You need to know this story, and without it, the rest of your life, will be scarred by whatever knowledge you were fed, by two people, who have NO knowledge of me beyond my early twenties, up and until the weekend I sat in their home, telling them that I was sick and going to die.
They know nothing about me, after my bought with serious alcoholism, and my run ins with them over alcohol. It was not the brightest period of my life, and ended in my AIDS diagnosis in 1994. When all of you decided that you were NOT going to engage me or help me in any way going forwards, told me all I needed to know about who the three of you were, at that time, and all that I needed to know going forwards. I could never trust any of you ever again.
At that time, I was employed by a man named Todd. My protector, my savior, my friend and my Master. A year prior I walked into his bar, with desire in my heart. Dark desire that was born out of the pornography Roger had scattered all over our house when we were kids. That night, I encountered Todd, he recognized in me a dark desire, that he knew, intimately. That night, he took my life into his hands, and saved me, from a desire that would have gotten me in serious jeopardy.
From that night forward, I went to work for him, where he did protect me, in action. The day after I was diagnosed with AIDS, and the weeks that followed were the hardest weeks/years of my life. The night I stood before Todd and told him I was going to die, he wept for me. And on that night, he took what was left of my broken heart and soul, and he gave me a life.
From that day forward, for two years, working in that bar, Todd taught me everything that I would need to know about surviving a death sentence. I owe Todd my very existence, and I owe Roger and Priscilla NOT ONE THING.
He loved me like God loves me. In retrospect, I can safely say that my encounter with Todd, was an encounter with God Himself. Over 200 men, I knew well, died under our watch, and among all those men who came to that bar night after night, He had chosen to save ME.
Was that Odd or was that GOD?
As kids, we were bred to be enemies and never friends. And beyond our days as kids sharing a bedroom, we grew apart, and were torn apart by parents who said, for the whole of my life that “I was a mistake and should never have been born.” That YOU were the son my father wanted and loved more than any other.
From the days when we were children, Roger had a massive reading library that he left in open community in the bathroom of every house we lived in. That pornography collection was left aside his magazines and Readers Digests. I read every book, magazine and zine he had. I knew what I knew, because Roger left that kind of information out in the open. You might not have paid attention to it, nor noticed it strange that porn was in open community.
The Dog who barks the loudest has the most to hide.
Roger, for the whole of my life, was a barking dog. That man came home from Viet Nam with a secret. A secret he buried for a long time, until the vacation he took us to Washington D.C. to tour the monuments and museums. Where he did the rub of the wall from Robert Donald Logue. The soldier he named me after when I was born. Have you ever seen a picture of Robert Donald Logue? He is a spitting image of our father at their age, in dress blues. There was something there. And every time you visited their house in Sarasota, you walked into the room he devoted as a shrine to RDL.
Roger named me after a soldier killed in a war. He gave me a name of a hallowed man who served his country and died in that service to the United States. Roger named me after a man he cared about, gave me his name, then in the same breath decided that I was a mistake and should never have been born.
I call that an Existential problem…
And for decades after Roger attempted to kill me on numerous occasions, at home, at Grammy’s and Memere’s. Aunt Paula will attest to this if you ask her, because for a very long time, every time Roger went after me, Memere would call Paula to come get me to keep Roger from killing me.
I knew I was gay, before I knew what Gay was. I just did not know the concept. Roger had provided me with one serious education in all things sexual, under his own nose. You never knew what went on behind that bedroom door of theirs, but I did. If you knew where to look you would have figured it out, just like I did. Roger and Priscilla might have been prudish and conservative in the open, but they were steeped in BDSM long before we came along. They just happen to unpack that life into book cases in the house.
Roger and Priscilla figured out I was gay long before I ever decided to come out of the closet. I listened to every word they said to guests and people they worked with. Every time we had dinner at Fred and Nancy’s, when we would come home Roger would beat me senseless to try and Beat the gay out of me because he would not have a homosexual in his house. YET, Roger, in his heart of hearts knew that gay was a thing for him, a choice he could never make due to society and family pressure.
I made that choice, myself on my own and I lived my truth from the day I decided to do so.
