Vignettes: Newport News

Friday, July 26, 2013

I have a post in progress about the past week that is, by necessity, a somber affair.

This is not that post.

This is a happy post. :c)


I am in Newport RI, one of my very favorite places.

I am here for the Newport Folk Festival, one of my very favorite annual events.

And I am here as myself.

For the very first time. :-)

It was a challenging week on all fronts.

Work, home, you name it.

I wrote about the events of last Sunday, when my brother and sister-in-law essentially disowned me.

I am convinced they have been planning this for weeks.

I also had a standard-issue work week - that is, tumultuous, draining, infuriating, with ever-shifting, contradictory priorities and deadlines.

But I survived.

Because I knew I had this weekend as my reward.

Newport has always been touched with magic for me.

This week has been no exception.


I literally just arrived in Newport.

I knew exactly where I was going first:

To meet with my dear friend T.

She and her husband, J, were two of the first people I became friendly with when I moved to Newport three years ago. They both worked, and work, as baristas at Starbucks.

We quickly bonded over a shared love of music, particularly - (Dirty hippie alert, April! Avert your eyes, sis!) - Phish.

Yes, dear reader, your Cass is a Phishhead.

Only without the pharmaceutical, er, accoutrements. :c) (The strongest drugs I have ever taken are estrogen and spironolactone. That is plenty.)0

Anyway, we are now close friends.

How close?

They invited me to their wedding.

I was the only customer they invited, in fact.

Although T corrected me when I mentioned this.

"You aren't a customer, [my boy name]," she said. "You're our friend."

When I came out to them last fall, they were overjoyed for me, and pledged their full support.

And they have been true to their word.

They check in periodically by text, voicemail, or email to see how I am or just let me know they are thinking of me.

So I knew they, and particularly T, would be my first priority upon arrival.

I drove straight to the Starbucks where T works. (She and J work at different locations.)

I would have been excited to see her no matter what; we hadn't gotten together since just before Christmas last year, due to my lingering illnesses and our brutal winter weather.

But since it was going to be her first time meeting Cass, I was even more excited.

I grabbed my brand new teal pocketbook (I lovelovelove teal, as does T  - one of the many reasons we bonded), attempted to get the runaway curls under control (no such luck in this humidity), and walked in.

My friend AN ("N" is for Newport, for reasons that will become clear below) was behind the counter.

He smiled.

"Looking good there, Miss Cass."


Typical of AN:



And kind.

I asked if T was there.

He smirked his genial smirk.

"Take a guess."


She was on break.

Of course.


I immediately sent her the following text message:

"Hey, you!"

"Dammit... ya ruined my dramatic entrance!"


"Love, Cass"


Within seconds she came running out, looking as adorable as ever (she is *seriously* cute, kids, as is J). We hugged for approximately two minutes straight.

She oohed and aahed over my new teal pocketbook, teal purse, and older teal wallet with the embossed seahorse, which I purchased here in Newport at *last* year's festival. (Told you it was a magical place!)

Then she asked if I like maxi skirts.

Which I do.

So then it was *her* turn to make *me* jealous by describing *her* new teal maxi skirt.

I was always short and awkward as a boy.

I was all arms and legs, with practically no torso to speak of.

Or coordination, for that matter.

(I am still hopelessly uncoordinated. [Stace, I know you will be able to relate to this!]
I was being extra cautious with my feet the past few weeks, so I could finally wear my new sandals - teal sandals, of course.)

(And I *was* perfect.)

(Until this morning.)

(When I dropped my coffee mug on my toe.

So unless black *and* blue is suddenly the new black, my look is ruined. lol)

Anyway, T also has long legs, so I am sure the skirt looks amazing.

So much so that she says J is growing concerned at how *much* she likes it.

Him (polite as always): "Hey... so you're wearing that skirt... *again*?"

Her (oblivious): "Of course!!!"

I totally understand, T, believe me.

So now I have a new item added to my growing shopping list.

Cass is quite the clotheshorse, as it turns out.

HEy, I can always blame T in bankruptcy court if need be:

"But your honor, just *look* at how this skirt complements my eyes!"

"OMG, Cass, you're *right*!!! I find you and T guilty - of good taste!"

(This should give you some idea of how we generally converse, folks. :-p)

Anyway, she and J lucked out and got a pair of tickets from our mutual friend H (yet another Newport sweetie - see a trend here?) to see Lily Tomlin perform here tonight

So we will likely put off our dinner plans to either tomorrow or Sunday evening, post-festival.

Or perhaps both.

After all, you can never spend too much time with friends!!!


I will end with a second vignette, about another set of friends I met here in Newport.

