J. H. Hayes is a native Texan raised by loving parents in a Houston suburb. He studied
Photography and Journalism at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M at Commerce),
where he earned a Bachelor of Science in 1985. After college he had a successful career in
management which developed his ability to better comprehend the needs of others and
communicate more effectively.
In 1993 he became an AIDS and Civil Rights activist in Austin, where he published his
original music and essays and produced an educational public access television program
nonprofit he founded. A writer all his life, he did not have the desire to publish until
discrimination motivated the creation of a vehicle for expression. In 2000 he returned to
Houston to be near his beloved Mother, and continued a successful career in business
management while compiling genealogy and contemplating heritage. In 2009 he contributed
his genealogical writing to the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research. Since
2009 he has been involved with charitable projects. He and his husband now live near
Houston, where he continues to focus on his writing: no longer swimming upstream.
The Witness Chronicles
After graduating from college in May of 1982 at age 23, Robert forges a career and new life in the festive gay scene of Dallas. He begins a challenging sales job despite disapproval by his fundamentalist parents, who do not know he is gay. Robert describes typical nights on the town including the “strength in numbers” security inside the clubs. “I enjoyed drinking a few beers and cruising while a couple tried to lure me into the restroom for sex and drugs.” In Texas sowing wild oats is an undeclared rite of passage and the younger guys show Robert they know how to do it. The Minimum Legal Drinking Age will not rise to 21 until 1986, and he embraces the young cowboys roaming the State. In June he falls for 18-year-old Mick, who lives 100 miles from Dallas and travels often partying with friends. In July Robert meets Will, a teenaged college student who lives 200 miles away in Austin. While searching for extra motivation to kick-start the career, Will provides a spark and spends a week with Robert as infatuation takes control. Mick tries not to lose Robert so they continue their fun too.
Robert’s sales success propels him into management though he must cautiously conceal his sexuality. He develops a lasting friendship with his rookie salesman but does not want to be “outed.” He befriends neighbor Susan, who accepts his sexuality and they socialize to be seen by Robert’s business colleagues. In late July 1982 the term AIDS is first used by the media. Robert learns of the disease in October by reading a gay publication, and the knowledge drives him to search for a faithful partner. Will and Robert maintain a long-distance relationship but Robert ends it when he determines Will is too promiscuous to hold on to.
Robert’s career blossoms but his “fundie” parents continue to pester. When promoted to manage an office in Mick’s hometown, the pair lassos each other and promise to remain monogamous though Mick’s roaming habits are hard to break. Robert feels he is raising the spoiled immature teenager as passion bonds them. When business needs force him back to Dallas, they relocate as a couple and Robert’s parents find out their son is gay. After harsh confrontation Robert’s parents never again speak to him, so Mick decides to stay in the closet with his family. They celebrate their one year anniversary in February 1985 though Robert struggles to believe Mick is faithful. When Mick seeks career counseling it exposes he is a high school dropout, and Robert hopes that is the worst of Mick’s past but there is more. Similar to all young couples in love during any era, Robert and Mick painfully face issues and demons and work through them to strengthen bonds as they both mature and understand the depth of their love. They renew vows when they enjoy their first Christmas without family interference and join friends to toast to the coming year 1986 with joyous expectations.
In the final chapter as approaching their two year anniversary, disaster strikes when Mick is stricken with PCP, a form of pneumonia that was a common and rapid killer. Robert is refused hospital visitation because he is not a relative. At 22, Mick chooses suicide a lesser disgrace for his family. Robert is interrogated as a suspect. Police broadcast to neighbors “looks like an apparent suicide by hanging, just another sick faggot.” Robert loses his job and then his apartment because of a law prohibiting two males living in one bedroom. Alone to contemplate his fate, Robert does not express bitterness or physical pain as he reflects. In his journal he explained why he wrote it. “I spent a week in the hospital, and then my final months at a friend’s home remembering and writing while I had the ability. An obituary or death certificate could never accurately relate what did me in.” As evidenced by his final journal entries, any naivety Robert may have had at 23 is gone by age 27 but he has no regrets. As Robert suggested, his dear friend from their glorious sales days preserved the journal Robert had titled The Witness Chronicles. The final entry dated July 14, 1986: “All I ever wanted was someone to love.”
No. words: 43900 We do not recommend this book for readers under 18 years of age
Available Formats: Palm MOBI EPUB Sony Reader (LRF) ;MS Word PDF MS Reader Text RTF
Product type: EBook
Published: 7 / 2016
Keywords - click on word to search for more titles
Dallas gay scene 1980s sexuality HIV
AIDS partner relationship struggle parents