wife Nancy, reconnected, and the four of us have been
meeting annually for luncheon either at their Delray Beach
seasonal home or ours.
Wednesday the 7th (the 5th anniversary of Rich’s
heart attack), we joined them at their condo for a
lovely luncheon Nancy prepared. Friendships begun over 50
years ago become more precious every year. As with every
visit, we talked endlessly (not just about Tabor)
but about life as it continues to evolve for us all –
including unwelcome medical intrusions! There was an
energizing spirit of genuine camaraderie among us. As we
left their home, we felt an abiding sense of affection for
them and no small degree of awe at the time span that has
passed since the mid-1950s.
invited to a gathering of about two dozen people on Friday
(9th) evening at the beautiful home of Ann and Tom
J. in Palm Beach for an updating about Trinity College. We
were unaware of the somewhat hidden “Everglades Island”
setting within the island Town of Palm Beach; man-made
several decades ago, the neighborhood consists of a number
of homes with lovely water views either toward West Palm
Beach or a sizable inlet whose opposite shore is a
pleasing-to-the-eye, 18-hole golf course!
photo below includes Trinity’s President Jimmy Jones, who
led the “Prayers of the People” at our 50th Anniversary
Service at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, N.Y.C., in
October of 2005. He spoke briefly of the superbly increased
number of applications for admission by top students, the
fine progress of the current 300 million dollar capital
gifts campaign, and so on. He announced that our evening
hosts are endowing a professorial chair in biology – among
their several past magnificent gifts to the College. The
event was filled with terrific conversations before, during,
and after dinner!
is very special to us. As Trinity freshmen, we began our
journey together in September, 1955! Without Trinity, we
would not have met, and, therefore, our lives would have
been wholly different and undoubtedly lacking in every way.
The education we received at Trinity was truly the “liberal
arts” – studies that liberated us intellectually
(and emotionally) so that without ant models for
living as a couple, we were able to create a life that was
genuine and yet realistically accommodating to employment
realities. Moreover, such studies provided us with an
introduction to a thoughtful, heartfelt Christianity plus a
broad background, such that there has been no such thing as
boredom – even during these retirement years. We are “McCook
Fellows” at Trinity, a college Society of those who include
Trinity in a bequest provision.
Bob, President Jimmy Jones, and Rich
Phyllis and Leonard G., Ann T., Jimmy
Jones, Rich and Bob
Our patio table, one of three – the other
two inside - included (clockwise from left) President Jimmy
Jones, Phyllis and Leonard G., Tari and spouse V.P. Ron J.,
Rich’s empty chair (he took the photo), Bob, and alumna
More photos on the Trinity website at
annual luncheon for Boston Latin School alumni and friends
also met in Palm Beach at the Brazilian Court’s Café
Those arriving for 12:30 cocktails tended
to collect at our dining room entrance.
40 heard Head Master Dr. Cornelia Kelley’s report on the
oldest public school in the United States (founded
in 1635) and the new rigors of the modernized
classical curriculum. Alumnus and former Head Master Michael
Contompasis, currently Boston’s Superintendent of Schools,
addressed us from the broad view of his present post
illuminated by insights of a Latin School student and
the cocktail hour Cornelia chatted unhurriedly with us, as
she does each year; she has always been most gracious. Since
we last saw her, Simmons College in Boston, awarded her am
honorary doctorate for her outstanding achievements in
education. Michael came by, too, and Rich had a chance to
exchange a few words with him just before we left.
eldest alumnus was a most likeable 93-year-old chap looking
much younger. At our table, seated beside Bob, was a 1937
graduate – the year we were born! A couple who were
celebrating 50 years of marriage was on Rich’s right, lovely
people with whom we dined last year. One other member of
Rich’s 1954 class attended, Eugene O., who sat to Rich’s
right in home room!
courtyard within Brazilian Court
no hint whatsoever that this message from the Head Master
would be forthcoming on Friday.
Message to All Alumni
February 16, 2007
I wish to announce
today that effective June 30, 2007, I shall
finish in my role as Head Master of the
Boston Latin School.
I have notified
Superintendent Michael Contompasis of my
intent. In accordance with established
procedures, he will post the position,
accept applications, and convene a screening
committee composed of representatives from
the various constituencies. That group will
then interview qualified candidates and make
recommendations to the Superintendent.
I wish to share one
thought with you all of you. The position of
Head Master of the Latin School is one of
stewardship and it has brought me great joy.
You are an incredible group of alumni.
Without your support I should never have
been able to see this institution not simply
survive but truly thrive.
Please be proud of all
that you do to make Boston Latin School a
very special place. I thank you
professionally and personally.
Boston Latin School
the hour of receiving the above announcement, we received an
e-mail from Cornelia thanking us for our Valentine
(it’s her favorite day) and some warm personal
comments. A few hours later the Boston Globe reported:
Friday, February 16, 2007
Boston Latin headmaster to retire
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff
Cornelia A. Kelley will retire as the leader of Boston Latin
School on June 30 after serving as the esteemed
institution's first female headmaster.
Kelley announced her plans today to teachers, students,
parents, and alumni.
"It's time for the next generation to take over," Kelley
said in an interview.
During her nine-year tenure, Kelley oversaw a $32 million
renovation that included a new library, dining hall, and
visual and performing arts center. Kelley began her career
at the school in 1980 as an English teacher, and later went
on to teach Latin and Greek, before becoming assistant
headmaster in 1987.
A panel of parents, student, faculty, and alumni will be
involved in selecting her replacement.
Founded in 1635, Boston Latin is the oldest public school in
the United States.
We shall miss our annual Palm Beach County visits, and
occasional exchanges at other times, although we hope to be
in touch as time goes on. Probably by this time next year
her successor will have been appointed. She will be a “hard
act to follow” at Latin School.
On Tuesday the 13th, the day before Cornelia’s announcement,
with Margot and Herb we celebrated Herb’s 90th birthday
(a few months early) at our annual Breakers luncheon
with them. Both are St. Andrew’s parishioners. Currently
Margot (wife, mother and grandmother) is
convener of Integrity-Palm Beach. (www.IntegrityPalmBeach.org)
The Breakers – Palm Beach
For a few years we have had a window table
in the Seafood Bar, one of several Breakers restaurants.
(Feb. 14) Valentine’s Day - Our flag
fluttered in the wind as a series of weather fronts pass
letter from N.Y.U. Dean Mary Brabeck arrived with the news
that Rich’s Living Issues In Philosophy is now
“displayed in our history of the Steinhardt School case in
my office. The Dean’s floor showcases the extraordinary work
of the Steinhardt faculty books, art, and music – and our
distinguished alumni.” It is interesting that the most
reassuring comments seem to come along when one is retired –
rather than at a younger, working age when, truly, one could
use some encouragement along the way!
On Presidents’ Day our flag flapped in the
frigid morning’s 50 degrees – too brisk to take an outdoor
picture! We awoke to a polar low 40s in the morning. This
photo is from Rich’s study.
Subsequent to the conclusion of the Anglican Bishops’
gathering in Dar es Salaam on the 19th, Rich had the
occasion to write to a concerned parishioner:
I just caught up with the stuff and am disappointed -
especially with the "recommendations."
I regret the time and energies that this ongoing flap
will probably take.
1) Regardless of what the institutional Church is doing,
I remain a unique child of God by my baptism; that is
who I am.
2) Flowing from that basic identity, my vocation remains
to live Christ's Summary of the Law, with grace, as best
I can, and to continue to grow in Christ's love and
3) My family life remains wholly intact, an oasis of
mutual affection, blessed by God for over five decades;
we realize that at this time we are nearer death than
birth, but we remain an Easter home.
4) Life with my CT and S.E. Fl. bishops remains on
5) Our (Bob and my) life with Saint Andrew's Church,
Lake Worth, remains on course, as we share in its
6) Our life with The Episcopal Church remains on course,
as we share in its evolution.
7) Our life as United States citizens remains on course,
as we share in its evolution.
8) The "Serenity Prayer" is a useful guide with regard
to our varied roles on Planet Earth.
9) Other affiliations (e.g., the Anglican Communion) are
peripheral and unessential, though enriching;
nonetheless, if they become incompatible with who we are
and what we're called to do, such affiliations are
dispensable - especially if their involvements cause
chronic negligence of fundamental responsibilities to
God, oneself, and others at hand.
I am afraid that we have absolutised "reconciliation"
and the notion that "we global Anglicans all need each
other" - notions which make for unhelpful rhetoric as
realities are faced among those who cannot agree to
Sometimes cutting loose from those, however well
intended, who might suck the life out of us is
necessary. Perhaps the future will allow for a
Fortunately, I trust our Presiding Bishop to do what can
be done - step by step. But she cannot have a one-item
agenda. Nor can we. Life goes on in all of its
dimensions - with or without a reasonable involvement in
the Anglican Communion.
quiet week, on Sunday evening we enjoyed immensely the
dinner/evening company of Lt. Col. Michael M., a former
parishioner at St. Paul’s, Bantam. We first came to know
Michael as a slender, tall-for-his-age twelve-year-old
(now 44) – along with his parents
(contemporaries with whom we’ve remained in touch),
a younger brother and two sisters. Michael was a loyal
acolyte, participant in the youth group, and earnest
confirmand. After high school he was off to West Point,
marriage, the U.S. Army (including service in Iraq),
and, this coming fall, his already announced promotion to
has remained an active, informed Episcopalian and was very
complimentary about the religious education he received from
Rich. In those days his parishioners received individual
pre-Confirmation tutorials using Rich’s “Commentary on the
Prayer Book Catechism” (available at
www.philosophy-religion.org). Although we had
not seen him for at least 20 years, Michael e-mails us an
(unclassified) Army update on the Iraq war weekly.
How touching it is that during his heavily scheduled
business trip to Miami, he spent an evening with us for a
welcome, non-stop conversation!
