The Saint Of Dry Creek [VIDEO]

StoryCorps has posted another great bit of animation for National Coming Out Day. Clip recap: “Patrick Haggerty grew up the son of a dairy farmer in rural Dry Creek, Washington, during the 1950s. As a teenager, Pat began to understand he was gay—something he thought he was hiding well. But one day, after performing at a school assembly, Pat learned that his father could see him much more clearly than he realized.”

(Tipped by JMG reader Alison)

  • bkmn

    I do love StoryCorps.

    • David Walker

      I’m glad I stumbled on them, too. There are some jaw-drop excellent stories.

      • unsavedheathen

        Yes! I listened to this on “Morning Edition” one day on my way to work quite a while back and had to pull over to wipe my eyes.

      • StoryCorps is fantastic.

  • David From Canada

    He had a very understanding and wise father for the 1950’s. “Don’t Sneak” – Love that message!

  • S1AMER

    Sweet story. Well done cartoon as well.

  • so moving!

    to my beloved Elder Gays, thanks for opening the doors for me.

    • Bernie Keefe

      This is why we do the things we do, so your generation doesn’t have to ‘ sneak’ anymore.

      • Chucktech

        Neither does any generation anymore!

      • and i luvs ya for it 🙂

        • Gene

          I am 46. young enough to enjoy all the benefits while still “youngish”….old enoug to have, in a hidden compartment where I keep some special things…the 4 letters my late father left me that I have not had reason to open yet…the last note from my mom, telling me she knew her time was short, and she was pleased with me as a son and protector, the first flower my man ever gave me….I have a list. its a list of the “elder gays” who helped me out…looked after me. ran off the guys I should NOT have been dating…marched in parades back when they were booed and people hurled insults at them…the men who worked for their freedom and MY freedom….the many of them, that I burried when I was in my 20’s and should not have had to wear black so often. The plague took a lot of them. the ones who remain, I cherish and am thankful to. The battles these men (and women!) fought have made my life what it is. not perfect, but, a damn lot better than I ever dared hope it would be. I look at that list of the dead..and read and re read their names when I am tempted to “be silent” when assholes praise Reagan, or talk about “family values”. And, I mourn them, and wish they could have seen all of this. Presidents being supporters…medicines that make AIDS a managable disease, and a cure in time to come. Gay Marines, getting married, to each other. Lesbian senators. Kids in high school that can bring their boyfriend to their prom.
          to the elder gays who read this….Thanks.
          And, going forward, we wont drop the ball. there is still a lot to do. but, thanks.

          • David Walker

            1. You need to understand that we did a lot of the things you mention selfishly. I can’t speak for others, but I didn’t have future generations in mind when I was in demonstrations, when I sat with sick and dying friends, when I wrote protesting and unpopular letters, That was all definitely for myself and my friends. Part of that, I think, was because I was in my 20s and 30s at the time, so I couldn’t see anyone behind me. So what’s happened is a gift borne of selfishness and given with both love and surprise. You’re most welcome and I’m so happy that things, generally, have worked out pretty well.

            2. We have a historical society in a building that used to be a bank and is preserved as such. The exhibits are usually quite fine, but getting in is a problem. The brass doors stick. You’d think something might have been done to make the doors easier to open, but after all these years, you still have to fight with the fucking brass doors to get in. What’s inside is always rewarding, though. Some people give up on fighting with the doors, and they are definitely out of luck. Fight with the doors, expect a bit of a problem to get in, and the rewards are wonderful. Sometimes life is like that.

          • Sporkfighter

            “You need to understand that we did a lot of the things you mention selfishly.”

            So? You “selfishly” wanted your share. That’s completely different from the people who selfishly want to hang on to their share while excluding you from yours.

          • Gene

            That was well said…and, I understand, but, still…many, many thanks. Its not, as sporkfighter (I love that name) pointed out, selfish to demand just ones due by the way. Where IS this museum you speak of (historical society)? I would be most curious to see it.
            By the way…only slightly related, but worth mentioning.
            There will be a monument built to the Rev, MLK Jr. built here in Metro Atlanta…on the very summit of STONE MOUNTAIN….a copy of the liberty bell, it will have one inscription “LET FREEDOM RING, FROM THE TOP OF STONE MOUNTAIN…”….taken from the famous speech in DC. Stone Mountain, a monument to the confederacy, with the worlds largest relief sculpture (many times larger than Rushmore) of Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson…some other bigot…Lee I think…now, it will be a beacon to a TRULY great man.
            its takes time, but there is JUSTICE in the universe…it just takes time…and people DEMANDING IT. and it is NEVER selfish to do so!!!!!!!

