Sunday, September 14, 2014

Larry's Sweet 16 Birthday Party - 1957

Larry is one of my oldest friends.  Actually Larry IS my oldest friend.  

I've known Larry since third grade elementary school when he outed me to Miss Ezrah, our third grade school teacher.

Miss Ezrah's 3rd grade class ( I am at end of third row on right in back, face partially blocked - larry is standing in front of Miss Ezrah) - 1950

The one and only theatrical production I was ever in - our sixth grade class operetta (we're scarecrows) - I'm in the back on the far left and Larry is in the back on the far right - 1953

From left to right - me, Miss Ezrah and Larry 2004 - at the Simpson Meadows Retirement Home - we couldn't believe Miss Ezrah was still alive! We thought she was old when she was out teacher back in 1953 - Miss Ezrahdied April 3, 2012 at 105 years old

How was I "outed"?  Miss Ezrah had given us an assignment to do a story and then stand in front of the class to tell our story.  I did my assignment and stood in front of the class and told my story.  After I sat down, Larry raised his hand and told Miss Ezrah "I know that story. It's from the Scrooge McDuck comic book I have."  

Wildman Lar in high school - 1959

I had forgotten this incident but Larry reminded me of it a few years ago.  He was afraid that I was going to beat him up when I approached him at the recess that followed that incident.  Instead he was much surprised when I asked him "You have Scrooge McDuck comic books?"  I probably in a previous blog posting too, pardon any redundancy but I feel like posting this story again this morning after coming across Larry's 16th birthday party invitation.  I'm gathering old high school mementos to share with my classmates at my upcoming 55th class reunion next Saturday.

Larry and me with his date Pam - 1959 (my date took the picture). This was me at my heaviest - I weighed 202 lbs, having undergone three operations for a hernia I gained a lot of weight over the summer - see the makings of a double chin - I'm still cute though - the girls all clamored after me (sure)

From that encounter in the East Ward Elementary school playground on that fall day in 1950, thus began a long relationship with my friend Larry.  

Larry and I were best friends up until 9th grade in high school at which time his family moved out of the school district.  We continued to be friends until and after I graduated from high school.

Larry with a date I arranged for him with Carmella Biggar - 1958 - it didn't turn out well - her father banned Larry from their house after Larry's friend Richard said something very rude to him

We had a falling out after I came out burst out of the gay closet in 1963.  Then resulted in a long period of not seeing each other except for one chance encounter on a Spruce Street in Philadelphia, sometime in the 70's.

Then 9/11 happened.  Coincidentally Larry had lost his long time job at Wilmington Trust.  Over the years I had always stayed in contact with his mother, exchanging Christmas cards.  She knew I had also worked for a bank (coincidentally both Larry and I had jobs at banks even though we didn't plan it that way) and had lost my job.  She said Larry was going through a rough time and, perhaps if I contacted him, I could help lift him from his depths of despair.  I know Larry is reading this and will say something about the phrase "depths of despair" and that he wasn't there but the was, believe me folks.

Now the question some of you are probably wondering about - no, Larry isn't gay.  He is 100% straight.  He is as straight as I am gay and you all know I'm 100% gay.  Nor have I ever been attracted to Larry and he certainly not to me. But we do operate on the same wave length.  With few exceptions (he's a poet and I'm not a poetry guy, I don't get it), and he's a dad and granddad and I'm gloriously single - well actually married now (but I still think of my myself as one of Nature's Bachelors), we think alike and have basically the same outlook on life.  Larry is more religious than I am, more in the what I can "man made religion" (organized religion).  I'm a spiritualist.  Something is There, I just don't know what it is and I'm not willing to accept someone else's interpretation.  That old Free Will that God supposedly gave us to test us but I digress. No point in getting into one of those endless and annoying religious discussions on this fine, autumn, Sunday morning.  

The above images from a few years ago when I took Larry out to lunch for his June birthday.  You just can't take the guy anywhere, he has the eye for the ladies that's for sure.  (Thank goodness his wife doesn't read my blog.)

