Although I rarely post about my dreams, this one has really stuck with me this morning. It was a vivid dream and in such detail that I cannot get it out of my mind. The bizarre quality of the dream leaves me distressed.
I dreamed that I was delivering medications to the top of Mt. Shasta for my late father, Floyd, who was a pharmacist. I don’t know to whom I was delivering the prescriptions, but we made repeated trips, so I assume there were several people there. My husband, David, was driving us up a snowy, extremely curvy road to the pinnacle in my old, blue 1963 Ford Fairlane 500 Stationwagon. We were driving very fast, but it didn’t feel dangerous to me. We made several trips up this 14,000′ mountain. As we got to the top of the mountain on one of the trips, it looked like I could reach out the window and touch the craggy rock outside my car window. I asked David stop the car; as he did so, I got out, and started climbing up the rocks to the peak. There was a little snow along my path, and my late cat, Angelique, a long-haired, grey Persian mix, scampered up with me. I remember thinking to myself that I’d better be careful or I’d fall. Immediately, I realized that I was not at all afraid. Considering that in my wakeful life, I am very nervous about great heights, I was surprisingly fearless. I smiled endlessly as I climbed, and felt a peaceful elation at ascending this amazing apex and seeing this thrilling vista.
The scene cut away to a ski lodge about halfway down the mountain that was in the middle of a small, snowy village that had narrow streets, a row of connected, wooden buildings on either side of the street. This particular village, to which I have never been in my waking life, has shown up in many of my dreams. Frequently in my dreams, my mother resides in this village. While at the lodge, my late mother approached me in the company of other women who may have been her late cousins, looking strong and healthy. Mom demanded that I stop making the trip up the mountain. I told her that I was fine and that I wanted to return. She insisted that I not make the trip again, and I agreed, thinking to myself that I would go when I want to go. I was clearly trying to appease my beloved mother. She was particularly agitated about what she was saying, though. The thought kept crossing my mind that I wasn’t sure why she was so adamant in her remarks.
In several other parts of this dream, I was newly teaching in a boarding school in McCloud, at the base of Mt. Shasta in Northern California, with a huge number of children. I remember only that we were setting the table with mismatched silverware, dishes, and glasses, for a larger group than we had anticipated. The children were rude and paid no attention to the rules. I kept thinking, “These children are not anything like my wonderful students.”
In another period of my dream, in my bedroom at the school, I had a porcelain wash basin, the type used with a pitcher during the Wild West era, in which I was washing myself. I had a large growth on my upper left forehead that looked like a large pimple. I pulled at the white head on the growth and an encapsulated sac came out leaving an open hole to my skull. It was painless, but I kept worrying that I was at risk for infection with a gaping wound in my head. Usually very attentive to issues like this, I felt particularly calm, but couldn’t help wondering what the sac was and why I was remaining so peaceful.
The setting of my entire dream was in my hometown region of Southern Siskiyou County. Although I have never climbed Mt. Shasta, in my dream the peak looked surprisingly similar to this photograph, if there was a road immediately below the craggy outcroppings. I don’t know what the dream means, but I felt compelled to write about it.
An old man sat on a park bench. His face had crevices like an old melon. His eyes, as blue as a child’s marble, turned toward the ground in contemplation. Every so often, the man would sigh with the weight of his thoughts. As he sat quietly, an old woman dressed in a cloth coat, sensible shoes, and a black purse, casually sat on the bench next to him. In her hand, she held a bag from a deli with what appeared to be a sandwich in it.
“Good afternoon. I hope I’m not interrupting you by sitting here,” the lady said quite amiably.
“Not at all,” said the man. “I was just thinking about everything I gave up for my children, and now, they don’t call very often, or visit me as regularly as I’d like.”
The lady smiled because she knew the man was not looking at her, and she would not have wanted to hurt his feelings by laughing.
“Are you unhappy that you had children?” she asked.
“No,” said the man, surprised by the odd and forward question. “I just thought that they would have appreciated what I had done for them. I had no idea they would allow me to be so lonely, knowing my dreams had been cast aside to make sure they had everything they needed to succeed.”
“Have they succeeded?” queried the lady, genuinely interested in the man’s answer.
