Journey to Love

Chapter Thirty-five

African-American Experience

by Sequoyah

Edited by Cole, Peter and Scott




When I finished, Dr. Cleveland said, “As head of the mass communications department, I do have contacts who have contacts... well, you understand. Don’t ask me how I obtained them, but after the dean told me you had something to do with bringing down Brother Fitzsimmons, I made some phone calls. I’ll have some interesting video we can view later, but you don’t happen to have photos of your transformation, do you, Wolf?”


“No, I don’t. They’re not something I would feel comfortable carrying around.”


I gave Wolf an evil grin and said, “Dr. Cleveland, Dr. Olstein, dean, I could have a set in half an hour.”


“Well, let’s finish our lunch and by the time you get back with the photos, I should have copies of tapes for us to take a look at. Wolf, you need to get rid of your reluctance to toot your own horn when you have something to toot about. Exposing Brother Fitzsimmons as a fraud and tax dodger, rescuing those poor guys from his clinic and putting a stop to it are all worth tooting about,” Dr. Cleveland said.


I was surprised at the comment since Wolf hadn’t been reluctant to talk about his achievements, which were considerable. Then I realized he had been very reluctant to talk about Michael’s rescue and his part in it, fearing it would out the two of us, and that was certainly not something I would be want to be sharing with our lunch companions!


“Do you have tapes of any of your broadcasts?” he asked.


“Video or photos from plays you’ve worked on?” Dr. Olstein asked.


“I do,” Wolf said, “but they are in Elizabethton.”


“How long are you going to be here?” the dean asked.


“I planned on leaving tomorrow morning.”


“Could you postpone your return? Would it be possible have tapes and videos couriered here?”


“I suppose.”


“Call your parents and see about delaying your departure. Would they know how to find a selection of tapes and videos?”


“Of course, they are all cataloged. I’d need to check my database to select radio programs.”


“It’s 1:15 now. Call your parents and ask permission to stay over. I’ll speak to them if it will help and make arrangements to have them courier the materials.”


“Sir, I notice cell phones aren’t permitted here,” Wolf said.


“I forgot. Come with me, please.” They walked through French doors onto a patio and I saw Wolf making a call. The dean took the phone at one point and talked several minutes before returning it to Wolf.


Dr. Cleveland had spoken to a waiter and as Wolf and the dean returned, a man brought a laptop to the table. “Wolf, I took the liberty of having a laptop brought in so you can check your database. Dessert and coffee are on the way, unless you want something else,” Dr. Cleveland added.


Wolf logged onto an online storage website, brought up a database and quickly started listing tapes. He selected five radio programs and four plays: one in which he had a major role on stage, one for which he designed the set, one that featured costumes and make-up designs he had created and one showing his lighting skills. He emailed the list to his parents and the dean had him send one to the courier company. He had made arrangements to have the tapes picked up and delivered to his office. “We should have the material by four at the latest. Wolf, if you and Derek can get the photos together and be at the mass communications screening room by three, we’ll have a look at the rescue before the other materials arrive. You can then do highlights from the tapes and video from Elizabethton. The three of us can spend more time with them if we wish, but you should be free by five.”


I drove Wolf back to the house, we picked up the photos and spent half an hour talking to Auntie about what’s going on. “Wolf, they are taking the bait, now set the hook,” she said, as excited as she could be. “Maybe I should go along, or better yet, bring the stuff home and we’ll have a radio and video evening.”


When we got back to campus, we found our way to the mass communications department and went into a conference/screening room. Before we sat down, Wolf told Dr. Cleveland, “Mrs. Kingston wants copies of the tapes and videos and I have learned it is wise to do as Mrs. Kingston asks.”


“It will be done,” Dr. Cleveland said.


The photos of the transformation of Wolf were passed around. When all had seen them, Dr. Cleveland said, “We have tape. The first is a surveillance tape of Wolf and his friend Michael arriving at the Key West airport and later as they are boarding the commuter flight.” We watched as a macho Michael entered the airport and then saw the beginning of Ms. Henderson and Queen LaKisha at the boarding gate. When they arrived in Miami, they went to the restroom and Ms. Henderson and Queen LaKisha emerged. The transformation was amazing.


