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Wandering Close to Home

A Gay Son and His Feminist Mother’s Journey to Transform Themselves and Their Family

Here’s what readers are saying:

Wandering Close to Home, a memoir of personal transformation by Linda Drajem and her gay son Christopher Drajem, reveals the universality of human longing: for connection, meaning, and above all, love. It is our hope that these touching stories will give closeted gay men everywhere the strength to come out, find happiness and, like Christopher, perhaps even start their own families.

-Brian Rosenberg and Ferd van Gameren, founders of “Gays With Kids”

Mother and son have done a superb job of sharing their lives against the backdrop of the changing culture of the last fifty years. Linda was telling my story too as far as growing up Catholic and response to the Women’s Movement. And Christopher’s honest and sensitive story of his struggle with his sexual identity expanded my understanding of what it means to grow up gay. This book can help so many families! It was inspiring to see the close and inspirational relationship of mother and son and, truly, of the whole Drajem family.

-Patricia C. McClain

The story we’ve set out to tell in this book is about our own individual evolution, how we pursued paths that were uncharted and filled with obstacles but we knew instinctively we needed to undertake.  It is also a story of our mutual support and encouragement.  We decided to let one another in, to share the journey with one another and to become travelling partners. Here is our travelogue.



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How to Live with Extended Family for a Week

Dear Christopher,

For the first time in years you guys were here for the holidays.  A whole week together with you both and with the children.  I was very excited to celebrate Christmas on our home turf.  All the years we were with you in Seattle were great.  I love your Seattle family.  Doug and Paul always make us feel welcome.  The Christmas Eve celebration with the twelve fish dishes is nothing short of outstanding.  But Christmas at home is very special to me.  Aunt Judy and I often talk about the days when you and your brother were young and those big Christmas celebrations with the grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Your cousin Lillian says she misses it terribly.  Yes, I know, I know.  Back then Aunt Judy and I did our share of complaining about all the work we had to do.  But truth be told, we miss those times now.

When your grandmother was alive I always felt bad leaving her on the holiday.  Yet I wanted very much to spend time with you and Patrick.  I wanted so much to be part of your children’s memories of Christmas.  What a treat it was to watch them run down the stairs on Christmas morning to open their presents.  Then we adults could laze about over coffee and pancakes and chat and eat cookies. But having the holiday in our home really was a thrill. I was so excited about that.  Kept telling my friends that the kids were coming here for the first time in years. (Yes, you are still my kid). I even got a real tree.  Bought lights and decorations because I had jettisoned the old ones after so many years away. Like celebrations of old Aunt Judy baked what seemed like endless cookies.  I planned a couple of big gatherings at our home.  We had some celebratory cocktails together, just the four of us, after the kids went to bed.  It was a great holiday from my perspective, despite frigid weather and a cancelled return flight to Seattle.  I was worried that staying an extra day and scrambling to find another flight back home would put you all off Christmas back east.  But it was fun to have an extra day together.  Those crazy, complicated holiday celebrations of old have a new spin, but thankfully you all got back in time for school and work. I am hoping and planning for next year already.

This time when Aunt Judy and I reminisce about holidays we did not rehash old complaints about the cooking and cleaning to prepare.  We did not talk about how now our family is so small and our celebrations so few. This time we genuinely rejoiced as we realized the joy in approximating those grand old holiday traditions once again.

Love MOM