Guest Post: I Know An Old Lady: A True Story.
Next in my parade of guest posters while I sit on the beach and burn myself to a crisp, we have Kim, of Baby Feet. Like Kim, I have no idea how we ended up following each other, but I’ve found her truthful, uplifting, delightful, insightful, and beautiful. What gets me about this post is that, while she & I might disagree about how sure we are about accepting homosexuality, I had very near the same conversation with my grandfather-in-law soon before his death.
When John contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in guest posting I think he may have heard my screams of excitement. I don’t even remember how I ‘found’ John, I just know that the first time I managed to lure him over to my blog and I saw him come through my stats I went a little crazy. Then he left a comment and I adored him. Then he complimented me. And I was in love. So to say I’m thrilled and honored to be here is an understatement. Thanks, John!
I Know An Old Lady: A True Story.
At Christmas my Grandmother and I were hanging out around my kitchen island chatting. It was one of those wonderful, movie moments. She’s 83 and spry, fit, always on the go. She has a 2g iphone that she carries with her like a teenager and texts her nephew every couple hours, “Just to see what’s going on.” If she misses their check in? He texts her. So does her great nephew. She’s that great and wonderful. So, Christmas. We’re talking and the show “Glee” comes up. And she’s seen it. Totally knows what it’s about. My mouth is hanging open — because there is an openly gay guy on the show. And she’s 83. She asks if Violet (my 8 year old) watches the show. I’m appalled. NO! I let her watch the music numbers on the computer sometimes, but that’s it. The show is totally inappropriate for an 8 year old, I tell her. She nods. Then tells me that her niece -in -law, Margaret, has a cousin who is ‘a gay.’ And launches into the most wonderful description of her – ‘the gay’: She’s beautiful. Intelligent. Articulate. Well schooled. Great job. And on.
What? My 83 year old Grandmother is accepting of homosexuality? How amazingly progressive. I’m not really sure I’m that accepting of it. We talk about if they are born this way, or choose the lifestyle. And we both agree that they are born this way. As I’m standing there, basking in the glow of all this, she leans in and says, “Does Violet have any friends who are *whispers* mixed?” I blink. “I’m sorry, what?” She continues. And I finally figure it out. She wants to know if Violet has any friends who are black *horror* or ‘mixed’ *horror of horrors*
OMG ::head explosion:: really? seriously?
Yeah. All those things. I take a deep breath. Tell her that yes, Violet has a friend who is black. In fact I have friend who is *gasp* black. She’s a dear friend, actually. *gasp gasp* Grandma’s face draws in, her eyes narrow. She huffs and leans away from from the island. Our movie moment has ended.
I lean across the table, gently touch her hand and say, “Grandma? I’m pretty positive that if you’re black? You ARE born that way. The end.”
I’ve tried hard to grasp this. I really have. I read the book, “The Help.” It gave some good insight into the mind sight of the women of my Grandmother’s era. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around it — because even if I don’t agree with homosexuality, even if I’m honestly frightened of the day I have to explain it to my children, I’m not afraid of someone who is gay. I don’t hate you if you are gay. One of my husbands best friends was gay. He was in our wedding and until he died when Violet was 6 months old, we called him Uncle Scott. I just wasn’t prepared, in 2010, for that level of ignorance to still be present. And what I especially didn’t understand was how being gay was completely fine. But black?? Oh, hell no.
Anyone care to explain?