Even more amazing was the transformation from Ms. Henderson to Baby Doll and Queen LaKisha to a more slutty version. The tape included the whole episode from the time the two came out of the exit gate until they disappeared in the crowd.


“Amazing acting, Wolf, and the makeup is equally amazing.”


“Ms. Felicia Kim-Simmons, a female impersonator from Key West deserves much of the credit.”


“But not on the trip itself,” Dr. Olstein said.


The courier arrived with the tapes and video just as we finished talking about the rescue.


Wolf started with the radio tapes, doing highlights. He seemed to remember within a few minutes where things were on the tapes. We listened to him doing interviews with students, important educational and political figures, community religious leaders. There were panel discussions on a wide variety of subjects and confrontations between leaders of opposing sides of issues. There were also examples of Wolf announcing music which ranged from rap to country. When he finished with the radio tapes, Dr. Cleveland said, “I can see why small radio stations do well if that’s the quality of programming they put on the air. That’s far superior to the theme stations, all news stations and other wide-audience programs.”


Dr. Olstein wasn’t very interested in Wolf’s radio talent and was pushing to get to the video. Again, Wolf did a masterful job of presenting the material and did it, as the dean commented, without preparation.


A student brought the copies of the tapes to the dean as we were ready to leave. He handed them to Wolf and said, “You’ll hear from me before noon tomorrow.”


Back at the house, Auntie asked what was going on and I said, “I think the dean is working to get Wolf admitted here and Dr. Cleveland and Dr. Olstein are practically fighting over who gets him.”


“Wish I thought that was true,” Wolf said, “but I do think I might be able to get a scholarship next year. I suspect I’ll be at ESU as planned come September.”


The day had been exhausting and we had an early supper, then watched excerpts from the tapes of plays and listened to selections from radio broadcasts before we headed upstairs. A soak in the Jacuzzi followed by a long shower relaxed us so completely that we crawled in bed and had only exchanged a couple of kisses before we drifted off. At midnight, Wolf woke me with kisses and we were soon working on the permutations of sixty-nine again. We were definitely getting better at it and as we became better, the resolution took longer and longer. We had been playing for almost an hour before we presented each other with our gift. In another half hour, our kisses and explorations of each other’s body had us ready for more. I took the Gun Oil out of the bedside table and we again brought each other off by rubbing our cocks between our stomachs. By the time we had showered, we were half hard again, but also sleepy and decided to save our next round for the morning. Morning proved we had made a good choice.


After we had playtime in the bed, we had playtime in the shower.


The dean called at 10:00 and asked us to come to his office. “I think I have good news,” he said.


When we arrived, in addition to the dean, Drs. Cleveland and Olstein, another man was present. “Wolf, Derek, this is Mr. Campo, financial aid officer. Mr. Campo, the floor is yours.”


“Mr. Lancaster, coaches frequently bring all the pressure they can on me because they want an athlete of one kind or another. Aside from coaches, I seldom hear a peep from faculty around here. When the pressure started in regard to you, I thought you must play at least six different sports. Turns out I was wrong. The dean recounted your situation and the fact that the major problem is out-of-state tuition. I’ve tried every idea I could come up with as a way around that and had the college legal staff working on it as well, but it seems there is no escape.


“However, there is a way through and that is to pay it. The question then becomes how to do that. I understand that a loan is unacceptable. Since you have been accepted at ESU, I assume there is a college fund of some kind?”


“There is. So long as I am in-state it will see me through a master’s degree at least.”


“Good, good. Now, some details. Dr. Cleveland was very impressed by your radio show. The campus radio has taken a very far back backseat to campus TV. Dr. Cleveland suggests a work-study scholarship for you. You would, in return, do a thirty-minute radio program each week. Of course with planning, taping and all the legwork involved, the position qualifies for a significant number of hours.


“Dr. Olstein also wants you. He had forgotten about a scholarship for design he hasn’t used for two years, so it is worth a nice sum. For it, you will, during the year, be expected to produce the design for a production -- not necessarily one that will actually be used, although that would be a plus. The design would include a model set, costume sketches, makeup designs and lighting plot.


