Love From England
Read tributes to Chris Hewitt by Raymond
J. Aguilera, Mark Moody,
and Michael Perreault.
Dear Bob Guter,
I am Chris Hewitt's cousin from
England. I feel that I must thank you for the opportunity that
BENT gave to Chris to find a wider audience for his work.
He was always proud
to have his poems and prose on the web. He was especially excited
when "Queer Crips" was published. He mailed me a copy, which I have
read, enjoyed and keep with pride.
I was delighted to
receive mention in one of Chris's Chapbooks. However it was on one
of his trips to London that we really sparked. I was with my partner
and we were asking Chris what he was involved in. In a dramatic
gesture that nearly knocked the coffee cups off the table, he declared
"I'm doing a libretto based on 'Pink Flamingo's'"
That was his 'coming
out' speech (to me)! I think it gave him confidence to know that
I was gay too, as he came out to his mother soon after. We proudly
shared a Great Aunt who had a female partner. She died in the 1970's
well into her 90's. I hope she would have been proud of her "pink"
kin. I know she will have welcomed Chris into the protection and
love of the family up in heaven. The reunion must have been a riot.
Since Chris was always the life and soul of a gathering, they must
have needed him to liven things up. Who knows what goes on in heaven?
Life in England was
challenging for Chris. Access even now is not good for people living
with wheels; in the '70's it was terrible and the prospect of teaching
work was nonexistent. As a maturing chap he found the support and
facilities of the USA much more conducive. Understandably it was
also important for him to maintain distance from the protective
boundaries of the family as a maturing gay man.
I feel that it was
the best step when in 1974 Chris took advantage of the offer of
the American Dream. He certainly would have had a harder time back
here and although I know some times were rough for him out there,
here they would have been just impossible! Chris may have been small
in stature, but I always said that he had the personality of a giant.
When he was 'on form' he could fill any roomand he did! His
personality acted like a magnet, collecting many loyal friends,
but sometimes I guess hiding immense physical and spiritual pain
He told me of his
Cafe Queen days and his escape into liquid refreshment. We shared
our quest for love in our letters over the years. We were family
in two senses and the bond of being gay family was important to
Chris was many complicated
things, as we all are. For me, he was a clever, gifted man. A brave
lion of a man in a fragile shell. A dependent man who could be charming,
witty, sometimes stubbornand oh so selfish. He will loom large
in our collective memory; and being Chris, wherever he is, he will
expect nothing less!
YOU WERE HIS FRIENDS!
Thank you for caring and allowing him to blossom as he did among
you. He was the biggest smallest cousin I ever had.
With fondest love
P.S. By the way,
did he ever tell you why he grew that beard? He got totally pissed
with people patting him on the head as his mum wheeled him around,
and saying "what a cute little girl." So he said, I'll show 'em,
and grew itenormous, bushy, unmistakable!
© 2004 Angie McLachlan
Let us know what you
think of this BENT feature.