“They have.” The man brightened a bit. He went on to tell the lady of his children’s successes, and how they overcame their challenges with wisdom and strength.
“And, what did you sacrifice to make sure they could have a good life?” asked the lady.
“I wanted to be a professional baseball player. I wanted to win a pennant and know that I had helped my team win the big one.” The man was both excited and wistful in his memory.
“Do you suppose that although you didn’t play baseball, you still got your dream? You children are your team, you are their coach, and they keeping winning in their endeavors, even after you stepped back as an active, daily coach.” The lady started to open her chicken and tomato half-sandwich wrapped in white butcher paper. The silence between them that followed, underscored by the crinkly paper, was strangely comforting to both of the elderly visitors to the bench as they mulled over their conversation.
As she silently offered half her sandwich to the old man, the lady nearly whispered, “The only dreams you forfeited were the ones you invented. The ones that you were meant to live seem to have come true, even though you didn’t realize it at the time.”
The man looked at her as he declined the sandwich, angry that this stranger would be arrogant enough to talk about his life when she didn’t even know him.
“And,” the old lady dared to continue, “you multiplied the dreams lived by your children by doing so.”
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the man’s craggy face softened. His brows unfurrowed, and his frown was neutralized by his realization that he had, indeed, lived his dreams.
The lady stood up, threw away the wrapper for the sandwich. When she was done organizing her coat and purse, she purposefully turned toward the old man. She drew in a deep breath and spoke confidently, “Dear sir, you have lived the dream that many don’t get to experience. You’ve seen your children grow into adulthood and be happy. Even though your children don’t call or visit as often as you prefer, it is because they are living the lives they were meant to live. Perhaps now is the time to coach little league, or write about the sports you’ve followed for so many years.”
The man smiled, embarrassed that he had spent part of his precious life feeling sorry for himself.
“Thank you, ma’am.” The man hesitated as if he were about to say something else. “Just… thank you.”
As the lady walked away, the cell phone that the old man’s son had given him rang. “Hello, Dad,” he heard his son say.
The first time I remember realizing a new year was coming was in 1965. I was standing in the playground at McCloud Elementary School, the old one, with Johnny Peracchino near the backstop just before school let out for the Christmas vacation. I said, “I can’t believe it’s going to be 1966!”
1966. It was forty-four years ago we had that conversation. We were six years old, Lyndon Johnson was president, and we hadn’t yet landed on the moon. Now, I am fifty years old, an African-American man, Barack Obama is president, and we are very near to a time when tourists will be going into space for a ride.
Tonight, New Year’s Eve 2009, is a blue moon, the second full moon in a month. The next time we will have a blue moon on December 31 will be in 2028. I will then be sixty-nine years old, if I’m here at all. Considering my birth mother died at 50 and my birth father hasn’t even reached the age of sixty-nine years old yet, who knows where I’ll be in 2028.
All I do know is that I’m looking forward to the coming year because it isn’t this year. It’s been a rough one, at best.
The rarity of the day has not eluded me. Some say it’s just another day. When we miss landmarks, we have stopped reflecting on our lives.
We possibly have 365 more days to make our lives as close to our ideal as possible, if all goes well. We will see births and deaths, achievements and failures, and hope and disappointments. We will see life. If we’re wise, we’ll be sure to live life and not let life just happen around us. We have the special opportunity to love in brand new ways. We can be more open and welcoming. We can invite new people into our circle of friends. We can renew old friendships that have been long lost.
If we are people of faith, any faith whatsoever, we have the opportunity to give thanks to God for our gifts. If we are not people of faith, we can still give thanks to those around us for the gifts they offer us.
So, happy new year, my friends. Let us be healthy, active, prosperous, and joyful as often as we can. Let us surround ourselves with people we love and who love us. Let us not waste our time being angry or bitter about past pain. Let us release it to make more room for love. Let us create the lives we want and life it to the fullest. Most importantly, let us live in complete gratitude for simply everything.
That’s my plan, anyway.
