Where and Who
I was born in Harvey, IL (a `burb of Chicago) on March 23, 1972.
Park Forest, Chicago, Illinois 1972-1974
I lived in a yellow house on Apache Street. Jamie Cartwright was my babysitter and we had a sandbox in the back yard. I played alot with a kid that lived in a nearby cul-de-sac. He or his older brother's name was LJ.
HomeWood, Chicago, Illinois 1974-1976
We moved into a brick house in Homewood. The family that lived across the street was the Candlewicks.
Maxwell, Iowa 1976-1980
We moved to Maxwell, Iowa a few years later and lived in a zig-zag shaped rust colored house at the end of a dead end street, and had 32 acres of land--mostly forest. We had a dog named Patches, a cat named Molly, a pig named Tootsie then alot of pork in the freezer. I hung around with Ian, Joe and Nicky. Karl was my best friend at school, and I had a crush on Teri McLain.
Niantic, Illinois 1980-1990
When I was in third grade, we moved to Niantic, IL. We lived in a big yellow house with lots of woodwork, built in cabinets and window seats, had a huge willow tree in the back yard, and beyond that was flatlands and soybean fields so far as the eye could see. Travis Cross was my best friend up `til junior high, then he got held back and we drifted apart. Jill McKinney, Carol McKinney, and Brandy Cravens were good friends the whole time I lived in Illinois. I had a horrible crush on Mike Poe, but was in denial about being gay and chalked it up to hero worship. For the longest time I was a good little christian, but then my universe got too big and I rethought things.
Knoxville Summer 1982
My Dad was activating an A.E.Staley plant in TN, so we all moved Knoxville for the summer. Luckily the World's Fair was also in Knoxville that summer.
Daytona 1990-1993
I went to college in Daytona Beach, FL at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with dreams of space and glory. I wasn't smart enough. I couldn't get my mind bent around advanced engineering vector calculus my junior year and gave up. During my sophomore year, my roommate's girlfriend, Kim, figured out I was gay before I did, and started dragging me to a gay dance club, The Boulevard. I had my first man-date with Chuck about three weeks after my 21st birthday on the beach at Port Orange. My parents had moved during the Winter, and I flew to their new home in Indiana for the Summer. Chuck kept calling me twice a day every day telling me to move to Miami and he'd make me the happiest man on earth. He told me he loved me, he wanted to marry me, and that the University of Miami had a degree program for professional divers. He was lying on all counts. Job searching in Indy was not goin' well for me and I packed up my things and moved to Miami.
Miami 1993-1994
Miami was not a fun time for me. Chuck was not an honest man. I was too naive and immature to find folks I wanted to be with in the gay community, and was being introduced to the community through Chuck. I did not do well. I had a horrible drama filled crush on a co-worker. I got a job with the Bureau of Prisons, FDC Miami (thanks to Chuck) and did fairly well there.
Ft Lauderdale 1994-1995
I moved up to Ft Lauderdale with Valerie & Berni. I love Berni. She is a sweet, kind, good hearted woman. Berni gave me plenty of love and attention and kindness and was a good friend to me. I don't keep in touch with her nearly as much as I should. The then Warden of FDC Miami and the higher ups found out I was gay and my life started getting difficult. I put in for transfers to other facilities, and the FDC Miami Warden would call the Warden's there and tell them I was gay, a drug user, HIV+ and had a lover at their facility that I wanted to be with. Gay was the only part he was right about. Finally Keith Olson, the charter Warden of FCI Beckley said he didn't care if I was gay so long as I could do the job well, and hired me. I went up to Beckley on a househunting trip, SERO converted hard and spent seven days in the hospital. When I got back to Ft Lauderdale I was still testing negative. I tested positive for the first time the day before my 23rd birthday. I moved to West Virginia per the plan a few weeks later.
Beckley, WV 1995-1999
I lived in West Virginia for four years. I got a chance to grow up a little in the West Virginia gay community, and made plenty of roadtrips around the mid-atlantic meeting wonderful folks. I was getting weary of the long drives to be with friends and figured I'd never find or build the kind of community I wanted in WV. I needed a life change, started looking for jobs and ended up in San Francisco.
San Francisco 1999-2011
San Francisco felt like home for many years. San Francisco is filled with opportunity, but keeps a hard pace. I enjoyed my time in San Francisco, but was never in a living situation where I could put down roots. Around 2004, I started spending more time in Oakland. First in classes at The Crucible, then volunteering, then becoming a machine shop intern. I met Sean Orlando there who introduced me to Kinetic Steam Works and eventually formed Five Ton Crane. I love my Five Ton Crane cohorts--many who live in West Oakland where Five Ton Crane does almost all our work. It seemed like a good place to be the kind of person I want to be.
Oakland 2011-present
Buying a home and moving to West Oakland was not an easy affair. I was not prepared. It was an overwhelming ordeal. I rolled with it and landed in butter...or I landed in something and made it butter. I'm planting trees now. I got some honey bees. I live in a house that I am making my own. I have neighbors that see me walking then wave and yell greetings. It seems like a good place to be.