The Cheesecake Diaries

It's time for another edition of SE(N)O, an essay series on A+ for personal stories we wish we could tell on the accessible-to-our-employers-and-everyone-we've-ever-known mainsite, but can't for personal and professional reasons.

This is a story about the family that I lost and found and almost found at various The Cheesecake Factory restaurants across America.
The Cheesecake Factory, Tampa Bay FL - 1998
How I came to be at the Cheesecake Factory when I was sixteen was more or less because my grandfather — a man I'd only met once or twice when I was too young to clearly remember — was dying. I'd found out through my grandmother, a hard lady who I'd also only met a couple of times, but who'd be sending me hundred dollar bills in Christmas cards every year since I was thirteen, when I had written to tell her that my parents had gone AWOL. She never wrote much inside except "take care" and so when the last card arrived with a scrawled note about my grandfather, I'd read it as...

You've Reached A+ Content!

Autostraddle cannot survive without reader support. That's why we have our A+ Member program, where readers like you keep Autostraddle here for our whole community.

A+ members keep this site majority free-to-read, so sometimes we have bonus content for members as thanks! A+ membership starts at just $4/month or $30/year. If you can, will you join? You get access to bonus content like this post, insider information, behind-the-scenes laughs, and the singular satisfaction of knowing you’re helping to pay it forward for other readers and that you're keeping this bastion of queerness on the internet here for everyone.

99% of our readers do not support. That means that less than 1% of our readers are keeping this site running. Will YOU be one of the people who helps to keep this indie queer media site here for everyone?

We don't need one person to do it all, we need many people each doing a part. Every member makes a difference!

Join A+ Today!

Already a member? Sign in


We keep Autostraddle majority free-to-read, but it isn't free to create! We need YOU to sign up for A+ to help keep this indie queer media site funded. A+ membership starts at just $4/month or $30/year. If you can, will you join?

Join A+

Crystal

Founding member. Former writer. Still loves Autostraddle with her whole heart.

Crystal has written 320 articles for us.