          • David Walker

            The historical society is Historic Harrisburg (PA) Association at North 3rd and Verbeke streets in the burg. The LGBT Center and HHA will share facilities for a month starting Friday to celebrate the career of Paul Foltz, costume designer for several theaters in the region and founder of the drag troupe Lily White and Company, started in the ’80s to raise money and awareness of the various AIDS-related organizations in the area. It was, at the time, the only rehearsed, staged, and not-necessarily-lip-synced drag show. The opening reception is Friday at both venues, which are less than a half block from each other. Paul will discuss his career and Lily White the following Thursday at the LGBT evening Aging With Pride. That’s more than what you asked for, but I’m really looking forward to the two events.

    • Ryan Hunter

      You are welcome. It was touch and go a few times but in the end it seems to be working out for everyone.

    • Mihangel apYrs

      remember that you and your generation may have to pick up the baton for another generation’s good. Without wishing to be soppy, in many ways you are our children, especially my generation’s who had limited family choices.

      • that’s exactly how i feel. our family is a mentorship process 😀

  • Mark_in_MN

    A wonderful story, nicely presented. StoryCorps does some wonderful stuff.

  • What A Maroon

    Good story! I seem to have gotten some pollen or dust in my eyes.

  • Sam_Handwich

    i’ll leave this here

    • Thanks, its a bit watery here too.

    • David Milley

      May need a refill.

      • gaymex

        me too.

    • DumbHairyApe

      thanks, gorilla eyes leak easily.

    • PiperPine

      yeah its so gosh darn dusty

    • bambinoitaliano

      I need the whole box.

    • ImRike

      Yes, I need them, too!

    • NMNative

      Thank you, I need several.

  • octobercountry

    Great story, though it made me get all snuffly…

  • AtticusP

    What a beautiful story! Nice reminder that, even with all the fear and hate that pervaded that era, there were these little pockets of love and decency.

  • Blake Mason

    They disabled comments. Must have gotten nasty.

    • Chucktech

      Must have gotten all christian lovey and stuff…

      • TampaDink

        Christian lovey….nasty. Tomayto, tomahto.

    • Toasterlad

      Shouldn’t surprise me that anyone could watch something like that and have a negative reaction. It shouldn’t.

      But it does.

      Ever fucking time.

    • KnownDonorDad

      Well, remember, the anti-gay side just lost a huge battle in the culture war, permanently. Only a handful of people will actually act out on it (see Kim Davis), the rest will resort to nasty, anonymous internet commentary, and they’ll rail against trans folks for good measure, just because they can.

  • Richard, another Canuck

    This kind of reminds me of my father having a heart to heart with me to say that it didn’t matter who I dated, as long as I was happy. He never asked if I was gay. I considered myself a very lucky guy to have such a great father after this conversation.

  • Ore Carmi

    That was incredible.

  • Librarykid

    YAY for the AFC at the LOC, NPR and POV

  • Elsewhere1010

    Ah, picture it. A middle-class suburb of Detroit, 1967.

    My father wasn’t quite so supportive or even, I could say cognizant. I’ll have to clean his language a bit, but one day when I was 12 he told me to get into the car and that we were going to take a ride. I knew something was odd, but I didn’t quite know how odd it was going to get.

    Dad told me to roll up my window as we drove into to Detroit; he decided that I needed to see “how life really is” and drove us slowly up and down 12th Street, which had been the center of the race riots during the summer. Burnt buildings, piles of rubble… I’d never seen anything like it.

    Then his big moment came, as he had decided to pass on to me his understanding of the “facts of life” — you know, all about sex. And the sole nugget of wisdom that he had to pass on to me was this…

    “Son, I don’t want you to grow up to be one of the g—-d queers who suck c–k and eat p—-y.”

    And that was pretty much it. We drove home in silence, probably because even at the age of 12 I knew better than to mention the fact he’d gotten some of the technical terminology wrong.

    The subject was never mentioned again.

    • LonelyLiberal

      Heh. Yeah, even straight people eat pastry.

      • DumbHairyApe

        Too much Wheel of Fortune.

        • jmax

          Looks like a One Million Pissed-off Moms press release.

    • TampaDink

      The beginning made me imagine, if only for a moment, that in 1967 Detroit was much like Sicily.

    • radiofreerome

      Sounds like we had similar fathers. Mine used to send me articles Pat Buchanan articles gloating about AIDS mortality figures. My Dad died last year. I spent the past two years “reconciling” with him. Ultimately, I discovered he had an ego syntonic personality disorder that made him sadistically self righteous. I don’t miss him, and I will never feel guilty about that.

  • pickypecker

    Happy Coming Out day, brothers and sisters!
    There is much to celebrate and still much to do. Never forget where we have been, what we have seen and done and where we will still need to go together!

  • TheManicMechanic

    That was touching. Very sweet. Sometimes, when you least expect it, dad knows.

  • Jack



    • Bj Lincoln

      I was born in 1959.

      • BlueberriesForMe

        Both Alaska and Hawaii became states in ’59. Hawaii is the 50th state. But you probably already knew all that already :=).