I remember when Priscilla was working for Home Health Care, when we were teen agers, and she was doing home drug delivery to AIDS patients. And they would come home and crack the beer and talk about the “FAGS” and how Priscilla abhorred the FAGS and wished that they would just DIE.
I knew, well before I moved out, that I would never come out of the closet to them ever. Roger had beat me enough to know that he wanted me dead, if he had the ability to get away with it, and not be prosecuted for murder, he would have found a way.
However good he seemed to be on the outside, Roger had his issues with me and that lasted for the whole of my life. The day you drove my car to Orlando was the last time we saw each other for years.
What I did not know then, at my age, was responsibility. I had no idea how to conduct myself in the world on my own. I was woefully prepared for the world around me, so I sank into alcoholism that took me places I will never revisit. I did things that were abhorrent. I fucked Roger over. I admit that. I cost him a pretty penny in the end. And that resentment was in his soul for the rest of his and Priscilla’s lives. A resentment that they never forgot, and a resentment that cost me the rest of my life. Because they never forgot that.
I justified that away for a long time. Because for the whole of our lives our parents, and grand parents, and uncles, were alcoholics. We knew this, we saw this, and nobody said a word about it anyone, let alone their spouses, for the fear that men put in the hearts of their wives. I figured that if Roger never paid for his abusive alcoholism, I should not be prosecuted for mine, since they got away with murder.
Roger once said to Priscilla in a fit of rage, that if she ever left him, he would destroy her and leave her with NOTHING. And Priscilla always said that she stayed in that marriage because of her wedding vows, it was more like the fear she had in her heart of Roger seriously fucking her up. So, she stayed in that marriage.
Did you know that YOU are a Canadian Citizen? That Priscilla told a series of lies that came out finally when I was thirty-four years old. You and I were born of a Canadian Mother, at the time of our births, BOTH of us. She just never told you.
That lie got me over the Canadian border in 2002. Priscilla was not naturalized until 1974. She did not become an American Citizen until you were a child. They were also married in 1967. Priscilla was pregnant with ME in her womb, when she walked down that aisle at her wedding. There was an early rift in the family, when Paula told her that just because she was pregnant did not mean that she had to marry Roger. Priscilla told Roger that, and he hated her from the quick.
But Priscilla and Roger needed family to babysit us infants and kids. Roger wanted an American wife, and he stopped at NOTHING to alienate every single-family member of our family over the years. Every chance he got he insulted Memere and denigrated the Canadians in the family. I know this because when I moved to Montreal in 2002, I met with all the aunts and uncles and I got their sides of the stories. I know the truth of just how vindictive Roger had been for the whole of our lives.
Some time after I moved away, I got into serious financial trouble and Roger bailed me out, but never forgot that failure of mine. And on two occasions, did stupid things under their roof. Actions that almost cost me my life. I could never live under his roof again.
I was not thinking because I was addicted to alcohol. That was my own undoing.
It was alcohol and drugs that took me to the brink of death. And my drinking got so bad at one point that I was drinking in a bar at seven in the morning. And the second time I did that, I walked into the situation that practically killed me in every way.
Months after I got sick. Todd stepped into the fray. He took charge of my life. And in exchange for his support I quit drinking the first time. He saved my life, in exchange I never touched alcohol again, by his rules. I had the Godly support he provided when all of you failed at being supportive and family.
In 1997, Todd moved to California and asked me to follow him, I was too young and too green to make that kind of life decision. I chose to stay in Miami, move there to seek treatment. And my hearts desire was to see Roger DIE sooner than later. And my plan was to return to Sarasota after he died and reclaim my mother and take care of her for the rest of my life.
Obviously, that did not happen. Cue your story.
I was living in South Miami, in a small apartment, working bar jobs, and staying sober. All that was well and good until I was asked to tell my story in an A.A. Speaker meeting for the first time in my life. There were about 400 people in the meeting. By the end of my share, 100 men had gotten up, and left the hall and went outside and waited for me.
In the end, I walked outside, and one man said to me, and I will never forget this: He said We don’t condone “people like you” we want you to leave this meeting and never return here again. I was scorned and sent away. I was three years sober. For the next year, I hung on, until I hit the four year mark.
