Great American Conversations
                    With The Alumni of RHS
                  Issue 97 ~ October 27, 2000

          "Our best thoughts come from others."
                            - Emerson

       One Parent's View
       Peggy Lewis Johnson '62

       Bean Counters
       Bob (Mike Clowes) Carlson '54

       Debunking the Bunk
       Jerry  Lewis ('73)

       It Would Be Nice
       Mary Collins Burbage (63)

       Hate is Not a Family Value
       Missy Keeney Baker (59)


Subj:   One Parent's View
From:   Peggy Lewis Johnson '62 (Peggy Johnson)

Regarding homosexuality:

The real issue is about parents of homosexuals.
 Parents' duty is to rear children and teach them
 compassion, tolerance, respect for others; to
 nurture a child to build self-esteem, and support a
 child in developing his or her natural talent and
 intellect. When my first born daughter was born
 there was a mother's awareness that my new baby
 daughter was intriguingly different. As I watched
 her grow I curiously observed her development
 and sensed and knew like only mothers - or fathers
 - might know that there was something special and
 unique about this child.

To make a longer story shorter I'll bypass those
 early school years when her choices in simple
 things pushed my intuition beyond and into
 intellectual thoughts and I began to understand
 what might be a fact about her sexuality.  As a
 high school student she struggled inside with who
 she was - like others her age -- and then shared
 those truths with me as a young adult.  Here's how
 it went: (and this is a short version) "Mom, I have
 something I want to talk to you about" "Sure,
 honey, what is it?" (I knew by her approach that
 this was one of those mother-daughter talks that
 come from deep within - with a need to know that
 trust is there, love is there, acceptance and flesh
 and blood - to die for - devotion is there) She said:
 "This is hard to tell you, you might not like it"
 I said: "You might be surprised how deep my love
 is for you and what you can share with me, honey."
 She started to cry and blurted out "I'm gay" I held
 her in my arms and said: "Oh sweetheart, and you
 are the kindest, most compassionate person I know
 --- and you are the best of friend to all your
 friends, and you are honest, and you have such a
 good mind, and such a good sense of humor, and
 you are responsible and such a good reader, and
 student, and such a great niece, and cousin and
 granddaughter, you use your mind for good cause
 and you always are growing, you are so beautiful
 and wise beyond your years, you are so patient and
 kind ------and you are gay ---- and from what I
 know being gay will have it's challenges. Will you
 have difficulty? Maybe less than some
 heterosexuals in relationships. Will you be
 scrutinized -- maybe less than some who are of a
 different faith, or someone who has a learning
 disability or an extremely high IQ -- or a cause
 they are willing to die for.  Will you have problems
 in your love life?  Probably not more than those
 heterosexuals who are in the divorce statistics. Will
 you be happy? Some of the time. Will you be sad?
 Some of the time. Will you struggle? Some of the
 time ------- Challenged? - Yes, I hope, as
 challenge makes us strong. Frustrated? Yes, as
 frustration makes us agitated to act. All this you
 will be and more.........not because you are gay, but
 because all human beings have challenges, are
 happy sometimes and sad sometimes, etc. Your
 challenges will be your own -- as are mine.
 I love you so deeply. You are a child from my
 womb -- my child--- my flesh and blood -- if you
 are gay then my soul is a bit gay as I shared a part
 of who I am to create you - If you are gay then my
 spirit and being is a bit gay as I gave you a part of
 myself. If you are gay, then my physical body
 created you from my being and, though I am not
 gay, a part of my genetic being was where you
 came from. And will I grow old and love you every
 moment of my life and be proud of you every
 moment of my life - and be comfortable and
 delighted in your presence  --------------- As sure
 as I hold you in my arms and am thankful for you
 and know the world is a better place because you
 exist --- of course --- but not in spite of who you
 are --- but because of who you are — every
 molecule in your body, every voice in your spirit,
 every thought in your mind -- I love you, God
 gave you to me as a gift and a treasure. It's
 OK now, so quit crying and lets go have some fun.
 After that she shared with me more than I wanted
 to know -- like a parent of any child of any sexual
 orientation -- about her sexual life. A few months
 later we agreed, laughing, that if I didn't tell her all
 my sexual adventures as a single parent, (not that
 great of a story), that she wouldn't have to tell me
 hers. She is a bright - and beautiful woman. She is
 well educated and an engineer moving into
 management and growing in her career. Her
 coworkers love working with her - some might
 know of her sexual preference and some might not.
 Anymore than their sexual preference is of great
 interest to her.  Greater than anything about her is
 her compassion, her kindness, good mind, her
 integrity and responsible, caring nature.  If I ever
 thought I would be described by my friends or
 those who knew me as I have described my
 daughter I would be greatly humbled.

