Friday, December 07, 2012

I Can't Believe We Made It!

I am a child of the Fifties.  I was born late in 1941 and grew up in a small town in southeastern Pennsylvania called Downingtown.  

Me (center) and my brothers Isaac (left) and John (right) eating our ice cream treat after weeding eight rows of corn apiece - 1951

I came of age during the Fifties.  I graduated from high school in 1959.  Shortly after graduation from high school I joined the Army and matured into a man.  

After a three year stint in the Army I returned to civilian life to come to terms with my sexuality.  I came out as a gay man in April of 1963.  

Me on a bike without a helmut - 1955

I met the love of my life (still with him) in the summer of 1964.  I got a job at major bank in Philadelphia and moved in with the love of my life.  

Brothers John and Isaac on their new Christmas bikes - 1954 - no helmets
The rest is history which I will someday perhaps write about in a book, if I don't die first.  But first, I will always remember those days in the Fifties where I grew up and had just about the best childhood any kind could have.  

Brothers John and Isaac playing with a tree - no helmets - 1954
This YouTube video captures almost exactly those wonderful formative years that I had growing up in the Fifties.  Funny thing about this video, I think it was put on YouTube to reinforce the so-called conservative values.  The "funny" part is that I am about as liberal (or "progressive" to use today's politically correct terminology) as a guy can get but I subscribe totally to the values this video represents.  

Brother John swinging from a tree branch - no helmut 1954
My brothers and I had a wonderful childhood for which I am so thankful.  That childhood made us the men we are today.  

My brothers John and Isaac faking a fight, oh but there were plenty of real fights - that's what brothers do - 1954
Note:  Brother John, the same one who is swinging from the tree above did fall out of a tree later and broke his arm.  I remember it well because He got a lot of attention when his arm ended up in a sling.  And, he got a new cowboy outfit with a cap gun to help him feel better!  I was so jealous.  I never broke my arm.  And oh yes, he survived to the fine man he is today, no worse for the wear.  In fact he is the care pastor (the irony) of a large Christian fundamentalist church in Greenville, South Carolina.  

Me (foreground) and my brothers at the Ole Swimming Hole on Boot Road with our dog Sam - we didn't have an in ground pool at our 2nd floor apartment on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, PA.  We survived. - 1955


  1. You seem to have has a wonderful childhood. My family is from Pennsylvania. Have you heard of Somerset or Garrett? I am the first "California Native". I was only 3 when you graduated high school, but I think I knew I was gay then too. Just ask my sister's Barbies.

    1. Jeff,

      Yes, I did have a wonderful childhood. Looking back now I realize how poor we were but that didn't seem to be a problem at that time. We always had fun. Never bored like so many of today's kids seem to be. Like the Youtube video says, we headed out the door at daylight and didn't come back until the street lights came on. We always had something to do.
      Oh I knew I was gay too, I had my paper dolls. :)

  2. you had paper dolls? :-0


    1. I grew out of it Anne Marie! Just a "phase". :)


  3. I, too, remember having paper dolls and their clothes. Rode bicycles with no helmets, hay rides, cars without seat belts. As an adult, I had seat-belts installed in my 1963 Chevy Nova (came without them). My sons even rode bicycles in the 70s without helmets. Even remember riding outside cars and trucks on the running boards holding on to the open windows.


    1. David,

      Oh how I loved my movie star paper dolls. It's funny but no one (my family) thought it was unusual that I played with those paper dolls. I think I was about ten years old. I also remember those running boards. I have a picture of me in the back of my father's pickup truck. I actually hated riding in the back in the open air because I didn't think it was dignified. I would never use a helmut while riding a bicycle. If I was riding a motorcycle, I would. Yes, we survived those "dangerous" times. ;)


  4. Go play "I'm Still Here" and have a Bolli for me!


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