When I was sixteenyears old, my father built me a wooden box to hold my pen pal letters. The year was 1958 and I had been writing to pen pals since I was twelve years old. I had a lot of letters. There was nothing fancy about the box but I so appreciated him building it for me. It was one of the few times in his life that he showed he cared for me.
Over the years I have used this box to store my letters. For the past fifty-four years I have rarely gone into that box. Why did I save those letters? Now I know why.
A few months ago my longtime friend Larry and I decided to write our autobiographies. Larry and I are the same age. We became friends when we were in third grade in elementary school. We were best friends until 1963 when we had a disagreement (mostly my fault) when I came out. Larry is straight, I am gay. I won't go into the details of that disagreement at this time, that is a subject for another blog (or several). We renewed our friendship again after Larry's mother sent me a Thanksgiving card in 2001 suggesting that I get in touch with Larry because he was feeling pretty low after losing his banking job. Since I had also lost my banking job (I worked in Philadelphia, PA and Larry worked in Wilmington, DE), she thought I could uplift his spirits. I contacted Larry and we have renewed our friendship.
|Ron Tipton 1959 Graduation Photo|
|Larry Meredith 1959 Graduation Photo|
I am very happy to say that today, with the exception of my Bill (my spouse), Larry is my best friend. Larry knows me as I am, the good and bad. What makes him my good friend is that he accepts me as I am. He doesn't run for the exits just because something I did offended or angered him. Larry is a True Friend.
Larry and I talk to each other almost everyday on FaceTime. A month ago we decided that now is the time to write our autobiographies as blog entries. Both of us have separate blogs specifically for our autobiography entries.
|Larry Meredith - Civilian 1962|
|Ron Tipton - Army Private 1962|
Both of us were having some trouble remembering names and dates for certain events early in our lives. That's when I had the wonderful idea of copying Larry's letters to me and sending them to him by e-mail.
This has turned out to be a very interesting endeavor. For one thing we are coming up with names and dates to match those names. The downside is we are also reliving experiences that were best forgotten. Indeed, this is proving to be a very interesting experience.
This morning I took out the box that my father built for me lo those many years ago to hold my letters and took all the letters out and spread them on my bedroom floor. Wow, what memories. I have letters from old affairs. I have letters from girlfriends who are berating me for "dropping them like a hot potato". Ironically, most of the girls I don't remember. However, I remember all the guys, ALL OF THEM. Now that tells me something. What it tells me is that I am 100% gay.
So here is the deal. I will eventually scanned all these letters (or at least most of them) into my computer. I realize that when I die, whoever goes through my things will throw out these letters. I know they are of no interest to anyone but myself. But I still feel the need to memorialize my past history. I plan to eventually put all those letters in book form. Who knows? Maybe fifty or hundred years from now someone will find them of interest.
|Ron Tipton - Retired 2012|
|Larry Meredith - Retired 2012|
I feel good about this.