Saturday night, October 10, 2009, was a convergence of many volunteer people and events… a synergy of art and action, electronic technology and spiritual electricity, deep longing and ebullient love. People came together, all volunteers, to create a most magical night. There were gospel and progressive metal musical groups, there were solo performers and a jazz ensemble. There were photos and laughter and family and work all rolled into one evening. There was even a recorded performance of the wonderful song, “Rindy,” that Rick, Rindy’s dad wrote and sang. It was a delicious stew of focused purpose. That purpose was to love Rindy Sumners and her family through arguably the most difficult time in their lives, Rindy’s death.
I remembered the biblical teaching in John 15:16-17, when Jesus said, “…whatever you ask the Father in my name He may give you. This I command you, love one another.” Although there were people of many traditions who participated in and attended the concert and were thinking of Rindy and her family during this time, the call went out into the Universe to love our lost lamb from hundreds of voices. They asked, each in their own way, that this memorial concert be the best it could be. Our prayers and wishes were answered in abundance.
To think that only a month and a half ago, Rindy was with us, laughing and singing her own songs for us. Now, we were assembled to sing our songs, and hers, for her. We raised our voices in awe of the life that this twenty-one-year-old daughter of God lived. We wept at the power with which her life and faith touched others.
The images on the screen behind every performer reflected the many moments Rindy was thoughtfully alone and joyfully with others. Her words rang out the clarion call for unity and forgiveness.
At the end of the performance, that lasted three-and-a-half hours, and seemed to go by in twenty minutes, there was a story told that I would like to now share with you that demonstrates the very essence of who Rindy is.
After Rindy died as a result of injuries sustained during an automobile accident in which she was a passenger, on August 26, 2009, we held a memorial service for her at her church, the Mars Hill Church. To our utter amazement, over 500 people attended that beautiful service.
As we were making decisions about what to include in the memorial, we knew, of course, that Rindy’s music had to be a part of it. One of the songs that Sandy, Rindy’s mom, decided to include was a piece entitled, “Pink Trees.” It’s a gorgeous song with hopeful, lyrical imagery and melody. In this piece, Rindy stood in genuine wonder of her own life. Sandy felt compelled to decorate the hall with pink trees and flowers. Sandy said over and over again that she didn’t know why it was so important to her, but she knew it was the right thing to do.
The truth is, the pink tree theme had become almost an obsession with Sandy. She was grieving and we all decided to simply support her in this process to accomplish every goal she had for this day to honor Rindy, so pink trees were flourishing all over the building. It was spectacular.
When it came time to select a plot for Rindy’s ashes, Rick and Sandy finally decided on a cemetery, Sunrise Lawn’s Chapel of the Chimes. By the time that the arrangements were completed, Rindy had a blossoming cherry tree at her gravesite that would bloom in the spring with pink flowers. This was yet another homage to the theme of pink trees that Sandy gently insisted upon.
When Netty Carey, a fellow student of Rindy’s from Natomas Charter School Performing and Fine Arts Academy, where I taught them both vocal music, came to me suggesting we put on a concert to honor Rindy’s memory, I thought it was a great idea. Netty and I knew that Sandy and Rick had to be included in the planning so that it met their needs, as well.
From the beginning of the planning, Sandy returned to the pink tree theme that had been so incredibly vital to the memorial itself. The lobby would be decorated in pink and the stage would have two trees with gorgeous pink leaves all over it.
On Saturday, October 3, 2009, we were only four weeks beyond Rindy’s passing and the planning for this impromptu concert on October 10 was nearing completion. At about 6:00 PM, I got a call from Sandy who was in tears.
“James, do you want to go to dinner?”
“Sure, Sandy. What’s wrong?”
“I have something important you need to see right now.”
“O.K. I’ll be ready in ten minutes.”
With that, I hung up the phone, quickly got showered and dressed and Sandy was by to pick me up since my husband, David, was out at the time.
As we were driving, Sandy reached into her purse and pulled out a black book. Before she opened the book she told me this story.
“This morning, I got up and all of a sudden, I felt this strong need to find Rindy’s black diary. Now, you know, James, I have never read Rindy’s diaries before, and I haven’t even read them since she died.
“As soon as Rick had gone this evening, I started immediately looking for this black diary. She has diaries stored all over the house, so I really wasn’t sure where to start looking. But, you know how Rindy and I are, so connected.
“I went up into the spare room, not her room, and opened a drawer and started rummaging around in it. No diary. The next drawer, only the second place I looked, I found the exact diary I was looking for. Isn’t that weird?”
