Love Lost, Truth Found: In Pandemic Isolation, A Father Comes Out To His Daughter At 90, Ken Felts tells his daughter about the man he fell in love with over 60 years ago. "I thought I was doing great, until I came out and started to discover what it means to be free," he told her.
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Love Lost, Truth Found: In Pandemic Isolation, A Father Comes Out To His Daughter

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Love Lost, Truth Found: In Pandemic Isolation, A Father Comes Out To His Daughter

Love Lost, Truth Found: In Pandemic Isolation, A Father Comes Out To His Daughter

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/891825788/892195803" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NOEL KING, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. In the late '50s, Ken Felts met a young man and fell in love with him. Felts is 90 now. He kept that relationship a secret for more than 60 years, until a few months ago, when he finally told his daughter, Rebecca Mayes.

KEN FELTS: On March 13, we all went under quarantine, and being alone drug up all these memories from the past.

REBECCA MAYES: One night, you told me that you were sad because you had lost the love of your life.

FELTS: And that's when I came out to you.

MAYES: What do you remember about him?

FELTS: When I met Phillip - to me, he was the perfect person. Of course, I guess (laughter) that's what everybody thinks of their first love. We just kind of blended into each other. But one Sunday, we went to his church because he sang in the choir. I sat in the pews. And it occurred to me that I was sitting in a place that condemned our behavior. I had to make a decision, and I made the wrong decision. And it was not until I got the divorce from your mother - first thing I did was go through all the phone books trying to find Phillip. But I was unable to find him.

MAYES: I remember this day when I was in high school. You had gotten all dressed to go work in the garden, but you just sat crying for a while. You know, I asked you what was wrong. You said something about, oh, just stuff in the past that doesn't matter anymore. Do you remember what you were crying about?

FELTS: Having left Phillip. He died a couple of years ago. I just wish we'd found him sooner.

MAYES: If we had found out that Phillip was alive, what do you think you would have said?

FELTS: I would have apologized for the decision I made.

MAYES: My guess would be that he forgave you long ago, and I just wish you could forgive yourself. Would you entertain having a boyfriend?

FELTS: Oh, absolutely. Hopefully, they will consider my age as only a number and not a date for the undertaker.

MAYES: (Laughter) What do you think it's important for me to know and do as I go through the rest of my life?

FELTS: Being yourself, not hiding as I have - because I have found out how much love there is out there that just keeps pouring into me, day after day. And I thought I was doing great until I came out and suddenly discovered what it means to be free.

(SOUNDBITE OF FABIAN ALMAZAN AND LINDA OH'S "PALOMA")

KING: Ninety-year-old Ken Felts talking to his daughter Rebecca Mayes in Arvada, Colo.

(SOUNDBITE OF FABIAN ALMAZAN AND LINDA OH'S "PALOMA")

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