Thirties

Thirties (10)

Friday, 23 October 2015 19:28

1985- Trip to Hawaii (Oahu)

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I know it was in 1985 that I went to Hawaii for the first, and so far, my only trip to Hawaii. Milton was supposed to come with me. We had talked about a trip to Hawaii and he was going to come. We had only been together a couple of years or a few years at that time and we kept all of our finances separate as we would continue to do through most of our lives together. He was working in housekeeping at Holiday Inn. He had finished the program to become a Licensed Psychiatric Technician about the same time that I finished my program to become a Registered Nurse. He took the California State Board for Psychiatric Technicians and like many people, did not pass it on the first try. He decided that he hated the idea of working in psychiatry and wanted to continue his less stressful and less financially beneficial job at Holiday Inn. He was not able to come up with the money for the trip to Hawaii, so I was left to go by myself. 

I had never been to Hawaii before. I bought a low cost package from Pleasant Hawaii Vacations. My room was just a few blocks from the beach. I was quite satisfied with the accommodations. I was shocked by the humidity as it hit me in my face as I de-boarded the airplane. I had never encountered that kind of humidity before and it took me a little time to adjust to it. 

I think it was the second day after my arrival that I came across an offer of a free rental car in exchange for attending one of those time share condo presentations. I had never attended one before so I had no clue what I was in for. It never occurred to me that it would be as bad an experience as it was! By the end of the presentation, I told them that I didn't care anymore about the free car, I just wanted to know how to get out of the building!! It was an extreme high pressure kind of sales with multiple salesman coming at you pushing you to sign a contract. I just don't respond well to high pressure sales. I finally did escape and did get the car for several days and was able to tour the island. 

 

hawaii1hawaii2Balcony of my hotel room

 

hawaii3View of Ala Wai Canal from my hotel room

 

hawaii5Sea World Dolphin show.

 

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hawaii7hawaii8hawaii9Byodo-In Temple

Saturday, 13 June 2015 01:25

1984- 33rd Birthday

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Milton and I had been together for a couple of years by this time, living on Waller Street. He is cooking something at the beginning of this video. Then it cuts to a birthday cake that looks like it probably came from the original Just Desserts, when they had their store on Church Street. They made an incredible raspberry-walnut-carrot cake. 

 

 

Sunday, 31 May 2015 20:48

1988- MIdnight Caller

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waller8Midnight Caller was a t.v. drama that aired from 1988-1991, starring Gay Cole as Jack Killian, that took place in San Francisco. Gary Cole's character had been a former San Francisco police detective and was now working as a talk show host.

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I don't think Milton and I even watched it initially. I think the first time in came into my consciousness was when my old friend, 

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Junko, called and asked if I could take some pics for her to submit to the casting department for the television series. The way I remember it is that she was somewhere downtown San Francisco, where they were filming the series and she spoke with someone that gave her the contact information for "extras." I took some pics of her but also decided to submit my own pics. As it turned out, I don't think Junko ever followed through but I was in two episodes. In one episode, I played an FBI agent as an "extra" which means no lines. In the other episode, I played a doctor as an "extra," also with no lines. It was fun to be in the two episodes but minimal pay and unpleasant conditions. You had to show up at the location for shooting very early in the morning. You would sit around most of the day. I remember being very cold at one location. 

I really don't remember the names of the episodes I was in but here is a video of clippings from the one in which I played the FBI agent. I have never seen the episode where I played a doctor. I think it is possible that the episode in which I played a doctor might have been a controversial episode of the time, called "After it Happened," in which a bisexual man with AIDS intentionally infects a straight woman. 

 

sylvanwaller9

 

Monday, 25 May 2015 10:00

1980- Word, Sound and Power

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In 1980 I was still working at Saint Francis Hospital 4-East, a locked adult psychiatric unit in San Francisco. One of the nurses I worked with was named Judith and she knew about my interest in film making. She was dating a filmmaker named Jerry Stein. She told me about a movie that he was making about Reggae. He had shot a lot of sixteen millimeter film in Jamaica and was preparing to edit it. I volunteered to help with the caveat that I would get a screen credit. 

When I arrived at the editing suite, there were pieces of film hanging everywhere. My job was to take all these pieces of film and edit them together physically with tape for that purpose. I would trim the end of one piece of film and butt it up next to the next piece and then take them together. It was tedious but I enjoyed the process as I was always interested in anything having to do with film making, photography and later video. It was great experience and I appreciated the opportunity to participate in putting the movie together. I did get my credit but misspelled! 

The movie had it's premiere at The Castro theater and Milton and I attended. It was much fun.

Judith and Jerry were very into the whole reggae scene and were always listening to reggae when I was with them. I never really got into it to that level. Occasionally I have heard reggae songs that I like but have never been to a reggae concert and don't follow reggae music.

After the film project was finished, I only saw Jerry a couple of times while he was still with Judith. Over the years I lost contact with Judith as well. The last I heard, she had moved to Oregon. 

 

 

Friday, 22 May 2015 20:06

1985- Graduation from Nursing School

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citycollegenursingclasspic85croppedMy class- I am in second row, 4th from the right.

When I had been living in San Francisco in my late teens, I remember being destitute and walking around San Francisco with only 25 cents to my name. I ate at the "missions" sometimes where you would get soup and a sermon. There were a couple of times that I was desperate enough for a few dollars that I would sell my body for a few bucks to eat. I would go to the unemployment office but could only get sporadic, temporary, minimum wage jobs. On one of those visits, I saw a flyer about a training program that would pay you while you attend classes to become a Licensed Psychiatric Technician. It wasn't long after Kenny had drank drano and killed himself and immediately after Jim Archiquette sent me and Louise suicide notes, that I fled back to Washington State. I worked for my dad at the Brunswick in Toppenish until my mom called or sent a letter to ask if I wanted to come to Upland to participate in a vocation program to become a Licensed Psychiatric Technician. I jumped at the opportunity, feeling like it might be my last opportunity to do something to get on my feet and finally have some independence and security. nursegraduationSecond row, fourth from right

After the year long program, I passed the California State board and got my license to work as a Licensed Psychiatric Technician. I had missed San Francisco so much during that year of Southern California suburban freeways. I would spend my weekends driving an hour to West Hollywood where there was a gay community and went to the bars and baths there but it was not the same as San Francisco at all. Gay people in San Francisco had seemed like an extension of the Haight Ashbury hippies, while the gay scene in West Hollywood seemed scattered and plastic by comparison. I returned to San Francisco as soon as I could. 

I lived in the hotel over the Rainbow Cattle Company at the corner of Valencia and Duboce streets. I had a $10/week room with a bathroom down the hall and everyone on my floor shared a kitchen and a pay phone. I went out to all the hospitals in the area that had psychiatric units and even hitchhiked down to Agnew's State Hospital, about an hour South of San Francisco, which would eventually become the campus for Sun Microsystems. Then, one day, someone came to get me in my room to say that I had a call on the pay phone. It was Saint Francis Hospital. 

Initially, when I first started working at Saint Francis, I would tuck my long pony tail, which went to the middle of my back, up under a synthetic short haired wig. I think I had purchased it at Macy's with Louise one day. I can not fathom why Macy's would have been selling short haired wigs at the time but it looked real enough that I could pass as someone much more conservative. The Director of Nursing at Saint Francis at the time, Doris Weber, was very conservative. I wore that short haired wig for the first six months or so that I worked at Saint Francis. 

