“The Notebook” and Baby Boomers

James Garner and Gena Rowlands in “The Notebook.” File photo.

By Bruce Hartley
Life Columnist

Winter is a wonderful time to catch up on old movies. I just viewed the end of one of my all-time favorite films, The Notebook. It’s amazing how movies can stir a variety of emotions in us and make us think.

Even LGBTQ+ Baby Boomers have memories of young love. We may have distant memories of a time when we had to live in the closet or when we could not act on our young love. I hear stories from my friends who talk about when they were young, and they could only dream of love. The world was such a different place in the late 70s when I was in high school.

I had young love in high school. I won’t go into details out of respect for this person’s family. When I watch The Notebook, I wonder how things would be different now if we were teenagers in 2019.

Sadly, I also wonder if conversion therapy or some form of it was used to pull us apart. That is a distant memory for me and one that I will never understand.

My choice for my love journey was different than the plot of The Notebook. I chose a road that was expected of me by my family and community. I married a lovely woman and we raised a wonderful family. I don’t regret this at all, and I am thankful for our son and daughter.

My wife and I were married for 28 years until she passed away in early 2014. She was taken from this world at age 49 and I still mourn her passing. She was a beautiful, loving and caring wife and mother.

Toward the end of our marriage, I learned through counseling that our marriage was real, and I should be thankful for the years we had together. I also learned that I needed to explore my sexual feelings that I had stored in the closet since high school.

During the spring of 2014, Bill and I found each other and realized that we were in love. He is handsome, loving and caring. We have been together for five years and we are planning our wedding for later this year. He wasn’t my young love from high school, but I believe we found each other at the right time in our lives.

Other memories come to my mind when I watch this film include young love, the journey of love and the horrible disease of Alzheimer’s. My father passed away from the disease of Alzheimer’s at age 80 in December of 2015. This is another connection to The Notebook that stirs my emotions.

I was able to introduce Bill to my Dad before he passed away. I don’t know if he understood, but my heart feels like I was able to be my true self with him. I worry that Alzheimer’s will be passed down to me. Bill and I have discussed this possibility.

The Notebook reminds me how true love can navigate even through chronic illnesses.

Many Baby Boomers have stories of family and friends who face Alzheimer’s and I am sure this film difficult film to watch. I believe this powerful film can help us see young love, the journey of love and how love can win even at the end of life.

My hope is all LGBTQ+ Baby Boomers can find someone to be their soulmate. Decide what love means to you and remember that we all deserve love and happiness. Don’t allow your family and community to lock you in a closet like many us were in the late 70s and early 80s.

Next time you view The Notebook and think about this column and hopefully you can see how love always wins.

Copyright The Gayly – March 13, 2019 @ 7:15 a.m. CDT.