“You will still have the expense of books, room and board. Books you would have at ESU, so I’m not including them in our discussion. The dean informed me he thought you have your room covered. Is that correct?”


“It is,” Wolf answered. Something was going on with Wolf. He not only didn’t look as happy as I thought he should be at what was developing, but also was becoming increasingly nervous.


“Fine, fine. The dean has some monies for discretionary scholarships -- frankly, they’re usually given to sons and daughters of generous benefactors of the university, sons and daughters who do not need them and could not earn them. ‘My daughter has just received a dean’s scholarship at OCU,’ makes a good impression at cocktail parties and is like bread cast on the waters. It is returned a hundredfold.” Mr. Campo chuckled. “The dean will be granting you a scholarship equal to the cost of the university meal plan. You are free to spend it for food as you wish.”


“And all of that means?” Wolf asked.


“It means you can attend OCU, a school with superior mass communications and drama departments, for a hundred dollars a year less than it would cost for you to attend ESU. Of course, you will have no transportation costs living as close to campus as you do unless you need to buy a bicycle.”


Wolf waited till Mr. Campo was finished and everyone’s eyes were on him. He was fidgeting in his seat. Then he took a deep breath. “Gentlemen, I certainly appreciate your efforts on my behalf. I am not prepared to give you an immediate answer as this is something I must discuss with my parents. Is there a deadline?”


“Well, obviously the absolute deadline would be the beginning of the fall semester, but realistically, the funds involved are tied up until released to you or back into the scholarship pool. The sooner the better, but I do realize you need time to speak with your parents. Could you make a decision by next Monday? That gives you almost a week.”


“I am sure that will be possible. I have one other question. Is there some provision for someone from out-of-state to attend summer school? If I decided on OCU, I would like to take a course or two during the last session of summer school.”


“I am sure something can be arranged. Just get enrolled as soon as possible as classes become full quickly or are withdrawn because of lack of enrollment.”


Wolf again thanked them all and we headed for home. I could hardly contain myself, but Wolf seemed withdrawn and in a strange mood.


His mood didn’t change when we got back to the house where Auntie and I were all excited about OCU making it possible for Wolf to attend. As soon as we were upstairs, I said, “OK, Wolf, spill it. You have just been handed an almost free ride at OCU which, saying nothing against ESU, simply has more money and therefore superior equipment and facilities. I can’t speak for the faculty, but even if they are equal, your field is better served by OCU. Additionally, I hope the fact that I am here and we will be living together would add a bit of sweetener to the pot, but you are acting more like you have lost your last friend.”


“That’s the whole problem. Living with you, having equipment I dream about, of course that is ideal, but there is a fly in the ointment. Dad. I don’t know what Dad’s problem is, but he has been very racist in some recent remarks. I wasn’t sure he’d let me go to Key West because I was going with ‘honkies’. I called his hand on that and he apologized, but one of the remarks he made was that I would be going to ESU which is a historically black school and would finally have the black experience. I am, to be honest, trying hard not to think too much about coming to OCU. I don’t think it’s going to happen, so I don’t want to get my hopes up.”


I wanted anything depressing my man dealt with now. I grabbed a bag and quickly packed for two days away while Wolf lay face down on the bed. When I finished, I called Jeremy and told him what was going on and he said he’d see Auntie was cared for. I then went to the bedroom and said, “Wolf, Beautiful Boy, grab your bags. We are headed south.” Downstairs I told Auntie what was going on. Fifteen minutes later we were on the road. Wolf called his parents and told them he was on his way and was bringing a friend. When I asked, he said he still had told them nothing about his time in Florida. Probably not a good move, but nothing could be done about it now.


To say we were subdued as we started our drive to Elizabethton would be an understatement. It was almost as if we were angry with each other. Finally I had had enough and said, “Beautiful Boy, I know you love and respect your parents and that is the way it should be. However, you, my love, are eighteen and have, with the help of friends, brought down a man who has been destroying lives and living well from it and captured college scholarships when there were supposedly none left. Your parents, I am sure, love you very much and are very proud of you, as well they should be. I mean no disrespect, but you are an adult and while advice from those older and supposedly wiser is to be taken seriously, it is you who have to make the decisions for your life.”


“I don’t understand.”