Since I was 6'4" and male, I was often called upon to manage out of control patients. Registered Nurses were the ones that were in charge and the ones who gave out the assignments and that would direct the activities of the staff. It often felt like I was put into tenuous situations by the R.N.'s. They seemed to have all the power. I wanted some of that. 

I started taking pre-requisites at City College of San Francisco and it wasn't long until I had accumulated quite a few credits. It was difficult but I was determined to get through these classes. I had been derailed too many times by drama in my late teens and twenties and I was determined not to be derailed again. Along the way, I met Ron Greene. 

JPEG 0462Ron Greene with his Honda in the backgroundRon was gay and around the same as me but almost entirely bald. He was outgoing and friendly while I was more shy and reticent. Ron initiated our friendship and it was very lucky for me that he did. I had never had the best study skills and had never been one to create study groups. Ron had great study skills and had no problem pulling others into study groups. I really don't know that I would have ever made it through the pre-requisites and nursing school without Ron. When it came to cutting up a frog in Biology, Ron took the knife. I took notes. When it came to handling cadavers in Anatomy, Ron would pull them out of storage. I would observe. JPEG 0467Ron Greene- my study buddy

It was the early eighties and gay men had been dying in droves from AIDS. In some of our clinical rotations, we were giving care to those dying of the disease. There were many times that I thought I couldn't do something and then it turned out I could. I always hated needles and giving shots but I had learned to do that as a Psychiatric Technician. Now, there were many other things that were extremely difficult to do that would raise my anxiety, but I found I could overcome my anxiety and actually do these things that seemed so impossible. One night before I clinical rotation where I knew I would have to, I couldn't imagine myself giving stoma care for a patients colostomy. Yet, the next day when confronted with the situation, I was able to step up and do what was necessary. We really are capable of so much more than many of us think!!

We had some great instructors at San Francisco City College. Down through the years, I would hear the misnomer "two year nurse." The fact is, there is no such thing as far as I have ever been able to find. The real fact is that most four year nursing programs include most of the general education courses and the pre-requisites in their "four years." There are some higher level courses of course, but generally geared toward management. For front line nursing, there is no more rigorous a program than what City College offered. The "two year" nursing program was on top of two years of pre-requisites. 

On either a summer break or a semester break, as we approached the last semesters of the nursing program, Ron took a vacation to Mexico. He came back sick, complaining of open sewers that drained onto the beaches of Acapulco. He had also traveled on buses into remote regions of Mexico and had drank the water. He received treatment but just seemed to get sicker and sicker. Finally, he was diagnosed with AIDS and would never return to the nursing program. He would die at the V.A. hospital in San Francisco shortly before the rest of us graduated. I owe so much to him but he continued to give and left me his old car, which Milton and i continued to drive for another year or so after that. 

 

Saturday, 09 May 2015 21:02

1989- Earthquake!

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I was working as a Registered Nurse at Western Psychiatric Center within Saint Francisco Memorial Hospital in San Francisco the evening of October 17, 1989. At that time, WPC was divided into a locked unit and an open unit. I believe I must have been working on the open unit that evening. I remember being in the open unit's "day room" where some of the patients were watching a baseball game at Candlestick Park. Suddenly there was a strong jolt that shook everything that lasted only a second. The lights went out briefly and elevator alarms started going off. It was not entirely clear at first what had happened other than it must have been an earthquake.

I believe Saint Francis must have been built on some bedrock as there was very little shaking. Soon we would discover that this had actually been a major earthquake and there had been extensive damage in the rest of San Francisco. Part of the East Bay double decker Nimitz Freeway, the Cypress Street Viaduct on Interstate 880 in West Oakland had collapsed and 42 people were killed. This would come to be known as the "Loma Prieta Earthquake, named after a peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains which was close to the epicenter. Ultimately there would be 63 deaths and 3,757 injuries.

I tried calling Milton and got through on that first call and told him to call my mom and let her know we were alright. He told me there was damage in our flat and the computer monitor we had at the time fell over into a chair. I tried calling again after that but by that time, the lines were jammed and I couldn't get through. 

The patients on the psych unit remained calm. I was asked to evaluate a woman that had come to the Emergency Room from one of the hotels downtown. She had been emotionally upset but was not injured. 

I wasn't sure for a few hours whether I would be allowed to go home at the end of my shift. In emergency situations, nurses and other medical persons are expected to come in to work or stay at work if they are already there. By 11:30 that night, things on Western Psychiatric Center were under control and was using emergency generators for electricity. I was eager to get home to see if Milton was okay. 

I had ridden by scooter to work that day and driving home was eerie. All of the street lights and traffic lights were off. There was very little traffic and everyone was driving cautiously. The streets were eerily dark. When I arrived home, Milton was fine but was shaken. We had quite a bit of damage in the Waller Street flat. There were cracks in the plaster in the kitchen and living room but nothing structurally. 

We made a bed at the top of the staircase that led from the front door to our second floor flat. We tried to sleep but the aftershocks kept us awake. We were surprised when the phone rang since it had been out previously. The call was from Peter and Allen in England. They had seen footage of the fires in San Francisco's Marina district which made it appear that all of San Francisco was burning. Milton and I were not even aware of the fires at that time as there was no t.v. and we didn't have a transistor radio either. After a while, we decided our best option was to throw some clothes in the car and head to Sacramento. 

Since the Bay Bridge was closed due to damage, we headed out of The City across the Golden Gate bridge. Milton looked back toward The City as we crossed the bridge and could see The Marina District still burning. We would spend the next couple of nights in Sacramento. 

 

earthquake1Pic from internet

 

earthquake2Pic from internet

 

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Saturday, 28 March 2015 20:17

1980's- AIDS- Death and Dying

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I think that many of us that lived in San Francisco during the eighties will remember that decade as the decade of AIDS and seeing many of our friends pass away. NYT AIDS

The seventies had been an incredible party for gay men in San Francisco. The sexual revolution for both gay and straight people had started in the 1960's. "The pill" had allowed women to take control of procreation in a way they had never been able to in the past. This liberated both women and men from anxieties about pregnancy. Antibiotics had made sexually transmitted diseases more of a nuisance than a worry and many considered diseases like gonorrhea about as bad as a mild cold. There would be some irritation or discharge from the urethra and sometimes pain with urination that let us know something was amiss.

There were multiple bathhouses and sex clubs throughout San Francisco. It was called "the gay mecca." Gay men were everywhere in The City but especially in the Polk Street area, The Castro Street area and the Folsom Street area. Each of those areas was teeming with gay bars and gay businesses including bars, sex clubs, peepshows and bathhouses. There were "glory holes" in many public restrooms throughout San Francisco and you could walk into almost any park after dark for sex. Sixty minutes did an expose of gay promiscuity and focused on Buena Vista Park in The Haight/Ashbury neighborhood but Lafayette Park and Alamo Square were almost as busy. Anonymous, no strings attached promiscuity was the norm. Hardly a day would go by without at least one new sexual partner but several new sex partners in a day was not unusual. Sex had become a recreational pastime. It was everywhere. By the end of the decade, many of us had hundreds, if not thousands of gay partners. 

Most of us made frequent visits to the V.D. clinic, (called the City Clinic), for testing. A cotton swab culture of the urethra or a urine test would confirm either gonorrhea or "non-specific urethritis." I was told years later that at that time, the test for chlamydia had not been developed so a lot of the "non-specific urethritis" was actually chlamydia. The City Clinic was full of hot young men and sometimes you could meet your next sexual partner here before you even got done with your testing. Nobody was that concerned about a little "clap." 

