2019 Reflection 

Bucket Lists are developed to show where one hasn’t been or what one still wants or needs to do – this is, purposefully, a positive recounting of what I have been able to do. Maybe this is an ANTI-Bucket List? Fifty years since graduating from Rancocas Valley Regional High School and leaving Lumberton and Mount Holly behind – I have visited 32 states of the U.S.A. (this is in addition to living in New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Texas, & Arizona); 7 Canadian provinces; 27 countries, including Andorra, on 4 continents; and sailed some of the “Seven Seas.” I have been to Paris and Venice, to Rome and Constantinople, okay Istanbul. I have been to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and inside the Great Pyramid – ridden a camel and crossed the Suez Canal on a pontoon bridge. Have seen the grandeur of Westminster Abbey, Notre Dame, St Peter’s, St Mark’s, Hagia Sophia, and dozens of other Romanesque, Gothic, Byzantine, and Perpendicular cathedrals and abbeys – some in ruins, others in full glory – across Europe. I have explored London and most of Britain (visiting some two dozen times), even living on a lesbian-owned and operated, free-range, organic pig farm in Wales for a stretch. (So, I speak a little Welsh / Cymraeg.) I have known a member of the U.S. Cabinet, a member of the Bundestag, and had tea in the House of Lords dining room with a member of that body. The MacArthur “Genius Grants” escaped me – but not people I have known. I have seen the works of Rembrandt and Van Gogh in Amsterdam and those of Picasso in Malaga. I have worked in a flower shop, a hotel, the headquarters of an insurance company and for an insurance agency, and a publishing house. I have an undergraduate college degree and several advanced degrees, including one from Harvard. I have been a scholar librarian at a major university and have taught at universities on both the undergraduate and graduate level, and for a program to keep senior minds active.  And I have been involved with students who have become an internationally known television journalist and commentator, the director of a presidential library, and an ambassador.  I have held state, regional, and / or national office in the professional associations of both my main callings – library science and history. And I hold life membership in some of these associations. And I have as a friend – the Archivist of the United States – who is near the pinnacle of both of my professions. I have presented papers, been a guest lecturer, moderated panels, and the like on more than sixty occasions. And even appeared on television in two different cities as an “expert” commentator. My name appears on some 200 publications. Over a dozen scholars have cited me in their acknowledgements.  And I belong to three academic honour societies. I have worked for gay civil rights and against war and been in parades (1974 & 1975 Christopher Street Parades) through Manhattan and tear-gassed in D.C. I have attended plays on Broadway and in London’s West End – I have met a Tony Award winner. And I have even met a Mouseketeer. Like most of my high school classmates, I know someone in the NFL Hall of Fame; I also know a former General Manager of a Major League Baseball team. I have won medals for sporting events. I have worked for and been involved with charities and my church, for which efforts I have received some accolades.  I changed denominations twice before I found an almost perfect match in the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. As far as religion goes, I have attended a papal Mass, a Mass in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Shavout services in a synagogue in Cairo, Egypt – oh, and I have never had a cup of coffee, espresso, or cappuccino.  In nature, I have been in a hurricane and an earthquake; I have seen swans on Shapwick Heath, bears in the Canadian Rockies, whales on Stellwagen Banks, and Gila monsters in the Sonoran Desert. I have not witnessed birth; but death I have seen. I have traced my ancestry back to the earliest days of European settlement in “The New World” and beyond. I have had many acquaintances and a few friends – according to Facebook, they currently number nearly 700 and live in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and 11 countries. Actually, like us all, I must have met thousands – many of whom I don’t remember any longer; many of whom are gone. Some of these I lament knowing; others I lament forgetting. One of these friends particularly stands out and I have been grateful to have him as my BFF for the last five years – his is the deepest friendship, I have ever had. I have children and grandchildren (some of both have had fur); and have spent most of these fifty years with the most amazing person by my side as soulmate.  I have been blessed.  LGBTIAQ Affirming Church