I met AT (she lives in Texas, hence the "T") at last year's festival.

She and her lovely family were at the side stage where I spent all day Sunday at last year's festival. As I mentioned, that may well have been the single best day of music I have ever seen. 

We hit it off instantly, and within an hour were exchanging email addresses.

We corresponded during the ensuing year about music; she and her entire family are all music obsessives. And Texas is as close to ideal if that is the case.

I never mentioned I was transitioning.

I did so because I was reluctant to impose on my new friends in any way until it was necessary.

I had a hunch they would be supportive.

But I did not want to be presumptuous, or put them in any kind of potentially difficult or awkward situation.

For various reasons, we hadn't really spoken since early spring.

So last Saturday I finally sat down and dashed off a note to AT, asking if they still planned to attend the festival.

She immediately wrote back, saying she was thrilled to hear from me, and that they were attending and looking forward to meeting up in person.

I then sent a reply explaining my situation. In a nutshell, here is what I wrote:

I am transitioning, I will be attending the festival as myself, and I want to let you know in advance so that if this makes you uncomfortable in any way you know you are under no obligation to meet with me, or to even respond to this message.

I told her how much I enjoyed meeting with she and her family, and wished them all the best if they were not comfortable meeting with my in light of my changed circumstances.

I sent it just before I went to bed on Saturday evening.

Then Sunday happened.

I spent most of Sunday afternoon and evening simply processing what happened.

I expected it... but unvarnished ugliness and prejudice, even when you know it is coming, takes its toll.

Which made what happened just before I went to bed all the more special.

My iPhone buzzed.

A new message had arrived.

I opened my mail app.

There was a message.

A reply from AT.

I clicked on it to open it.

And this is the first thing I read:

"Dear friend Cass..."

I lost it.

For 15 minutes, non-stop.

She told me that they were all very much looking forward to meeting up with me *as* me, and that she was touched by how difficult it must be to tell people and be judged each and every time.

I told her that she had no idea how much strength I gain from responses like those of she and her family.

I will always be in their debt for helping to remind me how kind and accepting the vast, vast majority of friends have been upon telling them my news. As were my sister and nephew.

As for my parents the other two?

The loss is entirely theirs.

And the magic of Newport is among those losses they will never comprehend.

Thank you to T, J, AN, and AT for reminding what a wonderful group of friends I have, and what a lucky, lucky girl I am.

A few pics for you, taken today:

More to follow. And not just because my NY friend C threatened me physically if I do not allow someone to take *my* picture here for once. :c) (It did play *somewhat* of a role, however; C may also be a "Skinny Bitch," as she has dubbed us but she still packs a mean punch!)


LL Cool Joe on July 27, 2013 at 2:53 AM said...

Isn't good when we can finally be what we want to be? You look fantastic!

Thanks for the Grumpy Cat quotes, they made my day! :D

A on July 28, 2013 at 1:27 PM said...

Looking great sis!

But that folk music will rot your mind, take two Ramones 45s and call me in the morning



Cassidy on July 30, 2013 at 4:27 PM said...

@ Joe: Thank you so much! And yes, it certainly is!!!!

@ April: And thank *you* too, hon!

In terms of the Ramones, which type of sandals work best in a mosh pit? Anxiously awaiting word...

== Cass

Diana Nicole B on August 25, 2013 at 4:37 PM said...

i must say it is good to be able to see a picture of you . you are really cute! and you have been a good friend to april as well.

Cassidy on August 25, 2013 at 7:26 PM said...

Hi Diana!

Aww... thank you *so* much! :#) It is amazing what you can do with Photoshop these days, isn't it? ;-p

As far as Miss April, it is my pleasure. Even if she fails to recognize the greatness that is the The Beatles post-1964 output. (In fact, she isn't aware music was even recorded *after* 1964, so please don't burst her bubble!)

Thank you again, Diana! You made my day!


Diana Nicole B on August 26, 2013 at 2:18 PM said...

hmmmm ya' mean to say there actually was decent music written after 1964? LOL
now me i tend to be more of a beach boy's fan my self but all kidding aside having been a music ed. major i have a pretty wide range of stuff i like.

Cassidy on August 26, 2013 at 9:49 PM said...

OK, Diana, you really must start to correspond with April! You clearly are birds of a feather! lol

I don't think I've posted much about them, but I adore the Beach Boys. Their post Smile albums of the late Sixties and early Seventies are still woefully overlooked. 20-20 alone justifies their decision to carry on.

Music Ed... how cool! So who are some other artists you like? I love nothing more than to chat about music. (Well, other than shop for clothes now, that is. ;D)

Thanks again for the kind words, Diana!


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