Shadow Life is a patriotic love story, an unlikely romantic adventure behind the scenes in aviation history.
Sometimes people assume this is fake, but it’s the true story of a real-life man of national note, a conservative Republican Christian 40 years older, who married me, a liberal Democrat Jewish transsexual. I met him in 1989; we married in 1995, Ventura County, California. Joe was former Lockheed Skunk Works, helped make the first two Air Force Ones for President Eisenhower and was Department Manager of Engineering Flight Test over the U-2, and the SR-71; I was a forensic psychiatric social worker and, before that, in the National Security Agency, NSOC, SIGINT, USN, Ft. Meade, Maryland—that place that’s been on “60 Minutes” several times.
Many people are skeptical of what they see on TV, or read in other books, about the “transgender” paradigm—and so am I. I’m transsexual, not transgender; we’re opposite from each other in physical sex issues, which are life or death to people like me. I’ve been silent too long. Other books are crafted as a product to sell, promoting the ideals of a political view, denial, or fantasy. Shadow Life addresses the truth of all that.
Joe and I toured the country in light, general aviation aircraft, going to air shows, sleeping under the stars. And when Joe years later got Parkinson’s, I also helped him stay active and engaged in boating and flying, going to church, movies, county fairs, Disneyland, visiting family…in spite of his then complete disability, his wheelchair. I’m a former social worker (MSW, LCSW), I studied martial arts in years past (with Steven Seagal), and I’m a top certified GA pilot (ATP/CFI). It took all three combined to achieve this, and I share my techniques. One example: Taking a man in this condition flying in a light aircraft, with atmospheric pressure changes which could affect blood clots from a wheelchair, who cannot control his own muscle movements yet must avoid the flight controls, is a feat which required some planning and cooperation from three of his doctors, his nursing home, an attorney, and his family. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, and I’m proud of them all! That’s what helping others is about. That’s social work applied in a personal setting. Helping that magnificent man who I love more than life, who has done so much for the United States of America, in quality of life and longevity, brings tears to my eyes and always will.
Shadow life is passionate.
And then there were those other things—
Some people didn’t want a conservative icon like Joe to be married to someone like me. The brazen hate, the lies, the games—
To survive all that, we needed a miracle.