I wasn’t sure whether Wolf was being dense or what. What I had said was pretty clear to me, but I tried again. “Wolf, listen to your parents, but you must decide what you want to do. You want the experience of living in a predominately African-American college? Then it’s ESU. You want a better education in the fields in which you are interested? Then it’s OCU.”


“Derek, I am not sure what Dad means when he says ‘the African-American experience.’ The only African-American experience I am interested in I will have so long as you are around.” He grinned. “Maybe I am worrying over nothing, but Dad has been adamant about my going to ESU where I would experience living among my people. I wanted to go to the School of the Arts and he absolutely put his foot down. I’ll be honest, I don’t know how to deal with it. I have always got what I wanted, got my way and done things as I pleased.”


“You have always got your way and what you wanted?”


“Always except, maybe, this time.”


I found that hard to believe and even harder to understand.


We arrived in Elizabethton mid-afternoon and rode around town a bit before Wolf called his parents and told them he would be there in ten minutes.


When we walked in, mother and father were there waiting for us. Wolf had many features of both parents. His build was definitely dictated by his mother’s genes. His father was a large, big-boned man. Wolf’s features definitely resembled his father’s.


Wolf’s mom hugged him and said, “Welcome home, son.”


His dad hugged him as well. “Good time in Florida?”


Wolf nodded and I saw him swallow. He and I had not talked about how I would be introduced, but I never expected what happened. “Mom, Dad, Derek Wilson of Alexander county, Virginia and OCU, my friend, my lover and possibly my future husband. Derek, my mom and dad.”


“Your what?” Dr. Lancaster asked, astonished.


Dr. Mom Lancaster just got a smile on her face and I could see her think, ‘Let him deal with it.’


“Derek, welcome to our home,” Dr. Mom Lancaster said, extending her hand.


“Thank you, Dr. Lancaster.”


“Derek, since there are two Dr. Lancasters in the house, that can be very confusing. Since it appears our son intends to make you our son-in-law, you may call me Mom.”


“That will even things out,” I smiled, “as I have two dads and only one mom at the present.”


“That sounds interesting. Well, come on in. Walter, collect yourself and bring some drinks. These young men have just completed a hot drive.”


We were soon seated in the living room, Wolf had to recount his Florida trip -- again I had to make sure he didn’t slight himself, then it was my time to talk about Florida. At one point, Dr. Lancaster -- I had not been given permission to address him otherwise -- stopped me after I had referred to their son as Wolf again.


I explained, “When Mrs. Crandall, Mistress of La Casa, was introduced to your son as Sissy, she was absolutely adamant that he would not be called Sissy at La Casa. ‘Intended or not, it seems degrading to me.’ She offered him the choice between Steppen and Wolf and he chose Wolf. I was introduced to him as Wolf and only later learned he had been called Sissy.”


When my recent time in Florida had been more or less covered, I was put on the hot seat. I got asked a ton of questions, none hostile, but clearly they wanted to find out about this stranger who had entered their son’s life. Things did get tense when Dr. Lancaster asked, “So you live with two white queers and call them Dad?”


“My dads are white and they are gay. They also happen to be married even though it is not recognized by Virginia. They have loved and cared for me and my very straight brother as our father never did. They treat my mom as they would their mom. I am proud to call them dad and respect, honor and love them as I would have my father had he permitted it.”


“But you are African-American and strai...”


“I am an American of remote African ancestry just as my boyfriend is American of remote African and European ancestry. We are gay. I will not allow myself to become a victim because of my race or my sexuality. I have seen first-hand how becoming a victim truly destroys a person far more quickly than the taunts, names and venom of hatemongers can. We are gay, Dr. Lancaster. We are gay and we are in love. We fell in love just as we would had we been straight and one of us a woman. If you can understand that, then you can understand your remarkable son and a tiny bit of why I love him and why that love grows every day. Wolf loves and respects his parents as, I have been led to believe, you love and respect him, but that love and respect can be destroyed if you have decided he needs fixing, either because he is not straight or is not black enough. I mean no disrespect nor do I intend to offend, but those are things you need to consider.”


“So you lured him to Florida...”


“How could I have lured him to Florida? We had never laid eyes on each other until we met in Florida.”


