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Paul Pellerito

April 1998

Milestones

I know I've missed a few months, but my life's been awful hectic lately.

I got accepted to a local college (Grand Valley State, if anyone's interested) so I'm really ready for high school to be over now. I'm shaky in my math class, but then I've never really liked linear math that much. Hopefully I'll graduate with a gold or silver chord and not disappoint anyone.

I decided to stay at home for college for a few reasons. Originally my plan was to go to Carnegie-Mellon University and get a degree in English, to help out my writing career. But I realized when I was applying that my financial aid and grants just weren't going to cut it, and I can get nearly the same education for at least the first two years at Grand Valley, for about a third of the price. I also have a big "family" base here in Grand Rapids that I'd have to leave behind and reestablish at CMU. Finding friends has never been hard for me, but finding gay people, or at least friendly people is tough. I just didn't feel ready to leave my support system behind.

On a sadder note, my truck is dying fast... I need to find $2600 somewhere and get the Grand Am I've got my eyes on.

If you've been paying attention for the past two years, you'll notice that I've been writing for Oasis two years this month. I guess this is a big milestone in my life, since a lot of things happened two years ago around this time.

My sophomore year was a big year for me... I first started coming out to my friends that year, and I had my first huge-major-big crush. Fortunately, everything turned out well with my friends. The crush, of course, turned out to not be gay, as it always goes.

I also met one of my best friends two years ago, two months before I started writing for Oasis. Kevin's a cashier at the store where I work and he introduced me to most of my good friends. Kevin has been a real great asset to me, he was the first person to show me that gay people are out there, that we can be successful and happy. I owe a lot to Kevin and everyone I've met through him.

It's also been a wild few months. Towards the end of December I transferred to the Pharmacy, and that's been a wild ride so far. It turns out that the place is very religious, and it so happens that one of our pharmacists goes to the same church that had a big hand in keeping my friend Mike's diploma from him. Mike went to a private Christian school run by an Assembly of God, and when they found out about him being gay (with less than two months to go in his senior year) they threatened to kick him out if he didn't "change." So Mike played the game and went to therapy and such, and eventually got his diploma, really the only thing he could do except go to another school. To make a long story short, we don't like this lady's church, and they don't like us. Not exactly the best environment to be out in. But I've been honest to a point. I don't have a facade of a girlfriend, or even being a "good Christian boy." I read Stealing Jesus on my breaks, and didn't hide the book. I can't get fired from my job for religious beliefs, so at least I'm safe there. Coming out is another thing I'll have to deal with further down the road, if at all.

How's it going to be?

On another note, I've been thinking about what's going to happen to all my younger friends once I've graduated... I wonder if we'll still get together like we do, even though we don't see each other. I'm concerned about my "little brother" Eric; he's very open-minded and I'm proud of that, but I wonder if he's going to mess himself up without me around. Of course, this just may be me worrying over nothing, but then I do have some lesbian intuition.

College is supposed to be a transition, where we leave high school and our youth behind and start to grow up. I'd rather not sacrifice my younger friends for this, but I know myself that I don't see a lot the friends I had my previous years in high school. I hope it'll be different with me, because I'm the kind of person that cares so much about my friends that I'll make the effort to see them. To all my friends who read this, stay in touch.

As it always goes, most of my good friends are going all over to college. Some are staying here and going to Grand Valley, but Brad and Matt are both going out of state. Matt got accepted to Duke, and Brad plans to go to UNLV. So in a way I will end up having to find some new friends.

Thankfully, there will always be the Internet, and I've met some great people in my area on IRC. I've also met someone very special to me from the Garden State that hopefully will be coming up to visit.

Hey Tony: I watched Good Will Hunting, and I got it. It's how life's not about success, it's about our relationships with other people.

Well kids, it's that time again -- time to turn off the monitor and go to bed.

I love you, C. K.

The future lies in our hands. See you next month.

pellerip@river.it.gvsu.edu


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