From Holland Street to Holland

Most of my early life was spent at 203 South Holland Street in the little town of
Clinton, SC, where the Confederate memorial dominated the traffic circle
downtown. I never thought much of the name Holland Street but assumed it was
named for some earlier citizen who had provided sufficient service to have a
street named for him. My life in this sleepy little town, known for its southern
traditions and religious parochialism, was one tormented by the fear of being
classified as a  “queer.” I had done nothing overtly to warrant that derogatory name, but I knew that I deserved it as my fantasies were mostly about men. And, furthermore, I deserved to be labeled and taunted because my church had taught me that homosexuality was an abomination to God. Little did I know how the name “Holland” would affect my dealing with my gayness and my attitude toward my sexual orientation sixty-one years down the road. After a twenty year marriage crumbled, a marriage that produced three beautiful children, I was left alone at 53 years of age still fearing the basic urge of my life — to be intimate with and to love someone of my own gender. By that time, I had reluctantly accepted that my fate was to remain a lover with a capacity for great passion who was
destined to be “unread.” When Jos first wrote me, responding to an ad I had put
on an Internet dating service, my response was low key. At that point, I had had
responses from many guys seeking sex or friendship who usually corresponded two
or three times and then disappeared. Jos’ profile picture showed an attractive
man drinking a glass of champagne. His follow-up e-mails portrayed a man who had
the same gay yearnings I had and a history of the same reluctance to allow those
feelings to be shared with another man. His responses to my questions intrigued
me as they were not frivolous or even predominantly sexual but were serious. He
soon proposed that we consider meeting to begin what hopefully would become a relationship. The biggest challenge to this happening, I had discovered by then, was geography. Joseph lived in Amsterdam, Holland, a country 4400 miles away. However, this was not a serious problem to him but required only the purchase of an airline ticket to
fly to the United States where we met for the first time in December, 1999. We visited back and forth, growing a fulfilling relationship that distance finally destroyed. I grew up on Holland Street; he was from Holland. For five wonderful years, we were as happy as could be.

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About bobosbest

I am a 79-year-old retired English teacher whose writing goals are fulfilled by publishing these blogs. I have a wonderful married partner, Dimitris Tsitsiras, who is from Greece. Life is good and still an adventure.
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One Response to From Holland Street to Holland

  1. Priscilla says:

    Thanks for posting this. Your honesty about your childhood & adult fears reflects many in our age group. Here’s a wonderful article by a Mother who has the right idea about how to handle homeophobic cruelties: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Amelia/gay-children_b_954350.html?ref=mostpopular

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