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A Night To Remember

Jocelyn's version of events...

By my friend, Jocelyn Johnson

This is not the 1958 movie with the title “A Night To Remember” which depicts the sinking of the Titanic. Nor about the song with that title, which was sung in the 2008 movie High School Musical 3, relating to the upcoming Prom.

This is about my magnificent evening in Cleveland at the North Coast Men’s Chorus (NCMC) event called Mardi Gras.

It is no surprise that Kandi Robbins volunteers at the Mardi Gras each year. In 2024 the big night was February 10. I just happened to be passing through that weekend so Kandi suggested I come along and volunteer as well.

The NCMC is a LGBT arts organization in northern Ohio and the Mardi Gras is a major fundraising event. This year Veranda L’Ni, Cleveland’s tallest drag entertainer, was the MC. She is a little taller than me.

I was assigned to help monitor the silent auction tables. Kandi was assigned some job to do with tossing wine (no surprise there ). Editorial comment: Not tossing the wine, except what I tossed back, it was ring toss to win bottles of wine. When we arrived at the venue Kandi introduced me to lots of people. Everyone was extremely friendly, and I was made to feel very welcome.

My outfit was very basic, and most of the attendees were fashionably dressed for a Mardi Gras. Of course Kandi was wearing a fabulous black gown, and in my humble opinion she was the “belle of the ball”. Editorial comment: There are not too many “belles” associated with a gay men’s chorus.

I had the time of my life. I talked and laughed with so many people. I felt so comfortable being the woman I am in a group of 100s of beautiful men and women. Hours passed by so quickly. I didn’t want the night to end, ever. My only regret was not taking to the dance floor to show off my moves. Kandi did. Editorial comment: I did?

The are no appropriate words to describe my utter joy at being a part of the night. The people of Cleveland are remarkable and friendly.

At the end of the evening Kandi drove me back to my car parked some distance away. We shared a special moment before I left.

February 10, 2024 will be my “Night To Remember”.

Love to all of you.

Jocelyn

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16 Responses

  1. Jocelyn, great account of what must have been a truly wonderful night.

    It was reading posts like this one that spurred me on to take my own steps into the outside world last year and I’m sure that your words will push many more to want to break free themselves.

    Great outfit too – you both looked fabulous!

    1. Amanda,
      Thanks for commenting. It was indeed a time in my life I will never forget. I owe it all to Kandi for setting a wonderful example and suggesting I come along.

      And to think I had a small part in “spurring” you on to outings is very gratifying. I am so happy that I could help.

      If anyone else is contemplating going out en femme please do. Being your true self, out and about, is a fabulous feeling. It soon becomes so natural and normal.

      Thank you for complimenting my outfit. I felt so lovely. Of course standing next to Kandi helps elevate anyone’s presentation.

      Jocelyn

      1. It was more than a ‘small part’ in spurring me on – all that talk of visiting English tea rooms opened my eyes to the opportunities waiting for me in the big wide world.

        Sadly, and somewhat ironically, English tea rooms are a bit of a rarity around here – plenty of places run by Poles, Indians, Chinese and the like, though (and very pleasant their cuisine is too!)!

  2. Jocelyn,
    I’m so glad you had a great time. That is such a fun event, I’m sorry I couldn’t be there this year!

    Sherry

    1. Sherry,

      It was an extraordinary evening and tons of fun. As you know, the people at the Cleveland Mardi Gras are very welcoming.

      You were missed.

      Jocelyn

  3. Sorry for commenting on my own post.

    Being out in a very public setting is great, but having someone (Kandi) say to everyone we met “this is my friend Jocelyn”. Hearing my name openly stated and shaking their hand is very affirming. I am Jocelyn.

    It is one thing to be seen as a woman. It is very different to actually have long conversations with people at the same time. I love it when people say my name to my face. It confirms who I am.

    Jocelyn

  4. Jocelyn,

    Oh what a night…what a very special time…to be you!

    Being with Kandi is like getting a big hug, just like visiting Kandi’s Land. I am so glad you had such a lovely evening!

    Lisa

    1. Lisa,
      Thank you very much for your kind words.

      I am still living “high” from that great evening.

      You and I both have had actual hugs from Kandi. She is an incredible woman.

      Jocelyn

  5. Jocelyn,
    It makes a very good point about just being YOU ! I had to smile at Kandi’s editorial comment concerning” belles ” !

    1. Teresa,

      As I am sure with you, being out and about should really be nothing special. It is just me (you) being me (you), very normal.

      I too am a little surprised with Kandi’s editorial comment. Oxford Dictionary defines belle of the ball as “the most beautiful and popular girl or woman at a dance.” There were plenty of women there, even if it was a gay fundraising event.

      Jocelyn

      1. Jocelyn,
        When I think back to a time when I needed to be ME but couldn’t my time now is special , being realistic I accept time is running short now . It’s why I spend time here banging the drum , try and make it happen for others before time runs out , which would you regret more ? Personally I have no regrets .

  6. Hi Jocelyn,
    Well done girl, thanks to you I am overwhelmed with jealousness. 😋 But also happy for my fellow Canuck that you’re so close to Kandi and able to see her often. Especially being able to help out a worthy cause along with her, so exciting. You and Kandi look great in all the pics. I loved your outfit and you can see the happiness all over your face.

    Love,
    Trish ❤️

    1. Trish,

      You’re making me blush. I did feel great and I thought I was appropriately dressed for the occasion. But I was really taken aback by how friendly everyone was. I was completely accepted for who I am.

      Don’t be jealous, you get involved with many events with your girlfriends. It is so much fun being out, I can’t help but smile.

      I guess I am lucky being relatively close to Cleveland (7 hour drive). But it is Kandi’s welcoming heart that makes visiting her so easy.

      Have fun in Vancouver.

      Jocelyn

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