This is a picture of a happy man who just eyed some major eye candy on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk.

Each year for Larry's birthday lunch I also treat him to an old time photo.  So what do you think of the two old time cowpokes?  Pretty good after all these years huh?

Larry and I have a long history.  We're both a lot older now (tell me about it) and experiencing the many facets of watching our bodies fall apart incrementally.  

Larry is one of the two persons I talk to frequently on FaceTime (you know who the Other one is).  

Larry the Sage, contemplating the state of the Universe

Just to show you that my blog postings are unrehearsed and I just sometimes let them flow, I started out this posting with the story of how my date to Larry's 16th birthday party left with another guy (who had a car, I didn't).  

Larry on his wedding day with his wife Lois - 1961.

Larry, Lois and I on the Spirit of Philadelphia cruise 2002

That girl, who is in charge of my 55th class reunion this upcoming Saturday claims she doesn't remember that happening but, of course, I was forever traumatized by her rejection of me as a date by going home with Charlie Crouse, the GUY WITH THE CAR.  

Charlie Crouse, the louse who stole my date back at Larry's 16th birthday party in June 1957.

Patty (woman in gold) at our 50th class reunion 2009 - she says she remembers nothing about ditching me - uh . . okay

Well now folks, wouldn't it have been something if I had ditched her and had Charlie take me home?  I bet she would have remembered THAT.  


  1. A generously-illustrated good read, Ron. In some ways you and Larry sound like chalk and cheese but it's really nice to see that your differences never got in the way and that there was something 'higher' to attract you to each other. He sounds like one in a million. Now, it hardly needs saying, but make do sure that you enjoy his party.

    Btw: I found out that one of the nuns who taught my class when I was 10/11 is still alive - at least she was a couple of years ago. I owe so much to her, a marvellous teacher with a perfect balance of earnestness and a sense of fun. No wonder she was so effective in getting nearly my entire class through the exams which destined us for the then 'superior' level of secondary education, which has long been abandoned in these days when selection on basis of intelligence at a very young age is considered 'unfair'. Maybe you had a similar level of respect for your Miss Ezrah.

    1. Ray,
      Thank you Ray. Yes, Larry and I are "chalk and cheese." He get along famously although our views on religion and politics are exact opposites. Perhaps it had to do with our similar upbringing. Both my father and Larry's father were truck drivers, emotionally distant and verbally abusive. We were both very close to our mothers although Larry didn't turn out gay (so there goes that theory). BTW, the party you're referring to happened in June of 1958. Larry doesn't have any more birthday parties.
      You're right about Miss Ezrah. She was one of the Good Ones. Larry remembers her because she encouraged him to write. When we saw Miss Ezrah in 2004 she said she remembered us. I tested her and apparently she did remember me all those years ago. Unfortunately not all of my teachers were as good as she was. She was kind and gentle. She never married though. I assumed she was gay but back then gayness wasn't permitted.
      Another "BTW", I saw the English version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" last night. Other than Daniel Craig (oh sooo sexy), I didn't like it as well as the Swedish version. I assume you did reviews on both of those movies?

    2. Yes, sorry Ron. I'd got into my head that there was going to be some sort of re-creation of the original party that you were going to go to. Where on earth that came from I've no idea (senility + over-active imagination?)

      I did see the original Swedish 'The Girl....' trilogy when they were released in the cinema, but that was before I started doing individual reviews. My 'record' states that I gave each of them a '7'. Then I read the books, which I heartily recommend - and then saw the English language re-make of 'Tattoo'. My memory is that although I quite liked the latter I preferred the originals. But now I see I gave the Daniel Craig re-make a '7.5'. So looks like faulty memory again.
      So sad that author Stieg Larrson didn't live to witness the success of his novels - or to rake in all that money which would have made him a millionaire.

    3. Ray,
      I have the other two movies (Netflix DVD's) which are in my bedroom (the Tipton Cinema as Pat likes to call my home movie theater).
      Yes, it is a shame that Stieg Larrson didn't live to enjoy the fruits of the success of his novels.