Michael with two old men!
the last day of the month Rich received an e-mail from the
Episcopal News Service listing Anglican world news links
since February 21st. Among them was a report that the
Lambeth Palace Library (London) has listed
many of its holdings. A search located his first
(edited) book The Diaconate Now residing at
[ENGLAND: “Lambeth Palace library to go online”
An enjoyable way to conclude the month!
first day of the month, just as we were about to begin
supper, a telephone call came for Bob. A widow-neighbor’s
boyfriend in another River Bridge neighborhood
(there are about 18) was hospitalized, and his two,
large puppies had been home alone all day, made a mess, and
needed attention. Bob helped our neighbor deal with the
situation, but came home with wounds on a hand and arm,
because of the dogs’ intense exuberance. However, they were
superficial, though unsightly. The saga continued the next
day, and other arrangements were finally made.
a Coral Springs (FL) firm willing to take
Rich’s comparatively small order of (395) pages
to be scanned for his editing and loading within
www.philosophy-religion.org. One of the items is a 1950s
college term paper in religion (comparing resurrection
with immortality) written by Bob – an “A” paper at that!
Another is Rich’s first sermon in his home parish after his 1963
ordination there the day before as a deacon. Some of the
writings are a couple of chapters from Rich’s dissertation that
need to be revised. We found one 1958 paper jointly written for
a course “Philosophy of the State.” To be completed at a
leisurely pace, this whole project will take several months,
perhaps longer. Each will note its date (from the 1950s
to the ‘70s) and purpose; hopefully they will be of some
help as brief academic treatments, however dated.
adventure on the 5th! Because of some medical issues, since the
fall of 2005 we haven’t been further away from home than North
Miami. Unlikely as it is, we drove nearly 85 miles (two
hours each way) to The John’s Island Club, Vero
Why? A year ago Rich received a telephone call from Yale with an
inquiry about our pending absence from a West Palm Beach Yale
Club event. (We are both Yale Legacy Partners.)
Rich explained that Yale invitations here routinely invite
alumni and their spouses, and that
if we were truly invited, the wording would have
included alumni and their spouses/partners or similar.
The caller was taken aback and was pleasantly insistent that the
University did not intend to exclude anyone. In response, Rich
said that he envisioned a gathering of elderly, radical,
right-wing Republicans, and that we would probably not be
a similar invitation arrived, and the wording was for alumni and
their guests! That phrasing is as all
encompassing as it can get. We felt duty-bound to attend,
despite the distance. With the President of Yale on hand for the
luncheon, the event sounded promising. Prepared with a cooler
(containing a beverage and a small sandwich), pillow,
and meds, we left home at 10:15 – a beautiful, sunny day in the
upper 60s – and arrived right on time for the noon luncheon. As
it turned out, the cooler became a necessity when low-sugar
“jiggles” began to affect Rich about 11:30; by the time we
arrived a half hour later, though, all was well.
our table were the Executive Director of the Association of Yale
Alumni and a University Development officer. We were pleased to
be able to share with them the details of what brought us to the
luncheon and the need for Yale to connect better with Divinity
School alumni here. A few weeks afterwards the former wrote that
he is to meet with representatives of the
Divinity School to try to organize some activities on their
behalf, hopefully in Florida!
The John’s Island Club, Vero Beach
Yale President Richard C. Levin
In front of the Yale banner Dr. Levin
reported current University developments to the Vero Beach
in the mail at home was another response
related to the final entry in Part 1 of this Christmas
letter. University Archivist Nancy C. wrote, “On behalf of
the New York University Archives, I would like to thank you
for the materials you donated. The binder of materials
related to your doctoral studies at NYU contains a good deal
of information that will be of great interest and use for
researchers of the Steinhardt School and of the Religious
Education program in particular.” Out of curiosity Rich
checked the NYU Archives website and discovered this mission
“The New York University Archives
serves as the final repository for the historical records of
NYU. Its primary purpose is to document the history of the
University and to provide source material for
administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and other members
of the University community, as well as scholars, authors,
and other interested persons who seek to evaluate the impact
of the University's activities on the history of American
social, cultural, and intellectual development.”
It is gratifying at this time in
our lives to receive invitations to leave a few
remembrances of our lives in various places. Whether in
directories, websites, archives, alumni magazines, or
whatever, it signals to both of us that we have made
some modest contributions affecting, however minutely,
some individuals and institutions. This feeling might
seem immodest, but it is such a reversal of how we
started out together – with so much in secret,
stressful, and unnoticed. To have lived long enough to
experience the beginnings of a greater acceptance of
human diversity is truly heartwarming. To be able to
offer some of what we have learned
(academically, professionally, and
personally) is a
privilege. Age and credibility do have their rewards!
receiving the appreciative comments from NYU, Rich was motivated
to review his six, heavy-duty binders of professional records;
he confessed to Bob that he had forgotten about so many of the
heard from Dr. Samuel Brown, Director of the Max R. Traurig
Library of Naugatuck Valley Community College (formerly
Mattatuck Community College, Waterbury, CT, where Rich was based
fulltime 1969-92), “We are in the process of organizing
the college archives and would be happy to take all of your
Mattatuck-related items.” Two of the binders were sent to him on
March 9th. Dr. Brown acknowledged their receipt and new “home.”
month, Dean Mark Pendleton of Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford,
welcomed the bound, relevant items for shelving in the
documents from The Litchfield Institute and Saint Paul’s Church,
Bantam (within the Town of Litchfield, CT),
thanks to our friends Ann and Terry McGurk (Litchfield
residents and St. Paul’s parishioners), have been
received enthusiastically by the Litchfield Historical Society.
Along with the audio cassette tapes received by the Yale
Divinity School archives, everything has now been suitably
located. Additionally, the Thomaston Historical Society has some
items from our online Scrapbook; the town was Bob’s hometown.
www.10couples.org with our video interview, along with
nine others, is now available on an educational website
sponsored by the ACLU
(which is often to the left of us). The
direct link is:
Divinity School’s winter issue of Spectrum arrived in
the mail with our picture and description: “Dick Nolan '67
M.A.R. looks forward to reaching age 70 this May, and celebrated
50 years together with his partner, Bob, in 2005. The two
regularly participate in the life of St. Andrew's Episcopal
Church in Lake Worth, FL, where Dick is a non-stipendiary
retired priest-in-residence. Dick also serves as a chaplain to
the parish's Integrity chapter and continues to edit
www.philosophy-religion.org and has an online scrapbook at
www.nolan-pingpank.com.” Hopefully, some other GLBT Yale
Divinity alumni will feel free to share their news with the
(11th) right after he went to bed, Rich was hit by a
case of the chills. We are very puzzled about the cause of this
infrequent occurrence. However, true to form, the major effects
included persistent fatigue (along with appetite loss),
this time right through Wednesday. During these unwell days Rich
received an invitation to write a book review for a national,
weekly church magazine – which he declined, given health
Bob set up
a newly arrived Sony device that will transfer our many VHS
tapes to DVDs. This will be another long-term - but very
worthwhile - preservation project!
(16th) we completed a prearranged, joint telephone
interview of more than an hour with Carlin C., a writer for an
alumni periodical of our alma mater Trinity College. An
article will appear in the summer edition.
aquarium was dismantled on “St. Patrick’s Weekend.” It was
disappointing, but to maintain it well requires an excessive
amount of time, energy, and expense. Its new home is in an
elementary school where a friend is teaching. We must add
that keeping life as simple as reasonable (nothing
to do with the Lent!) is an ongoing endeavor. It is
still too easy, especially for Rich, to initiate or
perpetuate certain extras that can become taxing.
lectures sponsored by Florida Humanities Council’s grants and
held for the past two years at Saint Andrew’s have been very
successful. To give thought to the 2008 series we met
(22nd) with Margot E. (who coordinates the
superb programs from beginning to end) over lunch
in her home with Fr. Paul and FAU history scholar and fellow
parishioner Dr. Ben L. A productive meeting! We realize that
this is not an effective parish recruitment device, but as Paul
noted, people are becoming aware of St. Andrew’s and the
significant, varied events associated with the parish.
A new and different experience!
After we enjoyed Saturday (24th) lunch at
TooJays, a New York style deli at the Wellington Mall, Bob did a
quick errand while Rich sat in a central waiting area. A fine
looking man in our age bracket sat down opposite him and struck
up a conversation and then moved to a different chair, separated
by a table, on Rich’s left. He had just finished a brisk,
exercise walk twice around the mall, chatted a bit about fine
health, and mentioned that he was 77. His wife of 55 years had
died about 5 years ago, and he had remarried two years later; he
has adult children (one of whom is 59 – which he is
getting used to!) and a dozen or so grandchildren. This
guy was bubbling with genial contentment and said, nodding
slightly at Rich, that he likes to hear other people’s stories.
Rich said that his is very different, that he is gay, and his
partner of 51 years is doing an errand while, because of the
hard tile floors, awaiting Bob’s return. Not a change in the
fellow’s demeanor; no hard swallow or diminished smile! Bob
showed up at that point, and some pleasantries were exchanged as
we congratulated him, especially on his grandchildren of which
he was so proud! As we walked toward the mall exit, Rich
commented with a slight chuckle that this outgoing chap has now
probably heard it all. We wondered aloud if he might be more
cautious in seeking out others’ stories! Perhaps not.
Nonetheless, he most likely had a new one to share with his wife
when he arrived home!
last weekend of the month the annual Lake Worth Pride Fest was
held under beautiful skies and very comfortable temperatures.
Margot coordinated the many aspects of parish participation.
This year we staffed the St. Andrew’s (Integrity-Palm
Beach) booth only on Sunday from 2 to 4. A much larger
crowd (10,000 over the two-day period) was on
hand, and more people than ever visited the Saint Andrew’s tent.
debut as “male models” appeared in the Pride Fest 2007
Directory; our photographer’s ad (we’re at lower
left- not lower center!):
St. Andrew’s Pride Fest booth – Laurel,
Rich and Bob
response to a general request from the UK office of the Rev.