If one had been a bottom, you were asked to spread your cheeks so a swab could be taken of the rectal area. Often you would be ordered antibiotics whether you were positive or negative as rectal gonorrhea was harder to confirm. After the swabs were done, you would then get some blood drawn to check you for syphilis. I don't think I had even heard of herpes until the very late seventies and it was something that was not tested for at the time. 

At first in the seventies, STD's just seemed innocuous but then gradually started getting more complicated as the decade progressed. There was an epidemic of amoebas, parasites, giardia and shigella at one point. At that time, I was seeing a straight physician. I had been having mild diarrhea for about a month and the straight doctor I was seeing had no clue what was the underlying cause. Finally, I went to see Dr. Paul Isakson in San Francisco, who was located in The Castro and had a primarily gay practice. He was pretty sure what the underlying cause was because he was aware of the current epidemic and sent me to the University of California in San Francisco's "tropical disease" department to get my stools tested. Sure enough, the cultures for ova and parasites came back positive and I was treated. 

Amoebas and parasites were being transmitted through feces. Gay men were especially prone due to anal sex and sex practices such as "rimming." Most of us were young and naive and didn't know the consequences of some of our actions. As we experienced new diseases, many of us began modifying some of our behaviors and sexual practices. 

In 1974 I had contracted hepatitis b and was in the hospital for a couple of weeks. Apparently it had been contracted through body fluids but it didn't impress me as something that should curtail my sexual proclivities. My understanding was that I was now immune to future bouts of hepatitis b so one less thing to worry about. I recovered fully and became involved in the City Clinic study which would eventually lead to the hepatitis b vaccine that is available today. 

Around 1980 my mom sent me an article about something called "gay cancer." A lot of us wondered if this was some ruse by the media the scare gay men. Then we started seeing friends with mysterious lesions. People were not sure if it was connected with sexual activity or something else. Poppers were one of the possibly culprits discussed. Poppers are an inhalant used at the time by most gay men and many heterosexuals during sex but also used on the dance floor. You inhaled some from a small bottle or other devices made specifically for this purpose and you would get a rush of excitement and energy through your body. The smell was familiar to anyone that went to a sex club or dance club during the seventies. 

The first person I knew that died of AIDS was a guy I worked with named Paul. He had contracted an unusual type of pneumonia, called pneumocystis. Within a few weeks of his calling in sick at work, he was dead from what was called "gay pneumonia" at the time. 

Mysterious illnesses were everywhere very quickly. The Bay Area Reporter, a local gay newspaper that had been heavy on sex ads, now published obituaries of the men dying in droves. 

By 1984, San Francisco's Public Health Director ordered 14 bathhouses and sex clubs catering to gay men to close. By this time, scientists still didn't understand the disease that was killing gay men and more and more rapid rate but it was obvious that there was some connection to gay activity. Since 1981, there had been 723 cases of AIDS reported. 

Rock Hudson, a famous leading man in Hollywood, was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984. He had lost a lot of weight and looked sick and gaunt when he appeared with Doris Day, an actress with whom he had starred in several movies, at her press conference. On October 2, 1985, Rock Hudson's death from AIDS shocked the world and rocked the gay community in San Francisco. 

It was about this time that many in the gay community began using condoms and practicing what was being called "safer sex." Poppers disappeared from dance floors. Sex clubs were closed and safer sex was less sex and fearful sex. A lot of us were reading Kubler-Ross' "On Death and Dying" and books by Louise Hay which seemed to tell the dying that they could "heal their lives' through meditation. Of course, the HIV virus didn't care about anything like meditation and ultimately nothing would be able to stop it for years to come.

My ex-boyfriend's, John and Stanley were both diagnosed in the eighties. Both were dead by the 90's. 

I was still working as a Licensed Psychiatric Technician on the psychiatric unit at Saint Francis Hospital and going to San Francisco City College to become a Registered Nurse. I was living with Milton on Waller Street and he was also going to City College too. 

The first patient I dealt with that had AIDS was when I was still in nursing school with our clinical rotation at the Veteran's Administration hospital in San Francisco. The patient had Kaposi's Sarcoma, which was what had initially been called "gay cancer" at the beginning of the epidemic. He was very sick and in isolation. It was pretty well established by this time that you could not catch HIV or AIDS from touching patients. Many had insisted on wearing gloves when doing any care of an AIDS patient but now we knew that wasn't always necessary and only impeded physical contact. Housekeeping at the V.A. apparently refused to clean his room out of fear of the disease. Besides caring for this early AIDS patient as a student nurse, it also fell on me to do what should have been the hospital's housekeeping department. I cleaned the room. I gave him a bed bath and a massage which was typical care for a student nurse to do. I washed his lesions and made pleasant conversation.

My best friend in nursing school was Ron Green. He was outgoing and friendly where I was more aloof and shy. He got me involved with other students at school and always made me part of his study groups. I don't think that I would have ever got through nursing school if it hadn't been for Ron. During the summer break, he had gone to Mexico and had fallen ill during his visit to Acapulco. Upon return, he continued to be sick and was eventually diagnosed with AIDS before our final semester. He would die at the same V.A. hospital where I had experienced my first AIDS patient as a nursing student. 

 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015 21:22

1982-1994 Computers to MacNursing

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In 1982, computers disguised as game machines were just starting to become a consumer product. Atari was popular for it's games like Donkey Kong and Pac Man. The Commodore 64 was also becoming popular. I bought an Atari but was more interested in it's word processing capabilities than I was the games. The games didn't hold my interest very long at all. I have never understood why one would think it was an accomplishment to win a game when the same energy could be applied to some real accomplishment in life.

As I was going through nursing school, I was becoming more interested in the early computers. A new company named Apple, with it's founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had released their revolutionary computer called the Apple II and IBM soon came out with their personal computer which quickly became the standard of the time. By this time, I was following computer development in the news and news magazines related to their development and getting on line with the first on line service called Compuserve. I had grown tired of the Atari's limitations and was interested in something more powerful. I remember reading in a magazine about something new that was coming out from Apple, which they called Macintosh. first mac

The early IBM PC's were not really "user friendly" at all. Everything was done by typing in arcane commands on a command line in something called DOS which had been created by a young company called Microsoft and it's founder Bill Gates. This was fine for business users but not really much fun. The new Macintosh that was coming out was the first computer for consumers that would use a graphic user interface, (GUI), and something called a "mouse." Instead of typing in codes, one just clicked on little pictures called "icons." You could do everything on a Macintosh that you could do on a PC but in addition to the word processing and spreadsheets, you could also do something new called desktop publishing. The Macintosh had enormously more appeal for artists and other creative types as well. It was the computer for "the rest of us." It was released with the iconic George Orwellian 1984 Super Bowl commercial. Computing would never be the same. 

At about this same time, in my nursing program, we wanna-be nurses were learning how to write "care plans." A care plan is a document that describes a patients problems and the goals for those problems and the interventions to reach those goals. It is a kind of roadmap of patient care for the bedside nurse. While we were studying how to write care plans in my classes, we were having a hard time keeping the same kind of documents updated at my job on 4-East at Saint Francis Hospital. Patients would get admitted and the nurse would sometimes do all the paperwork involved in the admission except for the care plan or the care plan was written quickly and often incomplete. The Joint Commission on Accredidation of Hospitals were emphasizing care plans about that same time and so the managers at my job were nagging staff to write better care plans and keep them updated.

