• Let freedom ring?

tungsten_mens_wedding_ringIn my days as a young newspaper reporter, I was given all the oddball assignments that were beneath the dignity of the older, more experienced writers. So, it was no particular surprise when I was dispatched to interview a local man who had become a carnival sword swallower.

When I arrived at the rather dismal looking apartment building where this particular artist lived, I was surprised when I checked the mailbox labels to see that he had a roommate. I was even more surprised when I climbed three flights of stairs, knocked tentatively, and the door was opened by a ravishing young blonde lady who escorted me in to see the wizard.

Turns out they were living together without the benefit of matrimony, something that was rather uncommon in those days. I had no particular moral misgivings about their lifestyle, but I was concerned how I was going to mention it in the conservative news columns of my particular newspaper.

I finally came up with a way of writing around the subject and, luckily, no persnickety copy editor ever questioned me on the issue.

I recalled that when a few weeks ago I was interviewing a local couple for a magazine story and asked how long they had been married.

“We’re ‘together,’ not married,” she said.

“Never even gave marriage a thought,” he chimed in.

And, they both smiled while the young photographer and photographer’s assistant who were on the premises smiled as well. Clearly, I would have been the odd man out in this situation if I had said anything about the living arrangements.

Besides, it was none of my business and it also is very commonplace these days. There seems to be more concern over whether same-sex couples can get married than whether opposite-sex couples should get married if they wish to co-habitate.

I’m clearly a man of the Old School. Before I even formulate any thoughts on same-sex marriage, I need to come to a firm stance on people just living together without legal ties. I confess it’s the sort of thing that bothers me. I don’t know if that is based on residual guilt feelings from early religious schooling that I later repudiated, or whether I have trouble respecting people who won’t make a commitment … or whether I fear for the potential offspring of such a union who might be placed in a situation that could disintegrate, and thus harm them, if there were no legal ties to make the parents give it a really good shot at working out their problems.

I’ll have to get back to you on all of that.


About Bill Dowd

Webmaster/social media coordinator for the Southern Rensselaer County NY Rotary Club.

2 responses to “• Let freedom ring?”

  1. Dan says :

    I am the president of the Sword Swallowers Association International, and would very much like to read your interview with him and learn more about this particular sword swallower.

    I interview sword swallowers around the world, for inclusion in the Sword Swallowers Hall of Fame. Would love to talk to you about your interview or your interest in other more interesting ones!

  2. William Dowd says :

    Sorry, Dan. That was back in the ’60s. I doubt the archives of the Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin from that era are online, but you can always check them out. Thanks for the note.

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