Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How I Knew About Delaware

Me and Howard busting some moves at the Boathouse, Dewey Beach, DE 1979

Has anyone wondered why I retired to Delaware?  I mean other than the low taxes, friendly people, milder climate and gay friendly atmosphere?  How did I know about Delaware?
I still have that shirt!  And it fits!

Here is the scoop folks.  My longtime friend Big Bob (we met in the Army at Ft. Devens in 1960) moved to Delaware in the 70's.  Like me, he had a high pressure job in the Big City (Philadelphia) and wanted to get out of that rat race.  One day he made the Big Decision and quit his job and moved to the southern most country of Delaware, Sussex County.  He had purchased twenty-two acres of woodland a few miles outside of Georgetown, Delaware, real redneck county.  I suspected that he moved so such a rural area because he was closeted (he's gay) and didn't want his mother to know about his Other Life.  He didn't have a job.  In fact, at first he didn't even have a place to live (that would come latter when he bought a used black and white single-wide trailer).  Yes folks, we're in "DOUBLE WIDE COUNTRY."

"The Ranch" - no running water, no working bathrooms - Party Central

His saga is worthy of several blog postings that I will not go into now.  After living in his windowless 10' 12' shed for about three weeks, convinced that he had made the biggest mistake of his life he bought his single wide.  He called his place "The Ranch."  Of course this was all tongue in cheek.

I visited him and found that I liked "getting away" too.  Even though I also worked in the city at a high pressure job (banking), a change of scenery was welcome.

In those days, the Rehoboth Beach area wasn't as gay friendly as it is now.  As a matter of fact, Big Bob was still very much in the closet.  He didn't want his redneck neighbors to know that he was gay or had gay friends visit for fear they would burn down his trailer.

Now this is a birthday party!

About once a month I would visit Big Bob.  Sometimes I brought friends with me.  We would PARTY on the weekend.  Bob had met some locals and he would invite them over to his place and we would booze it up.  Yes folks, we were young and foolish, too much drinking.

Me and "Fuzzy" - I like short guys with beards, what can I tell you? 

Today I pulled out another photo album to scan old photos. I came across a series of photos that I took one weekend in November 1979.  It was the weekend of my 38th birthday.  They had a surprise birthday party for me.  The first and only birthday party I've ever had in my entire life.  What a blast!

So here are some of the pictures.  I'm thinking of putting all seventy of the pictures together in a movie with musical accompaniment of  "Funky Town," which was popular at that time.

The entrance to "The Ranch" - you can see the trailer behind the trees

Some of the pictures are of me dancing at the Boathouse which was a local gay bar in Dewey Beach.  Ironically, not too long after these pictures were taken, someone burned down the Boathouse.

As they say, "Two Steps Forward, One Step Backwards."

Lots of progress has been made since those days.  Many of the guys in these photos are long gone.  A few are still around.  Big Bob is still at The Ranch.  Recently I saw Howard at a breakfast gathering. He is the blonde guy dancing with me at the Boathouse.  This was the first time I saw him after thirty years.  We have reconnected again on Facebook and I am sharing these photos with him.

Big Bob and Tommy, Ray and Clayton - we always burned out trash before we left

Ah yes, our wild and carefree youth, why it seems like it was only yesterday.

Well anyway.  To get back why I chose Delaware to retire to.  I had been coming down here for so many years and I grew to love the flat open land with the big sky.  I fell in love, it is as simple as that.

I always wanted to retire to a Shangri-la.  Delaware is my Shangri-la.  I love every day I am here!

Big Bob and his Twink for the weekend - those were the days!


  1. Those are great photos and great memories!

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. is this thing working again?

  3. More great photos and memories coming Hula Hank!

  4. Dr. Spo,

    Your comment came through. It's working again!

  5. Thank you for these pics at the Boathouse! They are timeless for me. I was a 17 year old think when I hung out there with my first lover from Salisbury. Hugs!!!!

    1. Cub6265,
      All good memories for me too!


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