Marriage Journal

2013.12.17, a posting on Facebook, about 11:00 p.m.

"Back from a day of Christmas shopping that began with a trip to the Riverside county clerk's office in Palm Desert. We now have a license for signing by an authorized 'deputy of the state.' All the clerk's staff were wonderfully supportive, and the registrar took our photos as we signed the notarized application.

"33 years ago, when Chuck and I began developing our relationship, we had no expectation of marriage. Now, it is an emotional moment to follow the instructions of 'Please initial here,' 'Could you replace the word 'none' with a zero?' and 'Do you want to check whether the terminology should be "groom and groom" or "not applicable"? I think it always reads better with the words "groom," but a few before you have chosen the "n/a" option.'

"We plan to elope just before the end of the year. Nothing big, but something special."
Nick Piedescalzi, Chuck's colleague from Wright State University who was a professor of religion and an ordained minister, had expressed his hope to officiate at our marrige, when we made the decision. The time had come. It seemed certain that marriage would be allowed for gay couples throughout the nation. Because Ohio had been so backward in granting the right, we decided it should be in California where we would become legally married.

2013.12.18 a little after midnight

Chuck and I talked about the Facebook posting and agreed that posting about the marriage before the fact made it too indiscriminate in "who knew what and when they knew it." The problem we see is that many friends and family are not tied into social media, and so a Facebook posting is too broad a dissemination that lacks the immediacy of a photo document and a postal letter. So I deleted my posting, but not before Kyle Forquer and Nichol Simmons had already liked it.

Chuck and I will journal our feelings and events through the time, and we'll control how we tell friends about the event in a more orderly way.


Chuck and I finished the script for our ceremony and sent it off to Nick. The text includes our vows and exchange of family rosaries, preceded by instructions to Nick for his introductory remarks.

We also finished a list of 150 friends we want to announce the event to in advance of any more public pronouncements on Facebook or mass emails.


Thoughts on... We're now reaching the final days of our thirty-third year of being together. Some would draw a parallel to the death and resurrection occurring in Jesus' 33rd year. Is there really a parallel? It is not the death of our relationship as we have known it and seen it develop for so long, but perhaps it is a rebirth, a reclothing of the relationship we have known. It is a development of our political awareness as a couple, too, a sign that we expect Ohio and all these United States to come into alignment with the forward-thinking states and with the guidance of the Supreme Court.

Our parents were married fewer years than the time that Chuck and I have been together. Chuck's parents married in March 1947, and they were together 27 years and 3 months until his father died in June 1974. My parents married in February 1947, and they were together 24 years and 5 months until Matt died in July 1971.

We've learned a lot from them, though more by comparison than by having lessons taught by them. Some of the lessons were how not to behave.


We drove today to Capitola in the Monterey area of the central California coast. Nick and Sybil live nearby in Aptos. We are staying at a quaint and quiet small hotel that Kazu had found for us, in the honeymoon suite.

2013.12.28 (personal reflections on our partnership and marriage)

We've gone through a lot, along our 33 year journey.
Ambling together in our first years, figuring out
That your strengths are planning and accounting and ...
Worrying that all the plans and figuring will come out right.
Discovering that my strengths were letting go, trying new things,
Opening us up to each enthusiasm as it came along.
Those early years were easy for us, both at the University,

Our next years were hell, with a full seven circles.
The first was the sales position disguised as philanthropy,
Which lasted days more than a year, from one Labor Day to the next.
The next was Comarco, which caused our first separation—with you chained to duty
At Wright State and developing the film program,
Testing the tether that Abe Bassett held,
Finding whether he trusted you enough to expand film studes—prudently, carefully—
And me forming a work life and a sense of business
First in Houston, then in Anaheim, again removed in Lempoc
And back to live in Bell with you while on sabbatical.
That renewed life together was hard in several ways,
Each of us testing new directions,
Though we finally agreed to return to the life we knew
In Dayton and among friends there.
So then, only seven years strong in our—what did we call it then?
Relationship? Partnership? ...I don't think then we had begun to think in terms of ...marriage?—
We grew more: you returned to teaching with renewed zeal,
My enthusiasms tested volleyball, wrestling, softball, cycling, and
Carried through to encouraging local athletes to join the Gay Games.
And my work world was a whirlwind,
In contrast to yours, commuting for two years to Cincinnati
Separated me from you and Dayton, but for the short time for dinner, sleep, and breakfast;
Then more stresses working with DPandL and NCR,
Until I was hired by Martha for work at Kodak.
During those years, you were my anchor at times and sextant when out of the harbor.

By 1990, we did indeed conceive of our lives as married,
Despite the unreadiness of the state and country.
We chose our meeting day to be the marker then,
When we first renewed the commitment we had made ten years before.
And we sealed it all as legally as possible,
To forestall any self-serving moves by blood relatives.

It's ever more clear to me that tensions we had
Were ripples felt from stresses of work,
That I found it difficult to compartment work from home.

But all those thirty-three years before have been only preamble.

 2013.12.29 (Final form of my personal reflection on marriage)

We've shared much—you and I—
A journey so far of 33 years
Ambling together at first,
Figuring out our strengths,
Discovering unknown weaknesses—
Yours: planning and accounting,
Worrying that the plans and accounts
Amounted to some thing,
But also a natural ability to make me laugh;
Mine: letting go and trying new things,
Opening us to new enthusiasms
With no deficit of attention, for a while,
But also sometimes to utter a subtle insight.

During years of trial and testing
New directions and strange separations
We held tru to our voyage together.
When at harbor, wherever, you were our anchor;
When at sea—not always tempest-tossed—you were our sextant.

Our understanding of what we have, of what we mean to each other
Has long preceded the state recognition and the courts' judgment.
Though we chose first to renew our commitment and mark the day we met,
We now understand better the important choice we each made at the end of December in 1980.

Happy that you offered the question then,
Proud that I accepted—no, embraced—the answer then,
And expectant that we can share more—
More years, yes,
More of each other,
More laughter,
And likely more tears too
In a newly restated marriage.
Let's share much more in our future life yet to live together.


Today, the 33rd anniversary of our first commitment to each other, Nick led us in our vows during a simple ceremony with Sybil, our witness, taking photos.

We celebrated with a sweet, small cake and glasses of sparkling grape juice. Then Chuck and I drove off toward Palm Springs. We arrived home in darkness, about 8 p.m.


Today I ordered stamps online, a simple white flower for weddings. (We had a bit of an internal dispute about having done so without Chuck's direct input.)


We received stamps after a delay because of a backlog of orders due to price rise on the 26th. We together affixed them to envelopes, and delivered the envelopes to the main Palm Springs post office about 17:35.


We received first email response about the mailing from Mitch Chen.


We received the first reply from one of my friends—a super email from Phil Hinrichs.

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