At this point, I was simply listening. The story was compelling, at least; overwhelming, at best. The anticipation about what was in this diary was electric.
“I opened the diary and started reading,” she continued. “Now read this.”
She showed me this page of the diary in Rindy’s own handwriting. The previous pages were written on August 21, 2008, nearly a year to the day before she died. The next entry was October 16, 2008, so this entry was inscribed sometime between those dates.
Sandy exclaimed, “That’s why I knew we had to use pink trees! That’s what Rindy wanted.”
We were both in tears, realizing that her connection with her daughter had, indeed, not ended. I reminded her of a conversation we had immediately after Rindy died.
Sandy was weeping as she said, “I’m not a mommy anymore.”
I told her that she was indeed still a mommy. I said, “Sandy, now more than ever, you are given the responsibility to carry on your daughter’s legacy and to hear her voice when none of the rest of us can.” Between Rindy and Sandy, the veil had always been so very thin.
She remembered that conversation, too. She knew that she was doing exactly the right thing.
She said she wanted Rindy’s dreams to be fulfilled.
As the Consulting Producer, with this request, I went to Netty and Cathi Romero-Molay, the Technical Director and On-Site Producer for the show, to ask how to create the images we so deeply needed to see that day. We figured out the process and finally, we were able to manifest Rindy’s dream.
This video is the result.
The pink leaves that were falling created such a powerful moment for everyone in the theatre that there was a gasp. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
With that, the event was over and everyone felt as though they had been present at an important moment in Rindy’s and our lives.
Rindy was never satisfied with,”some.” She lived dynamically and fruitfully. She sang from the deepest recesses of her heart. She smiled with the inspiration of the sun. She loved with the radiance of her faith in God. Hopefully, this concert reflected those qualities that Rindy carried in such abundance. At least, that was our intent.
We love you, Rindy, and pray that you have heard our songs of honor and joy for your rich and vital life!
For great websites presented directly to you, go to: http://alphainventions.com/
I was five years old and in kindergarten. Mrs. Dawson was my teacher. I was in the morning class. Every day, I got home from school just before noon. Mom always felt I should eat lunch and take a nap after I got home. My brother, David, was not yet in school since he was only three at the time. It was no different on Tuesday, October 6, 1964.
My grandfather, Stanley, or Dziadzia, as we called him, had moved back to North Tonawanda, New York, right outside of Buffalo, in June 1963 after living with us for awhile. He’d had several strokes and needed care. He was in and out of the hospital in McCloud, where we lived.
Dad and I would ride one of our horses to see him, sit on our horse outside his hospital window and wave at Dziadzia. Dziadzia always had the biggest smile when he saw us there. It was a highlight of my day, too.
When my parents first adopted me, the first thing Dziadzia did was fly out to California from New York to see his youngest grandson.
When I was very little, Dziadzia would sit for hours holding me while I slept. He smoked cigarettes, and my mother would always tell me how she would be so worried that some of the ever-growing ashes would fall off of Dziadzia’s cigarettes onto me. She was so amazed that they never once did.
Although I have only two conscious memories of my grandfather, including one from outside his hospital window, and one when he was painting the outside of our shed in brilliant colors, I do remember the feeling I got from my grandfather. It was always a feeling of pure joy to be in his loving presence.
On this Tuesday, when Mom sent me to bed to take my nap, I didn’t fuss as I usually did. I just went to bed, turned out the light, and went to sleep. Almost immediately, I began dreaming.
I dreamed that I was standing in this black, empty space with only a little white fog at my feet. I saw my Dziadzia walk out of the dark toward me. He was dressed in his dark slacks and white shirt. He was wearing a tie and suspenders as he always did. I ran up to him and hugged him, yelling, “Dziadzia!” I remember feeling so incredibly happy to see him.
“Jimmy, I came to say good-bye,” he said to me. I couldn’t imagine where Dziadzia was going, but somehow, I sensed that he wouldn’t be coming back.
“No, Dziadzia! Please don’t go!” I cried.
“I have to go now. Give Daddy and Mommy, and little David, a kiss for me. I love you, Jimmy.” At that point, I started to cry in earnest.
I cried so hard I woke myself up.
