I never really liked pot. But I grew it. A lot of it. Back in the late 90's. I was living in Albuquerque, had a beautiful home and I was in lust with a straight man! We worked together. I would have done anything for him. And I did.
I had a very large fenced back yard. Mike loved smoking pot. Me-not so much.
I was great friends with Mike's girlfriend Sally. We even went on vacation together back to Mother's one summer. It was fabulous. I think Mother was somewhat confused because this was the first time I had brought a girl to Mother's since high school. Mother loved Sally just as she loved everyone. There was never enough love for Mother to give away. My twin brother Jerry loved Sally. And I mean that literally. They loved a lot during those two weeks. Every chance they had they loved. Just like Mother Jerry loved giving his love away. However, Jerry's love was somewhat more physical than Mother's and for the most part only shared with girls.
Mike wanted to build a greenhouse in my back yard. To grow Pot. Thinking about all those hours Mike would be at my house and all the chances I would have to fulfill my lust I simply replied "let's get started". I really didn't have a clue how to even start. I never have been very Butch. Mike was. Mike was very butch. He grabbed a shovel and started digging. He dug for days and days. Hot, sweaty, dripping, shirtless, sunburned muscles. I made drinks. Every evening after work and all weekend long Mike dug. Every night we would have Margarita's. My fav. Mike would haul the dirt away every night. The hole ended up being four feet deep fifteen feet wide and thirty feet long. Mike built the greenhouse, planted the cute little plants that had sprouted from the germinated seeds that he had started weeks before and padlocked the door. We watched them grow. Once they started getting some height to them Mike started spending the night. Mike was paranoid that
someone might find out about his sinsemilla. This had been my only condition all along. Mike was not to tell anyone about the greenhouse. The very first time Mike spent the night we both got what we wanted. Margarita's, sinsemilla growing, & hot sweaty straight man muscles. Life was good. Oh- and so was the harvest. Bags & bags & bags of pot. Mike loved it, me-I loved Mike.
The following summer I contacted a pool company and told them- "Tear down that BITCH of a Greenhouse and put a swimming pool where it OUGHT to be."
The reason for this is a story for another day.
Another Graduation party. This time at the Esposito's home. The Espositos and The Fringes had been best of friends long before I was ever born. They had five children just like Mother & Father had five children. The only difference was that they had 3 boys and 2 girls. Mother and Mrs Esposito always shared everything. Even their pregnancies. They were both pregnant four times and always at the same time. It was only a matter of days after Mother gave birth to twins that Mrs Esposito did the same thing. With one small difference. Mrs Esposito had a boy and a girl. This actually worked out perfect. My twin Jerry was best friends with Maddon and I was best friends with Madonna. My brother who was eight years older was best friends with the oldest Esposito boy, my sister and the other Esposito girl were best friends and the last two born were best of friends.
Three times a year Mother & Mrs Esposito would plan what would become to be known as Fringe
Esposito Day. In the summer all 14 of us would pile up in the two station wagons and head off to Ocean City, MD for a day on the Boardwalk and the Rides. All 14 of us would go to The Delaware State Fair and there was always another day for a picnic and the movies. These were always good times and like best friends do Madonna and I shared everything just like our Mothers did. Including Christmas Gifts. During Thankgiving break we'd peddle our bikes downtown and then walk over to Ed's Auto Shop. Ed's was the only store in town that sold comic books. We both got to pick out five. Our five favorites. It was always a hard decision to make but somehow we managed to do it. Now came the fun part. I'd give Madonna my five and she would give me hers. Then we would both hand Ed or his wife Edie fifty cents. No tax in Delaware. Still isn't. This would be the last time either of us would see our comics again until Christmas afternoon.
After Father was murdered Mother seldom gave parties. That part of Mother had died with Father. Madonna had also just graduated from The UOD and once again we were sharing. This time a party. I had rented a Cottage at Rehoboth Beach for the summer. Patrick was still in Connecticut with his family. After a long phone chat with him I got in my new Vet and headed to the Espositos. I decided to take the dual highway and drive as fast as the Vet could go. I arrived early. In less than an hour twelve of us were together once again. The eldest Esposito son had to work that night. Several sets of Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, cousins, boyfriends, girlfriends, & just good ole friends arrived and this really turned out to be a fabulous party.
Around midnight I started gathering up my gifts ( mostly cards filled with cash ) said my goodbyes to those still partying hugged and kissed Madonna and jumped in the Vet. As I pulled out of the Esposito's driveway I wondered
if I should turn left and take the dual highway or turn right and take the back roads to the beach. I turned left.
I was traveling around 90mph when the red lights appeared in my rear view mirror. Around 60mph when I could hear the siren and zero after I pulled off to the side of the highway.
I knew I shoulda turned right. I had had way to much to drink, going way over the speed limit, and I was driving a brand new Red Stingray Convertible Vet. As the State Trooper approached my car he said "sorry I missed the party tonight Thom-just got off the phone with Madonna a while ago and she said she was sure you'd turn left-wanted me to make sure you made it home safe" It was Madonna's oldest brother Matthew. "you missed a hell of a good party Matt" was my reply. "I know I did" was his. "I'll follow you home just slow it down and make sure you call Madonna in the morning" The rest of the way back to the beach I couldn't help but wonder what would have
happened if I had of turned right. One thing I didn't have to wonder about was how happy I was that Madonna and I loved sharing everything. This time a brother.
I WAS A PROSTITUTE!
One hot summer night in Albuquerque. August 1999. My lover had moved to Los Angeles in June. I had no desire to go. I had bought a home, had a great job and lot's of fabulous friends. My favorite bar was called "The Rear Entry". And it was just that. The bar had no front door so you could only enter thru the rear. It would be only a few months before I would meet Bobby at The Rear. Ten years later we would be headed to Delaware in a 26 foot Pensky Truck. Best friends not lovers. Anymore. What began at the rear entry became the passage way to a life long friendship. More tales for yet another day.
I had often wondered what it was like for those guys that hung out in the alley next to the rear,
Sometimes I would sit in my car and watch. It was always the older men. They were the ones that would come out of the rear, drive down the alley and let someone in their car. I was fascinated. How much did it cost? What did they talk about? Did they do it in the car or go to a motel?
Sooooo on that hot August night 1999 I decided to find out. I dressed in my shortest shorts a sleazy tank top and clogs. 5 inch heels. I was fabulous.
I drove to the rear.
In my RV.
I really did not want to end up in some seedy hotel. Have mattress will travel. I parked across the street and walked down to the alley. Four. That was my competition. I asked how it was goin'. Only one of the four answered. Slow. They weren't very friendly. Until a car drove up. Then they turned on the charm. I watched and learned. I got picked up. I had overheard the other "hustlers" discussing price so I knew what to charge. At the time I thought he was really old but he was probably late 40's. Did I know of a place near by? That was the first question. I certainly did. Money talk decided then silence until we got to the RV. I had had my share of one night stands but this was so different. I think it was the money. Money changes everything. I believe that for those quick 20 minutes he felt like he owned me. I felt owned. One hundred dollars for twenty minutes. Not bad for 99. He left. I had had enough. I showered and changed and then entered thru the rear. Again. I was a male prostitute. For one night only.
