StoryCorps: “Because I love him.”

Posted by .

 ======= Old =========1488302521 

Neil: The night before you left, I remember you driving me home, dropping me off at the cul-de-sac. And then I remember you driving away — going back up the street from the cul-de-sac — and I just dropped to my knees. I couldn’t see anything. My eyes filling with tears. Pouring down. I never cried that hard.

Mike: That image stuck in my head my entire deployment. I can still see it today. I remember sitting in bed, literally already a combat veteran, crying in mother’s arms and not being able to tell her exactly why I’m crying.

Neil: That was the worst part. I couldn’t tell my mom. I had to just stay outside until I could stop crying. But you didn’t see me crying, did you?I remember writing you letters (3)


I saw you drop to your knees.

Neil: Oh. From your rearview mirror? I don’t think I knew that, but that was tough not to be able to tell anyone what was going on, especially on my side. I’d write you letters and sign them as Lisa just in case they were ever found.

Mike: And they were. And I would tell people about Lisa, and show pictures of my ex-girlfriend Lisa, and say “this is the girl writing me letters.” Yeah. And that’s hilarious. And say “this is the girl writing me letters” and the whole time — and honestly, honestly, honestly at that moment, at that moment — I didn’t … I never imagined our relationships would last. I am not sure if I’ve told you that before or not.


Neil: I just remember that it was easy for me. I was resolved to stay faithful and to wait for you and your return. You were worried about not being able to coming back. I was not worried about that, but I do remember you did not call me for upwards of three weeks. And I’m freaking out. And you can’t call my mom either. Right? I can’t call your mom to see if she’s heard from you or anything like that. I just remember one day finally crying into my mother’s arms, and she was asking what was going on, and I told her I had not heard from Mike. “It’s so long, and I’m really worried about him.” And she was like, “Why are you so worried about him?” And I said, “Because I love him. ‘Cause I love him.” And that is when I came out to my mother, and she just held me and said that she knew already that and we were not really as sneaky as we thought we were.

Neil Rafferty and Mike Rudulph met online and have been together for 11 years. Neil later joined Mike in the Marines. They now live in Birmingham.


Amy Stiftel-Sedlis

Amy Stiftel-Sedlis

Assistant Producer


StoryCorps recognizes the profound historical importance of capturing the stories of the LGBTQ community and the urgent need for this work to happen now. StoryCorps OutLoud is a multi-year initiative dedicated to recording and preserving LGBTQ stories across America. OutLoud will honor the stories of those who lived before the 1969 Stonewall uprisings, celebrate the lives of LGBTQ youth, and amplify the voices of those most often excluded from the historical record. The end result will be a diverse collection of stories that will enrich our nation’s history.

StoryCorps: “There’s a little piece of you that’s still shining through.”

Amanda: So how does your queerness impact you on a day-to-day basis? Steven: My queerness operates in very different ways when I’m in a professional setting. I’m expected to be in slacks and things that are not form-fitting. Three months into the job, I was told if I wanted to fit in, I needed to […]

StoryCorps: “I’m not complicated…”

Lacey: I identify as bisexual so that means that I am attracted to people of multiple genders. I used to feel like, in queer spaces, that I wasn’t queer enough to be there. I was constantly having this fear that other people were sort of assessing my queerness. It constantly felt like it was insufficient […]

StoryCorps: “You’re a person of value…”

Kristye:  I feel like I loved you before our first date, but I didn’t think that was possible. And when I pulled up to meet you, I got out of my car and you got out of your car, and I’ll never forget the look on your face because you … your eyes were real wide, […]

The Great Thanksgiving Listen

WBHM is proud to partner with StoryCorps for the Great Thanksgiving Listen. This Thanksgiving weekend, StoryCorps will work with teachers and high school students across the country to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend. Open to everyone, The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national assignment […]

StoryCorps: “I got in the most trouble I think I ever had in my entire life.”

Derrick: When I was younger, I remember I was on the playground and I kissed a boy. It wasn’t like anything sexualized or anything like that, but I got in the most trouble I think I ever had in my entire life. I had no perception of what bisexuality was, but I guess that was when I would […]