Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Larry and his wife Lois (on the left) and me (in the center in front of the pirate) at Trivia Night at the Brickside Grille, Eagleview, Pennsylvania 2005
Larry is my best friend.  I met Larry in 1951 in third grade at the East Ward Elementary School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

Miss Ezrah's 3rd Grade Class - 1953
I am in the back row, partially obscured by my friend Stuart's head, and I have my hand to my mouth (no I wasn't sucking my thumb).  Larry is to the far left, in front of Miss Ezrah.

That's me in the back with the big head of hair!
I'm also friends with the kid in front of me, Stuart.  In fact he called me last night from his home in Ft. Lauderdale Florida to tell me that he's voting for Obama now that Romney chose Ryan for his running mate.  I guess Stuart came to the same conclusion that I did, I would prefer to keep my Medicare and Social Security as we are getting them now but I digress.  This is a subject for another blog post.  This blog post if a Memory Post.  Discussing politics sometimes is just so exhausting so I prefer to do something pleasurable like talking about my enduring friendship with Larry.

Larry is in front of Miss Ezrah

We met under unusual circumstances.  I gave a book report in my third grade class, of which Miss Elizabeth Ezrah was the teacher.  See below for the picture of me and Larry with Miss Ezrah many years later when we visited her at the Simpson Meadows nursing home in 2004.
Me, Miss Ezrah (she never married) and Larry at the Simpson Meadows Nursing Home in 2004 - she remembered us!  Off course, we are unforgettable!

I took my book report from a story I read in a Scrooge McDuck comic book.  At the time I didn't realize I plagiarized the the plot from the Scrooge McDuck comic book.  Hey, I was in third grade.  So what did Larry do?  He shouts out in class "I read that story in a comic book!"  Gee, thanks Larry.

Larry (on the left), Ginny and me - 1960 - this was when Larry thought I was straight and he was trying to fix me up with Ginny - didn't work - look at the body language - tells the whole story

After class, when the class was milling about outside for recess, I approached Larry.  Larry told me much later when he was writing his autobiography that he thought I was going to punch him.  But instead I walked up to him and said "You have comic books?  Do you want to trade?"  Thus began a friendship from 1953 until this date, fifty-nine years later!

Larry, Stuart and me - 1957 - still friends after all these years

We were very close friends until 1963, at which time we parted ways for about thirty years because of a misunderstanding about my gayness.  I came out to family and friends at that time and lost most of them, including Larry.  However, much later that we just had a misunderstanding.  Not that Larry was homophobic, he wasn't but he felt that something was "wrong" with me.  I didn't take kindly to that attitude and thus ended the friendship.

Me (far left in back), Larry (far right in back) and Stuart (far right in front) dressed as scarecrows for a class operetta - 1953

Fast forward to 2001.  Larry's Mother sent me a Thanksgiving card asking me to get in touch with Larry.  Larry had recently lost his longtime job at a major bank in Wilmington.  His Mother knew I worked for a major bank in Philadelphia and had also lost my job.  She thought I could help him get over his depression and funk and perhaps help him cope with a new set or realities.

Larry (left) and me (right) - 1962 - I wanted Larry to join the Army with me but he Mother wouldn't hear of it - Larry guarded the home front while I manned the fort at Ft. Meade, MD

I called Larry and thus we renewed our friendship.  Our friendship renewal has probably been the best thing to happen to me in the past ten years.  In a time when I've had to deal with shallow gay friends who are easily offended and drop my friendship, losing friends and relatives to death; I am so appreciative that I have a friend like Larry who can see past my many imperfections and stay friends with me.

Larry (left), his wife Lois (middle) and me on the right at the Spirit of Philadelphia Cruise (class reunion) 2002
There is a lot we don't have in common.  Larry and I don't have the same views politically.  Larry is straight and I am gay.  But those differences are minor.  We have something that is much larger.  A true friendship.

Larry and I talk several times a week on FaceTime.  I always look forward to those times.  Once a year on Larry's birthday July 30th Larry makes the trip from his home in Claymont, Delaware, which is at the top of the state to Rehoboth Beach, near where I live.  We get one of those old time photos.  Just fun stuff.  Two old men, enjoying each other's company.

Me and Larry on my back deck during his visit this June 2012

Larry and I decided on a pirate theme this year for our Oldie Goldie photo.  Of course I look like a fool as a dandy pirate.  Larry looks good. I will correct that next year.

I await your comments Lar!


anne marie in philly said...

ron, you could give capt. jack sparrow a run for his money!

I envy yours and larry's friendship, as I have never had anything last that long.

Amanda said...

I am so glad for you and Larry that you are friends again. When I hear of people being friends since kindergarten, 1st grade... I truly envy them.

Ron said...

I think so too Anne Marie!

Ron said...

One thing for sure Nadege, we know each other inside and out.