I got tired of hearing management nagging the staff to do care plans without coming up with any realistic plan or means for getting them done and I figured out a way to write some standardized care plan templates that one could just use a copy machine to copy onto our forms. Although this technique for doing care plans was a big time saver and staff and management loved the idea, the problem with that was that the care plans were not specific to the patient and could not be easily editable. This caught my imagination and in a staff meeting one day with our medical director, Dr. Anderson, I suggested that we could "computerize" care plans.

I explained that from what I had been reading about computers and something called databases, care plans would be a great project for computerization. Dr. Anderson seemed intrigued by the idea. I let him know that the Macintosh was supposed to be something that anyone could use. He encouraged me and actually got funding for a new Macintosh computer. There was a little confusion as to ownership initially as he had also told one of the Social Workers, who had their office elsewhere that she could use the Macintosh. Once the computer had been purchased, I felt like it was my responsibility to see that it warranted the outlay of funds which came to about three thousand dollars if I remember correctly and I saw to it that it stayed on the psychiatric unit where the entire nursing staff would have access to it rather than just one Social Worker.

When the Macintosh arrived, I was excited by the graphical user interface. The screen was only about nine inches and black and white but it used something new for computers, called icons, to navigate through commands. I read everything I could find in my spare time about using the machine and searched for software that would help me do care plans. Almost every day that I could, I would clock out after my shift and then stay on the unit to work on the Macintosh.

At first, I just tried putting the same standardized care plans I had written earlier into a word processing program. The problem was that we were using pre-printed forms and it was difficult to get the text to line-up on the pre-printed forms. The only solution in my mind was to actually put the pre-printed forms onto the computer. One of the programs I experimented with early on and which worked well initially was Filemaker. The forms could be put into the database and the nurse could select a standardized care plan but they were still not able to customize it completely. Eventually I read about a new relational database program called 4th Dimension made by a company called ACIUS. I could create separate databases that would relate to one another. I could creaate a database of nursing problems that could merge with a database of patient information. 

By this time, I had gone into debt to buy my own Macintosh. I had gotten a copy of the database software, 4th Dimension, which came with several thick manuals and I would sit up all night at the computer, trying to get it to work. In the beginning, 4th Dimension itself was a little buggy and it made it difficult to know when it was me that was making programming errors or if problems were being caused by the initial bugs in 4D. As the bugs got worked out in 4D and I got better in my programming skills, what I would eventually call "MacNursing" started coming together.

The database was developed initially for the needs of Western Psychiatric Center at Saint Francis hospital and eventually almost all of the written forms for the admitting process were transitioned into the computer database. The nurse would enter the patient data and then select patient problems specific to the patient and then could edit those problems and truly customize the care plan to each individual patient. The forms were put into the official medical record and passed inspection by Joint Commission. Even the California State 5150 and 5250 forms were approved and printed from the MacNursing database.

When the Western Psychiatric Center budget got tight, a new position was created around my computer program and the admitting process as it became more efficient for a nurse with typing and computer skills to admit patients using my computer program. An admitting process that had been slow, cumbersome and ineffecient, now became much faster and thorough.JPEG 0358

Western Psychiatric Center would continue to use my program for admitting patients for the next ten years.  Although Saint Francis never compensated me for the hours of work I had done on my own time to develop the program up to that time, I was okay with that since there was never any question as to who owned the rights to the MacNursing. After I had resigned and left Saint Francis, they did hire me to come back and customize a new version of the program for them and I was compensated for that work. 

Meanwhile, one of the nurses and a social worker at Saint Lukes hospital across town heard about my program and contacted me and made arrangements to come and see what I had acomplished at Saint Francis. They got their own Macintosh computer and raised funds to pay me to customize a program for their use. The problem at Saint Lukes, I believe, was that they did not have a "MacNursing" evangelist there as Saint Francis had in me. In those days, nurses most often did not type and most felt intimidated by computers. There were very few hospitals that even used computers in those days and if they used them at all, they were primarily for billing purposes rather than nursing purposes. Once Saint Lukes had paid me for their own version of "MacNursing," I don't think that the staff were willing to adapt to the program. Change is always difficult and nurses that were used to writing everything out by hand found it easier to do things in the way they had always done them rather than learn a new way of doing things. The learning curve would take time and most nurses were not willing to put in that time and I don't think they were given any extra time to do so. 

By this time, I was getting visits from from others in the healthcare field that heard what I was doing at Saint Francis. I received visitors from Kaiser Permanente. I was more than willing to show anyone and everyone what I was doing as I truly was an evangelist for computers in nursing, especially Macintosh computers in nursing as I believed the Macintosh was actually user friendly and so it was nurse friendly. 

I rented at booth at the California Nurses Association, nursing Convention in Oakland sometime in the late eighties and showed my program there. I rented an extra Mac and an overhead projector so that people walking by could see the program on a big screen. There was some interest but it did not lead to any new consulting jobs or sales. CNAConventionMilton at C.N.A. Convention Boothcnaconvention2miltonCNAConvention3Me at my C.N.A. Convention Boothcnaconventionmilton2cnaconventionsylvancnaoaklandconventionJPEG 0461Bob Shoemaker at my C.N.A. Convention Booth

At one point in the 80's, Apple contacted me and invited me, to their offices at One Post Street in San Francisco for a meeting of developers that were using Macintosh computers in health care. There were probably 10 or 15 entrepreneurs at the meeting. The only company I remember, though, is A.D.A.M. which had developed an anatomy application that ran on the Mac. After this first meeting with Apple, I was invited to a small conference of Macintosh healthcare developers where we could show our work to business persons and venture capitalists that might be willing to invest. I had no business background and a terror of public speaking. I had not been informed that there was going to be an opportunity to show my product to a group and had not prepared for that. When an Apple representative came and asked if I was ready to do my "presentation," I answered that I had not prepared a presentation and did not want to try to improvise one. This is probably one of my greatest regrets in life- a missed opportunity. 

Apple continued to be supportive though. When Apple moved from black and white to color monitors, they loaned me a color Mac to rewrite my program to add color to it. Milton and I drove down to the Cupertino headquarters to pick up the loaner Mac and I was able to keep it long enough to re-write MacNursing.

A year or two after I had been at the C.N.A. convention in Oakland, I signed up for a booth at the American Nurses Association's convention in Boston. That was My sister, Donna, took a train from Seattle and met me there to help with my booth that weekend. I had rented a couple of Macs and had a similar set up as in Oakland. This time, there was much more interest and I met Elaine Lloyd, MS, a nursing administrator for the spinal cord injury unit in Palo Alto. We made arrangements for a meeting after the convention. 

In nursing, it was never necessary to wear a suit. With my MacNursing business, I had to buy a couple of suits to feel like I was in "business." I loathed wearing a suit or tie buy I convinced myself that I had to wear the costume to fit the part. "Business" was very stressful for me. I always felt like I was playing a "role." I had to attend various meetings at the V.A. spinal cord injury unit and others seemed to think at the time that my program might even be used at other V.A.'s across the country but I think my lack of business experience was evident and this was another missed opportunity.

 


While consulting with the V.A. in Palo Alto, Elaine and Linda Toth, MS, RN another nurse manager wrote an article called "Development and Testing of Computer Software for Nursing Assessment and Care Planning at a Spinal Cord Injury Center" which was published in the SCI Nursing, a publication of The American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses. The three of us went to Las Vegas for a convention of Spinal Cord Injury nurses and they presented the findings of the paper, published August 1994.