  2. hi larry; you were kind enough to join us at the blogger meetup in march; you are a cool guy and if you and ron have been friends THAT long...WOW!

    and you like cats (another plus in my book). and let's face it, WE ALL look for eye candy in our "old age".

    have a good time at your reunion!

    1. Anne Marie,
      Larry is a gem. He would never trade any of his Scrooge McDuck comic books though. He still has them.

  3. Anonymous3:16 PM

    Really cool, Ron! It's interesting how "opposites attract", and I'd say you two are pretty much opposites!
    Good times!

    I hope the reunion is fun!

    Peace <3

    1. Jay,
      Yep, we're pretty much opposites, that's for sure. But we get along great, especially for two guys of totally opposite political, religious and sexual views. Big difference with Larry, he's not a bigot. He practices true Christian values, all too often absent in today's contentious culture wars.

  4. Ron,

    Where do I start?

    I guess offering your followers a chance to read my take on our first meeting, called “The Kid Met him in the Funny Pages” at .

    Now about some dates: I turned 16 in 1957, as did you, not in 1958. I was married in 1961, not 1962. We met in third grade not in 1953, but in 1950. I moved back to Downingtown during Christmas vacation of 1949. I had attended the first half of third grade at West Whiteland Elementary. I came into Miss Ezrah’s class at East Ward just after New Year’s Day, 1950. In 1953 we finished out sixth grade and then began Junior High in the fall.

    I don’t agree that we are opposites or “chalk and Cheese”. We have much more in common than not, and I was always able to talk to you, which I can’t say about a lot of people. I have always considered you and Stuart as brothers. I don’t think we’re as far apart on a lot of political issues as you think; some yes, but there are a lot we probably agree on. I’m not a political wonk like you, I am sort of apolitical or perhaps, just hate all politicians.

    Yeah, we have different spiritual views, but so what? Yes, I certainly pray for your well-being to a God I believe in that you don’t. But that doesn’t harm either of us. I certainly hope you will see what I see someday, but then that is what Christian’s do, because true Christians care about everyone and we share because we are supposed to.

    Sexually, we are probably not all that different or opposite, we just like different equipment. I think we both have a interesting history involving sex that either of us has dared Blog about.

    I want to mention that our falling out was more a misunderstanding than anything else and I had nothing but concern and good intensions toward you. I was an Atheist at that time, so no one mistakes our unfortunate split on some religious thing. I'm just glad our friendship was renewed and continues.

    Anyway, long comment. I’ll shut up now.


    1. Larry,
      I knew I could count on you to get my dates correct. I just sort of estimate the dates. One of the pleasures these days are my frequent FaceTime chats with you. It's ironic that there are only two people I talk to at length on FaceTime and you both like each other. Pat thinks you're the tops! I do too!

  5. Wow - Ron - what another fabulously enjoyable blog. I've met Larry and he's a super guy. No wonder you've remained friends. And the photos you have just add soooo much. I'm trying to guess if that's a Studebaker Larry and his wife are sitting in in that '61 photo. I see a Chrysler product beyond them.

    Well many more happy birthdays to Larry and many more years of friendship to you both.


    1. Thank you Pat!

    2. Pat, that is indeed a Studebaker, a 1961 Lark model that I bought just before we wed.

    3. Lar,
      Pat can identify almost any old car. He's amazing!

    4. Hey Larry - thanks for letting me know that. I love the cars of that era. And you can distinguish them from the different styles. It was the C column that led me to believe Studebaker. They used to sell them from gas stations at first when they didn't have showrooms - I guess in the really early stages. I'm supposed to be playing at a car show this Sat with over a 1000 cars to view. Hope it doesn't get postponed again by rain.

      Hey Ron - I've been with you while you've pointed out the years and makes of cars too. Another similar interest. We both used to go to showrooms to look at the new models.

      Another fun blog post.



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