Monday, June 29, 2009

It Wasn't a Big Deal

My little brother played Little League baseball, basketball and a couple of years of football. We spent a lot of time at the city park when we were kids and most of the young boys (very few girls in those days) were the same from season to season and sport to sport. We were kids, they were kids, my brother played ball, I hung out with the older brothers and sisters of the kids playing and my parents sat with all of the other parents cheering for the kids. Well, my dad coached a lot so he was on the field.

One of the boys was my brother's age and played with him in baseball and basketball. We'll call him Chuck. He was an adorable kid, blond hair, blue eyes, freckles across the bridge of his nose. Chuck lived an all female household with his mom, his little sister and his Cindy. The four of them were a family. The mother (I have no idea what her name was) and Cindy were at every game, every practice. Sometimes Cindy (who was an excellant ballplayer herself according to my dad) helped out with practices.

Now I grew up in a small town in NW Florida, a place we lovingly call LA for Lower Alabama. Not the most sophisticated place in the world and this was the mid to late 70s and early 80s, but no one thought about the fact that Chuck had 2 moms. The women were not ostracized or ignored, the kids were not teased or taunted. I remember a brief moment of "Ewwww" when I found out the 2 women slept in the same bed, but I was older then and fairly self absorbed so I'm certain my thoughts went immediately back to self. And while I don't actually remember the conversation, I am positive my parents delivered the information in a straight-forward matter of fact way and moved on.

So a recent CNN article on children of homosexuals saddened me

Dealing with teasing from classmates and the community isn't so easy, same-sex children say. It's not unusual to hear children of same-sex couples say that they were teased by classmates, but some of that may depend on their age and where they grew up.

Maybe it was easier for Chuck and his sister because there had been a father in the picture somewhere, originally. Maybe it was easier because he had a mom and a Cindy and not 2 people wanting him to call them mom. Maybe it was easier because, for all our small town ways, we didn't seem really judgemental. Maybe I was kid and have no idea what those 2 women went through to be together. But, at the ballpark, they were always treated as just another family there to support their son.


Sidhe said...

I read that article also and, apparently, the same sort of memory came to me of a childhood friend and her little brother who lived with thier mom and another woman (I don't remember the lady's name but they also called her by her name rather than "other mother"). Also, a very small town, also not a big deal. Gee, all of us fourth grade girls spent the night at their house at least once, grooving to "The Leader of the Pack." Personally, I feel like there is more hostility now than there was back then (70s)...but, then again, kids have always been cruel, just back then they were too busy picking on the fat kids...or, that's just my perspective because I was the fat kid (with the overbite even!).

LeftLeaningLady said...

Well I never went to their house, the girl was younger than her brother and I was older than mine, but it was no big deal. I don't remember picking on the fat kid either, but then we were usually picking on poor Thomas who was still wetting his pants in 2nd grade.

two crows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
two crows said...

I do think it's harder today on the kids simply because of all the publicity and the strident screaming about "perverts!"

so, the kids' peers are more aware of the "differences" and from about the age of 5 through the teen years, being seen as "different" is the kiss of death.

in fact, in today's world, that mindset seems to hang on well into 'adulthood'.

LeftLeaningLady said...

I think it is the parents. When my son was in 1st grade he had a new best friend and he talked about him all the time. He never once mentioned the child was black. Why? Because color was not an issue in our household. If homosexuality is never taught as 'wrong' then there is nothing to make fun of.

Children are nasty and they will make fun of things that look different, but if they are not told that having 2 moms (or 2 dads) is an abomination, then they won't know it.

two crows said...

agreed, LLL.
kids won't notice anything on the evening news unless their parents comment--or scream--about it, at least until mid to late teens.

LeftLeaningLady said...

And I did a lot of screaming when my son was mid to late teens and I think he failed Government just to annoy me. Last year's election seemed to kick up his interest though. He even participated in protests to Vote No on Amendment2. It didn't help, but he tried.

two crows said...

"I think he failed Government just to annoy me."
hee hee! kids are like that!