“Well, you turned him gay!”


All three of us, Mom Lancaster, Wolf and I burst out laughing. “Walter, you know damn good and well Wolf has been out, not just as gay, but a flaming gay, since he was in middle school. Come on, you are just having to face the fact that your son is in love and loves a man. If they are not already, they will be having sex.”


“That I absolutely forbid!” Dr. Lancaster thundered.


“And just how do you propose to enforce that?” Mom Lancaster asked. “I think chastity belts are generally not accepted and you can’t stand guard twenty-four seven. As I recall, you managed to have sex even with half the teachers in the county dead set against it unless it was with them. Walter, have you completely lost your mind? Wolf is eighteen. We can either give him a hard time and accomplish nothing but driving a wedge between us or we can trust that our care and concern and, yes, our teaching and instructing accomplished something.”


Dr. Lancaster got a sheepish look on his face and said, “You’re right as usual, Belle. So you two are in love. What are you going to do about it?”


“Well, Dad, we’ve started. I, of course, wanted you to meet Derek. Dad, he’s a wonderful man, good student, responsible and his friends would walk over hot coals if he needed them to. You need to know that’s the kind of person he is. He’s at OCU on both diving and academic scholarships and will have larger ones next year. He’s has a 3.8 point average from last semester and will do as well or better this semester.


“Derek is responsible for looking out for Auntie, Mrs. Amelia Kingston. She, in return, has provided him with a fantastic apartment which has a wonderful library. Study groups meet and several students have said without the groups they would never have made it. He only got to go to Florida because Auntie’s great granddaughter and a granddaughter were in Norfolk, otherwise, he would have spent spring break making sure she was cared for.”


“So, he’s a grand guy. I wouldn’t have expected you to have taken up with a thug.”


Wolf took a deep breath and said, “Dad, I have scholarship and work study offers at OCU which will pay everything except room and Derek wants me to live with him.”




“Walter, please,” Mom Lancaster said.


“Wolf, I want you to have the black experience. You graduated from a high school in which African-Americans are a decided minority. Whites determine the culture, the ethos, if you will, of the school. I want you to spend time in a culture in which African-Americans set the agenda, determine the culture.”


“Why? It is not as though I will ever be in that situation again. Why should I conform to any group? Why can’t I have the Wolf experience?”


“For once, Son, I want you to be able to be among your people where you can be who you are.” Both Wolf and I started laughing like hyenas. Mom Lancaster looked as if she thought we were on drugs or something then gradually the light dawned and she started giggling. Dr. Lancaster had a look on his face as though he had fallen through a black hole and emerged in another dimension. “I suppose I am dense, but I see nothing funny here. Would one of you care to explain?”


“Dad, stop and think. I’m probably more something else than African, but setting that aside, I am gay. Amazingly, I have suffered little from that while I was in high school, probably because I was not standard issue African-American. However, African-Americans and Christian fundamentalists vie for being crowned Kings of Homophobes.”


“Alonzo my father, actually claimed there were no gay blacks,” I said, “and that nonsense is spouted constantly in the African-American community. Derek might be able to be who he is so far as being African-American is concerned, but that’s only a part, maybe even a small part, of who he is. He’s an actor, backstage artist, martial arts black belt, son, high school graduate and he is gay. All of that and much, much more make up who your amazing son is, not just being African-American. So if you want him to be somewhere where he can be himself, fine, but not where only one part of him is involved, and certainly not where that one part is to the detriment of all the others.


“Let’s be rational. Where could he more easily be his gay self, OCU or ESU? Where could he best be his actor self, OCU or ESU? Where will he have the best in facilities to enable his stagecraft self, OCU or ESU? Where can he have the widest possible opportunities to shine as a mass communications student, OCU or ESU? Where can he learn independence as a grown son rather than continuing in the protective shield he has been in all his life, OCU or ESU? Martial arts? I don’t know, but I suspect Norfolk offers more than Elizabethton. So the question is, Dr. Lancaster, do you mean what you say when you say you want Derek to be in a situation where he can be who he is or are you only mouthing a slogan which is basically racist since it implies that what we are is nothing more than what race we claim. Which is it going to be, Doctor?”



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