Canon Philip Groves (facilitator of the "Listening
Process" for the Anglican Communion’s efforts to come to
grips with global differences in sexual ethics), we
sent him a note via e-mail with our Scrapbook website’s
address and a link to a relevant essay on our
philosophy-religion.org/. Within an hour he thanked us for
our contribution and wished both of us well. Very gracious!
was brought to a close with a welcome note from Christ Church
Cathedral, Hartford’s Dean Mark Pendleton about a new Cathedral
Parish Committee Resolution on the Pastoral Ministry
for Persons in Same-Sex Relationships
“Members of the Parish Committee met
on March 20, 2007 to continue discussing the decision by Bishop
Smith to permit a pastoral ministry in the diocese for persons
in committed same-sex relationships. After honest and prayerful
discussion and review of the discussion at the Dean’s Forum on
February 4, 2007, it is our collective discernment that offering
blessing to a same-sex couple would be consistent with our
pastoral ministry to all of our members.
Parish Committee of the Cathedral asks Dean
Pendleton and our Parish Committee Chair and
Vice-Chair to consult with Bishop Smith about our
desire to begin offering pastoral blessings to
same-sex couples in the near future.
Further resolved, that we
encourage the Dean and the Parish Committee
leadership to be intentional about offering special
gatherings and times when they can be available to
listen to the concerns of Cathedral members who
might have further questions or concerns about this
The motion was made, seconded and approved (no
Passover began at sundown on Monday (2nd). Although
Jewish residents are in the majority in River Bridge and many
homes display a variety of seasonal flags, we are the only
household that hangs Jewish related flags.
Lunch as Vance’s guests
(3rd) was most enjoyable at the nearby Roadhouse
Grill. Catching up with his plans for eventually relocating in
Mexico was fascinating. Vance was a major founder of
Integrity-Palm Beach and its first convener – with a 5-year
A unique fund raiser for CAP
[Comprehensive Aids Program of Palm Beach County, Inc.
www.cappbc.org] offered a 7 p.m. mini-cruise (5th)
with a cocktail buffet aboard the
As it turned out, we left early – just before the buffet was
served, because Rich wasn’t feeling quite right. Until
that point, he had been fine all day. Fortified with delicious,
unique hors d’oeuvres, we were home before 9, and, as it
turned out, the boat remained at the dock as a result of heavy
(the first in several months). 110 had indicated that
they would be in attendance. Regardless, the dining room felt
crowded with too many tables seating what seemed to be a maximum
crowd. Truly, 75 would have made for a more hospitable setting.
Nonetheless, early on we had the opportunity to chitchat with a
number of people, newly met and previously known. Moreover, it
was interesting to see the well-appointed three floors of the
The next day was Good Friday (6th).
During the morning Bob was able
to take their picture as they rested together by one of two
gates to their “doghouse” – the connecting kitchen and family
room (with view of the lake). Some dog house!
We arrived in good time at St. Andrew’s for the twenty minute
segment (2:20-2:40) Rich was scheduled to preach on the final of
the Seven Last Words of Christ. The three-hour
liturgy was just too long for us. The congregation of two dozen
seemed attentive, although it is very difficult to know whether
anything said had connected. We left at the conclusion of Rich’s
The early morning sun
partially brightens our Easter flag.
With clear skies and a very cool 50 degrees at 7 a.m., Easter
Day was celebrated at home with a family Eucharist in the dining
area and an unusual noontime Easter dinner: Italian meatloaf and
rigatoni! We had not “broken bread” at home for quite some time;
the principal Feast of the Christian calendar was, for us, a
reverential occasion of simple worship – including the rite of
mutual “laying-on-of-hands” for healing – a touching moment in
many respects. (Rich continues to be plagued by periodic low
stamina.) We again used the blue ceramic chalice that Dorothy
A. brought to us from Canterbury, England, years ago and the
paten we ordered afterwards. (www.canterburypottery.com)
During Easter Week, we finalized our funeral Service leaflet;
what better season of the year to take care of that – and not
under stress! We remember well how the preferences of survivors
(gay and straight) were overridden by a rector who remains a
liturgical terrorist in a certain Florida parish. If our pastor
were away at the time, or retired, we could end up with an
insensitive, pastorally inept “expert.” Our liturgies will be
simple – no Eucharist – inspired by the late President Ford’s
National Cathedral Service – but without “tributes” and the more
elaborate music only a cathedral can provide. Fr. Paul has a CD
with the leaflet and copies of relevant directions and
notations. He has assured us of full compliance, which we really
Also during Easter Week the New York Times ran an article
“The Perfect Bacon Sandwich Decoded: Crisp and Crunchy.”
Research from the University of Leeds (UK)
“concluded that the best bacon butties
were made with crisply grilled, not-too-fat bacon between thick
slices of white bread.”
(“Butties” is a UK word for sandwich.) “The
study also considered a broad range of condiments (like ketchup
and brown sauce) and spreads.” Rich’s
London-born maternal grandmother had introduced him to
crisp bacon sandwiches
(with ketchup) as a child, and
we both enjoy them weekly (with ketchup) for breakfast.
We took for granted, wrongly, that this was just one of our
secret eccentricities. Breaking from tradition, though, we do
use turkey bacon – for reasons of health.
The Miami Herald called
(12th) during the late afternoon and interviewed
us (among others) for a story on aging gay men. We guess
that word is getting around about our seniority! The decently
written article is posted in the Bob and Rich subsite. Every
observation seems to transcend sexual orientations.
To Legal Seafood
(on Friday the 13th) as Ray H’s luncheon guests,
and the next evening Bob went to St. Andrew’s for the 6 p.m.
Service and Integrity. The following day Tony and Arthur, with
Don (a charming friend of theirs), visited and took us to
luncheon at Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court, Palm Beach. A
delightful time with great conversation and an outstanding
brunch! We so appreciate friends’ understanding that we
generally need to have our main meal at midday.
Inside seating, Café Boulud
In Rich’s continuing effort to simplify his study, we delivered
(18th) a large carton of philosophy books to the Boynton
Beach office of Barry University. A former Barry student Kathy
W. is director of the two University sites in Palm Beach County.
Students can help themselves gratis.
Rich took a real age test honestly at
The results came in at 90! Later, Bob did the same thing and
was rated age 71.3!
One of the youngest of four turtles we placed in our Egret Lake
a couple of years ago pays a visit almost daily. The waterway is
quite sizable throughout River Bridge, and we don’t see the two
larger ones (deposited 12 years ago) very often. (The ugly ridge
was caused recently by the ridden huge lawn mower that barrels
While food shopping, Rich came across a never frozen, 13 pound
Butterball turkey. At 6 a.m. on Sunday
(22nd) Rich was preparing the turkey for the oven,
when Bob unexpectedly arrived in the kitchen to see whether any
help was needed. Rich thought not, but Bob spotted that the
turkey-in-waiting was upside down (from the usual cooking
position). We both had a good laugh, and into the oven it
went. At noon a bird just a bit too well done was ready. Rich
suspects that he mistakenly used roast beef cooking directions;
Dogs do communicate and dream! At least ours do. Early
(on the 24th) – about 2 a.m. - another infrequent
distressed barking, this time from Tenno. His anxiety spilled
over onto Comes. Bob took them both out, in case it was a “p”
need, but, although they obliged, anxieties persisted. Well over
an hour with them to no avail, Rich opened their gates, so that
they had access to the whole house, and he went back to bed.
Sleeping was difficult, though not for Bob – who is a deep
sleeper. They paced as if they were trying to avoid an unknown
menace. When Rich finally awakened about 7, Bob reported that
both were sleeping peacefully in a usual spot – with no apparent
anxieties. However, later in the morning Bob discovered that
Tenno did need to take a gigantic poop; constipation and/or a
tummy ache had apparently been very uncomfortable, and he was
letting us know at 2 a.m. Occasionally during their
afternoon naps, Comes, in a deep sleep, will whimper; a gentle
awakening seems to cure the disturbance. Clearly their brains do
not turn off while they sleep, just as ours continue in varying
modes of activity. We are convinced that now and then their
dreams are upsetting – and they do ask for help – even in the
middle of the night. How human!
Rich e-mailed a note to a distinguished Anglican
theologian on the faculty of Oxford University.
The gist of his note was
that when our Lord highlighted the Summary of the Law,
“he did not even hint that there might be different
levels of faithfulness required of bishops and less
commitment by lesser creatures. It seems to me that all
Christians are equally bound to this covenant.
[Marvelous Saints can be found in all Orders of ministry
includes the lay Order),
and horrid folks as well.]”
Rich asked whether it is
episcopal arrogance, or elitism of some sort, to target
bishops who might be "failing" to live out their
baptismal vocation in certain matters, but to ignore the
rest of us.
“Why should Bishop Robinson
alone take the heat for his family life from
‘preservers’? Surely the ‘unity’ symbolism of the
episcopate should not be elevated over basic Christian
morality as expressed in the Summary!
symbolism is pretty vague anyway.)
Shouldn't Bob and I be under attack, too - along with
the countless other lay and ordained, partnered - or
otherwise not chaste - LGBT Anglicans? Yet, not one
‘preserver’ has ever consulted us about what it might
mean to live as a gay, male family, nor has
anyone objected to us, despite our public openness ----
as far as we know. That all gay men are identical in
every aspect of their lives is nonsense, though a few
‘preservers’ are tossing around ‘certainties’ about all
sorts of stereotypical notions about gay,
theologian responded on the same wave length, noted that
Bishop Robinson has become the lightning rod on the gay
issue, and wished us well.
On matters of
faithfulness to Christian living as stated in Christ’s
Summary of the Law, we would say, that we are all
equally called, whether bishop or layperson. Somehow,
along with our hierarchy of Orders
(which should be
depicted more horizontally as distributed functions
rather than vertically as levels of importance)
we have invested bishops with greater moral
responsibility than the rest of us. There is no way that
this can be supported by Scripture.