                     One parent's view.
                     Peggy Lewis Johnson '62

                                ~ ~ ~

Subj:   Bean Counters
From:   Bob (Mike Clowes) Carlson '54 (Robert Carlson)

    Mary Ray Henslee (61), in issue #94, is of the
 opinion that I favor Bore's Medicare Plan over that
 of Gush.  Far from it.

    What I was trying to point out, is that no matter
 who gets elected, and no matter which plan
 possibly gets enacted, the people who need
 Medicare will not benefit.  Why?  Bean Counters.

    If the "gummint" runs the show, then the bean
 counters will come up with more regulations and
 paper work to slow down or even nullify the
 program.  For every dollar of treatment, either the
 patient or the doctor may have to spend up to five
 dollars in filling out forms.  Remember, this is the
 government and it cannot survive, even in the
 computer age, without forms of some sort.  The
 form to fill out forms is still out there.

    If the private sector (insurance companies) run
 the show, as soon as the bean counters figure out
 that it is a money loosing proposition, they will
 drop it like a hot potato.  Just recently the state of
 Oregon's health plan was dropped by yet another
 insurance company as it was (to the provider(?))
 not cost effective.

    Neither the government nor the insurance
 companies care about your health and well being. 
 The government will offer lip service, and do its
 best to obfuscate the process.  If there is no profit
 in it, the insurance companies will want nothing to
 do with it.

    As a retired military person, I have suffered
 through the maze of paper work and "need to
 justify" of a mediocre health care program. 
 "What?" you say.  "You don't get the best medical
 care?  I thought the military took care of their
 own?"  Does the phrase "Not on your Nelly" strike
 a familiar note?
    Now, if I were living in the close vicinity of a
 major military medical facility, I just might get less
 expensive treatment.  But I live on "the economy"
 (as we used to call it), and have to find a doctor
 and a medical facility that will accept the medical
 program I have.  And that will run out next May,
 and then I get to face the loveliness of Medicare.  At
 least what I have now is better than a poke in the
 eye with a sharp stick, not much, but not quite as

    I'm afraid, Mary, that neither candidate does me
 any good, except to be the target of bad humor.

    Well, that's my opinion, and I'm entitled to it.

          - Bob (Mike Clowes) Carlson '54

                             ~ ~ ~

Subj:   Debunking the Bunk
From:   Jerry  Lewis ('73)

Someone sent in a link to an image of a bumper
 sticker that he thought was pretty eloquent.  I
 checked it out and I didn't think it was all that
 informative and was actually kind of offensive.  I
 believe it was implying that Gore is a liar by
 highlighting the first 3 letters of Lieberman's
 name in a mock Gore/Lieberman bumper sticker, 
 but it really is only eloquent to someone who's an
 opponent and not really interested in discourse.

Right now, I'm listening to a report by students
 centered on the accuracy of media reports in
 general and specifically centering on an incident
 where Gore gave a speech at their high school
 where he ended up being blasted as claiming to
 uncover the Love Canal problem.  They played
 back the actual speech where he didn't make such
 a claim, but did that make any difference?  No.  It
 got me to thinking about Dan Quayle and how
 once the media tags these guys, there's almost no
 return.  Doesn't matter whether they're liberal or

I just happened to receive a notice from the Urban
 Legend web site, my hands-down favorite location
 for debunking (or confirming) rumors, stories,
 warnings.  There are two links relevant to the Gore
 discussion and one to the Harry Potter brouhaha.

