Please welcome to my blog A T Weaver who has brought with her some very special guests.
Good morning Ms Brown. Thank you for inviting us today. My name is Dave Willson and this is my husband, Jake. We’re from the book See You in the Morning by A. T. Weaver.
Interviewer: How old are you two?
Dave: Well, I’m seventy-six and Jake is seventy-one.
I. Where are you from?
J. Now we live in Redwood City, CA. I’m originally from Turlock, CA. That’s about one hundred miles east of San Francisco.
D. And I was born in a small town outside of Topeka, KS.
J. We did have a large house, but we recently retired and moved into a small cottage.
I. Are you close to your family?
(Dave and Jake look at each other)
J. That depends. (Dave shakes his head and laughs). If you mean our kids and grandkids, we’re very close. We were also very close to my parents, my sister and her family.
D. But not my family. I haven’t seen any of my family since I was fourteen.
I. So, Dave, what’s so funny about Jake’s answer?
(Dave grins) The very first time I asked Jake a question, he answered with ‘it depends’ and he’s been answering that way for fifty years.
I. Fifty years? That’s a long time. So how did you meet?
D. Back in 1998, I walked into a bar in The Castro and saw a cute, freckle-faced blond. When I asked if he wanted to get out of there, he said, “It depends.”
J. We ended up going down the block for pizza.
D. He wouldn’t even let me take him home. (Dave lifted Jake’s hand and kissed the fingers.) He caught a bus. But the next morning we went on a hike and we’ve been together ever since.
I. You’ve had a long life. What do you think is your biggest achievement?
J. There’s no question. It’s our kids and grandkids.
I. Kids? How many do you have?
D. Four. We have three we adopted and then we had Chrissy via a surrogate.
J. Ben, Mary and Isaac were siblings who were abused by their parents. We got Ben first and the other two a little over a year later.
I. So I assume you are both retired by now, but what did you do before?
J. I was an interior decorator. Still like to dabble occasionally. Dave was a lawyer. The firm he was with worked very hard for gay rights back in the early part of this century.
D. In fact we went through three wedding ceremonies during that time.
J. (Jake grinned and winked) The Government couldn’t make up its mind whether to let us be married or not.
I. How do you divide the household chores?
D. Well, Jake does the cooking. The family joke is that I can’t boil water without burning it.
J. When we moved in together, Dave didn’t even have a pan or skillet to his name. His freezer was full of TV dinners.
D. I know how to operate a microwave.
I. Do you have any hobbies?
J. Well, Dave likes his roses. He used to have one hundred of them when we had the big house. Since we moved into the retirement cottage, he had to cut back.
D. And Jake takes pictures. I think he has pictures stored on disks that no one has ever seen.
J. I know I have a few of you I wouldn’t want anyone else to see. (He winked at L. M.)
I. Is there anything you regret about your life?
J. I think the main thing I regret is Dave’s family not being around to see what they missed. My parents were so proud of our kids and our fight for equality.
D. I think Jake regrets that more than I do. Although, I would have liked to have seen my brother and sister, I never missed my father. That was one reason we adopted the three kids we did. Ben reminded me so much of myself at his age. Thrown out and despised by our fathers because of our sexuality.
I. Are any of your kids gay?
J. Just Ben. He’s a concert violinist and his husband is a pianist.
I. How do you think your relationship has lasted as long as it has?
J. My dad told me once that too many people, both gay and straight, go into a relationship with the idea if it doesn’t work out or if I find someone better. You have to start with the idea this is for keeps.
D. Sometimes it isn’t easy. I’m not going to say we haven’t had disagreements over the years. But we always try to not go to bed angry. Our favorite thing to say before sleep is “See you in the morning.”
I. Anything else you’d like to add?
J. Just a thank you for having us.
Title: See You in the Morning
Bio and contact links:
A. T. Weaver is the pen name of a Kansas City grandmother of ten. She lives with her cat, Cleopatra, in downtown Kansas City, MO.
When she was growing up, the word gay meant happy and carefree and homosexuals were called queer or ‘one-of-those’. However, she never heard those terms until she was married and a mother.
In 2003, through a TV show called Boy Meets Boy, A.T ‘met’ over 3,000 gay men in a Yahoo group. These men educated her as to the inequalities suffered by the LGBT community and she became a staunch ally. She visited one of the men in San Francisco who lived just up the street from the Castro. As he showed her around, they stopped in front of what was once Harvey Milk’s camera store. Her question, “Who was Harvey Milk?” started her education into Gay history.
A. T.’s aim is to move you in some way. Whether you laugh or cry, love it or hate it, she welcomes all comments, whether good or bad.
Jake and Dave lived and loved for over fifty years. During that time, they campaigned for gay rights. They married each other three times until, finally, in 2013, the United States Supreme Court declared DOMA to be unconstitutional and thus legalized their union.
They made a family and raised four beautiful children together.
When he loses Dave to a massive stroke, Jake feels his world has ended. Join him as he relives a life well-lived through memories triggered by photos of his and Dave’s years together.
Excerpt – this happens five years after the above interview:
When they pulled into the driveway, Chrissy got out of the back seat and helped Jake out. She hugged him and said, “Goodnight, Daddy. See you in the morning.”
He said, “Goodnight,” and walked toward the cottage. He stopped, pulled a knife from his pocket and cut a rose from one of Dave’s bushes planted on both sides of the walk and held it to his nose.
“That’s weird,” Chrissy said as she got back into the car.
“What’s weird,” Brad asked.
“For one thing, Daddy wasn’t crying. He always cries at the least little thing.” She frowned. “Plus, ever since I can remember, Daddy and Papa both, when they say goodnight, it’s always ‘Goodnight, see you in the morning.’ He didn’t say it.”
“Honey, he’s hurting. After all, he and your Papa were together a long time.” Brad placed his arm around her. “He’s probably in shock.”
“I guess you’re right,” she agreed.
* * *
Jake walked into the cottage, laid the rose on the hall table, removed his jacket and hung it on a hook inside the hall closet. He took Dave’s green sweater from a hanger, slipped it around his back and hugged himself with the sleeves. The scent of Dave’s favorite aftershave filled his nostrils. My dear one, what will I ever do without you? He picked up the rose, stuck the stem through a buttonhole on his shirt and went into the kitchen. He took two glasses from the cupboard and pushed a button on the refrigerator door. Ice and green tea flavored with honey and ginseng poured into the glasses. He frowned at the glasses and set one on the table. I guess I only need one glass. His shoulders drooped and his feet shuffled as he walked to the living room. He felt much older than his seventy-six years. He set the glass on the table next to his favorite chair, sat and pushed a button on the arm of his chair. Across the room a huge screen nearly the size of the wall rose up and displayed a menu. He pushed another button and an old-fashioned photograph appeared on the screen. Memories flooded his mind.