Journal of a 77 Year Old Gay Man Coming In For the Final Landing

Archive for February, 2012

Follow-up Visit to my Dermatologist

This morning I had my follow-up visit to my dermatologist.  This visit was to have the one stitch removed from my left forehead where he removed the wart-like growth last Friday.  Good news!  It wasn’t cancerous.  The Good Doctor said it was “only keratosis, not even actinic keratosis” which is a pre-canceous condition.  Dodged another bullet.

He then told me to take my shirt off and lie on my stomach. He was going to give me a needle to numb the lower portion of my back prior to digging out an old cyst I have near my spine cord.  Nice huh?

So I took of my shirt and tee shirt turned around and rather awkwardly laid my seventy year old hairy chest on the cold butcher paper covered leatherette Groaning Board (what DO YOU call that you lie/sit on in the doctor’s office)?

The needle went in painfully (I love it!) and soon I was numbed up ready for The Dig.  

The Good Doctor took out his scalpel and proceeded to dig….and dig….and dig.  No pain but I could feel the pressure.

Finally he said “Ah ha!”  He then showed me the recalcitrant cyst.  It was the size of a large walnut.  Man oh man, that was on my spine?  I wonder how big it would have gotten had I done nothing?


He placed the wet, bloody cyst in a medical disposable bag (more Ron in the trash) and told me to get dressed. Before I left I asked if I could take his picture for my iPhone.  He reluctantly consented.  I find that doctors aren’t real thrilled to have their pictures taken after they have performed a procedure on you.  Wonder why?

Now I await my next Patch Job.  Like Bette Davis said “Getting Old Ain’t For Sissies!”


“You’re Getting a Job!”

Ron's bike

Me and my dependable bike with basket that delivered thousands of newspapers from 1951 to 1956

The year was 1952. I was ten years old.  I was the oldest of the three sons of Ike and Betty Tipton.  Ike, my father, was a transplanted hillbilly. He came to Pennsylvania from the western mountains of North Carolina with his eight brothers (two more would be born in Pennsylvania) when he was ten years old.  He and his brothers were to work as migrant farm labor for his uncle Don Byrd’s farm in southern Chester County.

My Mother was the youngest of a family of Pennsylvania Quaker descent.  Her Mother died when she wasn’t quite two years old.  Both my parents had a hard upbringing.  Neither had an easy childhood.  Both began working before they reached their teenage years.  I was to be no exception.

I came home one day from school and my Mother told me “You’re getting a job.  You’re going to be a paper boy.”  Uh….okay.  What did I know?  We were poor and lived in the poorer section of town.  My father was a long distance truck driver, exempted from serving in the military because of his three sons being born in 1941, 1943 and 1944.  Mom, at that time, was a stay-at-home Mom with her hands full taking care of three rambunctious boys.  Any woman knows that three sons can be a handful.  My brothers and I were no exception.  We kept her busy.

I wasn’t asked if I wanted a job, I was told.  I didn’t even think to protest.  What I did know was that I wasn’t getting an allowance like most of my classmates and that my brothers and I didn’t wear shoes during the summer months off from school because it was too expensive.  I would be earning MONEY.  I knew that.  Up until this time I earned a a nickel here and there running errands to the grocery store for my relatives who lived in the same apartment building we lived in on Washington Avenue in Downingtown.  Once in a great while one of my uncle would give me a whole quarter for running an errand to the grocer store.  Now as a paper boy I would be earning BIG MONEY….up to $5.00 a week!

She told me a Mrs. Lindermann would come over to our second floor apartment at 120 Washington Avenue to explain to me what I had to do.  Mrs. Lindermann arrived on a hot and humid August night (no air conditioning in the Fifties – we didn’t notice).  She told me that I would pick up my newspapers (The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin) at the Sam Charles News stand, which was located on Lancaster Avenue, the main road through Downingtown.  This was only a few blocks away from where we lived in the center of Downingtown.  I would also be delivering a few copies of the local newspaper but the bulk of my deliveries would be the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, about 60 copies.  I would pick up these papers after school.