      • Jack


  • Ray Taylor

    1959 I joined the Navy just out of HS to get away from my step dad.

    • billbear1961

      I hope you found a good friend (or 2 or 3 or TEN) in the Navy, Ray!

  • sherman

    Thanks Alison.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    Whoever the hell is chopping those onions needs to finish up.

  • Ginger Snap

    I should know better than to watch these at work.

  • Ginger Snap

    I had a great Dad and I wish he would have lived to see become a grown man. My parents were so supportive when I came out and I wish ever gay kid could have parents like mine.

  • Webslinger

    Patrick Haggerty dresses in drag in 1959. As a teen, Haggerty learned from his father never to “sneak” around his identity.

  • witch

    I wish I could wave a magic wand and give all LGBT kids a dad like this

  • SpiderPIG

    Ugh! I clicked on the #NationalComingOutDay hashtag on twitter and I saw all of these “Christian and Proud”, “Straight and Proud” etc. type of statements.
    Some people can really be awful.

    • Bj Lincoln

      The anonymity of the internet allows people to be their true self. I have never talked like or called people names like some do.

      • motordog

        I forget the name of the formula, but it goes something like “Anonymity + Audience = Asshole-ism”

    • Lumpy Gaga

      Ugh! I clicked on the #NationalComingOutDay hashtag on twitter[…]

      Yeah, that’s not gonna end well.

      • SpiderPIG

        It is trending almost all day, though.

  • Bj Lincoln

    That was sweet. My mom was ok when I came out, but I was also pregnant. It was a confusing time for her. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something and the girl I invited to the party didn’t show up, so I went to bed with the guy who threw the party and worked in my mom’s restaurant. Oops! Got pregnant just when I knew I was a lesbian. My father, who was not around since I was 8 years old, does not like it and is a shamed of me being out and now, married. He would rather I was in the closet and alone.

  • JustSayin’

    Awesome story. Awesome dad.

  • Bobby P

    Brought a lump to my throat. How sweet.

  • m_lp_ql_m

    “Patrick tells his daughter…”

    Seems like there’s much more story coming after this one. One assumes Patrick himself was as much a “patron saint” father.

  • grumpyoldman

    Got something in my eye – sniff, wish I had a dad like that. Grew up in Montana, grew a beard and long hair and the damned drug-store cowboys kept coming after me with scissors. I am so naive that I hung out at Jack’s Sauna (because I love saunas) and did not understand what the tag line meant “and rooms for men”. There is/was so much going on around me that I just don’t see. I finally caught on when one of the other customers said “I sure would like to see that hard” – I was so embarrassed. Here in Seattle roughly the same thing happened to me at the Chrystal Steam Baths 15 years later. Here it is 40 years later and I am still pretty damned naive (I am a naif??). When I first got to Seattle, I ran into a couple women who were what we now consider to be bi but at the time said they were lesbian; they took me everywhere that a Montana boy would never get to go by himself, (for Seattle history buffs – Trojan Shield, 1222, Shelly’s Leg (she lost her leg in an explosion on the viaduct and the city paid her a bunch of money so she opened a club – the poster for the opening showed a woman with one leg talking with a guy who was saying “this place must have cost you an arm and a leg”) Boren Street Disco (where I got into my first interracial relationship), and a bunch more that have been lost in the haze of time and acid – oh, I never got into the Brass Door but that is a different story).

    Sorry, I am feeling sad and nostalgic and old.

  • When I was little I dreamed of being a ballet dancer but in the suburbs of Detroit in the early ’60s allegedly there were no dance studios that offered ballet classes for boys, so I was signed up for a “jazz and baton” class. Odd isn’t that baton was included? I was thrilled however because I also wanted to be a cheer leader!
    Anyway, class was Saturday morning and my dad always took me. I didn’t understand why back then, I thought I embarrassed him. His three other sons loved sports and all sorts of boy things and I had no clue how to throw anything besides shade. Often after class we would have to stop at the grocery store for something and my dad, bopping to the muzak, would say “how does that step go?” and then do a few of the steps I learned that morning. Being 12 and basically still sneaking I was mortified by this. I really thought he was making fun of me, or acting out of pity or some other nonsense dredged up by my fear of being discovered.
    It was after he died in 2001 that I found out that when he was about 12 he had wanted to take dancing lessons. Not only were my grandparents poor but I think they were horrified by the idea. My dad loved to dance and he was sort of living vicariously through me when we went to dance class, he wasn’t ashamed of or embarrassed by me and one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t realize this until after he was gone.

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  • Micklak

    Well fuck. My dad was such an asshole about so many things, but he handled me being gay pretty well. Any missteps he made were due to ignorance rather than malice. That’s a hard admission for me to make.

  • Thom Kulesa

    I wish we could all have at least one parent like that. Just one. Instead of the hellish parents we got stuck with…