When Todd moved away, even as he had taught me everything he knew to teach me, I could not hold life together on my own. And clearly, I could never rely on You, Roger or Priscilla for anything. I just skated along. Meanwhile, Roger was coming to Miami for business and he would actually come to my apartment, sit in my living room, and ASK ME TO DIE ALREADY!!! He did that numerous times.
One night, on the way home from dinner on the Highway, he started in on me again. I told him to stop the car on the highway, I got out of the car, told him never to return to my home, and I walked home off the highway. He never came back, except when they return from Memere’s funeral to give me gifts.
For Roger, One, I was gay and sick. Two, I could not live up the honor and sacrifice of RDL any longer. Three, Roger wanted me to die, and I think Priscilla wanted the same. I could not, in good faith, trust any of you, in the case of my death. Who knew what you all would have chosen to do with my body. That clearly was not going to happen.
On my thirtieth birthday I went to court and legally changed my name. One, to protect myself from you all. And Two, to kill ROBERT once in for all, so that Roger’s hateful energy would leave me and never follow me anywhere. Roger and Priscilla were pissed for sure.
Soon after I took leave of my senses and went on an adventure, that almost killed me. I lost everything I owned. In the end it was the cops who came to get me and take me away to a safe house in Sioux City Iowa, hours away from where I was, telling me I could only take what I could carry, which was not much.
I returned to Miami in the year 2000. I lived on the floor of a friend’s apartment for months until I found a place of my own on Miami Beach. Where I lived until I emigrated to Montreal in 2002.
On New Year’s Eve 2000/2001, I was working in a nightclub doing lights. I worked all night long. I got home around 8 a.m. At about 9 a.m. my phone rang. It was Priscilla saying that they were at the Intercontinental and on their way home and wanted to stop to see me. I was THRILLED.
Twenty minutes later they rolled up to my building on Washington Avenue. I said to Roger, let me takes us all out to breakfast and I will pay for parking too. Roger said absolutely NOT. He parked the car in a fire zone and with the car running allowed me twenty minutes to visit with Priscilla. We walked around the block and she got in the car, and they drove off.
That was the last time set eyes on either of them.
On the morning of 9-11 I was sleeping, and my best friend called me around 8 am, and told me to turn on the television. Places were flying into buildings. When the plane hit the pentagon, I called Priscilla and asked her where you were? Whether you were in Washington or not.
PRISCILLA in her wisdom would not tell me where you were, if you were safe or whether you were dead or not. You were the only person I could think of in those first hours. Imagine that I was thinking about your welfare. Funny that.
It took Priscilla hours to relent and finally tell me that indeed, you were NOT in Washington and that you were safe. She concocted her stance and she took that tack she did with me then.
Miami Beach went dry. For two weeks. We did not drink, we did not dance, we did nothing for two weeks. It was forced sobriety on a grand scale.
On December 9th, 2001, I walked back into the doors or Alcoholics Anonymous. I’ve been sober now over sixteen years. In May of 2002, I moved to Montreal, after submitting my citizenship/Birthright application. (I have your application by the way should you ever want it, is yours for the asking).
A few months after I moved here, I started writing Priscilla and Roger, every other week. Allowing a letter to get south and a return letter to come back. I did that for TWO YEARS. TWO YEARS. I sent gifts, letters, post cards, whatever I could get my hands on. And I was sober too …
A little while later I called Priscilla, and she said several things, A LITANY if you will, of vitriol and stupidity. Let me quote her litany for you:
- That I was a mistake and should never have been born.
- That I was the cause of all of Kenny’s, Roger’s and her Problems.
- That if either she or Roger got sick or died, NOBODY would call me.
That little list sits on my dashboard, and the clock started ticking. It took sixteen sober years, and a partial few weeks for one of them to die. Roger went first. And you did not call, for three days.
I paid a government firm to find you. Because you INTENTIONALLY blocked me across all your social media. I paid a pretty penny to find out everything I needed to know about You, Your life and your location and your home.