By the time my consulting at the V.A. ended,  they had a network of about 10 computers running my program and they had used my consulting services for about ten years. Eventually, it was mandated that the Palo Alto V.A. use a different program that was in use elsewhere. I was told by the charge nurses that the new program did not do anywhere near as much as my program did but that didn't matter to the bureaucrats at the time. 

Over the years after that, I would see some of my ideas from those early years integrated into the programs of others. I don't really know if that was because the developers had seen MacNursing or if they had come up with similar ideas on their own. 

SCINursing

Development and Testing of Computer Software for Nursing Assessment and Care Planning at a Spinal Cord Injury Center
E. Elaine Lloyd, MS, RN; Linda L.Toth, MS, RN; Sylvan Rogers, RN

ABSTRACT 
This paper describes a pilot project using a Macintosh personal computer and customized software to computertize nursing admission assessment and care planning data. The project setting is a 47-bed Spinal Cord Injury Center with two inpatient units and an outpatient department serving approximately 1,000 patients with spinal cord injury at a Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in northern Califronia.  The computer software development, implementaiona, and evaluation are described. This sofware was found to be a low cost, customized approach to computerizing spinal cord injury admission assessment data and care planning which reduces repetive writing and facilitates continuity of care.  Personal computers and this sotware have provied the mechanism for establishing a spinal cord injury patient database.

 

 

 

 

 

Macnursingbrochure

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 04:36

1982-1993 465 Waller Street

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waller7Milton and I lived together breifly at 525 Haight but wanted a bigger place now that there were two of us and we started looking for another apartment. We walked around the neighborhood looking for signs that said "For Rent" in windows as that was the best way to find a place in San Francisco. We were walking up Waller Street when we saw a door was open and someone was shampooing a carpet in an apartment that looked empty. There was no "For Rent" sign but we asked the guy that was working in the place if it was for rent and as it turned out it was. He let us come in and take a look and we immediately fell in love with the size of the place for the bargain price of $505. Soon we were living at 465 Waller Street, between Fillmore and Steiner. 

465Waller

We lived at 465 Waller for about 12 years. During that period the neighborhood transitioned into a somewhat alternative neighborhood. New businesses moved in and you saw more young twenty-somethings with tattoos and piercings. There was a biker bar on one side of the street at the corner of Fillmore and Waller and at 2am every morning the neighborhood was awakened by the roar or Harley motorcycles. Across the street from that was one of the best Tai restaurants in The City.

waller2Waller Street was a typical San Francisco flat. There was a flat below us and a flat above us. When you came up the front steps, you came to three doors. Ours was the center door. When you entered the flat, you walked up a flight of stairs and at the top of the stairs was a long hallway. At the front end of the hallwa, overlooking Waller street was a bedroom. To the right of that room when facing it's doorway was the living room. The fireplace was no longer operational but it had a nice mantel with a mirror. The living room was divided from a parlor by sliding wood pocket doors. The palor also had it's own door from the hallway as well. 

Further toward the back of the flat was a doorway to the bathroom with a tub and sink and then a powder room with just a toilet. At the back end of the hallway was the kitchen and to the left of that, facing the kitchen, was the dining room. We closed off the doorway between the kitchen and dining room and made the dining room into a bedroom as it was large and quieter as it was furthest from the street.

milton 1Behnd the kitchen was a small back porch and we would eventually put a washing machine out there and also use it for storage. The kitchen had a large pantry but not many cabinets. The floor of the kitchen was linoleum but the rest of the flat had some decent carpet. Over the twelve years we were there, the landlord should have replaced the carpet but he never did and never did any maintenance he didn't absolutely have to do. 

The woman that lived upstairs from us was a hold over from the hippie era and had a man living with her but it was always obvious from the loud fights they had it was her place and she was in control. There is not a lot of insulation or sound proofing in some of these old San Francisco buildings and you can definately hear loud arguments or loud music from people that are too self absorbed to be considerate of others. When our neighbors were inebriated, which they often were down through the years we lived there, we could hear all their issues. 

The people below us came and went and I don't remember ever hearing much from them. There was another building with flats next door to us and our dining room/bedroom windo looked out into a lightwell that was shared by one of their windows. A black family lived there that we really never got to know in the years we lived there although we could occasionally hear them. There was a woman that lived there that would sometimes sing opera in an incredible voice. I don't know if she was a professional opera singer or not. I think that it was the first Christmas we were there that we heard that all their Christmas presents got stolen. I can't remember how it was that we would have come to know this but maybe one of them asked if we had seen anything.waller5

Across the street from us lived some ner-do-wells that obviously drank quite a bit and were probably doing other substances as well. There was much coming and going of urban black men, and large black women that didn't seem to care much about how they looked. There was a lot of yelling over there and we would look out our front windows to see what was going on. I remeber calling the police once when I saw toddlers in diapers crying out on the steps in the middle of the night with no adult supervision. 

I am not sure if it were these particular people that did it but I always suspected them of being the ones that dropped firecrackers through our mail slot around the fourth of July that first year we lived there. It was late in the evening and we were relaxing in the living room of our new flat, watching t.v. when we hear some noice out in the hallway that sounded like someone was coming through our front door downstairs. Then we started hearing loud pops like gunfire and we thought someone was actually coming up the steps shooting guns. We quickly locked the ourselves in the living room and with adrenaline pumping and fingers shaking, I called 911. 

Christmas on wallerThe popping of what sounded like gunfire ceased as soon as I had finished calling 911 and we stepped out into the hallways and could smell gunpowder but when we looked downstairs, we saw that the smell was coming from a pack of firecrackers rather than guns and the front door was still closed and just as the police arrived outside the door, we relaized what had happened- that someone had dropped a pcak of firecrackers through the mail slot. The police saw what had happened too and left. The people across the street were out on their steps observing it all and I always had a feeling that this was their way of welcoming us to the neighborhood.

As I said previously, I was still in therapy when I met Milton. I had gone to "therapy" intermittently down through the years and felt that I had benefitted from it. After my experience with John, and that relationship being so tumultuous, and his resistance to working on issues, I asked Milton if he would be willing to see my therapist in "couples counseling." Although he was obviously not eager to do so, he was willing to go for my sake. We had already started having a few problems during the first year we were together. We were still young and drinking alcochol and had an "open relationship," which meant that we had permission to have sex with other men. This was not an uncommon arrangement in those days as many gay men had not desire to duplicate the heterosexual model. It was accepted that you could love someone and want to live with that one person, but it was not necessary that this one person satisfy all of your sexual needs. Sex was not seen as something serious like a relationship was. Sex could be recreational. You could have sex outside the relationship that really didn't have any emotional strings. It was only for fun. 

waller6When Milton and I first met, before the AIDs epidemic came along and shut down the baths, we would sometimes go to the baths together for recreational sex in the same way that I had done with previous lovers. It was my first lover, Jim, that introduced me to bathhouses in the first place when I was about eighteen. Milton and I would go together or go separately. It didn't really matter. But life is interesting in how you can have beliefs about this or that and think you are so liberated and free and able to create new lifestyles, and then jealously comes along and raises it's ugly head. Trying to navigate an "open relationship" with no real roadmap could sometimes be difficult. Anonymouose bathhouse sex was not so much of a problem but ultimately, there were other liaison's found in the streets or at work or elsewhere, in which there was actual conversation and chance for intimacy. Those were the threats to security. The imagined resolution seemed to be an agreement that one could have such encounters as long as one were careful not to intrude these into the relationship. Many people in relationships, especially women, will overestimate and over rate the power of honesty. There are many advantages to the agreement between two people for deception. Of course, it does require agreement, though. 

wallerBut even then, we agreement to deceive, there is still the requirement for consideration. Now, as anybody knows, if one person is at home, making dinner and expecting the other person at six in the evening, and that other person doesn't show up until nine in the evening, and there is no phone call to explain the delay, the first person cooking said dinner is gong to be a little upset. It's just about the word "consideration." It is not about who or what the other person is having sex with. It is about the other person being considerate enough not to be delayed when someone is waiting dinner for them. Young men are easily distracted, though by their testosterone driven brains and can sometimes be quite inconsiderate. All that is usually required is a phone call but back then, there was no such thing as cell phones and so one would have to find a pay phone that worked and have enough change to make the call, and if one had a man at hand standing by, heated and ready to go, a phone call just seemed like it could be such an inconvenient delay and anything you was going to do, you didn't plan on taking so long anyway. So this became a source of some conflicts. If you made plans for dinner or something else and had expectations, it would be pretty aggravating to have to stand by, wondering when diinner would be. If your going to have sex with somebody else, please don't make me go hungry while your doing it!!

