‘Safe At Home’

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My spiritual friend from this domain recently succeeded taking her next step.  Here’s to your speedy recovery, your enjoyment of the food and hospitality, and your safe return home.

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It’s true for me what ‘they’ say:  ‘You can never go home again’.

I was apparently born at Paterson, New Jersey.  For all the times that I have visited there, it does not feel like home.  Our family moved West in 1958.  I have lived West most of my life – West seems to be ‘home’ regardless of wherever I might have been born – where some of my heart lives.  I lived at various places of short-term and temporary duration.  Some were enjoyable, pleasant, educational.  Other places I’d rather forget due to extremely bad events.  And, as in the world of triage, other places derive little better than rote recollection.

What was ‘home’?  Maybe ‘home’ is where the heart is.  Where there is fondness for the better memories remaining among the cobwebs or our minds.

Then I came across photographs that I thought were lost in a burglary last year – photographs of home – where I lived at Maggana, Greece (1972 – 1973),  There was Grigori (our landlord) and Zoe (his wife).  They had two daughters: Steffi (my age) and Stavroula (she was attending Kindergarten the year we lived there).  I never forgot them; my mind’s eye still sees them:

(1973 06 xx) Maggana - Dad-Grigori and others dup

  • Remembering times chatting with Grigori at the taverna as we watched TV (such as ‘Pios Einei’ – Greece’s version of ‘What’s My Line’).
  • Watching Zoe feed table scraps to her chickens – their fresh eggs far more delicious than from any American grocer.
  • Recalling Zoe procuring a turkey at our village for our American Thanksgiving Day celebration (so much for that turkey’s ‘celebration’); Zoe, Grigori, Steffi, and Stavroula joined my dad, Kathy, Slim, and me preparing, eating, celebrating the good company of our Greek family friends with our own family.
  • Seeing little Stavroula having fun playing with Slim.
  • Spending my last day at Maggana welcomed in their home one last time.

I had been trying to find Maggana using various map applications – e.g., Yahoo, Google, Bing; I wanted to see what I had not seen for more than 40 years.  I was dinkering with Google today and by total serendipity I landed at ‘street view’ right where I took a picture of ‘home’ at Maggana, Greece (1973).(1973 06 xx) Maggana - Town Square

How it all changed!

  • Grigori’s flour mill is gone.
  • Their home is gone.
  • That ‘men only’ taverna where I photographed the bagpipe musician is gone.

(See:   ‘My Teen Years’)

(https://www.google.com/maps/@40.943581,24.870961,3a,37.5y,115.68h,84t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sa4hvhrakPvA3mC28zV76IQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656)

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I identify my home town as Costa Mesa, California (Harbor and Victoria are my old haunts), for various reasons including my eventual ‘re-birth’.  There I came of age and awareness.  I have my own memories:

  • The Viet Nam refugees who began arriving (1975) stateside set up fast food fish shacks.  They served the best seafood.  I miss real seafood living inland.
  • Walking Harbor Boulevard and smelling the strawberries as they grew.  I wonder if the strawberry fields farm is now just another shopping mall.
  • My favourite view of the Pacific was the look-out at Newport Beach heights – then ocean tankers began ruining the view and contaminating the beaches with oil slicks.
  • I still say that sunsets look better on the West Coast than East Coast..

I have been living at Arizona and I obtained employment with two different agencies of the State of Arizona.  I have not been home to Costa Mesa; in fact, I have barely gone beyond the Phoenix-to-Tucson corridor since 1993.

  • I made a job search to Oregon with a side visit to Kathy (June – July 1993); it was the last time I saw her – she had little time for my visit.
  • I twice went to the casinos at Las Vegas and Laughlin to do video shoots for my music TV show during the 1990s.
  • I made a few trips to Cochise County to dabble buying property tax liens during the late-1990s and early-2000s.

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School re-unions have been on my ‘want to do’ list.  I considered my complication as an obstacle – former class-mates only know me as my predecessor.

  • I had a past of being fearfull.  Losing my anonymity by making an appearance at a school re-union would dash my anonymity.
  • I feared undo attention upon me.  I don’t want to attend a re-union and be the focus of stares and gossip – I had plenty of that at work.

I want to attend a re-union to meet old friends and learn what is new in their lives since we last knew each other.

I missed several periodic re-unions because of my fears.  I stayed home in fear.

Perhaps now that my privacy is in the open, I will make plans for my next re-union.  Maybe times have changed enough and those with whom I want to re-connect will not be prejudiced against my fear.  Maybe I have been wrong to presume the worst; I have been tainted because my experience has been the worst.

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My life was my cherished privacy – secure in my anonymity – at least until my last employer outed me, destroyed my privacy, and fired me as a sex change (2008).

Home became my last sanctuary for security and privacy.  I lived semi-secluded and fearfull about being discovered.

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Those two different government employers fired me because of my sex change; they blew my privacy:

  • the federal government fired me in retaliation for my whistle-blowing and being a female working as a male (I was completing transition) (1985)
  • the State of Arizona fired me in retaliation for my whistle-blowing and being a female transsexual (they relied on Social Security Administration’s error mis-identifying me as male when SSA reversed my gender identification to ‘male’ in their records) (2008).

There are no laws and no protections for transsexuals.  An employer can fire a transsexual employee without repercussions.  It matters not whether you are in transition or post-op.  They can violate your privacy.  They can intrude upon your medical records.  They can act with callous disregard and legal impunity.

All deals are off now.  This web-site proves my challenge to those who sought to suppress me when they used my private medical situation as their thumb-screw against me.

I quietly began my journey in 1974; I completed my transition in 1985.  I hoped to live my life in peacefull anonymity.  Instead, other forces acted beyond my reach and chose to disrupt peace in my home – namely, employers who mis-used their authority.

Meanwhile, my spiritual friends in the transsexual universe put up their own struggle to improve life for all.  They came out publicly; they endured the onslaught on behalf of us all – including those of us who tried living our own lives in the shadows as we rendered our private support for the cause.

I graciously thank all my friends who have been diligently working toward a better life for our community.  I am now in the battle for our dignity and protection of our Constitutional rights.

Knowledge is power and freedom.

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