Since the last day I saw you, you never came looking for me. Never inquired if I was still alive, and why I left and did not come back. Why I jumped the border and did not look back! And now you won’t even give me the right to speak my truth to you. But you want $100,000.00 from me to pay medical bills.
It will be a cold day in hell when I ever cough up one red cent to that cunt of a mother we call Priscilla. She would have to get down on her hands and knees and beg my forgiveness for the way she and Roger and You treated me in this life. I did nothing so terrible but be Gay, for people to hate me the way you all hate me, all because I am Gay and have a disease that is well controlled today.
WHAT have I ever done to you, to make you hate me the way THEY hate me? I don’t know you, and you sure as shit don’t know me. You never came looking for me. But I know you have three kids now who are all grown into young adults now. And they probably don’t know I exist.
AND you are going to propagate this hatred in them too.
Let’s talk about your wife. The only interaction I had with her. Before you got married, I was at Priscilla’s house the weekend she went dress shopping. I was with her that day. I was thrashing the dress rack looking for a suitable frock for her. Because a Good Gay Man can pick out the killer dress. I know a lot about dresses. I spent years doing drag shows in my professional career.
Priscilla freaked out, scared that someone might see her and I looking for a dress and she could not imagine having someone she knew see us together doing that task. She sent me out of the store.
So, I went Christmas shopping for Christopher, the boy who took care of Priscilla when Roger was out of town. The neighbor whose parents and he came for Christmas dinner when Roger HUMILIATED me in front of guests by sitting me at a card table with plastic utensils. When I told Priscilla to drive by Chris’s house that I had gifts for him, she said, and I quote her: “Are you fucking him?” I was appalled.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the wedding.
Leslie sent me an invitation. That I did not open.
In my early sick sobriety, I was very sick, and it was all about me, you see. Not the best sober decision I ever made. But in my mind, I was not going to be a GUEST at my brother’s wedding. Having to explain why you did not include me IN your wedding but instead, invited me TO your wedding. There is a difference.
I sent the invitation back – Return to Sender…
Not my finest moment at all. I upset her, and I regret that action to this very day.
I know you don’t like me but every word in this letter is the truth. Because how sober would I be if I were not honest with some dignity and integrity?
I do care about you and I worry for you now, you’ve bit off more than you can chew. And if I can, I would like to help you, but I am not paying one red cent for either of their bills, because when I needed help, in those days, I most needed it, you all did NOTHING for me.
I have been sober a little over sixteen years. Lots of meetings, lots of steps. And lots of family research. I know all their secrets. I know every little detail of their lives and why they treated me with such indignity, shame and violence. Sobriety the second time around was a lot harder and I worked for my bread and butter, it took years for us to get on our feet together. Life of Sobriety is so much sweeter than I could have ever imagined. I know what they were going through. Read the Big Book some day, it may change your life.
Many people do not make on the first pass, like I didn’t make it on the first pass either. So the second time was different. I have learned more about me, family, alcoholism, and sobriety, than I ever learned the first time because I had bigger fish to fry, like staying alive, when everybody else was dying around me.
Roger and Priscilla are two of the most hateful people I know. Why do they hate me? Because I changed my name to kill that memory in them/of them? That I moved to Canada, and spit on my American Citizenship?
Newsflash! I did not give up my American Citizenship. My AIDS disability keeps the roof over mine and my husband’s heads. Yes, I am also married going on 14 years now.
We were couple number four to get married when gay marriage laws were passed in Quebec.
The fourth couple of the first TEN couples married in the province.
I have a good life. I went back to university at age 36. I carry two degrees in Religion and Pastoral Ministry. I work with autistic kids and kids with disabilities. I do lots of meetings and I give back to my community that gave so much to me to help me live and stay sober.
We have a beautiful seventeenth floor apartment overlooking the City and the St. Lawrence river and Mount Royal. We’ve lived here almost sixteen years now.
I have the best doctor in the world. He actually treated AIDS Patient Number One …
And he treats me today. He has kept me alive with the best drugs money can buy.
And we pay a pretty penny each year for those drugs.
I am still alive. I outlived Roger. There is a God.
They say always speak nicely of the dead.
Roger is DEAD, how nice …
Know I love you.