accessing my past: at the archives / & poem 56

me in the 70s

I picked up my buddy Sue intending to spend an hour at the Ohio Lesbian Archives this afternoon. We ended up staying twice as long and had quite an adventure in our research.

My purpose in going was to track past dates of Gay Pride in Cincinnati. I knew there was a folder on Pride plus old issues of various lesbian and gay magazines. We uncovered the Mayoral Proclamations from Gerald Springer — yes, that ‘Jerry’ Springer! — in 1978 and Bobbie Sterne in 1979. We actually found most of what we needed without having to locate the old DINAH newsletters in boxes in the back.

What distracted and amazed me were the old appointment books I found . . . of mine. I remember taking them from my home to the Archives, thinking them to be useful some day. A few of the years helped fill in gaps for Prides that had happened but couldn’t be proved either by the public library’s Newsdex or by the lgbt newsletter clippings we’d found. I felt tired just looking at all those appointments, dates, and events I put myself through in that span of, say, fifteen years. Friends, girlfriends, aikido, opera, vacations, vet appointments . . . yes, my past life flashed before me.

Recently I have been thinking it’s time to get serious about writing a book. But on what? My life? It has been an interesting one, if I do say myself: hitchhiking, drugs, radical lesbian feminism, women’s spirituality — well, I won’t spoil the plot just yet. I am thinking I’ll make a trip back to the Ohio Lesbian Archives and bring those appointment books home, type up those facts and dates, and start making sense of the past. Memoir, anyone?

my past life

was lived so fully!
I came of age when words like liberation
were shouted in the streets and whispered in the sheets

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