The Ugly Duckling

June 27, 2015

As I walked up Melrose to LaLa’s tonight…I was struck by how fast the street is changing…I mean it is PACKED…with 20 – 30 somethings shopping….tattooed…ambling all over

….it Really is Quite Wonderful…..

and as I passed the second McMansion being built on my block next to the first – one that sold a couple of years back….for 2.8 million….I felt so right in selling now and moving down to Palm Springs where life is at a much slower wonderful pace…..

I was down there yesterday for …signing a phone book’s (do they still print phone books?)……..amount of paper for my new house that I am just Over the Moon in getting…..it is right on a golf course…has a view of the fairway…a pond…the mountains in the distance….as the moon rises…….

I frankly had thought I could never be happier with life….

until NOW….

….as the guys of my generation…Gay….have moved down there from different parts of the US…a lot from the salt of the US…the MidWest…some from the East…some from the South….

Wonderful Ron Hughes….

the realtor…(he is originally from Milwaukee)

he decided to introduce all of these gay guys to each other ..

as when they first arrived they did not know anyone….

(an aside…most of these are couples have been together for more than 30 years)

….and MAN what a group they are…now number over 40….they get together every Friday eve….for cocktails….. at a bar in PS….

are called the “Boozey Bunch”…how I wish my Gay Uncle Sumner had been alive as he would have been in Heaven……imbibing with these guys….

it was SOO WONDERFUL being amid them last night after the Supreme Court’s decision…..

the Ever so Elegant “Royals” (as they are called) …wonderful wonderful men from Milwaukee ….had draped themselves in different shades of the Gay flag….

they were enroute to a celebration in the middle of Palm Springs….

I have to preface all of this by mentioning a wonderful article in the New York Times today “Historic Day for Gay Rights, but a Twinge of Loss for the Gay Culture”…..written Fabulously by Jodi Kantor…..

it is something that I have been feeling as many older Gay men I have talked to….

how being Gay …has become “Ho..Hum”….it use to be like an exciting …almost dangerous…..secret society that ONLY Gay people belonged to…..

I mean when I moved to LA in 1969…..there were NO windows on Gay bars or restaurants…they were totally cemented in so no one could throw a brick in as they drove past on the street….and you entered from the back usually….

My uncle (my father’s brother…and man they were like night and day) being Gay….was so sooo wonderful for me…as he welcomed me in that most confusing period we all went through as we matured into Full Blown Men….(sorry for the pun Bobby)….

he introduced me to the Only Gay bar where you could dance…well it was WAY out… off of Pacific Coast Highway…

up a road that led into the hills…it eventually turned into a dirt road..

I think it was called the “Canyon Club”…

Gay guys and dykes danced together on this large floor…..

my uncle warned me…”If You see the red light swirling on… over there…drop the guy you are dancing with and Grab a dyke…as the sheriffs are approaching…”…

the bar had a lookout on the roof….who would spot a cop car coming….

When I was passing through puberty…I …of course did not know what was happening….I just knew I was Odd…..

I remembered a book my Mom use to read me as a child…Hans Christian Andersens “Ugly Duckling”…well I ALWAYS felt I was THE Ugly Duckling….I remember going down to our old picnic point at our summer house on Burgundy Point

…looking out across Lake Namekagon….wondering why I was SOO ODD…..

and there were so many times when I returned from St Albans and would just flop down on the couch in the empty Living Room …my St Albans blazer…white shirt and tie on….(our uniform for eight years…4th grade through 12th )….

just ..wanting to Die….

I did not realize I was Gay until I was a Junior at college……

and a couple of years later…I was at our summer house on Lake Namekagon…

my mom and I had swum (?) to the Little Island…just off Burgundy Point…

our summer house had no electricity…kerosene lamps only

…our water was pumped by a Briggs and Stratton engine- one spark plug gas powered wonderful motor that I loved the smell of..into a wooden tank way above…a bit away from the house….

Mom would go out in her boots and pump …and emit a lot of Gosh Darns..before the motor would turn over and ignite….we children…(noses pressed to the glass) would wait until the wooden tank on stilts would overflow and then race out with our flash lights to put a metal prong to the spark plug that would stop the engine pumping……

the dirt driveway into our house was a mile long through Cathedral like trees that stretched to the Heavens…….

we got back to our dock…to dry off in the sun….

Mom…stripped her bathing cap from her head saying “Robby…tell me About Your Life……”

I sort of knew where she was going …which surprised me….

I said “Mom….Everything…???”

She said “Yes!”

and with that I told her about being Gay…..

she  …said “I feel SOO Chic having a Gay son!!!”

“But I don’t understand How Women do ..it …”

I broke into laughter saying…”Mom you don’t ever have to worry about it”

Well I cannot tell you how Wonderful that made me feel…..it Totally Elated me…a Heavy…Heavy millstone was lifted off of my shoulders….

she told my father…who said he loved me….no matter what I was…..

so being being with these Wonderful Welcoming Guys last night….

The Ugly Duckling has finally come Home…………………

(in cleaning out my room.today ….I came across the “wedding”band that my first lover…and looking back the BEST….(I left  him twice….I was only 21)…..gave me

as I picked up the gold band…I felt this electric shock of what could have been….. sighed………with a warm smile  on my lips…….)

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