Now, add to those unpleasant, inconvenient delays on dinner, a little alcohol while waiting. Alcohol and frustration and immature insecure men are a terrible mix. This was becoming more and more the situation with Milton and I. The therapist had his work cut out for him to help us sort through all of these issues.

I have a lot of great memories from Waller Street. I was in my thirties and still working part time at Saint Francis. As I mentioned previously, the males on the unit were often the ones that were called upon to handle the violent patients. Over the years, female R.N.'s would put me into dangerous situations repeatedly. Registered Nurses were the ones that were usually in charge and could give orders to the Licensed Psychiatric Technicians. Otherwise, there really wasn't that much difference between what the Registered Nurses did and what the Licensed Psychiatric Technicians did. The Registered Nurses made much more money though, and had much more power over their own safety and the safety of others. I came to a point where I decided to go back to school to get my R.N. license. None of the time that I had spent at Valley Vocational to get my L.P.T. license would apply to the R.N. program. Essentially I had to start over. 

Although they called the nursing program at San Francisco City College a two year program, the fact was that nobody actually did the entire program in two years. Before you could even apply to the program, you had to have finished quite a few 'pre-requisites." I had a few credits from over the years when I had taken a class here or there, but I had a terrible grade point average because I had taken classes when my life was pretty chaotic and had quit going to classes without officially withdrawing from there which resulted in incompletes. Some classes, I had not done the work and had gotten low grades. The first thing I had to do to get into the nursing program was to take the pre-requisites and bring up my grade point average. The nursing program was very competitive as there was always a waiting list and they only accepted those with the best grade point averages. 

A friend from work, another L.P.T., named Randy, started with me at City College in Anatomy but for some reason, he struggled more than I did. He was unable to get accepted into the program at City and eventually left and went to school at a private four year college where they hold your hand a little more through the program, but of course you pay for that hand holding. In all the years that I have been a nurse, I have never been more impressed with any nurse that went through a four year college than I was with nurses that went through the supposedly two year program at City College, although four year nurses often go into management rather than direct patient care. 

Thankfully, City college was willing to remove some of the incompletes from my record if I maintained a good grade point average for a couple of semesters, which I was able to do. I was more focused and determined at this point in my life. I had been through the L.P.T. program and had a better idea of what it took to succeed academically. Early on, I met a guy named Ron Green and he and I would become good friends. We were both gay and both liked men of color. Ron was a better student that me, though. It would never have occured to me to join a study group but Ron saw to it that we were always a part of a study group with others. I don't know that I would have done nearly as well in nursing school if it had not been for Ron. Sadly, toward the end of the program, Ron contracted AIDS and died the year I graduated and got my R.N. license. 

I was working toward being a Registered Nurse at City of College of San Francisco. Milton was going to school for an Associate Degree in broadcasting and working at the V.A initially in the media department and then later, my ex-lover Stanley helped get him a job where he worked at the Holiday Inn on Van Ness. 

My mom came down periodically during the 12 years we were living there and would stay with us for a week or so at a time. We had a couple Christmases where Roger and Darlene and Darlene's husband Larry and Darlene's kids Chris and Misty were all there. Donna and Teddy visited with their kids as well. Everybody seemed to come to Waller street at some time or another and it was great. Milton's mom even came out from Texas and stayed with us for a week. 

At one point in the late eighties(?) Darlene had moved up to Washington and was having a hard time handling Chris and Misty. Mom was going to let Misty live with her and asked if Chris could stay with us. I discussed it with Milton and, although reluctant at first, he did agree to let Chris stay with us. He would live with us for a couple of years until he was eighteen.

I did the same thing with Chris as I had with David some years before. I wrote up a "contract" of several pages outlining what my expectations were as far as his going to school and working. He accepted the contract and did get have a couple of different jobs during the time that he lived with us. He also went to school during this period. He did pretty well under the circumstances. I think that in the case of David and also with Chris, I had some leaverage because each knew no one else when they first came to live with me so there were initially no outside influences for a while. Both were from small town America and I think that living in the big city may have been a litte intimidating for each of them so they were more open to advise. They each knew that they were in somewhat of a desperate situation at the time and had to make it work. The written contracts helped as well. 

Chris especially did well when he had a girlfriend. Her name was Angela. I think it is true for many heterosexual men, that they are too testosterone driven and a females influence, calms them down. If they are just hanging around other guys, they want to compete, be aggressive and fight. When a female comes into their life, they become more civilized and want to work hard to make money to spend on her. They want to impress the girl with manners and common sense.

Chris introduced me to rap and hip-hop. I hated it at first but then came to like some of the beats. He would put cardboard down over the carpet in his room and practice break dancing. He was actually pretty good at that and what he called "popping." 

Milton and I had settled into our relationship and rarely had the drama that we had in the first couple of years of our relationship. I think I nagged him quite a bit about getting a better job than just working as a housekeeper at Holiday Inn and he decided to go back to school and got into a Psychiatric Technician program which lasted a little over a year. He would finish the program because he started it but it just wasn't something he liked. He eventually took the State Board but failed it, which is not unusual the first time. Most people just study some more and go back and take the test again, but Milton was done with it. He had no interest in going back to take the test again. 

At one point, in the eighties, Milton decided that he wanted to take a course in electronics. Although he could have done so, through a community college, he stopped in at a private, for profit, technical school in San Francisco that had nice brochures and fast talking sales people that told him whatever they needed to tell him to convince him that he could take this program easily and get financing for the entire thing. It did seem easy at first, right up until the time that the student loan check was cashed by the school. Then it got very hard. Once they had him in debt for about six thousand dollars for a lot of hype, he felt forced to drop out.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 04:32

1981- Milton- Falling in Love

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Two of my best friends around this time was a couple, both named Michael, with whom I had worked. I had known them both before they got together as a couple and, as is often the case, I didn't see them as much after they became a couple. At that time, though, they were members or Metropolitan Community Church on Eureka Street in the City and following my therapists advise about getting involved with gay people in non-sexual. non-alcohol related environments, I came to the church a couple of times. I enjoyed singing the hymns and the ritual but didn't feel comfortable with taking communion or becoming more active in the church. One Sunday in which I did not go to church, one of the Michaels told me that there had been a cute black man there that he thought I would have been interested in. That motivated me to go the following Sunday which was Labor Day weekend, 1981.. milton2

In church, we were several rows behind the black guy that I was there to cruise. I don't remember too much about what happened in the church but I do remember following him out of the church for a few blocks until he was on Castro. I don't remember if he turned around or what exactly happened, but somehow I must have got his attention and I invited him for coffee. Although he was polite, he pretty much brushed me off, saying that he was in a relationship.

