I was living out along the beach in San Francisco. My brother, just younger than I, was in town on a tour of duty with the Navy. He came by the apartment to visit. I didn’t know whether he would accept me, but I figured that he would accept me if he was willing to come by and visit. He showed up in his Navy white dress uniform. He was a blond-haired, blue-eyed man in his late 30’s, early 40’s. My roommate went nuts. I was my roommate’s type, but my younger brother even more so. But, my brother took it all in stride, and there was no problem. We had a good visit, and I was on the way to coming out to each of my four brothers. This was the same brother who used to help pick up my toys and hand them to me when I couldn’t see them. We were a year apart, and we went through scouts together. We finished our last years of graduate school together. He was always the natural leader, and I was always the scholar. I have to tell another story about him. When Thom (whom you will read about later) and I moved to Palm Springs, this brother came out to visit again, as he was moving to nearby Riverside. He wanted to go out for the evening, but failed to ask us to recommend a bar. He wound up at one of the most infamous gay bars in town, Daddy Warbucks, home of naked wrestling and drag shows every Sunday afternoon. He came home and told us all about it. He realized it was a gay bar, but it didn’t bother him. Gay bars are fun, and even straights have a good time there.
A year after this, I found out through the grapevine that my youngest brother was gay. He is 13 years younger than me, so we were almost from two different families. Once on a trip back to Portland, I phoned ahead and told him I wanted to drop by and introduce my new boyfriend. I didn’t think he’d have a problem with this, but, when I came by to see him, he wasn’t home and wouldn’t answer the phone. We never made contact until about 10 years later. By then, his life had stabilized somewhat and he was in a relationship. Thom and I came for the commitment ceremony, and I hoped this would be the start of a good dialog with him. But, he hasn’t wanted to communicate much over the years, and I don’t know why. I know there is an age gap, but at our age now, that shouldn’t be much of a barrier.
My third brother is a very talented artist and photographer living in New Jersey. He is married to a woman who is a top executive at a large drug company. They are both very liberal new age types, and have sent us various letters of love and support. My family has never been that cohesive. We see each other at weddings and funerals and the occasional family reunion, and we brothers get together and have a great time together. We say we want to get together and do this again, but we never do. Next year is my mom’s 90th birthday, and we are planning a huge family celebration.
I have been in a relationship with my partner, Thom, for 27 years. I haven’t discussed him yet, but he is a respected member of my family and is planning on coming to my mother’s celebration this year.
Thom has been doing extensive genealogy research for his family and my family over the years. He is in better touch with my long lost relatives through ancestry.com than I am. My fourth brother and the last one to be mentioned is a conservative, active Mormon. He built an apartment for my mom in his house, and they live across the street from the chapel in a very Mormon neighborhood in Provo. He has always been nice to Thom and me. I think he realizes that being together for 27 years says a lot for our stability, and he is accepting Thom in our family, but more importantly, he is accepting us as a couple in our family. When he saw all the research that Thom has been doing, he suggested that we accept Thom as an “honorary brother” in our family. You can’t get any better than that. All of us boys take after our father. People say we have the “Crane charm”, and also my dad’s weird sense of humor. This particular brother is the funniest of all.