It was still chilly and dark on that early Sunday morning in late December as we pulled out of the driveway heading for Interstate 40. Bobby and I had been planning this trip for over a month and of course Robert & Tony were going with us. We had almost 800 miles to drive and wanted to make sure that we had plenty of time to enjoy the ride. We didn't need to reach our final destination until Tuesday evening. Earlier in the week I had stopped by Triple-A and picked up a Trip-Tik. I put our four tickets inside the Trip-Tik and then into the glove compartment. This was gonna be Tony & Roberts first visit to Carlsbad Caverns and we were just as excited as they were. As usual Bobby was driving the RV and I was making Margaritas for the three of us. After all It was Five O'Clock. AM. In no time were turned off 40 onto 285 and we were on our way.
We pulled into the park entrance just before eleven and decided to have lunch before exploring the caves. As usual Chili Verde was the menu. We still had plenty of time for the hike down 750 feet inside the earth, plenty of time to view the stalagmites & stalactites which were still growing since the time of the great Ice Age, plenty of time to explore The Hall Of Giants, and plenty of time for THE FLIGHTS OF THE BATS at dusk. Tony & Robert loved it all. Especially the flight of the bats.
We left the caverns and headed to the KOA RV park to spend the night. Monday morning came quickly but we had plenty of time for coffee and breakfast burritos before heading onto Interstate 20 to Abilene.
We pulled into The Abilene Zoo with plenty of time to enjoy lunch in the RV and then an afternoon at the zoo. It really was a fabulous Zoo even though it only covered around 13-acres and housed about 200 species. It was time for drinks so we headed to The Buck Creek RV Park right off of I-20 and settled in for a night of drinks dinner and good times. We woke
up to a beautiful sunshiny New Years Eve tuesday morning and had plenty of time for coffee, showers & Chili Verde burritos before hopping back on I-20 towards Dallas. This was gonna be a night to remember. All four of us could hardly wait to get there but since we had plenty of time we decided to enjoy the morning at Buck Creek.
Bobby pulled out of the park a little after one and got back on twenty. Meanwhile I made a fresh batch. Of Margaritas. It was just a little after five when I saw the fire in the sky. So did Bobby. I screamed WTF was that and Robert & Tony came up to the front to check it out. The fire was falling thru the sky down towards the earth. And then just as quickly the fire came up from the earth and back into the sky. It was only a few minutes before the announcement was made over the radio. Ricky Nelsons plane had caught fire plunged to the ground, severed power lines slammed into a tree, lost a wing and killed everyone on board with the exception of the two pilots who scrambled thru the cockpit windows. We were all in shock. I opened the glove compartment and grabbed the four tickets to Ricky's concert at The Park Suite. We had reached our final destination in plenty of time but Ricky hadn't. Silence. We knew we had plenty of time to cry.
This one's for you ML.
I had accepted a position with a grocery chain
heading up the Training & Development
Department. It was my job to oversee the
training of scanning coordinators. The people
who are responsible for making sure that
wherever the price tag says is what the
customer is charged. On the average there were
more than 5000 price changes per week in every
store. I was in charge of 77 stores. All of New
Mexico and El Paso,Texas. The training center
was in Albuquerque but I spent most of my time
traveling. I had a fabulous staff that worked
under me- some of them literally. But this is not
the story to be told today.
I was taking my first two week vacation since
starting August 8, 1976. I had been looking so
forward to this for well over a month. The day
finally arrived. August 12, 1977. I pulled out of
the training center at lunch time and headed
home in the Stingray. This was my first paid
vacation ever and driving home I felt so slick so
young so alive. I had earned this vacation and I
was gonna enjoy it. Ken wasn't able to get
anytime off from the beauty salon except for
his regular Sunday & Mondays. I really hadn't
made any plans to go anywhere. Unlike most
people on vacation I wanted to take the two
weeks off from traveling and hotels and
restaurants. Sleeping in, lying in the sun, having
friends over for drinks and dinner, going to bed
late and having plenty of sex.
Tuesday August 16. The day started off just
like the day before. Coffee, cleaning up the
house, lying in the sun, planning the evening with
friends over for dinner. I decided to wash the
Stingray. I was listening to the radio and out of
"I want to interrupt this program to bring
you an important news bulletin."
"THE KING IS DEAD! ELVIS PRESLEY, DIED
TODAY AT HIS HOME IN MEMPHIS,
(then silence from the DJ as he struggled with the news--he then read it again.)
"ELVIS PRESLEY,(pause) THE KING OF ROCK
AND ROLL --- DIED TODAY --- AT HIS HOME
IN MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE!"
could not be true. I don't know how but I
somehow managed to get myself up and into the
house. I called Ken. I had to leave right away. I
had to pack and get on the road. I told Ken I
would call him when I got to Memphis. I had over
1000 miles to drive and I made it in 15 hours. I
loved that Stingray. It was still to early to
check into my room so I left the Vet in the
parking lot and walked to Graceland.
Hundreds had already gathered at the gates.
I had never seen anything like this before in my
life. Crying, singing, woman, children, men,
families, blacks, whites, mexicans all gathered
for The King! I really don't remember how long I
stayed at the gates looking at Graceland. I
walked back to the motel checked in and then
checked out. I was exhausted. Not so much
from the traveling--I was use to that. What I
wasn't use to was the shared emotions from
hundreds perhaps thousands of strangers. We
all knew the world would never be the same.
When I awoke I went to the BBQ restaurant
next to the motel and ate. The restaurant was
packed with people but was strangely quiet.
Everyone was mourning. Thursday morning I
walked over to Highway 51 South across from
Graceland along with thousands of strangers and
Finally the caravan, led by a silver Cadillac
followed by the white Cadillac hearse with Elvis'
body and seventeen white Cadillac limousines,
toiled its way past all of us and headed the two
and a half miles to Forest Hill Cemetery.
Everyone followed the King.
I barely slept that night listening to Elvis sing.
His voice was everywhere. Friday morning I
found myself once again outside of The
Cemetery. It was barely dawn. At around 8:30am
the gates to Forest Hills as if by magic opened
and over an intercom we were told that Vernon
wanted us the fans to have The Kings Flowers.
No one ran no one trampled but everyone wept
tears of joy as we entered the Cemetary. I
reached out picked up a bouquet of Jasmine
walked out of Forest Hills back to the motel and
left Memphis. I arrived home early Saturday
morning. I was tired of motels tired of
restaurants and tired of traveling. One thing I
wasn't tired of was listening to Elvis sing. I
spent the rest of my first ever paid vacation
doing just that. Listening to Elvis sing. And I
still haven't stopped falling in love with him!
Is not my birthday.
All of my fabulous friends in Albuquerque had summer time birthdays. These were spent together in my backyard pool or at Elephant Butte Lake. New Mexico's largest. From May thru September almost every weekend we were having a party for one of the gang.
My neighbor was a nurse. When ever she went on vacation I would bring in her mail and look after her house. Virginia was a jewel of a neighbor. She died. Her son sold the house and that was that! I will never forget Patricks birthday June 25. Well over 100 guys at the party. As always there were several that I had never met before. I first noticed Pasquale playing volleyball in the pool. I couldn't stop staring at him. To this day I believe that he is the most handsome man I have ever been with. I dove into the pool and swam up next to him. We played we talked we laughed and then we loved. Next door in Virginia's back yard. Under the stars. Lucky for me Virginia was on vacation. Unlucky for me that when we came back to the party Bobby told me he had been looking for me for over an hour. I tried to talk my way out of it - lie- but then Bobby asked why my swimsuit was inside out! Oops. He was mad but mainly because I had lied to him. He knew who and what he had
fallen in love with but I had never lied to him before. And I never did again. Although I did see Pasquale again. Several times. I always told Bobby. I think.