Unplanned, a luncheon trip
(on the 25th) to Testa’s in Palm Beach provided
another local adventure. (www.testasrestaurants.com)
Great food and a balmy porch day! An internet p.m. picture:
Testa’s porch daytimes – where we sat
Impulsively the next day we drove to the Anchor Inn Lakeside
(in Lantana; a half-hour southeast) for the “early bird
special.” We arrived just before five, and all the window seats
had been previously occupied by “earlier birds.” The food was,
as always, very good. An apt description: “Nautical
themed décor on the shores of Lake Osborne serving an
imaginative seafood menu.”
from the parking lot – an unassuming building
from our table
the same view as above - from outside
On Saturday, after lunch at the Olive Garden, Rich cancelled his
subscription of many years to the New York Times. The
home delivery service had become unsatisfactory, and there
seemed to be a local indifference to that dissatisfaction. Even
the telephone 1-800 Times agent
(not in India, but a well-spoken male) was curt with regard
to the cancellation. One would think that it was money out of
his pocket! Actually, surfing Google News and similar resources
provides “all the news that is fit – and unfit – to
Comes – looking a bit proper – on his 12th birthday,
Such a pose during the same hour!
As of May 2nd a whole year passed without a hospital
admission for Rich, the first in four years free from
hospitalizations! Three cheers!
Rich learned from his Oxford University Press editor that the
publisher plans to keep the 9th edition (1995) of
Living Issues In Philosophy in print, but that a new edition
is unlikely. He commented that the core of the book is not
timebound, so its currency should not be an issue. Nice to hear
about its timeless quality! He is its only living coauthor of
the three; the book was first published in 1946! The 9th
edition is approaching its twelfth printing!
Rich contributed a thought to the blog Thinking
(http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk): “I do suspect that ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ is at
work among many of the current disputes in the
Anglican Communion and Episcopal Church. If so, all
the issues under discussion are quite secondary.
What methods, then, are workable toward
Posted by: Richard T. Nolan on Saturday, 5 May 2007 at 11:59am
He thinks that much of the vigorous opposition from
(including the U.S.A.) “preservers” is
psychological in nature – which makes for rather
fruitless attempts at rational discussions about
tender issues among Anglicans, no matter how
prayerful. Perhaps exceptionally capable
psychotherapists need to be included formally among
Two and a half hours sped by over Saturday luncheon
(5th) with our cherished friend Trish W. at a West
Palm Panera Bread eatery. (www.panerabread.com)
So much to chat about! Pictures of her granddaughters were
beautiful. In addition, the food was super!
Trish commented on the increasing adoption of children by gay
and lesbian couples – as well as arranging for biological
offspring - and asked whether we had ever considered adoption.
We replied that this seems to be a recent added dimension for
same-sex couples, begun long after our early adult years.
Rich mentioned that all couples
(straight and gay) inclined to be parents ought first to take
care of a dog for a few years, because a child deserves so much
more love and care than a pet. Too often people of all sorts are
naïve about childcare. If they cannot handle pet care, they
ought to reconsider their parental inclinations. Also, they
should ensure that they are not simply in search of some sort of
pet or activity to keep their lackluster marriage together.
He also remarked that while Bob would have made an excellent
father, he himself was too career oriented to serve well as a
parent. Bob added that Rich is likely to spoil children – as he
did to a degree with Ken.
(See “Ken” in the “Friends and More” subsite.) In any case,
both of us agreed that it had never entered our minds, and we
have no regrets about that! The dogs are more than enough!
Trish and Bob after our luncheon
Trish and Rich
While on an errand in Delray Beach
(on the 8th; about 25 miles south), we stopped for
lunch at Boston’s On The Beach eatery. (www.bostonsonthebeach.com)
From the “Upper Deck” we had a great beach view. The food was
only o.k., but the setting was terrific.
Photo taken from our table. Compared to the people, note how
huge the waves were! Radio announcements had warned swimmers and
boaters about dangerously high waves. A very few local surfers
were having a great time.
“Benny’s On The Beach” - built on the Lake Worth Pier - is
excellent for breakfast and lunch. The 2nd story
screened-in porch – with terrific three-way views - was
enjoyable at lunch (12th) even on a hot, hazy/smoky
day (from drought-related, northwestward fires). Always a
breeze! The severely (hurricane) damaged pier is still not
In addition to our lake’s turtles, fish, and an occasional
alligator, each spring we frequently find these birds
(as well as, rarely, ugly vultures) in the lake or in our
Mocking Bird – Florida state bird
young King Egret
common Cattle Egret
Anhinga – swimming and airing; they dive under
The restaurants we mention are not paying us an advertising fee!
We are including them as one type of our activities and as
samples of the rather amazing assortment of restaurants
(from Palm Beach’s Breakers, Café
Boulud, and the Ritz-Carlton to nearby Wendy’s and the like)
all within a half hour’s drive of our home – three only five
minutes away (Applebee’s, Wendy’s, KFC).
Our first luncheon visit to the “Earl of Sandwich”
resulted (15th) from an online discount coupon
found on the website of the Wellington Green (mall). (www.shopwellingtongreen.com)
One sandwich was free! Very good, too!
Rich commented online in the Palm Beach Post
(15th) death of Jerry Falwell:
By Richard T. Nolan
May 16, 2007 6:40 AM
How can one comment appropriately upon the death of
someone who embodied a perversion of the heart and
mind of Christianity?
After Rich’s annual, lengthy eye exam
(18th), on impulse we drove west for ten minutes
favorite Olive Garden restaurant. Two chicken parmigiana
The East side of the house has developed nicely.
Applebee’s, in the adjacent River Bridge Shopping Plaza, is a
convenient spot for an unhurried lunch (19th).
interior from our window booth
After driving friend Stephen R. to the Fort Lauderdale airport
mid-day (22nd), we stopped for luncheon at the
Seawatch Restaurant (www.seawatchfl.com)
in Pompano Beach.
Sea Watch Combination:
Florida Mahi-Mahi, scallops, shrimp in a garlic herb and white
Orange Roughy -
a New Zealand white fish, sautéed with dill Chardonnay sauce
window light at Bob’s back prevented taking a picture head on.
Rich freezes somewhat when a picture is to be taken, so Bob says
from our table
bronze knickknack in the family room
As we were
backing out of the garage on our way to lunch at TooJay’s in the
Wellington Mall (26th), we stopped to snap a picture
of a King Egret on our front lawn. Amazingly tame!
After lunch we walked by the nearby hair salon and saw Mori, who
has been dealing with our hair for many years.
windy morning on the 27th
Happy 70th Birthday to
(on Sunday the 27th)! After a leisurely morning
with a light breakfast, a splendid noon brunch at Café Boulud
was on the agenda. (www.thebraziliancourt.com)
As we were being seated, Rich mentioned to the host,
and then to our server, that this was Bob 70th
birthday. Rich’s birthday in a couple of days was mentioned
offered to take our picture.
Both of us
ordered an incredible Belgian waffle with cooked bananas and
pecans plus bacon.
Surprisingly our desserts were served with “Happy Birthday”
written in chocolate plus a lighted birthday “candle.”
Bob had a bread pudding. Notice the chocolate “Happy Birthday”!
Rich had a fruit variety.
In the early
evening at home we enjoyed some cake – with plenty left for
Rich’s Wednesday birthday.
We recalled our first milestone
birthday together – the big 21 -
(though we’re unsure whose it was) at the Red Coach Grill on
the Berlin Turnpike near Trinity College. We were delighted to
find its picture – from a post card on a website.
We were both on the faculty of
(CT) for our 30th.
We suspect that we celebrated at Valle’s Steak House in
Hartford, a favorite haunt in those days. On EBay we found the
familiar menu from the exact Valle’s.
Our 40th was
celebrated first at our St. Paul’s Church
(Bantam, CT) with a number of Rich’s relatives on hand for
the Service and coffee hour - and right afterwards at our home
in Bristol; Bob’s parents had died by that time. We are not sure
about the 50th – it could have been low key at home;
we generally avoid travel on holiday weekends. For the 60th
we were living in our present home, and Rich’s mother (who
had diabetes, a heart condition, and Alzheimer’s) lived with
us. Given those circumstances, we most likely celebrated quietly
On Memorial Day
(28th) we enjoyed
dinner at Margot’s home; a terrific spread, birthday cake for us
both, and much conversation with her, David B., and Herb S. –
all St. Andrew’s friends. While we were there, Richard D. called
from his university; it was good to hear his voice and briefly
catch up. The following day Jo and Ann (neighbors across the
street) hosted us for a birthday luncheon at Legal Seafood –
dependably a fine time with friends as well as great food!
Our next door
(eastside) neighbors’ son an executive at the regional
Ritz-Carlton and told Bob about his newly refurbished hotel and
one of its new, casual dress, restaurants “Temple Orange.”
On Rich’s birthday (30th) we headed there for
a noon luncheon. The staff could not have been more courteous
and helpful. As at the Café Boulud on Sunday, we were delighted
with surprise desserts.
Staff and patrons joined in nicely singing “Happy Birthday!”
pool and ocean
view from our table
a sitting area
In the evening we indulged in
more of our birthday cake and then froze the rest for the near
Bringing May to a close (31st) included
roundtrip transportation for friend Carl H. for a medical test.
70th birthday vase made for us at Canterbury Pottery,
inscription: Bob and Rich 70, May 27 and 30, 2007
SOME CANDID THOUGHTS AT 70
Most of us are a bit reflective at the arrival of each decade’s
birthday from age 30 onward, and we are no exception. For us,
our 70th birthdays on May 27
(Bob) and May 30 (Rich) have been especially stirring
and thought provoking.
For most of our lives the
challenges have been many, but – even unknowingly – from our
early youth onward we met them as opportunities to create
suitable involvements – despite early puzzlements about same-sex
attractions. In any case, along the way we avoided a defensive
seclusion. As adults, we were “out” selectively until our
Florida retirement, and during these latter years unrestricted
and publicly so. Our choice! Our information to give!
