Saturday, April 01, 2017


Jim Groh at my Coatesville furnished efficient apartment 1963

This year Bill and I will be celebrating fifty-three years together. However, a little known fact is that there was somebody before Bill.  Yes, I had a steady boyfriend before Bill.  His name was Jim Groh.

The year was 1963.  I had recently completed a three year tour of duty with the U.S. Army. After I got out of the Army I moved to Pittsburgh and came out as a gay man.  However, I only stayed in Pittsburgh for three months. I only had one friend in Pittsburgh, Sal DeRosa, a fellow service member (Air Force) from our Fort Meade days. 

I moved back to Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  I got a job and a small furnished apartment in Coatesville, Pennsylvania for $65.00 a month.

I had a job earning $80 a week as an accounts payable bookkeeper at a Coatesville scrapyard. I had little money. 

Once a month I took a train to Philadelphia to the Westbury Bar at 15th and Spruce Streets. A gay bar.

There I met Jim.  

Jim was 24 years old to my 21 years old. 

We both liked each other.

Jim worked at Sears Roebuck in Philadelphia as a manager. 

We started seeing each other.  

Jim didn't have a car.  Weekly he took a train out to Coatesville from his home in Philadelphia, which was about 37 miles away.

We would spend our weekends together at my apartment in Coatesville. 

Jim and me horsing around in my apartment in Coatesillve - 1963 - one of only two pictures of have of me and Jim

We would play board games (Monopoly).  Cook meals (Swiss Steak was my speciality).  
Occasionally we would go out to a local restaurant called The Three Chefs.

This arrangement worked for about three months then I got bored. After all, I was 21 years old and new to the gay scene.

I suggested that we start going out to gay bars (The Westbury) again.  Jim was reluctant but he agreed.  

We went to the Westbury. Didn't work out though.  Jim was so possessive that he would literally block me into a corner of the bar. Of course I wasn't going to put up with this.

I broke off our relationship.  

So there you go folks.  My first "husband." 

I've often wondered where Jim is now. I always liked him but there was no way I was going to be confined.  

So how is it possible that I've now been with Bill for 53 years?  Very simple, Bill has always given me my "freedom."  It worked! I will always be with Bill as long as both of us are alive.  This works for us.

Still, I wonder whatever happened to Jim.  If you're out there Jim and happen to come upon this blog posting, contact me. We can play a game of Monopoly.


Bea said...

Nothing to do with your post, really, but that stove and oven unit looks awfully nice for an efficiency! -wish I had that set-up in my kitchen. :)

Ron said...

Actually the stove and oven was pretty nice for an efficiency. I had plenty of cabinet space too even though I didn't use it. It was a pretty nice efficiency apartment I do have to say.

Ur-spo said...

I think perhaps it is best not to find out.

Jon said...

I enjoyed hearing about this (hitherto unknown) chapter in your life. It would really be a surprise if you heard from Jim. Let's hope he discovers your blog.
21 years old is rather young to be trapped in a serious relationship. I can understand why you wanted your freedom.

I agree with Bea (in the previous comment) - - that stove and oven looks nice.

nitewrit said...


Actually $80 a week wasn't bad for a 22 year-old starting out in 1963. It is equal to $635 today or around $33,000 a year. That was about what I was making at the time, too.


Ron said...

Dr. Spo,
Wise advice, you might just be right.

Ron said...

There was no way I was going to "settle down" at 21 after just coming out. I had too much curiosity. The main reason I hooked up with Bill was that he didn't put any restrictions on me. Still hasn't. And I'm still with him. He just said to be discreet which I am. I did settle down, when I was 37 years old.

Ron said...

Yes, $80 a week was pretty good and I was paid weekly. It was much better than my previous job at the Pittsburgh Hilton where I was paid $250 a month payable $125 on the 15th and 31st. I just couldn't get by on that salary even though my rent in Pittsburgh was $8.00 a week.

Harry Hamid said...

Fifty-three years is a long, long time. It's tough to be able to stand being around someone for that long.

Sounds like you ended up in a much better situation than you would have with Jim.

Anonymous said...

How can you remember how much you made and your rent from over 50 years ago? I cannot remember where I put my keys 30 minutes ago.

Randy in NEB. said...

Hi Ron, I always enjoy reading about your past (and Present) experiences. I'm sorry I haven't left you more comments on your blog. With work, friends, and family there don't seem to be enough hours in the day for me. I still need to blog about working to see if this one person I'm interested in is potentially interested in me. It's great that you and Bill found each other, I'm still looking.

Ron said...

Good to hear from you Randy! Hang in there. You angel is coming.