August 4, 2002 all the gang had gone to the lake. In the RV's as always. I remember the first time I had gone camping with Bobby we slept in a tent. That was the last time. I bought an RV. I was just not butch enough to go without the comforts of life. A bed, a shower, a toilet, a stove. I love to cook. I was inside the RV cooking a fabulous meal and enjoying a Mojito when the door opened and Bobby told me to come outside right away. I grabbed my Mojito and went out. Everyone yelled surprise and Happy Birthday. The entire camp site was Birthdayed out. Presents to open everywhere. I had joined the Summer Birthday Club. August 4th 2002 I had been given the best birthday gift ever. A new one. Fabulous friends, the lake, an RV, Mojitos & Bobby. And for just a few moments I looked up at the stars and thought of Pasquale and the other birthday that was turned inside out. I was born November 4th.
I was on my way to Florida in 1976. From Los Angeles. Driving along on Route 40 East in my 75 red convertible Stingray Vet. I turned off onto Central Ave to get gas. It would be another 25 years before I arrived at my destination. I was tired, hungry, and let's just say I remembered that Ken lived there. Ken & I had met back in LA. He had just graduated from Beauty School and was moving back to Albuquerque in a couple of weeks. It was a great 2 weeks and even though we hadn't stayed in touch and a few months had passed I decided to call. It would be 3 years before Ken headed back to Los Angeles. Without me. Albuquerque was now my home. I had a great job, a beautiful Adobe home, an RV, and most importantly fabulous friends.
I still remember that hot day in April when Ken pulled out of the driveway. We were still in love but our journey was over. I wept. I was at The Rear Entry on Memorial Day weekend 1979 when I met David. And like Ken he had just
graduated from Beauty School. And like Ken it would be 3 years before he moved on. This time to someone else. Once again I found myself back at The Rear Entry. This time it was Fourth Of July weekend 1982. I met Bobby. And just like the other 2 he had just graduated from Beauty School. Bobby came home with me that night. It would be 13 years before we would part. As friends and on our way to Delaware. October 1995. As Bobby, Chelsea, Pearl & I pulled out of the driveway I looked back at my beautiful Adobe home and I wept. Tears of joy for both the memories and the new journey. Mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I had made the decision to give up my life to share what was left of hers. It would be just a little over a year before I moved into the Cape Cod.
November 4, 1996 my birthday. The furniture was being delivered the next morning so I slept on the newly installed carpet. A couple of months later I pulled into the rear entry of one
of my stores and saw him. Will. Unlike the other 3 Will had not just graduated from Beauty School. But just like the others he came over to the Cape Cod that night and we watched Patti LaBelles' "One Night Only". It would be 5 years before we would part. The Cape Cod. I had already flown down to Florida and after looking at several homes decided on a beautiful Rancher.
Will drove down a couple weeks before I was able to leave. He took Chelsea & Pearl with him. The Cape Cod was lonely those last 2 weeks but still as I pulled out of the driveway I wept. Tears of joy for both the memories and the new journey. I was finally on I-95 South headed to Florida. It had only taken me 25 years, 2 jobs, 4 men, several cars, 2 RV's, 3 dogs, 42 puppies, an Adobe and a Cape Cod to find my way to my Rancher in Florida. 5 years later I would realize that this was the worst decision I had ever made. I wept. This time not for the memories or the new journey.
I love puppies.
Lollipop was a Bloodhound. Purebred. Mother & Father gave me her for my fifth birthday. From day one we were inseparable. Well- most of the time. Finally I owned something that was all mine. I didn't have to share her with the other four.
Lollipop shared herself. She loved everyone and could never get enough attention. Lollipop would let me crawl on top of her as if she were a horse. She loved to roll down the hill. I'd lay down on the ground at the top of the hill and so would Lollipop. Just as soon as I'd wrap my arms around her Lollipop would start rolling down the hill. Me on top of her and her on top of me. Laughing all the way down. Lollipop would be making her funny baying sound which would make me laugh even more. Lollipop loved to chase a good scent. We'd be playing and all of a sudden she'd start sniffing and off she would go. The Fringe home set on top of a huge hill with 38 acres of land. Most of this land was forest and most was surrounded by the Broadkill River. Lollipop loved all this land and water. So much that sometimes she would be gone all night. I learned real quick that all of my chasing and yelling would not stop Lollipop. She had a nose of her own and when something got up it "IT" was in control. I never could understand why Lollipop & I could be having so much fun together and then she would just take off and leave me. On those nights when Lollipop didn't come home I would cry myself to sleep. But the next morning I would always wake up to the sound of Lollipop baying in the backyard and I'd run down the stairs open up the frig and feed her dinner leftovers. And once again I'd be smiling. Mother would tell me not to feed her so much at once or she would get fat. And she did. Get fat. Just all of a sudden Lollipop was fat. It would be a few weeks before Mother explained to me that it wasn't my feeding that had caused Lollipop to get fat. It
was those nights out when her nose took control and she followed "IT" the scent. The only thing that I really understood was that Lollipop was gonna have her own puppies. And I knew right away that I was gonna give my Grand Ma Ma her choice of Lollipops pups. Grand Ma Ma had even more land and more forest than Mother and if staying out all night and chasing a scent made puppies than I knew more would be on the way. I love puppies.
My cousin helped.
Auntie Lydia & Uncle Lucius lived just across the corn field and down the road from Father & Mother's house on the hill.
Mother never explained why they only had one child. Lucas. I always found this very strange since there were four others at my house. All the homes in town had several children living in them. Except for Auntie Lydia & Uncle Lucius. Only one. Maybe that's why they raised chickens. Seven houses full of chickens.
In the springtime when the corn was freshly planted I loved walking thru the fields and down the road to visit my cousin Lucas.
In the summertime when the corn was high I would take the long way around to go play with Lucas. Snakes. The corn fields were full of them by mid summer. My brothers would stand by the edge of the cornfield and shoot them. Not me. I never liked guns or snakes. Lucas would see me as I turned the bend and come running towards me. I'd start running towards him. I know Lucas was lonely being just one but as one of five it's what I dreamed of being. Uncle Lucius built Lucas a treehouse down close to the river.
That was our favorite place to play. We could spend all day playing with each other in the treehouse. Until Auntie Lydia would yell down from the house "it's time to feed the chickens boys"! Down the steps and over to where the chickens lived. I loved the feeder. It was full of grains and Uncle Lucius would pull it down a track that ran from one end of the chicken house to the other. It had a brake. When ever we came up to a watering pump
would stop put the brake on and Lucas & I would toss the grains to the chickens. Uncle Lucius would pump the water and fill up the troughs. Brake off and then down the track to the next pump and then brake on. Feed & water more chickens. Seven houses of chickens. Lucas and I always wanted to ride inside the grain cart. Uncle Lucius said we were to big.