We were privileged to fulfill our high school ambitions in
service professions – both as fulltime teachers, Rich
additionally as an ordained minister. As it happens, both of us
are “cradle Episcopalians” and grew from our juvenile acolyte
(Rich beginning at age 8, Bob a year or so later) into
part-time lay and ordained, adult ministries in various settings.
(Rich was wary of any fulltime church positions that might prove
incompatible with our home life.)
We now live with profound thankfulness that we have had these
51+ years together sharing our dreams that became realities. As
a couple, we continue to evolve – now with age-related, medical
challenges and understandable apprehensions.
In very recent years, we do less individually, with the
exception of Bob’s almost weekly Sunday nights out at a nearby
(where between 6:30 and 8:30 he chats mostly with other seniors
he has come to know) and his occasional attendance at auto
shows. Not driving much anymore for reasons of health, Rich goes
almost nowhere on his own – a marked contrast to five years ago.
Rooster’s – one of West Palm’s gay bars – site of frequent
evening Sunday visits.
(risking the appearance of haughtiness) it has been our
independent, unyielding perseverance that has, in large part,
brought us to this day. We have been determined that neither
church nor state would disrupt our life together, nor would
pressures to conform to others’ expectations (gay or
otherwise) control our lives. Our reserve and strategies in
some personal and professional settings were not monumental
sacrifices; discretion was not overly burdensome – in fact,
quite humorous at times. Furthermore, we have been excessively
beholden to no one (and no one to us) – which has allowed
for various mutually unencumbered, genuine friendships with
many, diverse folks over the years.
To be sure, individuals and couples should not have to undertake
extraordinary planning. However, careful preparations for
various stages of life are still required, at least minimally,
of many societal “outsiders.” Otherwise, Good Friday-like
victimhood could well be invited. A fair question: could either
of us have carried through with our lives single-handedly and
remained truly sound and professionally able? We certainly doubt
it! We admit to, and celebrate, our interdependence. Even so, we
highly respect individuals who have been able to thrive as
Consequently, in retrospect, we are not cavalier about the
serendipitous decades of our youth that nudged us both toward
(in 1955) and an unfolding self-acceptance, self-realization,
and solid, mutual commitment. At 70 we have spent about 73% of
our lives in a maturing spousal bond. Our relationship has
provided us with incredible grounding for the evolution of who
we are and what we do. We are mindful of the great wealth, in
terms of our companionship, that we have been fortunate to
Both of us are appreciative of our very rewarding professional
involvements. Prominence and monetary wealth were never among
our goals; we simply sought and experienced livelihoods
compatible with our family life – which emerged as our chief
priority. Always living within our financial means, we have
never truly struggled financially – although during our early
years, funds were tight. By and large, both of us financed our
(Upon our parents’ deaths, Bob inherited modestly, and Rich,
nothing; his mother died on Medicaid – without her funds being
manipulated in any way to our advantage. In fact, unknown to
her, we somewhat subsidized her for many years.)
We suspect that many other individuals and families, unknown
people like ourselves, have also had fulfilling lives. We
realize, too, that many have lived in quiet desperation, even
tragically, through no fault of their own. However, there are
also the “injustice collectors” who appear to court unhappiness.
United States (as part of the United Nations) and
South Korea vs. North Korea and Communist China
United States and South Vietnam vs. North Vietnam
The chart above may help convey where we were in terms of the
draft – a major interruption of many a citizen’s relationships
and chosen pathway. During our college years
(1955-59) and immediately afterwards, exemptions to the draft
seemed to us as somewhat routine.
The Korean war predated our college years. Vietnam came
afterwards – when we were ages 23–38, eligible for the draft,
but “deferred” owing to occupational status.
The 1957 Russian launching of Sputnik caused a panic in American
public education, and Bob was a mathematics teacher also able to
teach physics. Many superintendents of schools
(including Bob’s) asked the Selective Service for exemption
of the very scarce science and math teachers, and Bob’s was
among those was granted.
While Rich was in college, he became a postulant for Holy
Orders, then a seminarian
(1959), and finally an ordained minister (1963); he
was classified draft exempt as “2D” and then “4D.”
In that draftees were normally about 18–26, without exemptions
we could have been conscripted, especially during our 23–26
period. Fortunately our professional circumstances took
priority, thanks to the Selective Service’s policies.
Nonetheless, we have always been empathetic toward those couples
separated by wartime obligations – as well as with single men
and women involuntarily shoved into battle. In terms of normal
family life, how terrible that must have been then – and now!
Back to more recent times. Our retirement has been exceptional.
For several years our target for withdrawing from fulltime
employment had been our mid-50s. We were not wed to our jobs.
Utilizing an unexpected, briefly offered, early retirement
opportunity for State of Connecticut employees 55 and older,
Rich officially retired (as planned at 55) from his
fulltime teaching post - 15 years ago on July 1, 1992. (He
continued some teaching here and there on an adjunct basis for
another decade - in addition to non-stipendiary church service
right through the present.)
Bob fully retired
(using a different State/Town early retirement plan) at the
conclusion of the 1993-4 school year. In terms of benefits, both
plans are excellent. Unfortunately for later retirees, the State
of Connecticut modified retirement benefits more than once after
we had resigned.
The only glitch is that, given the limited arrangements in the
early 1990s, when one of us dies, his state retirement
compensation and Social Security die, too.
There are no spousal benefits.
We have planned for that reality, and the survivor will be all
right financially. Nonetheless, it is another poignant reminder
that our life together lacks the equal benefits of legal
marriage – an injustice that will eventually be eliminated for
On the bright side, it has been wonderful to have had
self-paced, retirement time together since 1994, as of now,
thirteen years. True, for a decade medical challenges have been
(especially for Rich); but, we are still here together and
well enough to take considerable pleasure in most days.
Given the times, we are only peripherally involved in the
quarrels within the Episcopal Church and broader Anglican
Communion. Despite our stated willingness to be of service at
the diocesan level – or beyond - in these matters, we have never
been called upon. Whether we are effectively witnessing as a
same-sex family, we have no idea. Nonetheless, very able people
– including our Presiding Bishop – are constructively immersed
in the global Anglican struggle between “preservers” and
We are pleased that in recent years we have been included in the
regional activities of Integrity-Palm Beach (www.IntegrityPalmBeach.org),
Lambda Legal (www.lambdalegal.org),
and the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (www.pbchrc.org).
Effective prophetic ministries function both within and outside
of religious bodies.
At this elder moment in time, we are in no way soured, status
quo individuals clinging to fantasies of “the way it used to
be.” Change is normal for human cultures, but not all
change involves commendable qualities. Inasmuch as elder folk of
each generation comment negatively on their own culture’s
directions, we realize that as aging men, we might be
experiencing some similar reactions. Even so, we do not think
that we would rant without cause.
Despite our grievances
(below), we celebrate the technological and biomedical
dimensions that include some wonderful advances benefiting so
many, including ourselves. As well, we take satisfaction in the
slow but sure embrace of human diversity – at least in some
Western cultures. We are proud of the Episcopal Church’s
continuing, pioneering progress toward full inclusivity – and
our unwillingness as a Church to surrender to foreign prelates
and misplaced renegades within our American Church.
Furthermore, although we are dismayed by current political
realities right to the White House, we certainly prefer to live
in our imperfect nation than any other! In short, we are not men
who sulk unless our Utopia is reached.
(We are very mindful that the Greek foundation of utopia
is “no place” or a “place that does not exist.”)
What's more, we trust fully that the sovereign Will of the
Creator shall be done in God’s own time; in this sense,
we are incurable optimists. With regard to the immediate future,
though, we fluctuate between pessimism and optimism – while
confident in the ultimate fulfillment of God’s intentions for
humanity. We accept the necessary tensions between cynicism and
hopefulness for those of us who experience human existence as
evolving, as being “in process” toward God’s fully established
For a few moments, however, please bear with this one
extended lament – topics which deserves clarification
and justification beyond our purposes here. As older
people often do, we regret many aspects of current
global and local life.
We regret that a significant degree of conflict
seems to be the anticipated norm in most human
relations, circumstances so absolutely different
from our life together and the homes in which we
Where we disagree, we either compromise or agree to
We are saddened by the evolution of spoken and
("Me and him went on a date." "I aksed a question.")
Have norms of sentence structure, grammar, and
spelling been set aside as a result of indifference
and political correctness? Is slang now
equivalent to standard English? Are errors
acceptable as “dialects”?
We are repelled by our culture of meanness - so
clearly noticeable in the ongoing decline of
In that vein, we regret the preoccupying cultural
fascination with (and addiction to) gruesome media
and violent behavior.
All the more important to develop a haven of
mutual affection for oneself and one’s family, while
being responsive prudently and charitably to the way
things are outside one’s sanctuary!
We deplore the refusal of so many to accept
realistic responsibility for their overall
In this regard, religious fatalism includes certain
forms of “prayer” that leave practically everything
in God’s hands and thereby reduces believers to
indecisive and passive victims. “Providence” is not
a cosmic puppeteer.
We are more than critical of those who resent all
achievement, as if every straightforward
accomplishment were somehow inherently and
We are alarmed by the extent to which the
environment is in need of rehabilitation and
We cringe at the global lack of effective family
planning; emotionally and/or financially unprepared
individuals continue mindless breeding – a form of
unintentional child abuse.
We reject the many presumptions of entitlement
pervading American ways of life, an unrecognized
factor among wealthy, pedigreed people as well as
We deplore the cultural epidemic of inefficient,
shoddy workmanship and service.
We abhor the toxicity and corruption of so much
within political, business, and ecclesiastical
We reject entertaining gadgetry and performances
that pervade both “enrichment” curricula and
We are terribly disappointed in Episcopal Church
worship with its increasing ceremonial affectations
(all “justified” theologically and historically)
that drag out liturgies. (Many brief essays
about these issues are available within
Furthermore, we are concerned with the degree to which
many clergy and laity are trumpeting claims of private
divine revelations or definitive “calls” and messages
from God (or Saints) as well as their growing
preoccupation with New Age-like superficialities.