I don't remember whether I was particularly disappointed. I know that I didn't continue to visit M.C.C. much and saw less and less of Michael and Michael as they became more withdrawn into their relationship. 

At some point around this time, I had decided to go back to school to get my Registered Nurse license. I had been working as a Licensed Psychiatric Technician for some years and it seemed that I worked a lot harder and had far less say in what I did, for less money than the R.N.'s. Because I was a fairly big guy, when a patient was difficult to manage, I would be called upon to manage the patient. This was often decided by petite women and it seemed to be no problem for them to put me in harm's way. It was a pretty good motivator to get me back in school!

One day, close to the Christmas break in 1981, while riding the streetcar from City College, I saw somone that looked familiar and we both got off at Castro Street. We struck up a conversation and it was the same guy, Milton, that I had followed out of church some weeks or months before. Apparently the relationship he had been in had deteriorated and he was more amenable to having coffee with me and even coming home with me. He had a heavy Southern accent and he explained he was from Texas. He also seemed to have a bit of a stutter and ended almost every sentence with "...and all that there." Conversation really wasn't my interest, though, since I had not really developed many social skills myself other than what was needed to get someone to go to bed with me. I got him to my house and had my way and then thought up a lie to get rid of him as quickly as I could. Even though I deeply longed for a meaningful relationship, my habit was to treat men like disposable paper cups and to toss them as soon as I had used them.miltonwaller2

For some reason, the little Southern bumpkin asked me for my phone number. I gave him one of my "trick" cards that had the phrase "availability subject to change without notice," so he would be clear that repeats were not always welcome. I told him I had to go to Safeway and he walked me down to the supermarket and we said good bye and as soon as he was out of sight, I turned around to walk home. I didn't really need anything from the store at all. I just knew how to politely get rid of guy when I was done with them. 

Surprisngly, Milton called me either a few days later or a week later. I think I was on my way to Washington State to visit family and I told him I would be back in another week or two, never expecting him to keep my number that long and certainly not expecting him to actually use it! Life was fast back then and nobody waited around a couple of weeks for anybody. There were men everywhere ready to satisfy any need one might have... as long as it didn't take more than an hour or so. Kissing and sqeezing bodies together could almost feel like intimacy sometimes... without the bother of haiving to remember anybody's name. 

"Milton?" I think I must have asked when the phone rang after I returned fromWashington. "Oh yea!" I might have said when I heard the thick Southern accent and the "...and all that there." But he WAS cute and I probably WAS horney. Why not have a repeat? Why not use him again for a few more minutes of pleasure? It was easier than having to go out and actually find someone and having to play all the preliminary games of pretending to be interested in their name and working the conversation around to sex. This guy was ready and available. Why not?

The problem was that the next time I saw Milton, something happened. Even though I didn't really know him at all, there was something about him that felt so familiar... and comfortable... when I looked at him, I felt like I had known him forever. I felt like I could see deep into his soul and our souls felt connected somehow. What was that? Something was happening and I wasn't sure what it was and it was disturbing. On the one hand, this seemed like such a sweet man, but on the other hand, such sweetness made me suspicious. I thought to myself that it must be a veneer and that underneath this veneer was just another jaded, social barfly looking for the next trick. And if he was for real, then he was really just too nice for me anyway! waller5waller6

In the late seventies and early eighties, I guess I had aspired to be a "Castro clone." As a young man, before I realized I was gay, I never really fit in with any male groups. I never fit on any team and in fact would usually have been the last person chosen when choosing up any team. Before I realized I was gay, I had always felt like an outsider, looking for my people and an identity. Being a hippie satisfied that need to some extent but those days had gone by. Gay people in San Francisco had taken the sterotype of the Marlboro man and made it our own. We didn't identify with the swishing sissy stereotypes of the past. We were macho men and the Village People told us so. We could be whoever we wanted to be. Identities were like "drag," -something you could put on. The Castro clone wore a shorter hairstyle than hippies had and usually had a mustache. A Pendleton shirt and tight levi's with butch boots completed the look. 

I had been a "Castro Clone" for several years when I met a guy named Randy at my job in the adult psychiatric unit. We were both psychiatric technicians and about the same age. He was good with patients and I had respect for others that were compassionate toward the patients and took their jobs seriously as there were so many in mental health that did not. Randy was not really a "Castro Clone." Randy was more of a "Pacific Heights" gay man which eseentially meant that he was a little more uscale, spending more money on clothes and hair products than the clones. He had beautifully styled blond hair and had a great personality and was somewhat more sophisticated than me. We were both taking prerequisites for the City College R.N. program which I eventually got into but for some reason, Randy did not get in and ended up going to a private college. 

I think my mom had always aspired to a higher social status than she was born into. Essentially she was a poor country girl from a family that had migrated from Texas to teh Pacific Northwest. I know she finished grade school and I am pretty sure she went to high school but I am not absolutely positive that she graduated from high school although she self educated herself throughout her life.. My dad had a third grade Arkansas ducation. My mom taught us good manners and sometimes would even seem to put on airs as they say. I ahve pictures of her where I think she must be way over dressed for any ocassion that could have ever taken place in out lives. She had a forehead lift in her forties and a facelift in her late sixties or early seventies. She wanted us to be educated and act like we had some sense. She often talked about how people didn't know how to "think" and she wanted us to be able to think and analyze various perspectives of a subject and not just blindly follow others. From what I know about her background, I do think she rose above her background and I suppose that my stepfather George might be given some of the credit for that as he did have either and Associate Degree or a Bachelors degree and did make fairly decent money and was from the northern big city of Chicago. milton

My pedigree was more rural country than big city sophisticate and ever since I realized I was gay and had arrived in the big city of San Francisco, I was always impressed with big city culture and sophistication. I was impressed with people that could mix a cocktail and carry on superficial chit chat as I had nastered neither. Randy had crystal glasses in which he would serve champagne at his sophisticated parties in Pacific Heights. He had trendy sweaters that he carried on his back with the arms loosely tied around his neck just in case he got cold and needed to put it on. I learned to be as pretentious as possible so I could fit in with him and his friends when he invited me to his home for a cocktail party in which he served champagne in real Waterford crystal. I brought my new boyfriend, Milton and the whole time, I felt awkward as Milton was the only person of color there and had such a thick black country Texas accent. It was embarrassing. 

"How could this guy be MY boyfriend," I asked myself? How is this ever going to work? I thought of myself as so sophisticated and Milton just didn't fit into my life at all but yet, when we were alone, he was everything I needed and wanted. I found myself in a dilemma. I was falling deeply in love with a guy who seemed totally wrong for me. He was the wrong height, for instance. I much preferred men shorter than me and Milton was the same height and could even where the same clothes as me. I much preferred "bad boys" that had a bit of an edge to them that tended to also be the kind of narcissists that treated others like crap. Milton was too "nice!" He treated me respectfully and was actually sweet. 

Milton might have had his qualms about the relationship too. He often reminds me that when he first met me, my apartment was always a mess. He reminds me of dishes piled up on the sink for days even though I did have a dishwasher. He was brought up to make the bed in the morning after he got out of it and I never cared to do so since I usually planned to get back into it anyway. He was not sure if I was right for him and I was certainly not sure if he was right for me. Every sentence seemed to end with "all that there" and I started sounding like my mom did when she nagged us about our English, nagging Milton about his Ensligh, grammer and pronunciation. 

