New England State of Mind 


I received a call yesterday afternoon. The museum director, who’ve I’ve talked to several times over the past few weeks, called and said, “We’d like you to join our team.” I was overjoyed. She wanted me to think it over, but she said that everyone thought I was the perfect person for the job. I have been thinking it over a lot. I’ve prayed about it, and I knew that if this was what was in God’s plan for me then it would happen. I will call later this morning and officially accept the job and begin the process of finding a place to live.

Vermont, here I come. I’ve read what a lot of people say about how rural Vermont is, how unfriendly the people are, and how cold the winters will be. I grew up in a rural area and currently live in a rural area. I am more comfortable here than in a huge city, but Vermont is also one of the most liberal states in the country. Also, everyone I met was incredibly friendly. I realize that I will always be a “flatlander” but I’m ok with that. No one who ever moves to Alabama would ever be a true Alabamian. It’s part of the culture of the United States. As for the winters, I realize that they will be brutal, but I also know one thing, I have always loved cold weather. I hate the heat and humidity of the South. If there were three things I could change about the South, they’d be: the heat, the politics, and the racism. All are so ugly and hateful and cause people to be crazy.

So I am beyond excited to be moving. This is a dream job. It is doing something I love and am very good at, but it is also something that I never thought I’d have the chance to do. I may be teaching some, but I also may not be. We haven’t really discussed that. While I’ll be working at a university, I’ll be working in the university’s museum, not in the classroom. I’m good with that. The last five years teaching high school has traumatized me as far as classrooms go, though college students are always better to teach. The point is, I will be a historian. I didn’t spend all those years in undergrad and grad school studying history not to be a real historian, now that will actually be in my job title.

I’m going to ask today if they will offer a moving compensation package, but since that has not been mentioned, I don’t think it is likely, which means that it will take most of my savings to move and get settled. However, if anyone who reads this has any leads on a place to rent in central Vermont that is affordable, please let me know. Just send me an email ( Any help in this regard would be greatly appreciated. I’m told that the university’s HR department is wonderfully helpful with finding places for people to live, but any additional help would be appreciated too.

My happiness cannot be fully expressed in words. When I first saw the announcement for this job, I thought I was the right fit. When I met the staff at the museum, I knew I was the right fit. I just had to convince them of that, and apparently I did. I look forward to moving, I look forward to a new life, and I look forward to living openly (again) as a gay man.

Out of all the joy over the job, and the congratulations from family and friends, there was one thing that happened yesterday that will stay in my memory forever. It something that made me very happy because it was something in all the years of my life, I’d never heard. I’ve had many accomplishments, and quite a few failures. My father never failed to point out those failures. He’s a man who means the words he speaks, but he is not a man who has ever praised his son for a job well done. He would always say that I could have done better. Yet yesterday when I called to tell him that I got the job, his response was, “I’m proud of you.” Not once in my life, when I kept a 4.0 GPA though high school and graduated valedictorian, when I graduated college with honors, when I graduated with my master’s, or any of the other accomplishments of my life has he ever said he was proud of me, but yesterday he did, and words can’t express how that made me feel. My daddy is proud of me. I know that may sound childish to be so happy about that, but I’ve waited nearly thirty-eight years to hear those four words. Yesterday, I heard them.

I hope you all realize that, while I’ve had the nickname of “The Professor” for many years now, I won’t be in the closet anymore, so my blog title, won’t be very accurate. Hmmmm, any suggestions?

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

7 responses to “New England State of Mind 

  • Walter

    Congratulations! I’m overjoyed for you and your terrific news. Vermont is a beautiful state. You’re also close to Maine, another great state. I love the north east, and I’m sure you will acclimate soon enough. The winters, yeah they’re rough, but you will adapt. What a great adventure to embark on.

  • jacki perrette

    Congratulations! Can’t tell you how happy I am for you – for the fact your life is getting ready to be happy and secure, and for the fact you and your father were speaking together when the depth of his feelings for you were strong enough to bring the words to his lips.

    (I have no doubt he’s felt proud before, just that he has a discomfort in himself to speak the words easily. Now you know it’s in him, he just has trouble letting it out. It may never happen again, but it’s wonderful it happened at least once.)

    PS. If you’re not used to snow and ice, I recommend living near your place of employment – on a snow route – or near public transportation – and certainly not on a hill or a rural route. 😉 ❤

  • Michael Cibulka

    Congratulations! I am so very happy for you. You must however, keep this blog going. I have come to enjoy reading it every morning when I check my e-mail.

  • Rico

    Congratulations! I just stumbled upon your blog last week. I’d keep the same blog name you’ve used; it’s clever and it certainly caught my attention – as it will others. I’ve moved numerous times over the years for my career from N. California to Hawaii to Costa Rica to Florida, to SoCal then Oregon and now Washington. In December literally moved from the beach to the mountains and experienced my first ice storm two weeks later. I survived and enjoy telling the tale…Moving to a different part of the country is not easy, but it will always be a new adventure. As my career is winding down, I reflect fondly on those early career moves and would love to do it all over again. Enjoy the ride and think of this as different chapters in the same book. Regardless of the content, it will have the ending it’s supposed to have. I wish you well and look forward of hearing of your upcoming NE adventures. Good luck!

  • EM

    Congratulations and wonderful news! Ideas for new blog names:

    The Out Professor
    The Open Professor
    The No Longer Closeted Professor
    The Gay Professor
    The Honest Professor

    I hope you have a long and happy career and life in Vermont and don’t let anyone, anything or any circumstance push you back into the closet ever again. Honestly be who you were born to be. No longer hide your lamp under a bushel. If people cannot accept you for who you are, they do not deserve to have you in their lives.

Thank you for commenting. I always want to know what you have to say. However, I have a few rules: 1. Always be kind and considerate to others. 2. Do not degrade other people's way of thinking. 3. I have the right to refuse or remove any comment I deem inappropriate. 4. If you comment on a post that was published over 14 days ago, it will not post immediately. Those comments are set for moderation. If it doesn't break the above rules, it will post.

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