Tag Archives: Rozanne Gates

In Historic Times, Documenting Family Histories

A few years ago, Jeri Johnson’s husband Ed was dying. She had one request: Could someone document his life story?

The Legacy Project could.

The brainchild of longtime Westporters Suzanne Sheridan and Rozanne Gates, it’s a chance to do something we always talk about but seldom find time for: document our lives, for our families and all who will follow.

Thanks to his wife’s determination — and the talents of Suzanne and Rozanne —  Ed told his life story. His children and grandchildren now have a fuller understanding of how he became the man he was.

Others can learn about him too. The book the Legacy Project USA created — “A Tale of Courage in Red, White, and Blue” — is now in the Weston Library.

Suzanne Sheridan and Rozanne Gates

For more than a decade, the Legacy Project has documented other local residents’ stories too, including Dick Pauker (businessman, sculptor and an original founder of the Westport Arts Center); Colleen Plantinga (mother of Prill Boyle, prominent member of the Westport Garden Club and Saugatuck Congregational Church), and Sally Sellars (whose husband Howard Lathrop designed the new Museum of Contemporary Art).

The Legacy Project offers many options. Life stories can be documented and preserved as audio or video recordings, photo albums or authored biographies.

As many people stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic now understand, many things we’ve always done in person can now be done by phone, or remotely. That’s true of Legacy Project USA interviews too.

In these self-isolating days, we’re finding time to go through those long-delayed projects. We’re also realizing that when life is precious, documenting our histories becomes more important than ever.

Suddenly, The Legacy Project is at the top of our to-do lists.

(For more information, click here or call 203-222-1441.)

Showing Pat Robertson Some Love

The other day, a viewer asked Pat Robertson if it was okay to “like” Facebook photos of same-sex couples.

The “700 Club” host/failed presidential candidate/former Southern Baptist minister crawled out of his cave long enough to reply that Facebook needs a “vomit” button for such pictures.

“You’ve got a couple of same-sex guys kissing, do you like that?” he rumbled.

“Well, that makes me want to throw up. To me I would punch ‘vomit,’ not ‘like,’ but they don’t give you that option on Facebook.”

Then he chuckled, at the absurdity of this wacky 21st-century world. (Click here or below to see Rev. Robertson’s full answer.)

That did not sit well with another religious figure. Rev. Debra Haffner — co-founder and president of the Religious Institute, the Westport-based multifaith organization advocating for sexual health, education and justice in faith communities and society — set up a Tumblr page filled with love, not hate.

“Such comments make it sound as if Rev. Robertson has never seen the love and the joy on the faces of same-sex couples,” the page — called “Show Pat Love!” — says.

The Tumblr invites users to share same-sex couple photos — and promises to forward a link to all submissions to Rev. Robertson’s attention.

Dozens of photos have already been posted. There are male couples, and female couples; white, black, Hispanic, Asian and biracial couples; couples with kids, and couples with dogs; couples posing in churches and temples, atop mountains and on beaches.

In other words: same-sex couples doing just what opposite-sex couples do on their wedding days.

One of the 1st couples to be featured is Suzanne Sheridan and Rozanne Gates. The longtime Westporters posted a joyful shot from their wedding ceremony at the Unitarian Church.

Suzanne Sheridan and Rozanne Gates

The minister is Rev. Frank Hall. Also officiating: Rev. Barbara Fast, of the Danbury Unitarian Church.

Interestingly, Debra Haffner is associated with the Unitarians  too. When she’s not running the Religious Institute, she serves as a community minister at the Westport church.

Where, clearly, there is plenty of love to go around.

And enough to spare, even for a grumpy old man living out a different century in a Virginia cave.

(Click here for the “Show Pat Love!” Tumblr.)