One afternoon after Auntie Lydia & Uncle Lucius had gone into town we did it anyway. Rode the grain feeder. I'd get in and Lucas would push me all thru the chicken house. Then his turn to ride and mine to push. Together we came up with a great plan. Once the grain feeder got to going fast the one pushing would jump in and we would ride together. Now this was fun. Taking turns riding-pushing-in & out. Until the grain feeder started swinging and ran into one of the watering pumps bursting it and causing the chicken house to flood. Real fast. Lucas and I didn't know what to do so we ran back up into the treehouse. Our favorite place to play with each other. It wasn't long before Auntie Lydia & Uncle Lucius got back from town and we heard Uncle Lucius yelling "Lydia those damn boys have done drowned the chickens". Auntie Lydia's reply "guess we better invite some folks over for dinner Lucius".
I loved Auntie Lydia & Uncle Lucius. And especially cousin Lucas. We loved playing with each other.
Remind me to tell you about the time I choked the chicken. My cousin helped.
58 minutes after me another one came.
I don't remember this. At all. I wish i could. Now that would be Fabulous. Would we be named Dwight & David like Father wanted or would we be Thomas & Jerome which was Mother choice. If you have followed THE FABULOUS FRINGE FAMILY than you already know the answer to this. Mother was the boss. Just like all women of the fifties. Whatever Mother wanted Mother received.
I being the first born am Thomas. The other one, the one that was not like me, Jerome. One interesting side note to this decision was that it did take Mother six weeks to get her way. I guess that's as long as Father could go not getting what he wanted. So for the first six weeks of my life I was called A-Baby and the other one was referred to as B-Baby. Hence our middle names. A and B. No period after the A or the B. Unless the sentence just happens to end.
Tom & Jerry. Just like the cat and the mouse. And we were. Just like them. Was it the cartoon that influenced us to be Tom & Jerry or were we born Tom & Jerry. I'm sure we were born that way.
Mother was teaching us the ABC's just before we turned four. Once we had learned them she taught us how to spell our names. Proper names first of course. Then our nicknames. I could understand completely that Jerry was spelled J-E-R-R-Y. What I had an extremely hard time dealing with was the spelling of Tom. T-O-M. I wanted to spell it Thom. T-H-O-M. Mother said the H was silent. I said the H is silent in Thomas so what's your point Mother. And just like Mother always got what she wanted from Father -Mother always gave me what I wanted. This time my name. Thom. Spelled the way I knew it should be spelled.
Lived on the other side of the fence.
Bobby's best friends were Tony & Robert. They had all known each other since childhood. It wasn't long after I met Bobby at The Rear Entry that Tony, Robert, Bobby & myself were inseparable. They even lived with us in our home for almost a year. Tony was full of love. And he loved to give it away. I took it. Every chance I had. Tony had one of the most beautiful smiles I've ever seen. He also had one of the most manly bodies I've ever seen. Robert was very tall, handsome and funny. He made me laugh all the time.
Tony liked to dress down.
By this I mean not wear any clothes.
My backyard was totally fenced in so no one could see anything that was happening back there. Or so I thought. One afternoon while we were all enjoying the pool Tony noticed a knot hole in the fence.
And an eyeball looking thru it.
Tony started running over to have a look and by the time he reached the hole all he saw was a man rushing to his own rear entry and closing it. All of us thought this was simply fabulous. It was only a matter of time before this would happen again but this time I was by myself. I pretended I didn't notice the eyeball thru the knot hole and slowly made my way over to it. With a ladder. I climbed the ladder and as the man was walking back to his house I asked him if he'd like to come over for a swim. He said sure but continued towards his own home. He got his ladder. Up his and down mine. We repeated this action again and again. On each other. I told Bobby, Tony, & Robert about what happened later that evening over drinks. Seems like this wasn't the man's first climb over the fence. Nor would it be his last.
However, that's a story for another day. There is one thing I will let you in on. The man who liked to climb was a Preacher Man named Jacob and he lived on the other side of the fence.
I moved to Florida. My job transferred me there.
I had always planned on living in Florida. I left Los Angeles in 1976 and headed to Florida. Fort Lauderdale. Thought that would be a good place to start. I pulled off I-40 into Albuquerque for gas, food, & lodging. Typical stop. What wasn't typical was that I didn't leave there for 20 years. Those were the best 20 years of my life. If asked where I call home I always reply Albuquerque.
Many wonderful stories I want to share about those 20 years. And I will. Just not today.
Mother is now in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. I gave up my life to share what was left of hers. Quit my job, sold my house, packed everything, said good-bye to the best friends ever and took off in a 26 foot Pensky truck. At least Bobby and the girls were with me. Back to where I began. Back to Delaware!
Again-Stories for another day.
Sitting on the beach in Clearwater, Florida waiting for the Sun to rise---suddendly it comes up behind you. I think that life does this also. I think about everything that has
brought me to where I am now in life and for the most part it has come up behind me. I know that each of us are supposed to be in charge of our own destiny and I think that
we are. It’s just seems that in my life my destiny for the most part has always surprised me even though I expected it.
I really can not believe how quickly the years go by. Yet sometimes. A day seems endless.
Will died on July 23,2006. It's was 5 years ago today and still I miss him. Everyday.
Will loved to laugh. One of his greatest joys in life was bringing laughter to friends & family. And especially me. Will loved movies and music. One of his all time favorite movies was "Sordid Lives" by Delferd Shores. Mine too.
Tag line "A black comedy about white trash" Will would always say that he was raised trash and had to stay trash or jump out of the can. He jumped. I caught him.
The year was 1996 when we first met and for the next ten years we lived, loved, fought, worked, and laughed together.
This would be the first of many many many viewings of this! Our favorite song on the DVD was
After Will's funeral I moved to LA. One night soon after my arrival I looked up into the dark sky and asked Will for a sign that he was ok. Just then a shooting star filled the sky and as I watched I began to weep. Will had answered.
Another one of Will's favorite song's was Dolly Partons song "I will always love you" as sung by Witney Houston.
I will always love Will. Always!
Tell someone you love them today. You just might not have the chance tomorrow!
During the summer break from college I worked overnights at the A&P in Rehoboth Beach. Stocking shelves. 40 hours of overnights plus all the overtime I wanted. I had to join the Union but it was well worth it. $6.74 an hour to start. Anything over 8 hours and I was making $10.11 an hour. This was the late 80's! And I was rich. I worked 6 nights a week and most nights 10 to 12 hours. Mother of course wanted to pay for my education but making that kind of money I wanted to pay my own way. I also paid for my beachfront apartment that I shared with Patrick. Patrick spent part of the summer in Connecticut with his family and part in Rehoboth with me. I was always so exhausted after work that most days I would crash out on the beach. I'd wake up jump in the ocean to cool off and then go back to sleep. My Saturday nights off are what I remember least. Patrick is what I remember most.
Mother phoned the apartment.
For years a much older man had wanted to marry her. Mother had no interest what so ever in any older man. However, this one just happened to be extremely wealthy. I knew that one day Mother would finally look in the mirror and see the truth. She was aging. Mother was still beautiful in my eyes but not the beauty that could at one time catch the eye of any younger man.
I answered the phone.
"I've decided to say yes Timmy. I know that I've told you for years that I never would but I've changed my mind. Women are allowed to do this you know"
I knew exactly what Mother was referring to.