I ran into the kitchen where my mother was, trying to hold back my tears, but quickly dissolved into a blubbering mess.
“What’s wrong, Jimmy?” Mom asked, very concerned.
“Dziadzia’s gone! Dziadzia’s gone!” was all I could repeat.
“Jimmy, Dziadzia is fine. He’s in New York at Aunt Frances’ house.”
Mom comforted me and I settled down a little bit, but I remember not being able to shake that uneasy feeling.
Dad got home a little after six o’clock. No sooner did he walk in the door when the phone rang. It was Aunt Frances. She proceeded to tell my father that their Dad was dead. He had died of heart attack. Dziadzia died at 1:35 PM, which was 10:35 AM our time. It was about 1:30 PM our time that I had my dream. I guess Dziadzia waited awhile until I fell asleep to say good-bye.
When Mom realized that I had been correct about my grandfather, she just looked at me. She never asked me a question about my dream. I don’t know if she ever told my father about it. We never spoke about it again until many years later.
Although I don’t remember Dziadzia all that well, I vividly remember the feeling I got from my Dziadzia. I always felt safe and loved with my Polish grandfather. He was the only grandparent who was still living when I was born.
It’s funny to think of it today, but I will never forget that look from Mom that day. She intuitively knew that my Dziadzia had come to me to say good-bye to me. She knew that I had experienced something that people had told stories about, but I’m certain Mom, with her Roman Catholic tradition, could never believe… until then. I’m not certain if it was because of this event, but from that moment on it seemed, Mom trusted my intuition when I would tell her things. She knew I knew things that I couldn’t possibly know otherwise. Even today, my husband and children will tell you the same thing.
I am so grateful to have gotten a chance to see Dziadzia one last time in my dreams before he left. Perhaps because of that dream or our entire history, I miss him still so much.
Dziekuje, Dziadzia. I love you.
The day was beautiful on the crowded beach. It was very warm, but not too hot. The sand made my feet tingle with the little beads of round glass dancing underneath them as I ran across the long expanse. My taut, tanned body was clothed only in my swimming suit and tennis shoes.
When I reached the twenty story tower of raw, iron girders up which I had to climb for the next leg of the competition, I looked up, memorizing where every hand- and foothold was. I knew that I could find a rhythm because every ten feet were exactly like the ten feet before. I closed my eyes.
Knowing my innate fear of heights, I determined that I could climb this rigorous course with ease if I wasn’t fettered by the fear so compelling since my childhood. It didn’t seem to take very long for me to reach the top, horizontal I-beam. I knew I had reached the top because, although my eyes were still closed, the wind felt freer as it swirled around me. I held on tight to the vertical pillar so I wouldn’t fly off the ediface during a stiff breeze.
Eventually, I decided I couldn’t keep my eyes closed for another second. I slowly opened my eyes and looked across the glinting ocean against which this huge structure had been built. I had to know just how high I’d climbed, so I looked down. I suddenly grasped onto my support beam all that much harder as I saw that I was standing nearly in the clouds. It was then that I realized there was another man hanging onto the same girder on the other side. We never spoke a word. I wasn’t even sure who was ahead in the race. He, too, was clearly focused on the same, sole question I was, “How do we get down from here?”
Only moments later, I felt a gust of wind push at my back. I didn’t fall, but I knew that if I let go, I would plummet toward the water below me. I couldn’t tell if the ocean was deep or shallow. If I fell, would I be killed? I didn’t know for sure, but I suspected it was deep enough that I wouldn’t be.
For some unknown reason, I chose to let go of the girder and fly toward the ocean, feet first. I yelled all the way down. As I approached the surface of the ocean, I waited for the crush of the sea or the jarring battery of my body on the ocean floor. To my utter amazement, there was neither. I simply slipped past what felt like a veil of watery surface into what can be best described as a suspension. I could breathe, but was slowed in my descent toward the sandy floor by this new environment.
By the time I did reach the floor, I lighted upon it in the way an elegant bird might a tree limb. I was afraid to take a breath, but once I had no choice but do so, I realized I could breathe freely. As soon as I discovered this, I blew some bubbles to see which way was up and started climbing the ninety degree wall of sand toward the reddish-yellow surface. It didn’t seem possible to swim in this almost-fluid. Eventually, I broke through the barrier and found easy oxygen, blue sky, and the returning din of the boisterous crowd.
