To Love as One’s Own

When I was in college I volunteered at a hippie day care center where my favorite child was a toddler named Free. He was just learning to talk and had a limited vocabulary. Nonetheless he was an effective communicator because every other word out of his mouth was “fuck.” I loved that baby.

All of my life I’ve given back to the community: I did one of the first big fundraisers for the AIDS Foundation in 1983; I did another fundraiser for the Library’s LGBT reading room in 1995; and, for several years I was a volunteer at the Bessie Carmichael School in the City. Recently I’ve been helping out my neighbor who’s had a medical setback.

Now that Ben is getting stronger and is home from the rehab facility, reunited with my god-diggity-dog daughter Sydney, I was starting to sense a void in my daily schedule. Then a message from the Department of Public Works crossed my laptop. They have an Adopt a Drain Program and need my help.

If you’re willing to put a little elbow grease into keeping it clean before and after storms, you are granted naming rights for that drain. A win/win, what better use of my talents?

Pondering the history of adoptions I, of course, thought of Joan Crawford’s work in the 1940s. Her legendary efforts inspired the name for my adopted sewer drain at the corner of Laguna and Waller: No Wire Hangers!!!

Because I am not one of your F-A-N-S!

5 thoughts on “To Love as One’s Own

  1. I was in town today and driving through Sydney definitely came to mind. Was just set to write you and ask how they were both doing — were they reunited yet? — and along came this.
    of course, like all, they provide a long-lasting, involuntary grin.
    and question: where might Free be right now?


    1. Best case: he’s an aging massage therapist wearing revealing yoga pants in Ashland, OR. Worst case: he’s in camo fatigues living in the Indiana backwoods with other members of the Morgan County Militia.


  2. Your We (Heart) Our Customers hanger photo reminds me of the time I had to go to the Philadelphia Armory to be inducted into the draft. Year 1969, Hanoi bombed to shit, Vietnam War raging. I went thru the drill, in my underwear (had the lights beeen dimmer and had there been porn on the TV and thump-thump-thump disco music making you feel distinctly brain-dead, it could’ve been the baths), until they offered me a visit to the psychiatrist, in case I had any “mental” issues to discuss, privately. Well, of course, I had issues: I was queer, honey, and back then that definitely meant SICK IN THE HEAD. (Thank God for the oppression of the psychiatric establishment….. I mean, I could’ve been fracked in Vietnam, end of story……).

    Anyway, after my confession (er…. am I supposed to call that a “coming out?” …. he smiled VERY condescendingly and after some verbal unpleasantries which I only reveal during very hot sexual encounters, I turned and headed for the door. And what did I find as I reached for the knob? There, on a hook on the back of the door at eye level was hanging his “civilian” sport coat, something dreadfully polyester and bland, hung (NO PUN INTENDED!! ) on a hanger wrapped in paper reading: We (Heart) Our Customers. Just like in your photo!!! Imagine, the coincidence!!

    I adore cheap sentiment. Carry on girl.


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