Our Town

Sometimes you don't realize you've found a happy little liberal enclave until you see it in the PTA.

Yesterday the Buzz Book arrived. It's the annual phone directory at my son's school, compiled by the matriarchy of the PTA. You can opt out if you're paranoid, but most of us choose to participate. That way when somebody is crazy enough to invite the entire class to a birthday party or they need volunteers for Open House or you want to set up a play date, people can find you.

I've always been happy with the Buzz Book, because unlike many other parent listings I've seen, they have a space for the parent's full name. I can't tell you how often I was "Mrs. Smith" when my son was in preschool, simply because they didn't have a space for my last name.

So I was flipping through the Buzz Book, noting the phone numbers for Kiddo's little friends. I scanned his class list, and saw that while 3/4 of his classmates have a mom and dad, there are a couple of single mothers, including me.

Then I saw that one of his classmates has two mommies.

No, that doesn't surprise me. What does - and I don't know why it does, I should know better by now - is that the PTA happily included them in the Buzz Book without controversy or comment. In many other towns, they would have listed only one mommy. In other towns, they might have "forgotten" to include the little girl altogether.

But this is Our Town. And when I started to think about it, I remembered the lesbian couple in my church that adopted twins last year. I see them every Sunday, because they sit in the front row on the right side. They don't always dress the girls alike, but when they do... pretty as little pictures. SO cute. And when the kids swarm into the church at the peace and those little girls join their mommies in the pew... There is love there, and it's wonderful to watch.

This is a medium-sized Midwestern town, with requisite cornfields. We have our cranky old people who argue againist yet another tax increase to build new schools. We have our blue-collar Democrats and our wealthy Republicans. But we also have five (count 'em) coffeeshops with young people playing guitar in the evenings. We have art galleries and a kickass library and schools that give a damn and charities whose cups runneth over. And we welcome all, including lesbians with kids. These families are part of our mainstream now, welcomed and treated exactly the same, and I was only surprised that I wasn't surprised. There is no asterisk next to the little girl's name in the Buzz Book. No one points at the family in our church and says, "That's the LESBIAN couple."

Yes, I said CHURCH. Not a nondenominational or even a Unitarian Universalist church, either. We're your run-of-the-mill staid Episcopalian church in a 1910 brick building with formal services and a woman priest and by the way we have lesbians and gays and they serve at the altar and receive communion and God does not strike us dead with lightning. Whenever I hear people screaming about how evil Christians run around denouncing everyone and clinging to a stale "morality" that never existed... I sigh, and wish I could beam a mind-movie from my church, my town, into their brains, so they'd know I'm not lying.

And people keep asking me why I don't move. They just don't get it.


  1. What a lovely story! It's always nice to hear positive stuff about communities that work, no matter what the size.


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