I found an opening in the cyclone fence that went into the hotel where I was apparently staying. I climbed the short rock wall and as I clung to the floor of the lobby of the hotel, I saw my husband, David. I asked for his help, and he asked the security staff person if he could help me. The security woman at the desk, a sturdy African-American woman in full uniform, asked if I had fallen, jumped, or if I was pushed?
I responded that I had not been pushed, but I wasn’t sure whether I had fallen or I jumped. She looked at me confused, but told my husband, “I don’t care. Go ahead and help him.”
As David helped lift me to my feet, I asked where my clothes were. The security person said that I couldn’t have my clothes back, but quickly relented and allowed me to go get my clothes.
Although I had been through a grueling experience and had lost the race, I realized that throughout the process, from the heights of the girders to the depths of the ocean, I had remained peaceful inside. I had done what I needed to do and had done the best I could.
That was the end of my dream.
I was taking a shower this evening, getting ready to go to the theatre, and I realized that, although I’d eaten a grilled cheese sandwich just a couple of hours earlier, I was hungry. There are a few things in my kitchen to eat, but not enough to call a refrigerator or cupboard full. It’s then that it struck me.
What if we were forced to miss a meal every time we were cruel to someone? What if we could not have anything to drink for twelve hours every time we were thoughtless? What if our bank accounts had an amount deducted from it directly related to the value of our choices every time we didn’t do something for someone else that needed us, simply because we were too lazy or disengaged? What if we went blind for six hours every time we ignored beauty? What if we went deaf every time we dismissed someone’s words of love or call for help to us? What if we developed festering pustules on one more square inch of our body every time we did not hug someone who needed our love?
I suppose the real question is, “What if we had tangible experiences based on everything we did to disconnect ourselves from those around us?”
I understand that some may question this very premise. They may ask, “Why not reward us for the good things we do, instead?”
The truth is, we already know the answer, don’t we? We are fully aware that our decisions to connect intimately with those around us are what we are called to do in the first place. It’s our job. We know, too, that there are rewards for acting on our best impulses.
When we look into the eyes of a person toward whom we have shown love, our hearts are abundantly fed and our longing is immediately sated. Our spiritual skin is caressed and our emotional wallets are filled. The melodies of joy and the visions of beauty surround us in ways we had only previously imagined. Yes, of course, we are rewarded mightily.
What if we got what we truly deserve? Our wisdom has taught us, we do.
Clearly, disease and poverty, or deafness and blindness, have nothing directly to do with kindness or cruelty. A person in the world making two dollars a week is not in that position because they are mean. A person with cancer is not suffering because they have ignored those they love. Ask any parent of a child with leukemia. But, what if they were connected directly?
In what state would I find myself today? Where, how, and who would you be today?
I wish I could have all my children and my grandchildren in one room at one time. The truth is, there are so many reasons why it isn’t likely. I’m afraid that by the time it actually happens, it will be at my funeral. That wouldn’t be good.
In my dream, my children, Michael, Ana, John, James, and Rita, and my late brother, Dave’s children, April and Davey, would all be together, laughing, eating chips and salsa, and watching Ren and Stimpy. They’d be telling stories of how strict I thought I was and how they all laughed at me behind my back. They’d remember bad spaghetti and tuna soup with noodles. My husband, David/Papa and I would stand back and marvel at the the incredible adults these children have become. How beautiful that would be to me.
My grandchildren, Ashley, Jacob, Emily, Justin, Nathaniell, Christian, Raymond, Mary, and Kayla, and my grand nieces, Nadine, Callie, Jade, and Alexis, would be sitting around the table, eating Dziadzia’s pancakes with butter on their fingers and syrup drops on their pants, with their parents laughing at “the Glica cousins” all being in one place.
We would take a moment after dinner to remember Nana, Big Dziadz, and Dave, and the happy summer days in Dunsmuir.
That’s what this Glica’s dream is now. Someday perhaps, if this difficult prayer is answered. Wouldn’t that be nice?
(This is the space I’m leaving to describe the grand day when this wish comes true.)