This strikes us as radically individualistic,
unverifiable by others, self-serving, and delusional –
with no positive benefit to Christian communities of
suspect that the
“sanctification of their own desires” (an apt
turn of phrase offered by author-priest Barbara Brown
Taylor) is at work in most of this holyspeak. A British
priest, scholar, and writer
recently commented in London’s Church Times on
many current “spiritual” experiences as “an empty form
of free-floating flatulence.” Indeed!
Additionally, “magic thinking”
seems to have entered the realm of prayer,
wherein many Christians appear to be using prayer as
naïve incantations and as a vent for fervent wishful
thinking. “Pray without ceasing …” (1 Thessalonians 5:17
pertaining to the priority of prayer) has been morphed
into random, self-indulgent chatter.
As well, the marketing of “peasant religion” seems to
be on the rise. Given the idiocies promoted by too
many religious groups, how will caring, thoughtful, and
informed people ever discover and connect effectively
with hard-to-find, emotionally stable, credible,
In actuality many religious functionaries are walking
tragedies - sometimes emotionally masochistic, often
posing as Christian “servants,” yet are utterly devoid
of healthy human relationships; most utilize
sanctimonious club language – all so very unlike Jesus.
Finally, the imbalanced emphasis on “good works” is
giving subordinate places to what the Church can provide
uniquely: worship, religious education, and pastoral
care. Humanitarian outreach can be carried on,
usually more competently, by all sorts of secular
agencies. Our unique ministries have suffered
immeasurably in quality, and Christianity is
misunderstood primarily as social ethics – one
important element of pastoral care.
We enthusiastically denounce the many self-anointed,
ever grinning/scowling, moral guardians
who seem dedicated to sucking the joy out of
responsible, enjoyable dimensions of contemporary
(“If it’s truly pleasurable, it must be sinful.”
“Self-denial is the be all and end all of the
Christian life.”) Likewise, we loathe the
radical, un-American, religious-political right that
thrives on distortions, outright lies, contrived
fears, and their own mounting hypocrisy.
We are embarrassed for those men and women – and
children – who tastelessly bare their souls on
television with Dr. Phil, Oprah, Springer et al.,
and also for individuals who desperately battle in
banal “reality” television programs.
Have they no sense of privacy or personal dignity?
We pity those who seek their identity, worth, and
fulfillment by means of public record setting with
reckless, often vulgar, behaviors.
Why would anyone want to be known as a record holder
(soon to be outdone) for stuffing themselves with
hot dogs? How can anyone be proud of climbing a
perilous mountain “because it’s there” – especially
when their family is dependent upon them emotionally
and/or financially? (These are inane American
values!) Such people are running on empty.
We are concerned that trendy
extremes of “globalization” will obliterate
people’s sense of a genuine, local “neighborhood”
and its well-deserved attention.
Although we are not isolationists, we do think that
an exaggerated sense of responsibility prevails
among many who wish to do good at a distance
while overlooking service to local neighbors –
and sometimes to their own families. Appeals to
quantum physics and John Donne’s tolling bell to
justify a simplistic oneness of all humanity are
naive and misleading.
appropriate personal boundaries elude many such
folks in several areas of their lives.
In an odd version of “Franciscanism” many
well-meaning humanitarians neglect appropriately
balanced self-love; they too often try to love
everyone on the planet equally while loving almost
no one (including themselves) personally,
individually, and nearby.
Unlimited “servanthood” – a word thrown around with
thin meanings – needs another look, in case the
deserving person(s) at hand are disregarded.
We are skeptical about the degree to which federal
space programs siphon funds from urgent earthly
uses, such as environmental rehabilitation and
further enabling assistance to deserving poor
We dislike and scoff at the meaninglessness of
particular words used to suggest a significant bond
or homogeneity among some individuals, especially
someone seen infrequently at work or that has been
met on one occasion), “family” (e.g.,
the Microsoft, Harvard, Anglican, NBC-TV-viewers,
and human “family”), “neighbor” (e.g.,
everyone in a region or even all humanity),
“community” (e.g., the gay, white, or
human “community”). Faux togetherness,
pseudo-intimacy, and a wide-ranging vagueness have
blurred any sense of legitimate
An overlooked reality by many an organization
(including the Church) is that loyal participants
vary considerably in their relationship to the
association. For example, even some
clergy experience the parish church as one of a
number of significant communities in their lives –
but not as their “family.” Quite often, clergy and
lay leaders assume that all ordained people (and lay
members) are, or want to be, a “family.” Not so!
Similarly, the workplace is “family” for some and
not so for others.
We are appalled at the all-pervading cultural
influence of celebrity and transient
fashion/cosmetics. Despite their respective
excesses, absurdities, and idolatrous implications,
they flourish commercially and are even
highlighted during “news” telecasts!
We are alarmed by self-inflicted health problems in
the United States and elsewhere.
Many occurrences of sexually transmitted diseases
(some fatal), degrees of obesity, frenzied paces of
living (often exhibited by self-anointed, exhausted
crusaders), destructive interpersonal relationships,
substance abuse, etc. continue to wreak havoc among
individuals and their families. At the very least,
this self-neglect is escalating medical insurance
rates for us all.
We are always surprised with each step downwards
with regard to public manners.
Admittedly changeable, good
manners express significant regard for others and
lessen pressures of collective living; courteous
behavior recognizes the right of others to share
Continuous shrieking by children in restaurants or
elsewhere (as permitted by paralyzed adults on
hand), needlessly loud music and voices, instant
familiarity (using first names indiscriminately),
frequent interruptions during conversations, and
coarse language are, for us,
unwelcome changes. Dreadful public manners represent
a self-centered, low regard for others.
We are horrified by the extent to which destructive,
ruthless competition has infected so many areas of
Unlike instances of constructive competitiveness in
business, informal sports, etc., winning at all
costs has become an absolute American virtue. Almost
all human activities have become occasions of
competition rather than cooperation.
Because of Rich’s out of the blue, emergency
hospitalizations, our reluctance to venture beyond
the Broward – Palm Beach Counties region is
reinforced. As registered “domestic partners” in
Palm Beach County, we are legally protected for
access to each other in hospitals within our County,
as well as in Broward. In all other parts of Florida
and the nation, we are legally strangers to each
other; therefore, in medical emergencies we could be
denied mutual access. Such enforced separations are
more routine than one might realize. Nothing could
be more cruel!
Consider the Florida regions and states we would
have to go through, if we were to drive as far as
New England! Genuinely supported human “diversity”
is quite limited.
We are saddened by the continuing dumbing down of
the United States population, which as a whole seems
to cater to prevailing bottom-of-the-barrel
benchmarks. Our civilization has set aside the
virtues of initiative, perseverance,
conscientiousness, excellence, personal initiative
and responsibility, and genuine achievement - along
with fundamental polish and grace.
one a snob or politically incorrect for prizing
reasonable degrees of refinement attainable by all?)
Regardless of these many deficiencies, and fortified by the
indispensable sentiments of the
“Serenity Prayer,” we are enormously grateful to be living so
well at this time in history.
(We have known of too many well-intentioned individuals who
elect to bounce inconsequentially from one cause to another;
they eventually suffer from “Samaritan burnout” and never
experience that “peace which the world cannot give.”) If it
is true that a “successful” individual is one who has
touched some others’ lives with love, and has graciously
loving touch, then we have been sufficiently successful.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I
cannot change; courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
– The Serenity
However, although contented SOUL MATES, we realize that
inevitable, momentous challenges remain ahead!
After the Saturday, June 2nd (Eve of Trinity Sunday)
Rich was the celebrant and preacher, Bob the
(photo taken by Vance in the St. Andrew’s Chapel)
Note next picture and its caption.
During the 1954 summer orientation program at Tabor Academy,
Rich made this sterling silver pectoral cross in the crafts
studio. (Perhaps he had teenage aspirations for the episcopate!)
Never worn while ordained, he vested with it (2nd)
for the first time as a result of Bob’s birthday present: the
sterling chain Bob had custom made by “David Yurman” through the
Bailey Banks and Biddle jewelry store in the Wellington
Mall. In the sacristy immediately before the June 2nd
6 p.m. Service, Bob privately put the 53-year- old cross on him
– another church-related, touching moment for us.
Late last month
Rich received a copy of the “clean” results of his recent,
updated background check required by the Diocese of Connecticut.
Both insurance driven and as continuing, partial accountability
of clergy who are in professional contact with parishioners
retired, minimally active, and living outside CT), his
diocese compelled all its clergy to have this 2007 check-up. A
non-Church, specialized agency investigates and reports each
individual’s recent residence addresses and national records of
any criminal or sex offences. Curiously, there is no financial
dimension to the investigation; one would think that it would be
wise to include an Equifax credit score, which could signal
caution about those who might be “budget challenged” and thereby
become negatively affected (e.g., via stress
impacting professional life). He wishes that each one’s
practice of ministry were also held accountable! (www.philosophy-religion.org/criticism/accountability.htm)
Many parish clergy
– along with other human service workers (e.g.,
teachers, social workers, etc.) put in enormous hours of work
(resulting in detrimental self-neglect), but at the
bottom of it may be an exaggerated sense of self-importance and
poor personal time management skills.
One of the highly reliable blogs re the Episcopal
Church is “Fr. Jake Stops the World”
Although not a “blogger,” Rich wrote (within
the June 8th discussion of TIME’s
article about the Archbishop of Canterbury):
"Just a footnote. Am 70 with iffy elderhealth
problems; ordained since 1963; partnered since 1955
(the week we met as college freshmen); formally out
in the 1980s to my CT bishop (but willingly
transparent well before that); currently retired
honorary canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Hartford;
celebrated our 50th anniversary at a public liturgy
at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; and so on.
