Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-03-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Hoagland, Senesac and 'a little piece of immortality'
by Liz Baudler
2017-03-08

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


When Bob Hoagland and Thomas Senesac moved to Wicker Park in 1987, it was to escape rapidly gentrifying Lincoln Park. The couple planned to stay for as long as it took them to not be underwater on the two-story property they'd purchased. They stayed for 30 years.

"It's a beautiful neighborhood. When we moved in, there were quite a few gay couples here. In those days, gay couples tended to be the pioneers of gentrification. There was a lot of property that could benefit from being fixed up," Hoagland remembered.

Many changes have come to what Hoagland called "the best block in the city." Gay couples left and now families routinely cycle through, leaving when they have kids. "We never really seriously talked about moving," Hoagland said. "We weren't standoffish. Oh, we don't want to get to know these straight people. I never expect to be rejected because I'm gay, so I'm perfectly confident to go out and engage people with the totality of who I am. We reached out, and people responded positively. I think that's validation."

The hardest change of all came when Senesac died of cancer in 2014. "A lot of people would call Thomas the mayor of the block," said Hoagland, who described his partner as incredibly charming and often larger than life. "I know a lot of people love me, and proved it while Thomas was sick and dying, and being there for me and doing things."

Neighbors offered to maintain Senesac's garden while he was ill, a reflection of all the small favors the couple had done for them over the years. The two were famous for their annual Christmas party and for always welcoming new neighbors with offers of support. It's a legacy Ald. Joseph Moreno honored last June, with an honorary street sign at the corner of Damen and Crystal.

"Thomas was, and I am, a very outgoing and friendly person," said Hoagland. "We would do the time-honored stoop sitting. We would come home from work on a nice day, we'd get a beverage, sit on the front steps and talk about our day before we went in to make dinner. The neighbors would come by and stop and say hello, and we'd say, 'You want a beer?' Eventually it became sort of a social clearinghouse for the block. It was lovely. It forged connections. It was what I think makes a neighborhood a neighborhood. "

Senesac was also notable for his business, Acme Prop Rental, which supplied Hollywood films and helped John Hughes get his start in movies. Despite a warehouse brimming with material, occasionally inspiration struck a little closer to home for Senesac.

"I came home one day and the four-poster bed was gone, " Hoagland laughed. "It was gone for two weeks and then it came back. You just laughed; it was always a surprise. It was kind of cool to see things that you own in a movie. It was a delight to live with someone like that. I'm a little more linear and organized, so we made a good team. "

Hoagland told Windy City Times he thinks their partnership benefited from the relationships they built around them: "When you're involved in a community, it helps your relationship because it's just something bigger than you are," he said. "We always tried to live our lives to the fullest, because, I think, we had no one to depend on but each other. We didn't have kids to take care of and society wasn't always that encouraging of us. We have to make our own universe and our own happiness. Ultimately that's true for everyone, but our circumstance of being gay made us think about it constantly, and consciously do something about it instead of just drifting through life."

Now, when he sees honorary street signs around the city, Hoagland said he wonders about the stories behind them.

"I'm this little kid from the Northwest Side of the city that had blue collar parents. It's still amusing to me that any of this is happening," he said. "I stood there the day the street sign was unveiled. and I looked at people from many different parts of my life, but primarily from the block, and thought, oh my god, what a blessing this group of people is who love me and support me and lift me up."

Although he passed away before he saw it, Senesac knew about the street sign: The honor was years in the making. Hoagland remembered Moreno asking him what Senesac would think of the idea.

"I said, 'he would be overwhelmed and I can't think of anything better'," Hoagland recalled. "In the whole journey from when [Thomas] was diagnosed with cancer I saw him cry only a few times. That was one of them, and that time, it was happy crying."

The sign is something Hoagland encounters every day, when he walks his 16-year-old dog down the block he's called home for 30 years.

"I'm still surprised to see it there," he said. "Like, god, it's real. It still feels not real in some dimension—a little piece of immortality. Doesn't all of us want a little piece of immortality?"


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

PASSAGES Remembering Fernando Ponce Jr. 2017-03-22 - When Kathy Kelly first met Fernando Ponce Jr.—or "Junior," as his family and friends called him—he had just walked into her home "decked ...


Gay News

In the Life: Alberto Lazcurain 2017-03-22 - Alberto Lazcurain works in construction and repair, which he likes although it is hard work. But dancing is his passion. "I remember dancing ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Touche bartender Alan H. Portnoff 2017-03-19 - Longtime Touché bartender Alan H Portnoff passed away on Friday, March 10th after a prolonged battle following heart surgery. He was 66. ...


Gay News

PASSAGES: LGBT ally Cepek dies at age 69 2017-03-15 - John Cepek—an LGBT ally ( through the group PFLAG, formerly known as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays ) who suffered ...


Gay News

In the Life: Blaise Moran 2017-03-15 - Blaise Moran takes a deep, personal look at the Bible in his new, self-published book, titled The Unethical Bible. He spent six ...


Gay News

Conversion-therapy advocate dies at 70 2017-03-13 - Joseph Nicolosi, an outspoken advocate of the widely criticized practice of gay conversion therapy, has died from flu complications at age 70. Thomas ...


Gay News

IN THE LIFE James Scalzitti 2017-03-08 - James Scalzitti has an impressive writing resume, having been a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and the City News Bureau of ...


Gay News

Chicago artist heals through #InHonor portraits 2017-03-03 - While Black History month plays host to a wide array of events and contributions from historical and cultural academia and activists, it is ...


Gay News

Gay resident of Ottawa, Ill. killed in Feb. 28 tornado 2017-03-02 - A north central Illinois gay man has died from injuries he sustained during a Feb. 28 tornado that devastated the city of Ottawa. ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Yvonne Hudson of Sons of Sappho 2017-02-12 - Yvonne Hudson, 80 when she passed away in early February, was a force in two worlds: as a part of the Black women's ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.