The National Equality March in Washington, D.C., scheduled for October 10-11, 2009, presented Americans an opportunity to offer their three-minute speeches for selection for this event. They called it “March Equality Idol Auditions.” They asked that the theme reflect the reasons why it was important for the speaker to attend the March in Washington. The voting between the top five speeches will be on Facebook and YouTube. I only found out about the competition yesterday afternoon and I had to write the speech and get it filmed and sumbitted by today, Thursday September 17, 2009 at 5:00 PST. My video turned out very nicely, I think. Because of the lack of sufficient technology, I couldn’t find a way to download it onto my computer from the camera I have, and therefore, I didn’t submit it. I must admit I am deeply disappointed right now. I will always wonder if my speech would have been selected, even for the top five finalists.
First, I am proud that my husband, David, figured out how to get the video onto our computer so that I can share it with you here. Second, the text of the speech follows.
Here is the text of my speech. I hope you enjoy it.
A Family Tradition of Hope
by James C. Glica-Hernandez
Written September 16, 2009
Three weeks before my tenth birthday in 1969, the Stonewall Riots erupted. Being an avid reader of the newspaper even at that age, I knew what was happening in New York. Men in dresses were fighting against the tyranny of bigotry and second-class citizenry in the greatest metropolis of the United States. The truth is, I didn’t know what to think about seeing gay people in the light of day because I had already been questioning my own sexuality in the haze of shame that every young, gay boy felt back then, and probably still does.
A mere nine years later, then having a wife and child, and having come out to my family, I found myself marching under a drizzly Sacramento sky, in my first gay pride parade at the urging, and in the presence, of my beloved father, Floyd Glica. When I protested about marching in the rain, Dad told me, “Jim, if we don’t stand up for who you are today, you will always be trampled upon by those who don’t like you just because you’re gay. We have to march.”
That day in 1978, I learned about gay pride from my fearless, remarkable Dad.
I am now the patriarch of my family, including my husband, five children, and nine grandchildren. I have seen someone in every generation of my family, as well as my students, wrestle with questions about their own sexuality. Sadly, they’ve learned that they will have a lesser experience in the U.S. as a gay, lesbian, or bisexual person than a straight person would.
My presence at the 2009 National Equality March is borne out of my love for my family, friends, and students. Together, we demand the necessary leadership from President Obama and Congress that creates a voice, like my father’s, that mandates equality and freedom for all.
The late Senator Edward Kennedy, arguably the most valiant warrior for equality ever to have graced the Senate floor, made a vital statement in 2007 regarding ENDA. He said, “America stands for justice for all. Congress must make clear that when we say ‘all,’ we mean all. America will never be America until we do.”
The Chávez-Glica-Hernandez family thanks you for this opportunity to join with your families in a community of hope, power, and vibrant leadership to ensure that we all… Senator Kennedy’s all… my father’s all… are able to participate and contribute to our society as free men and women; free from the branding of sexuality, gender, color, religion, national origin, disability, or economic status, as it must be in these United States of America.
We are proud to present the details for the upcoming free concert honoring Sacramento musician and friend, Rindy Sumners. Rindy died on August 26, 2009 as a result of injuries she sustained in an automobile accident on Interstate I-80.
This concert promises to be filled with an eclectic array of performers and an abundance of love for our talented and precious Rindy.
October 10, 2009 at 5:00 PM
Natomas Charter School North Field
4600 Blackrock Road
Sacramento, CA 95835
For more information, contact: Netty at (916) 595-9342, or James at (916) 201-1168
Man, Oh Man!!
American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble
Too Much Fiction
We are fortunate to have this particular ensemble of professional musicians who are willing donate their time and creativity to this important venture and everyone involved is so deeply grateful. The professional companies and individual who are donating their expertise, resources and manhours for this free concert are growing in number by the day.
There will be a table manned by Rindy’s close friends who will accept individual monetary gifts for the family toward the completion of the CD on which she was so ardently working before her death. Although they are not affiliated with this concert, we thoroughly support their efforts. We’ve been made aware that these gifts are not tax-deductible donations to any tax-exempt cause or organization. They are simply individuals’ generous offer of assistance toward the realization of Rindy’s greatest dream.
We all look forward to seeing you at the concert. Updates will be forthcoming.