I assume that Bishop Robinson & his partner as well
as Bob & I (plus the innumerable other partnered
LGBT Episcopalians in all orders of ministry) try to
live out gracefully the same Baptism and the same
"Summary of the Law" declared by Christ. Within that
context, would it serve any purpose for all gay
couples (able to do so) in all orders of ministry
throughout the Episcopal Church, to request our PB
to include us all by name as eligible "targets" -
now apparently limited to the episcopal order?
Bishop Robinson should not be the sole target for
"preservers" – just because he is an honest
Although there was one gracious response pertaining
to our years together, there was no reply to Rich’s
suggestion. He suspects that our church and state
cultures assume that “higher ups” must be “more
moral” than those “below” them, in order to be
examples, etc. This does not seem to be consistent
with Christ’s “one size fits all” Summary of the
Law. We do seem to adore caste systems, whether
secular or ecclesiastical.
Both of us
just realized that, now 70, we may refuse jury duty. Because
of back/neck issues, Bob has not had to serve. While working
in CT at multiple jobs, Rich was excused. However, in
Florida he has been called a couple of times, but never
ended up with a court case. On one of the recent jury
selection days, he was excused at the request of both
lawyers in a civil case. When the judge had asked for
comments or questions after the case was introduced, Rich
said that during the preliminary presentations, he heard
quite a bit about prevailing, winning or the like, but
nothing about discovering the truth of the matter. Both
lawyers scribbled away, looked at each other, and sent Rich
on his way. J
A return lunch at the Earl of Sandwich (9th); the
tables on the left are our favorite spot! A great idea: five
noisy, pre-teens allowed by the adults with them to run and
shriek were taken within the restaurant to an enclosed game
room with tables/chairs for their meal. One other child
seated very near us with his mother was wonderfully behaved
– once in a while a moment of high volume, but that is fine.
It was funny, in a way; the other group included two 6’5”
obese male jocks – looking like brothers - in their late
thirties plus one seemingly overwhelmed, slight woman the
same age who, with the men, seemed to be at the mercy of the
five boisterous kids.
(photo by parishioner John Robuck)
After the Service
(during which we
sat together in the congregation), the June (9th)
gathering of Integrity-Palm Beach was terrific! Herb Steer’s
90th birthday (actually later in the month) was
celebrated with British food (honoring his origins),
a bag piper [whose routine was similar to festivities at
Balmoral Castle (for a time Herb was a valet to King George
VI)], birthday trifles made by Margot, and the dedication
in Herb’s name of a fountain affixed to an exterior wall
near the parish hall entrances. Herb’s partner of several
decades died a number of years ago, and eventually St.
Andrew’s became Herb’s genuine family. In 2006 he was
honored by the Bishop with a Lay Ministry Award for his
service to St. Andrew’s Church.
Herb and Fr. Paul at the Dedication of the
Herbert Steer Fountain
(photo by parishioner John Robuck)
(photo by parishioner John Robuck)
A morning post-breakfast ritual – the
uncombed “elbow dog” (and similarly groomed Rich) receives a
hug and a pat.
Flag Day – on a breezeless morning
A Saturday (16th) lunch visit –
with $20 discount coupon in hand!
Bamboo Club (photo somewhat blurred)
On the weekend we both (unexpectedly) disposed of
piles of accumulated photographs. Those that we kept will be
reviewed sometime for the website or discarded. While Bob
was out on Sunday evening, Rich filled additional, black,
lawn/leaf bags with files of old sermons, addresses to
various groups, and resources (dating back to the ‘60s
and by and large filed according to the liturgical calendar).
This was somewhat reminiscent of the trashing of all of the
audio cassette tapes of all of his courses’ lectures after
he retired in 1992; this was different, though, in that we
will not hear the truck’s compactor crunching all the
A Letter in The Living Church – June 17, 2007
I write in response to "Three Bishops Confront
[TLC, June 10].
At 70, I am among the many clergy facing common,
elderhealth issues. All of mine afflicted my late
parents. I have never been a health fanatic.
However, since my heart attack five years ago, I
have been especially aware of what appear to be
chosen maladies among many fellow clergy - including
various degrees of obesity.
In "The Chronicle Review" of the weekly
Chronicle of Higher Education
(March 11, 2005), biology Professor J. David
McDonald wrote, "While I'm not prepared to say that
current Christians exhibit greater levels of obesity
than the general population (whose levels are
reportedly at all-time highs), they certainly do not
seem to exhibit lower ones. It has long struck me as
perverse that so many sermons rail against the
deadly sins of lust and hatred, but when was the
last time you were on the receiving end of a
detailed admonition against the deadly sin of
gluttony? The next one I hear will be the first one
I've ever heard."
Excessive alcohol use could rightly be included,
Might we add to the Church's visible agenda our
health as lay and ordained individuals? This need
not be a mean-spirited attack, but an inspiration to
consider the many dimensions of our overall
well-being - including diseases that are
self-inflicted (knowingly or not).
(The Rev. Canon) Richard T. Nolan, Lake Worth, Fla.
With a blue sky above and yesterday’s rain helping to cover
the drought induced sandy shore, one of “our” (now foot
long) turtles we launched twelve years ago swims by (19th)
while giving us a look in the family room window! We can’t
tell whether (s)he is content! There are at least five
turtles (four our contributions from pet stores) in Egret
In an exceptionally calm lake the next morning a two-foot
grass carp came by. We have seen some close to 4 feet.
Occasionally at the center of the lake a fin will emerge
above the surface and appear as a small shark!
Well after Bob
drove neighbors Ann and Jo to the airport at 6 a.m.
we headed out to do some errands and have lunch in Boynton
Our inside pictures came out poorly. Eyes closed; blurred
picture -shaky hands? Oh, well…...
Site of the Annual Stonewall Dinner and Ball – June 23. The
Harriet Himmel Gilman Theater is located
in the heart of “CityPlace,” West Palm Beach.
The cranes looming above the building and half-way up
(to the left) are two of a
half dozen construction projects in the immediate area.
From the Compass website: “The Stonewall Ball is one of the
largest events in Palm Beach County connecting the gay and
lesbian community to their elected and appointed officials …
The fourth annual gala, which benefits Compass, pays tribute
to national and local achievements of the modern day equal
rights movement.” Compass is the 5th largest such
organization in the nation and is about to move into much
larger facilities in Lake Worth, quite near St. Andrew’s.
announced dress for the somewhat pricey, fund raising
dinner/dance was an apparent choice between pirate-related
outfits or black tie. We would feel silly in the former
you ever seen a 70-year-old pirate?), and we do not do
black tie. Our decades-seasoned, neat and clean suits
were quite sufficient. However, with just a touch of
unseemly pretentiousness, Rich did
use his elegant chrome handled, black cane! As it turned
out, a variety of outfits ranged from evening tuxedo with
tails to sports jacket/tie to all sorts of pirates’ costumes
(a few rather
expensively made for the occasion). Regional politicians
and event sponsors as well as straight,
lesbian, transgender (hard to spot), and bisexual
(impossible to spot) women and men from late teens to at
least one 80 year-old (woman) made up the enormously
Dinner was served to well over 200 on the
3-sided second floor overlooking the dance floor.
Mike Zewe addresses the gathering. We sat in the upper tier
to Mike’s left.
photo by Charlie Frederickson
were privileged to be seated at Compass’s interim director
Scott Fox’s table with his lively partner
Aaron (see photo below),
Scott’s parents, and four (gay) businessmen from the region.
The hors d’oeuvres were scrumptious, among them excellent
quality lamb chops, toasted ham and cheese “sandwichettes,”
and coconut coated fried shrimp. Our chosen-in-advance
entrée included slices of roast pork, and dessert
Rich had to forgo).
unusual desert was an open hard chocolate treasure chest
with mousse, candy jewels and a chocolate doubloon inside.
It rested on a beach of crushed graham crackers and an ocean
of blue sauce. A white chocolate shell on the beach
completed the fantasy!
photo by Charlie Frederickson
Scott’s father Tom was on Rich’s right, and they chatted
about many things, including Tom’s future retirement only a
couple of years away. On Bob’s left was a delightful,
up-beat guy in his 50s - a fine conversationalist - funeral
director. Aaron, dressed as a dapper, youthful pirate, was
often the center of attention – with his boundless energy
and humor. The usual dinner addresses were pertinent and
Flash bulbs in our direction were more frequent than ever
before, with a dozen or so individuals
(including the press) routinely and respectfully
asking permission prior to picture taking. We joked to each
other about being a dinosaur exhibit! Yet again we were
touched by some warm, private, sometimes quite emotional,
the outset some slow music with a live vocalist and an
instrumentalist gave us the opportunity to slow-dance as
Rich clutched his cane behind Bob’s back. The presence of
about 20 dancing couples was a good hint to prolong this
initial musical mood – a real treat for us. When the more
lively music began, we took seats at the edge of the dance
floor, but as the night wore on, we inconspicuously braved a
few faster dances from our past – Rich’s cane laid aside.
Mixed with our nostalgic merriment was Rich’s difficulty in
maintaining balance; too, his oversized diabetic shoes felt
like cement blocks! Bob, however, imported our past
fast-dancing years in style!
before the dance floor was crowded
photo by Charlie Frederickson
Later in the evening, when the Latin rhythms dominated, the
Spanish guys and gals
origins in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Columbia, and so on)
combined as a concert of movements that only they have
mastered. They embodied the happiness and grace of their
cultures’ dance styles. Through all the music,
though, Aaron participated
superbly and tirelessly!
photo by Charlie Frederickson
Both chuckling, Young Bob held Old Rich up somewhat
photo by Lea Bennett - www.leabphotography.com
standing l-r: Scott (Aaron’s
partner), Mike, and Joseph
seated: an unidentified pirate
photo by Lea Bennett - www.leabphotography.com
We went on our way about 10
(really late for us) and enjoyed a restful sleep - yet
weary for all of Sunday.
Emailed from Compass after the Weekend
Thanks for making a difference in your community at the sixth
annual Stonewall Ball!
