Austin Chronicle: “Letter to Juliet”

Reprinted from The Austin Chronicle, May 6, 2010


Musician Ginger Doss remembers Sara Hickman, too, since she’s the other Juliet of Hickman’s “Juliet and Juliet,” the tale of two young female lovers. Over the years, Doss has been involved with numerous local bands, notably Dreamtrybe with Lynda Millard. Currently, she and partner Bekah Kelso perform in GBMojo. She graciously recalled her breakup with Hickman via e-mail.

What’s your memory of this?

“This incident left a deep wound that never really healed because I didn’t give it a chance. It’s hard to describe the pain and confusion of a relationship so centered in love being treated like a crime by the authority figures around you. My parents wanted to sweep the incident under the rug, forbid me to see her and move on. They were my guide and I suppose that’s just what I did, sweep my hurt under the rug.”

What did the police charge you with?

“I think it was public lewdness and indecent exposure (Sara may have more accurate details). We were completely innocent of both charges. (I just found out when Sara and I got together to record ‘Juliet and Juliet’ that the lady who called the police later recanted.) I don’t think my folks believed me. No one wanted to deal with it so we never went to trial. We should have fought it.”

What happened with your parents?

“They tried to understand the best they could, but they were from a generation of people who didn’t deal with their issues. Their typical reaction is just to move on and pretend it didn’t happen. They were taught that this approach was courageous – when really it takes a tremendous amount of strength to do just the opposite and work through things. My Dad took me to dinner to talk about it. I wish I remembered more of that night. I am sure I don’t remember because the last thing I wanted to do was sit and talk with my dad (when we never had deep conversations) about something so very personal and the great injustice that I felt had been done, when I know he didn’t agree. They are very loving parents and they tried their best.”

Was this a defining moment in your life?

“Absolutely. You don’t go through something like this without it shaping your perspective. I am certain that I carried a lot of unnecessary fear and shame over this and I regret the distance it put between Sara and me. I believe there are important reasons for the lessons in our lives however, and this one ultimately made me stronger.”

What was your reaction to “Juliet and Juliet”?

“A lot of tears. It opened up the wound in my heart that I tucked away so long ago. Sara sent me the song so I could work up a harmony to it. When I first listened I had to stop the playback because I burst into tears. It caught me completely off guard. It was incredibly hard to hear Sara’s beautiful voice sing so passionately about what happened after so long. It took many plays to get to the point where I could sing along. Even then it was heartwrenching.

“I am so very thankful to Sara for recording this song and coming forward about what happened. I believe that we are finally beginning to heal this.”

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