Thursday, April 23, 2009

Big Bob Visits







My long time friend Big Bob visited me and Bill this afternoon. I've known Big Bob longer than I've known Bill, my Partner for Life. Big Bob and I met in April 1960 at Ft. Deven, Massachusetts while attending the Army Security Agency School.

Big Bob and I were not only friends, we were best friends. We did everything together from going to the movies to doing out laundry together. Now here is the ironic part to this story of our friendship. I didn't know Big Bob was gay (nor did he know I was gay) until I "came out" in April of 1963 (see my previous blog posting.) You see, I never thought about it because I was never sexually attracted to Big Bob for was he to me. We were just friends, albeit very good friends.

Perhaps we were friends because we came from the same area of southeastern Pennsylvania. I lived near Downingtown in Chester County and Big Bob lived in Norwood, Delaware County. We used to share rides home on the weekends with another fellow soldier, Richard Kley. I don't remember the exact moment we met, but we soon became fast friends.

After I got out of the Army in January of 1963 I got an apartment in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. In April of 1963, after my Mother discovered that I had an unexplained male friend visiting me one Saturday morning, I "came out" to everyone I knew. I figured "Let the cards fall where they may, I'll know who my real friends are are who aren't my friends." Big Bob was one of the first friends I heard from. He came rushing up from where he lived in Norwood, PA to talk to me. He said he "never knew" that I was gay. Of course I never had an inkling he was gay either.

Over the years we have remained good friends. Bob has been with his life partner Jim for 27 years now. I've been with my life partner Bill for 45 years. The past few years Big Bob has been slipping (I have been too.) His mental capacity isn't what it used to me (mine isn't either.) But our strong bond of friendship remains. I always feel comfortable when I'm around Big Bob. I could spend hours, days, weeks, months and years with Big Bob and never get bored. I've always wondered what our lives would have been like if there was a romantic attraction. But, alas, that was not to be.

I have always felt very fortunate that I went through life with a good friend like Big Bob and a romantic relationship (and good friend) with my life partner, Bill. Bill and I have had a sometimes temptuous, rocky relationship over the years but what relationship hasn't? The only one I can think of is Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Big Bob and I have had nothing but the most cordial relationship over these past 49 years. I used to call Big Bob almost every night on the phone and just talk about anything. I don't do that now. I seem to be doing most of the talking (all of the talking actually.) Thus it was with great pleasure that Big Bob accepted our invitation to come over for lunch and a visit today. I was able to show him the video of Susan Boyle on You Tube. Big Bob enjoyed seeing her surprise the judges and audience on "Britain's Got Talent" with her magnificent singing ability and personality. It was almost like old times today, just two old friends sharing a special moment.

4 comments:

  1. A very sweet tribute to one of the kindest, gentlest men I've ever known.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Nobody doesn't like Big Bob. He is a rarity.

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  3. You have a life partner? I have been with my Glenn for 23yrs. How exciting. Mike, studio city ca

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  4. Yes, I have a life partner. Bill Kelly and I have been together 45 years. Big Bob, my good friend in this posting has been together with his life partner Jim Donahue for 23 years. Apparently we both like Irish guys.

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