Marge Ballack – Coming Out

“They’re letters from Connie”

I was never “in.” I was just me. I had to deal with other people wondering what was going on, but I was just me. I didn’t realize I had to “come out,” I guess. When you know you are different when you are really, really young—like [age] 3 or 4—I guess you just know you are different. Whatever. Everyone is different. I had common sense like that very young. I knew I couldn’t be the only one.

I didn’t realize that my parents didn’t know until I was 16. I went on a band tour to Europe. I went with my girlfriend. Her mom was kind of nuts. I had written love letters to [my girlfriend] and she had written them to me. She brought them over to my house so I could stash them because, if she had gone out to burn them or anything, her mother would be like, “What are you doing?” Then she’d get hurt.

So, while we were gone, my dad was looking for a tool or something. I had an art bench where I kept all my paints and everything artistic that I did. He was looking for something, he lifted up the lid, and there was this bag of cards. He was thinking they were greeting cards. He opened them up and they were love letters. When I got back it was, “Hi, how are you? How was the trip? What did you learn?” And then it was, “What are these?” I thought, “Well, they’re letters from Connie.” All hell broke loose for a short period of time. My dad never hit me, but he slapped me in the face. My mom said, “I don’t know what I could have done to cause this.” I said “Gosh, you guys. I’ve been this way forever. You’ve got to be kidding me you didn’t know.” So, my mom said, about a week later, “I’ve been at the library. I’ve read everything I could. I didn’t do it. It’s fine with me.” That’s how she was. She was, “That was the end of that.” I think it was something my dad had a problem with. But my dad had a problem with a lot of stuff . . .


Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson in December 2006, held at the Northwest Museum for Arts and Culture.