She gave me a small, hand-size three ring binder. This notebook contain a monthly grid of individual sheets of the customers I was to deliver the newspapers too.  Each sheet had the customers’ address and which paper was to be delivered to them.  There was also an amount listing what I was to collect from the customer once a week.  She turned over this binder of customers’ names and addresses to me.  At ten years old I had my first Real Job.  I now had responsibility.  I felt grown up.  It felt good.

I was a paperboy from third grade until I entered ninth grade, from ten years old to fifteen years old.  Believe it or not the main reason I quit the paperboy job was that I thought I was too big to ride a bicycle.  Remember, back in the Fifties only kids rode bicycles.

I can honestly say from my vantage point now, that paperboy job was the best job I ever had in my life.  The best.  I was on my own, I was out in the fresh air, I got to meet and interact with people (which I love and do to this day as I do at my part-time job as a hotel front desk clerk), and I made money.  If there was any downside at all (and I didn’t and never did consider it a downside) was that I didn’t have time for extra-circular activities at school.  While the rest of my classmates were spending their allowances and getting into trouble or just being bored, I had something to do after school, deliver papers.  And oh the experiences I had delivering those newspapers,  something which I will write about in future blogs.

I don’t have any pictures of me delivering papers but I do have a picture of me on my bike that I delivered newspapers.  My trusty, dependable bike that got me through many a day; hot, cold, windy, snow, rain.

I am so thankful that my Mother gave me this lesson early in my life to teach me responsibility.  She is gone now but her lesson has stayed with me for the past sixty years.  I am working now, albeit part-time.  I will work until I can no longer function either mentally or physically.  I know of no other way.  Mom trained me well.

Thank you Mom, wherever you are. I have no doubt she will have a job waiting for me when we meet in Heaven.

Visit To My Dermatologist

Ron's Head Bandaged

This afternoon I visited my new dermatologist to have a wart removed from my left forehead.

This wart popped up like a volcano about a month ago.  Since I have a history of actinic keratosis I thought it wise to have it checked out.

Normally I would visit the Wilmington Veterans Administration Medical Health Center in Wilmington for my dermatology needs but I had just made my six month check up visit in December.  I didn’t want to go through the stress of scheduling another appointment so soon.  I decided instead to see a dermatologist on my own closer to my home which is near Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

I saw an ad in the local newspaper.  I called the number and made an appointment for today.

This afternoon Bill drove me down to the Medical Arts Building in Rehoboth Beach, which is on Route 24, the John J. Williams Highway.

I didn’t have to wait too long for my doctor.  His name was Dr. Chang.  Ironically, my very first visit to a dermatologist was whenI worked at Fidelity Bank in Philadelphia, PA.  I made an appointment with a Dr. Uy at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.  I’ve come complete circle.

Dr. Chang took one look at my “wart” and said it could be skin cancer.  I haven’t had skin cancer…yet but both my brother and Mother have had skin cancer so it does run in my family.  The good doctor numbed my head and then cut the “wart” off.  He said he would send it out for a biopsy and call me immediately if they find out it is skin cancer.  He took one stitch to close the cut to my forehead.  It hurts.

I go back next week to have the stitch removed.  He will also remove a mole from the small of my back.  I’ve had this mole removed twice before in the past twenty-five years but it has returned.  It bothers me so he said he will remove it, making sure he gets to the “root” of it.

This is my second posting to my Word Press blog.  Please excuse any awkwardness.  It will take me a few posts before I get my sea legs.

Hello World!

Here I am, a 70 year old gay man, semi-retired to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  I’ve been a blogger since 2005 on another website.  I’m giving Word Press a try just to try something new. Always time for a change I say.

My partner (Bill) and I have been together for forty-seven years now.  I still find it hard to believe that so many years have gone by.  We will always be together until one of us dies then the survivor will have a problem.  One of us will be alone then and that’s a thought I do not want to think about.

Bill is 83 years old and I am 70 years old, well past the gay expiration date.  If I survive, I’ll get a cat (or two) to keep me company, maybe a Pomeranian dog.  We’ve had five over the years but our last one died over a dozen years ago.  The loss was so great we haven’t gotten one since just because we don’t want to go through that pain.

Well, I’m rambling on here but I did want to get my new blog started on Word Press and just see how I would like it.  So far, not bad.