Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Brother's Book

I just found out Maurice Sendak was gay. Not that it matters. I was at the library and there was a new book on the shelf—Maurice Sendak’s last book, My Brother’s Book. I picked it up to read the jacket notes and discovered that the book pays homage to Sendak’s brother, Jack, whom he credited for his passion for writing and drawing. But not only that, it is a memorial to Sendak’s late partner Eugene Glynn.


I wiki’ed Sendak. I had read many articles about Sendak when he was alive and always followed his career, but yet I knew nothing of his personal life. Sendak had lost both his brother and partner before his own death at age 83 last year. And, yet , the saddest part of reading his bio at wiki, was that he’d recently came out (at age 80). From a NYT interview: “All I wanted was to be straight so my parents could be happy. They never, never, never knew.” Mr. Sendak added, “I just didn’t think it was anybody’s business.”

I held the book and felt doubly sad. One) that Maurice Sendak was dead and Two) that the time he lived in, anytime before now, Sendak could not have loved openly and married his partner of FIFTY YEARS. If only he had lived long enough for the U.S. Supreme to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), hopefully one day paving the way for marriage equality. If only a young Maurice Sendak was growing up today—he’d know that the way to make his parent’s happy would be to just be himself.

I think there is a children’s story here.

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