"Why Mother dear. I'm actually amazed that Charles is still asking. You've certainly dangled that rope long enough"
"I have done no such thing Darrrling. Enough about that anyway. Why that's not even the reason I phoned. I need you to go shopping with me now. I simply must have a new dress for Saturday night. Charles and I are going to dinner. I need your help Timmy. I know you're tired but please do your Mother just this one small favor--after all dear I'm doing this all for you"
I arrived at Mothers house around three. I hadn't even made it up to the top of the hill when I saw Mother coming outside thru the backdoor. In yet another outfit that I had never seen until that very moment. Mother always did enjoy shopping.
"I've decided on the Salisbury Mall dear"
"But Mother you know I have to work tonight and the Dover Mall is much closer"
"We'll stop by on the way dear and say hello to your Auntie Lydia. And please Timmy. Remember to put your hair in a pony tail and tuck it away. You know your Auntie Lydia doesn't approve"
Mother was at the point in her life where she only heard what she wanted to hear. Auntie Lydia had sold her home and moved to Laurel soon after Uncle Lucas had died. Laurel was right next to Salisbury.
Shopping with Mother was fabulous as always. Mother loved trying on all the latest fashions, admiring herself in the mirror, being admired by the sales ladies and always buying much more than planned. The afternoon slipped away into evening and bags in hand we headed back to the car and then to Mothers. After opening the door and carrying in Mothers purchases I kissed her cheek and told her to have the time of her life Saturday night.
"You deserve this Mother"
"Oh my dear boy, I've already had the time of my life with you today son but believe you me I'll make the most of it--and remember I'm doing all of this for you my precious son YES it's all for you--now you get back down to the beach and make sure you give Patrick a kiss from me and tell him I send my love"
Mother had been so wrapped up in her shopping and in me that she had never even asked if Patrick was down that week. It really didn't matter. What did matter was that they both adored each other.
On the drive back down to the beach Mothers words kept echoing in my mind. "I'm doing this all for you my precious son Yes it's all for you."
It would be a few years before I would realize exactly what Mother had meant by this. But that's a story for another day.
I got home with just enough time to pull back my hair, rubber band it into a pony tail pin it up and slide my wig on. The only draw back to my union job. I had to wear a wig. I first learned how to wear a wig to cover up my long hair. This would change over the years. Sometimes Life is ironic.
Yes! Sometimes. Life Is Ironic.
Mother. I adored her!
Mother was sure that all five of us were sound asleep. I was wide awake. I knew that something unusual was going on because I could hear the familiar creaking of floorboards. Just from this sound I knew that it was Simon going up and down the attic stairs. Simon had left for the day hours ago and he never came back at night. Or so I thought. I got out of bed just to have a peak at what Simon was doing but then I heard the faint whisper of Mothers voice. I got back in bed and fell asleep to the sounds of Simon and the creaking steps.
I was so excited when I woke up the following morning. Christmas Eve. Every morning I was awake and downstairs before any of the other four. This morning was different. I wanted to go up not down. Up into the attic to find out what Simon had been doing the night before. But I had never been up into the attic by myself before. The stairs were scary the skeleton key was scary and the bees both the dead ones and the buzzing ones were scary.
The cold morning air was filled with the smell of Mothers breakfast and it would only be a matter of minutes before the other 4 were awake and heading down. I started up. Step by step as quietly as I could until I reached the first landing. Then up again another flight and another flight until I came to the key. I really didn't think that I was going to be able to turn it but I did and then the door opened as if by itself with the key still in the lock. I almost started to scream when I saw it. How could this be true? What could this mean? I had to ask Mother.
I ran down five flights of stairs to the kitchen and into Mothers arms.
"what's wrong Thommy boy?"
"Santas' already been here Mother-- I went up into the attic all by myself and presents are everywhere --the attic is filled with presents from Santa-- how can this be?"
"none of the others saw or heard you?"
"no Mother they're all still sleeping"
"Thommy do NOT tell any of the others what you saw they mustn't know"
"but what does this mean Mother is Simon Santa Claus?"
Mother laughed and gave me a big hug and kiss. She then went on to explain to me that Santa had so many houses to deliver presents to that he had to get an early start. Santa had delivered to our house last night and Mother had phoned Simon and asked him to come back and carry all of Santas gifts up into the attic. I was so relieved.
"did you close and lock the attic door Thommy boy"
"no Mother I was so excited I forgot"
"well run back up there and lock it up real good so the others don't find out"
Christmas morning and all the gifts were under the tree.
I hadn't heard Simon creeping up and down the stairs on that Christmas Eve night. I wondered for just a moment how the gifts got back down all those flights of stairs. I didn't ask Mother. I figured I had found out enough for one Christmas. And I already knew that next year I'd be wide awake on Christmas Eve night.
My first Christmas memory is being at Granny & Pop-Pops. I was four and the tree was eight. It reached all the way to the ceiling and I can remember Pop-Pop saying as he chopped it down "this is a big en Thommy boy- I'm gonna have to cut some of the top offa er".
This is also my first memory of riding Levi. Granny told Pop-Pop "that boys not near big enough to be ridin by himself Johnny" Pop-Pops reply "aaahhh horseshit Carrie the boys plenty big and it's time he was a learnin'."
I had to laugh when I heard Pop-Pop say "aaahhh horseshit" because at that very moment that's just what Levi did. This is also my first memory of hearing both Grannies and Pop-Pops favorite reply. I still use it today and I always remember the three of them.
Pop-Pop got Levi & Lacey saddled up then lifted me up and onto Levi. This is my first memory of not being small. For the first time I was looking down at the world instead of up. I loved it. Levi & I were already friends. One of my very first memories is helping Pop-Pop bathe & brush Levi, Lacy, Lil Sug & Ladd. By myself all I could scrub were their legs & bellies. Pop-Pop told me that I had the most important job and to scrub real good. "that's where all the sweat settles in Thommy boy". Then I remembered how Mother had taught me to scrub my face and ears and how much i didn't like doing it. I asked Pop-Pop if I could soap up Levi's face real good and scrub it. His reply "washin' a horse ain't like washin' yourself--ya don't put no soap on their face Thommy ya just wipe it down with a warm rag". My first memory of wanting to be a horse.
Off we went. Riding down past where Pop-Pops garden would be growing in a few months and then towards the forest. This is one of my first memories of being afraid. Not of riding Levi-I loved riding him and looking down at the world below me. What I didn't like was looking into the darkness as we entered the forest. "Pop-Pop I'm scared" "ain't nothing to be scared bout boy-nothin in here but you me some squirrels and that Christmas tree we promised your Granny-now keep your eyes peeled fur a nice one".
"that one Pop-Pop that's the one for Granny" Pop-Pop lifted me off Levi and I went running towards it. "this is a big en Thommy boy- I'm gonna have to cut some of the top offa er"
My first memory of watching a Christmas tree get cut down, Pop-Pop tied up the tree with a rope and then used another rope and tied that one up to Lacey. Out of the forest and back down past Pop-Pops garden with the Christmas tree dragging along behind us and then my first memory of Granny running out the back door arms opened wide lifting me off Levi and spinning me around and around while giving me Granny Kisses. "I've been worried sick bout you boys Johnny--tend to those horses and then get me my tree inside-sure does look like a big en--gonna have to cut some of the top offa er" "aaaahhh horseshit Granny"
Most of my first memories are being at Granny & Pop-Pops.
