Bill presenting Bob with a "flower" yesterday
Yesterday Bill and I made a long delayed visit to my longtime friend Big Bob and Jim at their palatial wooded estate east of Georgetown. I've known Bob longer (50 years) than I've been with Bill (46 years.)
Bob is the reason I am living in Delaware now. For many years I have been visiting Bob since he moved to Delaware in the 70's to get away from the Rat Race of Philadelphia. Ironically Bob moved to Delaware because of it's rural nature. Of course that has changed (a subject for a future blog posting for sure.)
Me and my good friend Bob a few years ago
I met Bob in the Army. He was drafted the same day I joined the Army, January 27, 1960. Yes, we really are that old. Can you believe it?
From left to right in the back: Bob, Dick
From left to right in the front: Bill and Me
Ft. Devens, Mass - April 1960
A break between Army Security Agency classes
Bob took basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. My basic training was at Fort Dix, New Jersey. We met during our schooling period at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. We were both in the Army Security Agency. Our MOS was Communications Intercept. Yep, we were spies.
Bob and I were BF's at Ft. Devens. We did everything together. Ironically, I never knew he was gay nor did he know I was gay. Another irony, we were never attracted to each other sexually. We were just Best Friends. Gays can have Best Friends of the same sex too you know. It's not all about sex.
About a year after I got out of the Army I came out to friends and family. This was in 1964, way before it was fashionable to come out as a gay man. The only reason I did it because I was tired of living a double life and a lie. I decided to come out and find out who my real friends were and who were not my friends. Needless to say, it was quite an interesting experience of which I will write about in future blogs.
Me after I came out in 1964 (yes, I was a mess)
After I informed my friend (by letter - this was back in prehistoric times before the Computer) that I was gay he immediately dropped everything and made the long trip from his home in Norwood, PA to my apartment in Coatesville, PA. Bob was in shock. I was in shock. Here, all these years and I didn't know my Best Friend was gay nor did he know I was gay. In fact, Bob didn't know anyone else who was gay.
Bob, me and Bart a few years back at Whisker's Restaurant on Long Neck Road
Bob arrived at my apartment and we had quite a time discussing this new found dimension in our relationship. As I said before, neither one of us was attracted physically to the other so that WAS NOT an addition to our friendship. However, I did suggest to my friend that I take him to a gay bar and introduce him to the underworld of the gay "lifestyle." I always get a kick when I hear about the so called "gay lifestyle." Back then the gay lifestyle was a series of nondescript hidden bars that catered to gay men for the potential of intimate sexual encounters. Needless to say, I opened a whole new world for my friend. Again, a subject for many future blog postings but I won't go into that now.
Bob and his partner of 27 years, Jim are now both retired. Jim recently lost his job as a nurse at a Milford Hospital. At 69 years of age and a pacemaker, they figured it was time to put that Old Nurse out to pasture. Jim isn't happy about it and is slowly adjusting to retired life.
Jim, not a happy retiree
Bob, Stormy (their cat) and Jim yesterday
Bob retired several years ago from his own handyman business. Bob is glad to have Jim around full-time now. Bob says it gets lonely at night (Jim worked the night shift at the hospital) on his twenty-two acres of wooded paradise outside of Georgetown. I'm happy for both of them. I hope we all live a long time.
Bob relaxing yesterday
Me relaxing at Bob's yesterday
Retirement is good. Staying in touch with longtime BF's is good. Being alive is good. We're hanging on. And we can still laugh.
Best friends Bob, Jim and Ron (in our glorious youth)