~~June 2, 2014~~
A few weeks ago, I was asked by the founder of “We are 1 Voice” to join their efforts and participate as the Lesbian Senior Voice.
If you are familiar with this awesome blog, you are aware that there are many voices represented. To be asked to be one of these VOICES is an honor. I consider myself lucky to be able to participate with these incredible group of bloggers. So many different voices, each one representing a segment of our society. Each voice speaks about the issues that are particular to the group they are representing.
I must say that I started blogging a little more than one year ago, precisely one month after I retired from a full professional career in the medical field. I didn’t know what I was getting into but, after the initial “push” and motivation from a very dear friend, I have learned along the way. For me it has been an eye-opening endeavor. One that I am enjoying terribly. I’ve made new friends and I have connections all over the world. The ease with which we can contact others still amazes me. The sharing of information, education, stories, cultures, ideas, pictures is incredible.
I want to introduce myself to those who visit this “spot” before I actually start posting information related to the issues that the “senior lesbians” are faced with on a day to day basis.
So, here goes …..
I was born in July 1950, (hence the senior voice), in a tropical island in the Caribbean …. Puerto Rico.
I lived most of my young life in the San Juan area, the metro area. San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico.
I was born into a Catholic family consisting of four members, my parents and an older brother.
~This is me at 5 years old with my Mom and Dad~
I went to a private, Catholic school, run by American priests and nuns, from kindergarten to high school. The religious beliefs and the American way were ingrained in my mind and my brain throughout that time and remained with me for quite a long time.
When I graduated from high school, I was admitted to a private, Catholic university in the city of Ponce. This, at the time, was the second largest city of the island and is located in the south of Puerto Rico. The main reason for enrolling in this university was to stay away from the political unrest at the time which was taking place at the government run university. This university was very close to my parents’ home where I grew up yet my parents made the decision of sending me to another town.
Looking back, I bless the day that my parents made the decision to send me there for my further education. Traveling time from my home to Ponce was around 4 hours, driving straight through the central mountain range. I remember the two lane, curvy, precipices on the side of your lane roads.
I started college in 1968.
I transitioned easily from my parents’ house to a campus dormitory for girls run by nuns.
Many things happened there initially. It was a well known, comfortable environment for me since it was very similar to the educational environment that I grew up in. Things went smoothly until the fall of 1969.
It was then that a new student arrived at the dormitory where I was staying. She was an exchange student from Baltimore who had been born in the town of Aibonito in Puerto Rico. Her mother and siblings had moved to the USA in 1963.
As it turned out, Maryjane was the first true, emotional connection that I felt. I knew all along that I was “different” but I didn’t have a name for it. Given the time in history and the Catholic background that I grew up with, what I was feeling was “wrong”.
Needless to say, Maryjane and I became very close. Ours was a very special, close relationship. We were soul mates. It never progressed beyond the initial stages when all is rose-colored. Even when it was happening, neither one of us had a name for it. We knew we wanted to be together and started making plans for our future.
~~This is me and my first love … Maryjane~~
It is so interesting how life changes. According to John Lennon, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
Maryjane returned to Baltimore when her year was up. We stayed in touch through snail mail, telephone calls and several visits.
(Remember, at the time there was no email, cell phones, Skype, Twitter, WhatsUp. We did it the old fashioned way).
Anyway, as my graduation approached, in 1972, life got in the way.
Maryjane couldn’t make it because she was getting married and a child was on the way.
That was the end of that then.
~~This is me …. photoshopped, of course. Feeling like Ellen~~
As life went on, each one went our own, chosen way.
I finally had a name for my feelings … I was gay!
What a liberating realization. Yet, it was going to be difficult …. Catholic, a woman in a Latin country, early 70’s, entering a field dominated by men.
I started medical school in 1972. Completed my degree in 1976 and started my specialty … Internal Medicine. I completed my specialty in 1979 and it was the time to enter the ranks of the working people.
It wasn’t until 1985 that I started working with the Department of Veterans Affairs known then as the Veterans Administration.
I started working in an out patient clinic in the town of Mayaguez. This was the third largest town in the Island, at the time, located on the west coast.
~~This is me …. while working with the VA in Mayaguez~~
I settled into my personal and working life with ease. By this time, I’d had a few partners and I had no doubt of my sexual orientation. I was gay … no doubt.
As time went by, I had reconnected with Maryjane as a friend. It wasn’t until the summer of 1996 that we had a second meeting in person.
I traveled to Orlando, Florida, to a fitness convention.
We met … and we knew. We had “lost” each other once and it wasn’t happening again.
She divorced her husband of 24 years and I ended a relationship of 17 years for us to be finally together.
~~LIFE CAME FULL CIRCLE~~
What had started in 1969, was picked up in 1996 as if time had been at a standstill.
We have been together every since.
When you count, it began in 1969.
Reunited in 1996 … to present time … 18 years!!
… 45 years altogether …
~~Maryjane and me …. Apopka, Florida … circa 1996~~
~~Maryjane and me …. Apopka, Florida … circa 2005~~
Maryjane moved to Puerto Rico to settle with me in March 1997. We remained in the Island until November 1999 when I transferred to Jacksonville, Florida. I started working at the VA Out Patient Clinic there.
By 2006, we moved to Apopka to be near the family that had started to grow. The grandkids started arriving.
By this time, I had transferred to the Leesburg VA Community Based Out Patient Clinic.
~~Maryjane and me … and the grandkids. One is missing. He was a surprise.~~
~We have four: The Bug, Blondie, Con-Man and Buddy~
My intention, in writing this, is to introduce myself to the readers and visitors of the “Voice of the Senior Lesbian”.
~~In the words of the founder~~
“Our intention is to give people voices. Many voices becoming one song. Love, understanding and compassion. Our goal is setting up work programs and helping these most affected by violence to have careers, a safe place to lay their head at night and inner peace. We ask when you come to the blog to do it with an open heart and open mind. The thing most genuine about this blog is every single person that blogs does so from first hand experience with the topic they are blogging about. They are part of the group they are representing.
It is an amazing project and we hope you find as much education and support here as we can gather.
Thank you to all my current bloggers for being part of the bigger picture and helping to make the world a better, more loving place.”
~~Susan Gutierrez, Founder~~
You can find me here at …. https://lgbtseniorvoice.wordpress.com/
You can also find me here: MEDICAL CORNER …. http://weare1voicemedicalcorner.wordpress.com/
~~From my personal blog~~
“I want to offer any knowledge that I have to anyone “out there” who is interested. My views are liberal in almost every sense. My knowledge is “eclectic” – a bit of everything. Music and reading are my passion. Blogging has also become a very interesting endeavor. Metaphysical topics attract me. I’m interested in news – reporting human issues like injustice, discrimination and abuse – the “wrongly” affected. My intention is to bring this knowledge to an understandable level and to help anyone in need. I’m open to questions and will answer them to the best of my ability. “
~It Is What It Is, the blog~
And you can also find me here:
~It Is What It Is, Dr. Rex …. on Facebook~
I leave you, for now, with this wonderful message. Something that I firmly believe in.
We ALL are ONE!!
I hope that you like it.
~~We are One-Namaste~~
~Uploaded on Aug 26, 2010~
You are one with all that is.