Natural Order

Natural Order - Brian  Francis Joyce Sparks lives at Chestnut Park Nursing home. She is finding it more and more to difficult to get around each day and she knows this will be the last place she lives. When Timothy, the new male volunteer, shows up in her room trying to engage her in social activities, or at the very least, in a conversation she puts up her usual “grumpy old lady” barrier. She can’t maintain it though because, darn it all, he bears such a striking resemblance to her first love, Freddy Pender.

Everyone in the small town of Balsden, Ontario knew that there was something a little off about Freddy. Something that was not quite acceptable in the 1950’s. But Freddy left town to become famous and Joyce stayed behind, married Charlie and had a son. A son who wanted nothing more than to play in the pretend kitchen in kindergarten and receive a doll for Christmas. Something that was not quite acceptable in the 1960’s. Something she had to keep secret from her husband.

As Joyce shares her story we follow her through her life, her denial and then slow acceptance of her son’s (and Freddy’s) sexuality, small town life rife with gossip, the “gay disease”, and growing old. Could she have been a better mother, a better wife, a better sister or a better friend?

I liked Joyce! I liked her story very much, too. Kudos to Mr. Francis for writing a story so filled with life, love, misunderstanding and heartache. Yet, told in a poignant way … interspersed with humor. People trying to do their best and not always succeeding.