Thanksgiving. Ken & I had been living together since July 4th weekend. Ken's parents lived in Carlsbad which was hundreds of miles away near the southeast corner of NM. I had taken a fill in course at The University Of Delaware where we learned all about America's National Parks. I was fascinated by Carlsbad Caverns.
a constant 56 degrees, stalagmites & stalactites still growing since the time of the great Ice Age,
bat caves & cave pearls, over 20 different caves to explore
the largest one called The Hall Of Giants covering well over 8 acres, and at dusk THE FLIGHTS OF THE BATS.
I had to go. After living together for over 3 months Ken finally told his Mother that he was living in my house. GASP! Was the sound I heard coming from the phone. I really could not understand how someone could be closeted especially to their parents. But not all parents were
as deliciously loving as Mother. I do believe that all Mothers know that their son is gay even if they never admit it to themselves. How could they not? They gave birth to this child, they raised this child, and they know this child better than they know themselves. Maybe that's the reason. Mothers give all of themselves to their children and in the process actually lose themselves. Ken told his Mother he thought he might be Bi. Bi-Sexual. I had to leave the room so that his Mother would not hear me in my fit of laughter. I wasn't invited. To Thanksgiving Dinner. Not because of my laughing but because Kens parents wanted him to come alone and meet with their Priest. Another fit of laughter when Ken told me this. Not because I was going to be spending my first Thanksgiving alone but because Ken had told me weeks ago about this very Priest molesting him for years. I wanted to go to that meeting even more than I wanted to hike Carlsbad Caverns. But alas I didn't get to do either. Not during Thanksgiving. I did however go to Carlsbad for Christmas that year and at the time I wasn't sure which scared me more. Watching thousands of Bats flying out of a Carlsbad Cave at dusk or the hypocrisy of a Carlsbad family sitting down for Christmas dinner. I went back to Carlsbad Caverns several times over the years. I never stepped foot in that Carlsbad home again. I figured out the answer real quick.
May 1968. I drove down to Rehoboth Beach in my red Dodge Dart Convertible. Connie Francis was singing "Where The Boys Are" on the radio and that's exactly why I was going. Hoping someone was waiting for me. They weren't. I drove around all the regular spots and no one was out. I decided to do my second favorite thing. Eat. Grotto's Pizza. I parked got a slice and started walking down the boardwalk. Something in the newsstand caught my eye. A female dancer with three male dancers. All of them in fabulous costumes. Featured on the cover was a photo of Pzazz! '68, the Donn Arden show at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas. The photo on the cover was of Shirley Kirkes taken by Zoran Veljkovic.
I had no idea who or what any of this was about but I did know that I had to own this. Fifty cents and it was mine. No tax in Delaware. I couldn't wait to get home and look inside the cover. The next morning my subscription form and my check were in the mail. I was
hooked. The only thing about this magazine that I found odd was that it was labeled "Volume 10 Number 1". This was the very first issue. I knew just from this that "AFTER DARK" was gonna be a trip. A trip into the entertainment world and a trip into the gay world. For the next 15 years that's exactly what it was. What I didn't know was that I was gonna be the same for "AFTER DARK". This is the only magazine that I have ever really cherished. The others were always same old same old. And they still are. Not "AFTER DARK". With every issue it got more and more gay.
More gay advertisements more gay articles & more nude photos of beautiful men.
In 1977 the AFTER DARK editors were quoted as saying to their advertisers:
"Reach the Audience with Money to Spare. You'll find them in After Dark! They're affluent, successful and single. With no strings to tie them down. And the time and money to live it up, any chance they get."
In simpler terms----GAY MEN!
The magazine publishers further acknowledged the magazine's appeal to the gay community, noting that the magazine "had gotten a following in the homosexual community seven or eight years before any of the current homosexual magazines came on the market."
I'll never forget the February 1977 issue which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger and was called "Musclebound for Glory". In two of the photographs, Arnold was nude and one photograph showed his penis. "Little" did Arnold know at the time that he was "Musclebound for Glory".
Click Here If You Want To See What Arnold Is Packin
By 1977 I already had nine years of this fabulous magazine. Each month carefully stored in Zip-Lock Bags. For five more years I looked forward every month to it's arrival. Towards the end of it's publication "After Dark" turned Bi. Monthly that is. Whenever the new issue arrived the last issue was carefully stored away.
Everyone that was anyone was on the cover of "After Dark"
Shirley Bassey, Donna Summer, Bette Midler, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Lauren Hutton, Mae West, Peter Allen, Dolly Parton, Jon Voight, Christopher Reeve , Lily Tomlin,Diana Ross, Zarko Halmic, Bonita George, Bo van den Assum,
Dorothy Collins, Joan Blondell, Tommy Lee Jones, Paul Newman, Brian Petersen, David Bowie, Carly Simon, Robins Cousins, Rod Steward, Jan Michael, Chita Rivera, Ann Margret, Tony Danza and the list goes on and on. 15 years of fabulous.
I left Albuquerque in 1995. And so did "After Dark", We moved to Delaware. I left Delaware in 2001. So did "After Dark". We moved to Florida. I left Florida in 2006. So did "After Dark". We moved to Los Angeles. Even though it's been years since I have looked inside the covers it brings me comfort just knowing that anytime I want to I can. Having stirred up all these fabulous memories I'm sure it won't be long before I will. Another thing I'm sure of is that it will happen "After Dark".
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS
JUST KEEP GOING!!!! hahahhaha
"It's a physical act. Like Playing Tennis"
I am not monogamous. Never have been and never will be. I really think it's highly over-rated. According to divorce statistics it's the #1 reason for divorce in America. I really can not wrap my brain around the thought of only having sex with one person my entire life. "Till Death Do Us Part" And yet this is included in one way or another in all wedding vows. And I repeat-it's the #1 reason for divorce. In my brain there are two types of sex. Sex with the person that I am totally in love with, could not live without, nor at times even breathe without. Sex with my other brain, my partner, my everything. We know each others wants, desires and needs so well that the pleasure derived from the act is the greatest feeling imaginable. And then there is the other SEX. Nothing more than raw lustful satisfaction. Twenty maybe thirty minutes of pleasure and I sure as hell wouldn't want to make him breakfast. It's over. That's it. Does this mean that I love my partner any less. I think not. This act was just two bodies enjoying each other. I can still live
without that body. I can still breathe without that body. And I sure as hell am not totally in love with that brain. That brain doesn't know my desires, my wants, my needs. I think it's society that has put these unrealistic demands on people. Taught in the Church, preached from the bible, talked about in every school, passed down from Grand Parents and Parents to the children. And the cycle continues. Ingrained in the very soul of Humanity. But I don't think it's fair. I don't think it's right. I do think it's gonna be interesting to see how the divorce rate changes as America changes. Once America allows all people to marry. Will the divorce rate go down. I think it will. I am not monogamous. Never have been and never will be. I am a Human Being.
Please do not judge me for i do not judge you.
Matthew 7:1, "Judge not that ye be not judged."
