Mason: I’m Mason Michael. 57. Hobolochitto Swamp…Mississippi.
Rachel: How would you describe it here?
M: Peaceful. Very very peaceful. Secluded. That’s what I like. Secluded. Don’t hear other people…that’s what I like about it.
R: So how do you identify?
M: Butch dyke, I guess!…I was born in Pensacola, Florida and I was a Navy brat. My mother was from Pensacola, so therefore all her kinfolk were there, so that’s where I call home. That’s where we always gravitated back towards, is Pensacola. So for the first 15 years I was a Navy brat, we moved all over the world. Which was great. Gave me a great opportunity to see the world, not be stuck in one place, and know what I wanted by the time I got older. And I always wanted to live in the country and I don’t know if I inherited that from my grandfather or what. He was like that. He would’a rather been out in the woods than in the suburbs or the city, and that’s just, what I’ve always dreamed of is having a place in the country, especially on a creek!
Spencer: I’m Spencer, I’m 62. I live down a branch of the Hobolochitto Swamps in Mississippi.
Rachel: How would you describe it here?
S: Well it’s like a road, that looks like a Siberian road. It goes forever with pine trees. It’s a very mysterious road that doesn’t appear on the map and doesn’t appear on GPS. How it is to live here? It’s very quiet, and you learn to watch and see a whole bunch of animals, you learn to read tracks in the mud, and you learn to do pretty much what needs to be done for your own life without relying so much on other people’s help – besides your neighbors. You need your neighbors. And it’s pretty nice. It’s really nice, and I have the freedom to do alot of things that alot of people don’t have the freedom to do.
On the other hand, I’m also, I don’t have very much of a…fringe benefits that alot of people do. People my age go to the university for free. I can’t do that [laughs]. I can’t do that here. Ok.
R: So, how do you identify?
S: Hmm. That’s a weird question. Because I have so many categories that I belong to, and I’m so varied…
R: You could talk about all of them, or, any of them you want to
S: Like a surprise person. You know people said I’m a surprise baby, well I’m a surprise person. Life came to me as a surprise. So I don’t know, I don’t know if I should slap on another label. I’m pretty much the way I was supposed to be. Yeah. That’s what I describe myself as. All that whole long story: I’m pretty much what I’m supposed to be. I’m more like myself when I was seven years old. You know I didn’t need to read magazines or self help books, just follow the model and that’s what I am.
R: Where were you born and what was your childhood like?
S: I was born in ancient France [laughter] and first I was born in a very very fancy neighborhood in Paris, which is the 16th Arrondissement, and I had both an upper class and an underclass upbringing. I was raised in private schools, my mother had great aspiration for me. I came from, even though on the wrong side of the blanket, I came from a very, um, fancy family.
My childhood was, well like a lot of childhood, full of wonder and full of woes. I was born looking very different from other people and that caused me grief. Well it still does, in a way, so. But I had a very good education. Very very good education, that people here would pay alot, or they would need to be very very fancy to have an education like that. And we had wonderful teachers, my parents…my grandparents had summer places so my life was comfortable in a way.
R: So you were born in Paris, but then did you grow up in Paris?
S: Well I grew up in Paris. I grew up, some of it was in Brittany, and the last bit of it that’s really important is I, I ended up in Tahiti with my birth mother, and I…we got stuck! Which is, she could afford the trip there but she couldn’t afford the trip back [laughing]. So it’s not until she found herself a marriageable prospect that we went back to France. And that was difficult. Going back to France was horrible.
This is an excerpt from our June 19th and 20th, 2014 interviews with Mason and Spencer in their home in Southwest Mississippi.