If you've read White Man's Disease, you'll remember Aaron (Dr CD) from the Coming Out chapter. If you haven't read it, Aaron had a small part in the book but was a significant inspiration to me in telling my story, as becomes clear in Coming Out. His reflections on the book were very important to me. Following is a brief note he sent me:
I finally had 2 full days off to do what I wanted to do, so I read "White Man's Disease". I loved it. Once I started I had a hard time putting it down. We never talked about your childhood. I didn't know you were raised in Brooklyn...I lived with my 6 cousins off and on until I went to college. I totally related to foods labeled with Dept. of Agriculture, kool aid, spam, vienna sausage, porgies and Lorna Donne cookies. It felt like I was living in your household in Brooklyn.
Even though we frequently saw each other...I really didn't know you. It was heartbreaking to read about your ex-wife. The obstacles you had to overcome and then move on to all of your accomplishments is a tribute to the strong black men in this country. Rarely do you see a black man with your achievements profiled in the media. Instead you see young black males with the gangsta look dominating the media and glorified by our youth. I always admired you. You were always moving to a new endeavor. I remember you telling me how dollar stores were going to be a big thing in the future...
I was disappointed I didn't make it to your graduation party. It seems like you have done it all. After finishing your book, I feel more motivated to keep doing what I'm doing...I appreciate being included in your book. You took me off guard because I never thought a straight man could understand my happiness of coming out. After losing many of my acquaintances, I felt no one understood my decision to come out but my ex-wife. Even today she is one my best friends. Thank you. It was a pleasant surprise to see I was also mentioned in the epilogue. Let's keep in touch. Both of us have overcome a lot of obstacles.
In a nutshell. I loved the book !!! I hope everything is going well. Say hello to Cheryl and the kids. Best, Aaron
Aaron is the physician-in-charge at a major pediatrics department at a hospital in the northeast.
Dr. Paul Thornton is currently a university administrator. In the past he has been a professor, small business owner, and corporate executive.