The Fabulous Tammy Wynette
Today is the day of my birth. Another one followed me 58 minutes later. He would die in many less years than 58. And so on this day of our birth I am remembering Jerry my twin. Jerry had a heart of gold and more friends than I could ever imagine. He also had two wonderful sons-- he loved to sing --and he had a problem. DRUGS. The night that he died I knew. I could feel the loss. I was living in Saint Petersburg, Fl and Jerry died in Milford, De. I woke up out of a deep sleep and screamed to Will that Jerry was dead. I waited for the call which came early the next morning. I had already booked my flight and packed my bags.
The day of Jerry's Funeral I drove with my first cousin Bethany from Fathers side of the family. I knew there would be so many people attending that would recognize me and I knew that I would not. Recognize them. Bethany had never left our home town and was still living in the past. I guess she was living in her present but she was definitely living in my past. I told Bethany to be my memory and whisper softly the names of those approaching. Bethany did great.
This was my third family funeral in less than a year and this one was the hardest. First Mother in September than Granny in October and now Jerry in April. So many friends, family, and strangers to me, attended the service. Jerry had been cremated and at the end of the service the four of us that were left scattered Jerry's ashes in the Broadkill River. Right in front of the big brick house on the hill in the river that Uncle Lekah had dredged so many years ago. I thought of those colorful lights on that hot summer night. I remembered the log cabin we had built in the forest & how much we loved sledding down the big hill when the first snow came. I looked up at the house and could see our bedroom windows and remembered all those shared hot summer and cold winter nights. As I watched Jerry's ashes floating down The Broadkill River I knew that he would like this. This hill, this house, this river. This is where Jerry belonged. I smiled thru my tears. And so on this day of my birth I celebrate Jerry's life. He was my twin, my protector, my brother, my friend.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JERRY. Thank you for sharing my birth.
I loved playing with Grannies dolls. Granny loved to make them. Granny was always making something. Quilts, dolls, clothing, breakfast, dinner & supper. Grannies cellar was full of jarred fruits, vegetables, & spaghetti sauce. All from the summer garden. Granny would drive up to the big brick house on the hill and help Mother. Jar up her harvest. Mothers garden wasn't near the size of Grannies but Mother didn't sell to the beach vacationers. However Mother did have five children to feed. Many nights Mother fed a lot more than five. All of us would invite our friends over for dinner. There were never to many mouths for Mother. This was Mothers joy. Cooking and feeding. Both Granny and Mother were great in the kitchen. Granny must have been a good teacher because Mothers food tasted better. Except for Hotcakes. No one made Hotcakes like Granny. Served with melted butter and King syrup. Sundays after church we would all meet up at Grannies for Brunch. The Fringe's and The Thomas's.
Always the same and always delicious. Hotcakes, toast, fried eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, ham & scrapple. Jams & Jellies brought up from the cellar. Granny always let me remove the paraffin from the top. I usually made a mess and Granny would always say "that's ok darlin Granny will clean it up".
When I got into high school Granny couldn't clean up my messes. But my twin could. By the time we reached high school Jerry was four inches taller and had an athletes body. I was a skinny runt. I never liked attending sporting events. They always took me back to that time when Father had forced me to play Little League Baseball. I was always placed in the center outfield I guess because not many little leaguers could hit the ball that far. One day one of them did. I still remember the roar of the crowd and that ball so far up in the air coming right at me. I lifted my glove up into the air and hoped that the ball would land in it. It didn't. That ball landed right in the middle of my forehead and knocked me to the ground. Flat on my back. And lying there I could still here the roar of the crowd. Laughter. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. And the last time Father forced me to play Little League. I think mainly because Father didn't want to be embarrassed again. Jerry on the other hand always made Father proud. Jerry went on to be the star baseball, football, and basketball player for our school. That's when I starting attending sporting events again. Everyone knew that if they made fun of me or called me any names that they would then have to deal with Jerry. And no one wanted to deal with Jerry. Ever. It was really fabulous having a twin. I was lucky. So there I was sitting in the bleachers watching a basketball game with my best friend Madonna. Tenth grade fifteen years old and loving this game. Not really the game but the guys playing. Without even thinking I said out loud "look at how much hair that guy has under his arms". Madonna burst into laughter and so did I. This time I wasn't embarrassed at all. And not one of the guys in hearing distance said a word. Why? Because none of them wanted to deal with Jerry.
Mother called just as soon as she had gotten home from my graduation. I had decided to stay in Newark for another week to be with Patrick. Our lease on the apartment wasn't up until the end of June and Patrick was going back to Connecticut to visit his family for a few weeks so we really wanted this last week together. I had just received my degree in Psychology and he had just finished beauty school. Brains & Beauty. Nothin' better than that. We spent most of that week inside the apartment. We ordered in for food and only went out for booze. That last week with Patrick alone together in our apartment is still my fondest memory from my College graduation. Almost.
I drove home in my old 1962 Dodge Dart push button convertible. Mother had said on the phone to drive straight to Granny & Pop-Pops. I was planning on doing this anyway and thought it odd that Mother would even say this. As I turned into Granny & Pop-Pops farm and drove down the long driveway to their house I saw it. THE CAR!!!! Granny had asked me a couple of months earlier what my favorite car was. I kinda had this figured out then but with everything else going on I had put it in the back of my mind. But now there it was. Red. Convertible. Stingray. Corvette. 1975. The last of it's kind.
With a huge multi-colored bow wrapped around it that I knew my Granny had made herself. From old clothing that Mother never threw away. This car had brains and beauty. Just as I slammed the brakes on the Dart all the family came running out of the house and the yard filled with Fringes. I had to just stand and gaze at the Vet. I felt a hand on my shoulder and I knew it was Pop-Pop. "how do you like er Thommy boy?" My reply "get in and I'll show ya". We drove all over Pop-Pop's farm and suddendly childhood memories of riding my bike with Levi and the dogs came flooding back. Dirt roads had been paved. Soybeans and Corn had replaced some of the forest. Houses had been built and were hiding in the trees. I was driving my new car and yet my brain was filled with the beauty of memories. Peddling my bike on a rode paved with only hardened dirt. Chasing the dogs thru the forest now filled with beans & corn. Swinging on vines where houses now were hidden. My thoughts turned to Patrick and how he was gonna love this Vet. I was smiling. I looked over at my Pop-Pop the wisest man I have ever known and he was smiling. I knew why. Brains & Beauty. Nothin' better than that.
I knew when the leaves became the colors of red and
yellow and orange that the time was near.
Soon Granny would be coming to help Mother.
It was late October and it was time for the harvest and after
the harvest my birthday. The garden had aged. It had
transformed from summer thickness to fall
sparseness. Or so it appeared. The garden seemed
scary and looked like it was dying. But it was very much
alive. Mostly Underground. Potatoes, carrots, beets,
radishes, onions, turnips, & sweet potatoes. The
squash, cabbage, cauliflower & pumpkins I could see.
Gone were the strawberries, blackberries,
blueberries, melons, peas, tomatoes & corn. The sun
had caused them to flourish and the sun had caused
them to falter. I sometimes wondered about this at
night when it was to hot to sleep. I'd get out of bed go
down the stairs thru the many rooms and go out back
to the garden and just think. Lollipop always followed.
She'd lay beside me and sleep. Never to hot for
Lollipop to sleep. I never did figured it out but one
thing I was sure of. All the goodies were gone. Except
for the pumpkins. One other thing I was sure of.
Granny would be coming soon to help Mother with the Harvest.