The most substantial Gore one is a list of supposed
 lies Gore told and then an analysis of each one. 
 The first third of the web page is the supposed lies
 and the supposed truths as circulating in e-mails. 
 Scroll down through that to find each one
 addressed with the actual facts.  It's at:

Another one about a rumor that strings were pulled
 to shorten his tour in Vietnam:

So if you're a Gore (Clinton?) hater and aren't
 interested in facts, you can skip reading them.  If
 you're willing to have an open mind and are
actually interested in substantiated research into the
 claims rather than unsubstantiated innuendo, check
 them out.

Also, regarding Harry Potter books, I've refrained
 from entering the fray.  It's my opinion that they
 are pretty harmless, and are in a long tradition of
 fantasy books for kids.  Many of us read similar
 books as kids and didn't turn out to believe the
 fantasies or devote our lives to them.  I just read
 the last one, and had a more critical eye turned on
 it due to the discussions here and I just don't see it
 as likely to be harmful to the young readers.  It's
 really pretty clean and the good guy ends up
 coming out ahead after surmounting challenges. 
 That said, if Jenny Smart has the right to choose
 what her children read and if she doesn't want her
 kids to read an innocuous adventure story, that's
 her prerogative. I probably wouldn't agree with her
 limited reading list, but c'est la vie.

Lastly there's a small bit on the Urban Legends site
 about Harry Potter and supposed links to Satanism:

       Jerry  Lewis ('73)  *  ** 

                                  ~ ~ ~

Subj:   It Would Be Nice
From:   Mary CollinsvBurbage (63)
Olympia WA (Mary Collins Burbage)

I am very glad that the Sandbox is "animal cruelty"
 free. I think it would be nice if it could become
 "human cruelty" free also.

                   - Mary Collins Burbage (63)

                               ~ ~ ~

Subj:    Hate is Not a Family Value
From:    Missy Keeney Baker (59)

To Steve Carson (58)

I was extremely saddened to learn you had lost a
 son to AIDS and wish you healing in that loss.  I
 have agonized since your response to my entry 
 in the SANDBOX about the OCA.  How could I
 compassionately and intelligently respond?? 

To Lynn-Marie Hatcher (68) and Linda Merrill
 Hendley (64)

Thank you for doing just that.  I couldn't have said
 it better myself.  I had a wonderful tape by a group
 called the "Flirtations", a great a cappella gay men's
 vocal group, and one of the song verses went
 something like this...(it was a song for a child at

"You can be anybody that you want to be.  You
 can love whomever you will, You can travel any
 country where your heart leads and know I will
 love you still, You can live by yourself, you can
 gather friends around, You can choose one special
 one..And the only measure of your words and your
 deeds Will be the love you leave behind when
 you're gone."

Much of the pain and anguish that I observe in the
 gay community is caused by parents and families
 who are unable to love and support their gay and 
 lesbian children.  I can't recommend highly enough
 the PFLAG (Parent, Family and Friends of
 Lesbians and Gays) organization and the work they
 do help folks deal with this issue in a tolerant and
 loving manner.

The sun is shining and the leaves are turning here in
 Richland, Washington.  

Tell your children you love them.  I'm going to!!

                   - Missy Keeney (59)

                              ~ ~ ~

From: Peggy Lewis Johnson (62):

A friend shared this with me. I want to 
  share it with you.


                 I am sprinkled with light
                 Like a line
                 I go on forever
                 A monster of a place
                 My beautiful lights
                 Help you find your way
                 Lurking above you
                 All the time
                 My children have names
                 Of ancient gods
                 My brightest son
                 Gives you light
                 I am the universe

        Rachel Weiner Spring  1997    (8 yrs old)


Thanks for your contributions, everyone. Many
 more to come.  If you've sent an entry recently and
 haven't seen it in The SANDBOX yet, please be
 patient.  Your voice will soon be heard!

                      Al Parker (53)
                     Your Sandbox Host
                           - 97 -