Compass extends a special thank you to everyone who made The
Stonewall Ball the most successful yet. More than
300 people were at the Harriet in CityPlace on
Saturday in support of Compass.
Among those in attendance were Palm Beach County Tax Collector
Anne Gannon, Representative Susan Bucher, Senator
Dave Aronberg, West Palm Beach City Commissioners
Bill Moss and Molly Douglas, Supervisor of Elections
Dr. Arthur Anderson, School Board of PBC's Paulette
Burdick, and representatives from the offices of
Congressman Ron Klein and Representative Maria
We also congratulate Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon
on receiving Compass' Plakas Leadership Award.
The next day
(Sunday the 24th) an email went off to
our parish priest and Integrity convener:
“With Compass moving into Lake Worth soon - not too
far from St. Andrew's - it would seem to me that
some sort of connection between both could be
mutually beneficial - although I have no specifics
“Again this year, very few St. Andrew's people were
at the annual event held last night.
“This year only Terry and Michael were on hand.
Although a bit pricey
($150 per person for the dinner and dance), the
dance alone was only $35. A real age spread from a
relatively few youth to 80 among the
straight/gay/lesbian/bisexual (I assume) and
transgender (hard to spot) attendees.
“Bob and I were, as usual, more than well treated in
every way. We are Compass supporters beyond the
annual occasion - though not any more at many other
“Prophetic ministry is often carried out most effectively by
secular agencies, and we believe that Compass is one
of them - along with Lambda Legal.
“I just have a gnawing sense that somehow the Church
ought to be visibly partnered with such agencies -
without necessarily expecting a rush to join the
parish. The distrust of mainstream religious bodies
is high, but perhaps in a few centuries trust could
be established if somehow we were visibly, mutually
appreciative of what we each can offer uniquely.
“But Bob and I are too dense to figure out how!”
MONDAY WAS TOO BUSY - UNEXPECTEDLY!
Free from medical consultations for about three months, Rich
underwent a routine blood test early on Monday morning. The
receptionist referred to Bob as Rich’s son – not the
first time this has happened in medical offices! Is the
difference between our aging processes THAT noticeable?
Ironically, Bob is the older – by three days!
Also on Monday our very large 2003 Maytag refrigerator broke
down – as it did a couple of years ago. Bought through
Sears, its upscale Sears warrantee did not result in repairs
for a week! So much for Maytag’s
exaggerated reliability! So much for Sears’ alleged
dependability! In response to an emailed appeal to
Sears for a quicker response for medical reasons, Sears
responded with, “Service is scheduled according to our
service availability in your area. At this time, we do not
have the technician availability to schedule a sooner
service date than what was originally suggested. We
apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Additionally, at 8 p.m. Bob discovered that the air
conditioner’s drain system was emptying into the garage!
Another call for service – promised for the next afternoon.
Not a Sears policy, for sure!
The negligence by Sears
prompted Bob to make a 9 p.m. visit to
Lowe’s – where he bought a
small freezer and a small, supplementary refrigerator;
Lowe’s delivered – via very helpful delivery personnel – at
8 a.m. Tuesday. Now that is service!
wondered when that legendary third “glitch” would hit. Would
Rich be off to the hospital again? Car repair? Or the worst
a computer breakdown?
apparent third, or at least in that vein, arrived by email
late Monday night. His children wrote that The Rev. Charles
C. Perroncel, D.Min., had died unexpectedly on June 14th.
On pages 116f. of SOUL MATES, this mention of
“Chuck is a psychotherapist, a U.C.C. minister. He and
his wife and children attended St. Paul’s for a few
years. When he was exploring the possibilities of
worshiping at St. Paul’s, I talked with him about my own
family life. I wasn’t sure where he was on sexuality,
and I certainly didn’t want him to enter parish life and
then discover that I was psychologically repulsive to
him. His reaction was just the opposite; he was very
affirming. As time went on, the ‘fit’ between Chuck and
the Episcopal Church wasn’t sufficient enough. Many of
the Church’s procedures were too limiting. Nonetheless,
it was he who enabled me to begin to disclose my life
with Bob carefully to selected parishioners. I think
that he and his wife were the first adults in any parish
with whom I deliberately shared our supposed secret.”
are so pleased that a few years ago we reconnected with
Chuck via many emails, and in one had shared with Chuck our
affectionate gratitude for his positive impact on our lives
and Rich’s ministry. He was one of the most complex persons
we have ever known.
More received on Monday:
Message to All Alumni
June 25, 2007
Dear Fellow Alumni:
I am very pleased to inform you that Assistant Head Master Lynne
Mooney Teta '86 has been appointed as the 28th head
master of Boston Latin School. Michael Contompasis
'57, Boston Public Schools superintendent, made the
announcement at the farewell tribute for Head Master
Cornelia A. Kelley H'44.
We were fortunate to have Lynne return to Alma Mater in the fall
of 2004 to join the school's leadership team as an
assistant head master whose duties included general
administration, academics, the supervision and
evaluation of faculty, student support and external
partnerships. Prior to that, she served in
administrative positions in the Needham, Dedham and
Belmont public schools systems. Lynne began her
teaching career in 1990 in Belmont and also served
as an English and social studies teacher for The
Steppingstone Foundation. She holds a bachelor of
arts degree from Harvard University and a master's
degree from the Harvard Graduate School of
Education, with a concentration in Administration,
Planning and Social Policy.
This is a momentous appointment which I believe bodes well for
the future of BLS, its students and the broader
community. Your Boston Latin School Association is
looking forward to working with Lynne in her new
role which will be effective July 1.
I will keep you posted on this important transition in the months
David S. Weiner '59, President
very much look forward to meeting the new Head Master next
February at the annual Latin School alumni gathering in Palm
THAT’S IT FOR
saw the early Lowes’ delivery mentioned above and an
afternoon repair of the air conditioner. Given the necessary
visitors, a more ordinary day!
In the evening
a most warm and affectionately reminiscing email to both of
us arrived from Nate, Chuck Perroncel’s son - picture
included. We had forgotten that Bob had tutored Nate in
algebra and that Rich had taken Nate for a ride in our
sporty Camaro for some serious pastoring. How incredibly
gratifying to know that we are remembered so fondly!
Nate and Liz. Nate’s professional website is
We have realized
that someone did not follow through
and Rich was not contacted to schedule a June “Computed
Tomography Angiography (CTA).” Some relatively unpleasant
health explorations may be just around the corner – but not
until July. Fingers crossed. [CTA is at
Bob resumes a series of regular medical check-ups, too. We
have had three great medical-free months!
Recently we have watched some films that illustrate
the wide-ranging anxieties, deprivations, and
miseries in which multitudes of people have been
(and are) demeaned, impoverished, and/or
emotionally imprisoned. Internationally they
encompass men, women, and children of all sexual
orientations as well as varied cultural and societal
circumstances. One’s heart goes out to them!
Other than supporting various organizations that
seek justice and
(enabling) assistance for many casualties, there seem to be
little or no genuinely effective ways of being an
onsite contributor to any significant solutions. Now
and then, an opportunity for personal, truly
practical, suitable, local outreach comes along, and
one offers what one appropriately can ... and not as
if from a lofty perch.
Certainly, others like ourselves, whose lives are
rather untroubled, should not feel indifferently
toward innocent, victimized human beings.
The ubiquitous con artists and “professional
victims” are a different matter; they refuse genuine
assistance. Nevertheless, given their state of
affairs, one at least cringes for them. Likewise,
one feels for those individuals and cultures whose
beliefs and policies are self-defeating.
The “Serenity Prayer” comes into play again.
Herb’s actual 90th birthday. We had planned to
take him to the Café Boulud for a birthday luncheon, but he
called in the morning to say that he just wasn’t up to it
healthwise. Another time!
heavy rains on Friday, sirens could be easily heard. While
Tenno watched from his recliner, two ambulance helicopters
arrived noisily at the nearby field to rescue accident
victims. This seems to occur about monthly. The need for two
helicopters was unusual. Note that the lake level has come
up significantly following the prolonged drought.
photo from our family room window
6 p.m. church, while Mayra carried on excellently with her
weekly housekeeping, we lunched at the Cheesecake Factory, a
25-minute drive to CityPlace in the heart of downtown West
Palm Beach. We both ordered the “Chicken Salad Sandwich -
Housemade with Roasted Almonds, Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo.
Served on Grilled Brioche Bread”
The exterior appears odd to us, as if vertical plywood
sheets had been hammered on five locations, because of a
storm or vandalism!
One of the unusual ceiling decorations at the Cheesecake
Factory. The server told us very politely that
management prefers that no pictures be taken; instead, one
ought to dine there, in order to see firsthand its
uniqueness. Of all the pretentious policies; an eatery is
not exactly a museum! (Rich did get a dig in about the
“plywood” look outside.) Anyway, other pictures would be
difficult for us to take, because of the high barriers among
the sitting areas. We have been there several times over the
years, and the food has always been superb.
Nevertheless we did find this representative picture among
the hundreds on the Internet!
June 12th Rich wrote to The Living
Church, an independent, national weekly
(somewhat conservative) magazine of news and
articles related to the Episcopal Church; he
inquired about placing an ad. Timed to precede
September’s meeting of the House of Bishops, the
proposed ad would be run in the first four issues
dated in September 2007. A standard, modest size,
block ad would include:
Perhaps Very Different From What You Think!
"SOUL MATES: More than Partners"
concluded his inquiry with, “As you'll see if you
inspect the website, it's ‘family friendly.’”
Despite three follow-up emails to specific magazine
staff members, there was no acknowledgment or answer
by the end of June. If the staff believed that the
not inexpensive) was unsuitable, the honorable
thing to do would be to say so – or at least
acknowledge receipt of the multiple inquiries.
Censorship? Third-rate business practices? We’ll see
what July brings.
month ended well with worship at St. Andrew’s and afterwards
some tv watching and a good night’s sleep.