The leaves had become the colors of red and
yellow and orange. And so had the pumpkins. Soon
Pop-Pop and I would carve them. Soon Granny and I
would cook them. Both ways were good. And both ways
were a fringe benefit of aging. Kinda like the pumpkins
from an aging garden.
I've never been very good keeping up with right and left. I always have to think about it. The thought is quick but it is always there. Right Left. Ok. Go! I was six when I was finally tall enough and strong enough to turn the crank. Jerry had been turning it for almost a year. Even though we were twins I was always the small & delicate one. And I was the first born by 58 minutes. I never understood why I wasn't the big boy. I did understand that I was finally going to be able to turn the crank when Mother said "let Timmy turn it". I felt so big and powerful for the first time in my entire six years. I leaped off the sofa grabbed my coat and gloves and ran out to the side of the house. All the others followed except one. One always had to stay inside and yell out directions. "more to the left"--"that's tooo far"--"back to the right"-- "stop right there"-- "no wait-a little back to the left"--"PERFECT"!!! It was all so very confusing but I was determined to get it right. I wanted to hear that word "PERFECT".
There it was. The crank. And the pole. I looked up and could barely see what the crank would be turning. It went all the way to the clouds. Or so it seemed to me. I was soooo nervous as I unhooked the crank. I looked to my right or was it my left and then I heard Mother say "hold it tight Timmy boy and turn it slowly you know you can do this". That was Mother. Always telling me that I could accomplish anything in life that I set out to do. Mother instilled this belief deep inside of me and to this day whenever I get the feeling that I just can not do something I hear Mothers voice telling me "you know you can do this"--And I do it.
I began cranking. Instantly I heard the oldest one yelling "that's the wrong way turn it to the right dummy" I never liked him. "not to the left turn it to the right". I turned the crank back the other way. "that's to far stupid take it back to the left" are the words I heard coming thru the living room window.
"Don't you call your brother stupid or you'll wish you had been born without a tongue to talk with young man" are the words that went back inside that window. Mother--of course. After a few more turns to the right and back again to the left I finally got what I had been waiting for. "PERFECT" I hooked the crank.
All of us ran back inside the house and looked and it was perfect. It was Sunday February 9, 1964 and The Ed Sullivan Show was just about to start. Special guests---THE BEATLES. And everything was about to change. And as always it did. Right in the middle of "All My Loving" the wind shifted and the TV went fuzzy. Mother screamed "get out there and crank that antenna". Not to me but to the oldest one. He ran outside turned the crank to the right back to the left and Mother yelled "PERFECT" and it was. THE BEATLES were singing "She Loves You" I looked to my left and Mother was smiling. Or maybe Mother was on my right. I've never been very good keeping up with right and left.
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
And with a love like that
You know you should be glad.
MOTHER-I ADORED HER!
is the number that lasted less than this.
is the number that lasted over ten.
is the number that I am now.
And ONE is the loneliest number.
Patrick, Ken, David, Bobby, & Will. I still love them all. Especially Will. Will was number five and number one. The one that died.
I left New Mexico and moved to Delaware. With Bobby. We were best of friends. Not lovers anymore. Bobby soon met a man and moved to Ocean City.
I met Will.
Will was the one that cost me extra. He was the only one of five that was not a cosmetologist, a barber, a hairdresser!
I remember thinking how odd it was that I could fall in love with someone that couldn't take care of my needs. My hair needs. Bobby still did my hair. Color and cuts. Will took care of all the rest.
The two of us moved to Florida. I had to pay a stranger to take care of my needs. My hair needs. Will took care of the rest. Well-most of the time.
I often wonder how it is that one falls in love. Is the decision calculated? What is it about this one person that makes you want to become two? I never went out looking for someone that could do my hair. Yet until I fell in love with Will the other four could. Do I still love Will the most because he was number five? Is it because he is the one that died? I do know that Will was the one. The one that should not have died. The one that made me lonely being one. If I took the other four away from the five I am still left with one. Maybe love is a calculated numbers game. And ONE is the loneliest number.
Will died. Over 5 years later and still I miss him. Everyday.
Will loved to laugh. One of his greatest joys in life was bringing laughter to friends & family. And especially me. Will loved movies and music. One of his all time favorite movies was "Sordid Lives" by Delferd Shores. Mine too. Tag line "A black comedy about white trash" Will would always say that he was raised trash and had to stay trash or jump out of the can. He jumped. I caught him.
The year was 1996 and for the next ten years we lived, loved, fought, worked, and laughed together.
The very day that Will moved into my home I received in the mail Patti Labelle's "Live-One Night Only" DVD. We both adored Patti and as soon as we got settled in we began watching. This would be the first of many many many viewings of this! Our favorite song on the DVD was
Stories from these ten years need to and will be told. For now let's jump to the end.
Will died on July 23,2006.
I moved to LA. One night soon after my arrival I looked up into the dark sky and asked Will for a sign that he was ok. Just then a shooting star filled the sky and as I watched I began to weep. Will had answered.
The Fabulous Patti Labelle
It was the summer of 1989 when I asked my Grand Ma Ma to drive me to the beach. We would always take drives to the beach but this time I asked her if I could spend the day by myself and have her pick me up at dusk. Her answer “ OK Darlin”. I met my first lover that day. I was walking along the shore line and saw a man around 25 lying on the beach. He had on a very small bathing suit and what I craved so very much was outlined perfectly. That feeling again. I keep walking back and forth in front of him and finally he stood up and came to the water’s edge. I could hardly keep my control. He said “ Hi…My name is Tino..What’s Yours?” I had to struggle to even say my name “Thom”! Tino invited me into his beautiful beach home and I was thrilled. It was only a little while before we were in the bedroom. It was several hours before I would leave that room. Several wonderful hours. Needless to say I would ask Grand Ma Ma to take me to the beach every weekend after that. Soon I got my drivers license and was able to take myself. Tino photographed us having sex. I still remember the excitement and pleasure I received from having these pictures taken. He would set up the camera and then put it on a timer and we would pose for the shot in various sexual positions. I always new I was going to be a star. This was as close as I ever came. I can’t remember why and how our relationship came to an end. I suppose it ended when I went off to college. It would be years before I would see Tino again. I was back home on vacation and I went to the only Gay Bar around. Almost as soon as I walked into the bar I saw Tino. He hadn’t changed at all. He was still very handsome and once again that part of me , the part that controlled me, wanted him. As I walked towards him it seemed to me that he remembered who I was. It didn’t take long to realize that the difference between 16 and 26 is one part of your life when your looks change a lot. I now know that there are many other times during our lives that our looks change A LOT. My first question to him was “Do you still have the photo’s of us having sex?”. He seemed a little stunned at first so I told him who I was and soon we were back to his house once again, although not the beach house. The feelings of seeing those photo’s once again are indescribable. I was so young. I was so naïve. I was so molested. At least, that is what it would be called in today’s world. Only a world filled with Hate and Evil could decribe the love I had received from this man as wrong.
I was in love at 16 and I could feel the love in return. How can that be evil? It will never be my definition of EVIL. We spent that night and the next night together in each others arms and inside each others bodies and this time not the Evil Priest who do Molest nor The hypocritical Bible Toaters could tell me I was being molested. I loved Tino and even though I have never seen him again I will always love him for loving me –at 16 and 26….