Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Day I Came Out



Continuing with my coming out story from my previous blog, my mother left my apartment upset and in tears and vowing to "tell your father."

About an half an hour later my father and my two younger brothers appear at the door to my ground level apartment.  With my father standing in the background (appearing puzzled and not wanting to be there) one of my brothers said "Come on Ronnie, we're taking you to the hospital."  Taking me to the hospital?  For What?  Was I sick?  Did I have an emergency?  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  My father and my two brothers were going to take me to the hospital for The Cure.  Surely the doctors at the hospital would know how to cure a homosexual.

Even at that time, early 1963, I knew there was nothing wrong with me.  The problem was with others who were embarrassed and humiliated that a member of their family was One of Those.  You know,  A QUEER.  A PERVERT.  This whole scene was surreal.  I couldn't believe what was happening.



I told my brothers I wasn't going anywhere.  Then one of them grabbed me by the arm and tried to pull me out of my apartment door into the cool spring sunlight of this Saturday morning.  The dew was still on the grass outside the door to my apartment.

As my brother pulled on my arm, my other brother grabbed my other arm.  They were going to take me "to the hospital" even if I didn't want to go.  My father was still standing in the background watching this whole bizarre scene unfold before his disbelieving eyes.  Poor Pop.  He was overwhelmed.  I never was close to him.  He was a distant father.  I was always much closer to my Mother.  I don't even remember if she returned with them.  Everything was spinning around in my head.  But I knew a couple of facts that were not going to change:

1)  There was nothing wrong with me
2)   I wasn't going to any hospital that morning or ever for The Cure for the Gay - no way, no how

After some more struggling, my brothers finally gave up.  Perhaps their heart wasn't in abducting their older brother.  Maybe they weren't into kidnapping, even if their brother was queer.  They and my father left.

Now what happened next is very interesting.  I don't remember what happened.  My memory is a blank. It's like when you hear of someone who is in a horrible automobile accident or some other traumatic event.  Their mind goes blank.

I do remember that they didn't come back.  I continued to see my "boyfriend" Bob for about a month after that (I think.)  Then there came one week when Bob called to say he would see me the following Saturday morning.  I told him that I didn't want to see him again.  The reason was not because my Mother had discovered that I was gay.  The reason was because I felt I didn't have my freedom.  I was a young man, new to the gay scene, and I wanted to enjoy all that life had to offer a young gay man at that repressed time in our country.  It wouldn't be until November of that year (1963) when John F. Kennedy was assented that the sexual liberation, and questioning of authority in our country began.  I was on the cusp of a new age of sexual awakening in our country.

I continued to go out about once a month to the gay bars in Philadelphia with my friends, hoping someday to meet Prince Charming.  I wanted to meet someone who was unencumbered with a wife and children.  I wanted to meet someone who I could live my life with.  I did not want to be a Saturday morning mistress to anyone, no matter how nice they were.

Then on July 3 in the following year (1964), I met Bill.  From that spring day outside my apartment when my brothers tried to abduct me and take me to the hospital I had heard nothing from my family.  I didn't contact them and they didn't contact me.

Bill and I started to spend weekends together.  Most of the weekends we would drive to Coatesville, PA and pick me up and take me back to his apartment in Pennsauken, NJ.  That was about a 100 mile round trip.  This guy liked me.  I liked him....a lot.

Then one day I received a phone call.  It was from my Mother.  She was offering an olive branch.  She invited me to her home for Thanksgiving dinner.  I guess she reconciled herself to the fact that I was gay and wasn't going to change or be cured.  I told her I would come for Thanksgiving dinner but only if I could bring Bill.  There was a pause on the other end of the line then she said "Who is Bill?"  I told her that Bill was my "friend."  Another pause then she said "Okay."


Long story short.  My family met Bill......and they liked him.  In fact Bill my Mother became very good friend.  Perhaps some of that had to do with the fact that Bill was only four years younger than my Mother thus they were of basically the same generation.  But I think a lot of Bill's appeal to my Mother and my family was that Bill was and still is a very nice guy.

 After the that traumatic scene that summer morning at my apartment, I called or wrote to all my friends and told them I was gay.  I wasn't going to live a life of deceit.  Either my friends accepted me for who I was or else we would end out friendships.  What happened after the news of my homosexuality was now out in the open will be the subject of my next blog posting.
Dinner at our home with my brother and his family.  Bill is sitting next to my Mother on the right.

 

4 comments:

  1. Just to let you know I may not be commenting much these days, but I am still reading

    Kim :)

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  2. Kim,
    Thank you for your thoughtfulness. I know that my recent subject matter isn't one of your interest. I plan to get off it it soon anyway because going back and reliving this history is depressing me. One more post on this subject that i'll change the subject to my daily going ons. I felt that I had to exercise this demon though.
    Ron

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  3. I wouldn't say it isn't of interest, Ron. Learning how people have dealt with the challenges in their lives is always interesting.

    I'm afraid it's a combination of low energy and limited time. And when the energy is below a certain level, I can read, but can't actually focus my thoughts enough to compose a thoughtful comment

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  4. Kim,

    Thank you for explaining. I understand.

    The reason I mentioned the "low interest" is that usually when my subject posting is about my gay life, there is a great silence. I don't know whether it is because people are uncomfortable, offended or just bored with a subject of which they have no understanding. As you know, keep a blog for me is my therapy. I don't believe in "therapists" (what they call shrinks now days) so my blog postings help me from going crazy with these thoughts in my head. Yes, my blog postings are more for me than they are for the reader.
    I would hope that readers of my blog would understand that when I write about gay subject matter it isn't about gay or not gay, it is about the human condition. I could just as easily write about my life as an amputee or a blind man. I just happened to be gay and that is my life experience. And, as you know, we write from our own experience.
    Someone once said (paraphrasing here) "Most men live lives if quiet desperation." Count me one of those men. Some times I feel as if my head is going to spin off in space. But for now, my head is screwed on tightly.
    I appreciate your friendship Kim. I hope you retrieve your energy back soon. My good wishes to you.

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