I was still seeing my therapist, Jim, at the time and discussed my dilemma. I struggled with ambivalence toward Milton. He didn't fit into the Pacific Heights sophisticated gay life I was then aspiring to but yet he felt like my soulmate. I even brought Milton to therapy a couple of sessions so Jim could see what I meant. Jim's insight was a revelation for me. In one session, he started out asking about my father and mother and their backgrounds and helped me see that my aspirations to jaded sophisticated Pacific Heights gay person was not really who I was at my core. From my parents I had inherited a bit of "country" even though I may have travelled away from that inheritance and had buried it as much as I could. It was still there though. I was still a sweet small town, unsophisticated country boy at my core and that was why I felt such a connection with Milton. In the big city sea of sophisticated bad boys, I had connected with my roots. Milton was my roots and would become my rock. He was my essence and my soul. Once I came to terms with this, it didn't take long before I invited Milton to move in with me. 

In the many years since those early days with Milton I have known people that told me about someone they felt an attraction to but then they rejected because they didnt' feel like that person was their "type" or would fit in with their friends. I always want to tell them how I felt initially about Milton and how wrong I was. I always see these young women attracted to "bad boys" because they are hot and sexy and then expect them to be "good boys," or worse than that, they expect the bad boys suddently be like their girlfriends, after they get involved. Men are always going to be men. Bad boys are going to stay bad boys. They don't change after you get involved with them. You can't fix them. Don't dismiss those people that come into your life that don't seem to be your type. Type is sometimes just a delusional fantasy you have created. Don't dismiss someone if they don't seem to fit in with your friends. Friends can't ever give you what a life partner, a soulmate can give you. It isn't all about just chemistry or hotness or height or weight or other superficial things. I see so many lonely people out there that have these fantasy partners that will never exist.

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4th Grade- Click for story.
Where I was born- Click for story.
1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
Palouse- Click for story
Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Grandview- Click for story
Me in first grade- Click for story.
5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
Darlene Marries Chuck- Click for story.
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story
Photos of Dad & His Family- Click for story.
Women in Oils- Click for story
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
Me in my 20's in 1970's- Click for story.
Click to read "Introduction."
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
My Mother- Click for more photos.
My Dad's Family- Click for story.
1958-1959- 3rd Grade- Click to read story.
The Psychedelic Experience- Click to read story.
1970's Promiscuity- Click for story.
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
Earthquake! Click to read story.
2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Second Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Amber- Click to read story.

Article

01. Introduction

03- Dads Family

03- Photos of my Father and his family

04- My Mother's Family

04- Photos of my Mom

04- Video of my Mom

04- Walling Family Reunions

04-Audio Files of My Mom

04. Billie

04. Ole

04.1. Forbidden Dreams of Love

04.2. Flames of Forbidden Love

04.3 Mom Writing Her Life Story

05- Jim Tarbert

05. Roger

1950's Grandview to Toppenish

1957-1958 1st Grade

1958-1959- Third Grade

1959- Palouse

1961- 4th Grade- Last time I wore a dress

1962- Abilene

1963- Escondido- Early 60's

1964- Darlene Marries Chuck

1964- My Beatle Haircut

1964-The Luv Please

1965 or 1966- Steve Castle

1965- In Foster Care

1966 Living with Darlene & Chuck in Seattle

1967- Juvenile Hall

1976- I Praise Thee (poem to Stanley)

1976- My Second Lover, Stanley Dunne

1976- Paul McCartney and Wings

1976-1330 Bush Street #9J

1977- 1667 Haight Street

1977- Trip to San Diego with Mary Jo

1977-1980- Tumultuous Relationship with John Perry

1978- 525 Haight Street

1979- September- Dad is Murdered

1980's- AIDS- Death and Dying

1980- Winter- First Trip to New York

1980- Word, Sound and Power

1981- Milton- Falling in Love

1982-1993 465 Waller Street

1982-1994 Computers to MacNursing

1984- 33rd Birthday

1985- Graduation from Nursing School

1985- Trip to Hawaii (Oahu)

1988- MIdnight Caller

1989- Earthquake!

1991- Aug 10th- Mom Passes Away

1991- Black Males in Oils

1991- Crack of My Life

1993- Move to Vallejo & Our First Home

1995-1. Road Trip to Washington

1995-2. Surprise Trip to Vegas

1995-3. Grandmother Rogers & Aunts Visit Darlene's

1995-4. Amber

1998- Camping at Russian River

2000 -Thoughts about Progressive Christians

2000- Resignation from John George

2001- April- Trip to Cancun

2001- Peace and Justice

2001- September 11th

2002- April-Puerto Vallarta & Blue Bay Getaway

2002- Nov 12th- My Stepfather, George McHenry Passes Away

2003- Trip to D.C. and N.Y.

2004- Feb- Road Trip to Baha Mexico

2004- Walling Family Reunion in Spokane

2005- Christmas Poem

2005- Darlene Visit for Pride Celebration

2005- Trip to Orlando

2005-1. Europe- London

2005-2. Europe- Paris

2005-3. Europe- Venice

2005-4. Europe- Florence

2005-5. Europe- Rome

2005-6. Europe- Athens

2005-7. Knee Surgery & Tongue Biopsy

2006 Christmas Poem

2006- February 23- Times Herald

2006- Palm Springs White Party

2006- Trip to Seattle

2006-July 8th Solano Peace and Justice Coalition BBQ

2007- Feb- Carnival Destiny- Our First Cruise

2007- Tre and Casey Visit

2008- Aug 15-18 Spokane Visit

2008- Psycho Song

2009- Honored by Vallejo Gay Network

2009- Women in Oils

2010 Christmas Poem

2010- Feb. R.C. Mariner of the Seas Mexican Riviera Cruise

2010- June 24- Badlands

2010- Trip to Seattle

2010-1. Europe- Amsterdam

2010-2. Europe- Paris

2010-3. Europe- Barcelona & Sitges

2010-4. Europe- Madrid

2011-1. Feb. My Fabulous 60th Birthday Weekend

2011-2. April- L.A., Palm Springs & "The White Party"

2011-3. Poem- Girl From Medical Lake

2011-4. Old Man Dancing

2011-5. May- Misty and Alex Visit

2011-6. August- Darlene and Sean's Visit

2011-7. Alex 16-18 & Pics

2012- March- Carnival Splendor Mexican Riviera with Family

2013- Wedding

2014- Christmas Poem

2014- First Gay Cruise

2014- September Road Trip to San Diego

2015- Seasonal Affective Blues

2015- Second Gay Cruise

2015- War on Christmas poem

2015-"Badlands" and Gay Bar Etiquette

2015-September 8. Political History

2016 Do Not Speak for Gay Males

2016- April- Palm Springs RV Adventure

4/4/2016- Not Going Along to Get Along

9/4/15- Liberals vs Conservatives

1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
My Dad's Family- Click for story.
Women in Oils- Click for story
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
Me in my 20's in 1970's- Click for story.
Amber- Click to read story.
1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
Me in first grade- Click for story.
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
Palouse- Click for story
Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
Click to read "Introduction."
4th Grade- Click for story.
1958-1959- 3rd Grade- Click to read story.
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
Earthquake! Click to read story.
Darlene Marries Chuck- Click for story.
Photos of Dad & His Family- Click for story.
2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
The Psychedelic Experience- Click to read story.
Grandview- Click for story
5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
My Mother- Click for more photos.
Second Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
Where I was born- Click for story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Summer of Love- Click to read story.
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
1970's Promiscuity- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.