Saturday, June 15, 2013

Old, but no clue how I got here

Speaking of being old, I have been trying to look back and see if there is/was a pattern in my life and how I would describe myself if I were someone else.  No clue.  I think I was cute, but not too masculine.  I had to make all the moves, but had at least three boys in high school so had sex and loved being in the band.

My sister, now dead, and I were “religious”—she played the piano and we sang in the choir (would you believe I actually took voice lessons?  I think an excuse to give money to lady in church who was a widow.). I don't know if my personality changed.  I do know I once thought that it would be better to be bi—(more chances).   I think there is no doubt that I would be the same if i were hetero.  Lazy.  Drifted through life but lucked out.

I had hard time learning to do pushups, And to learn to “play” the flute—I could not blow across the thing.

I did not make friends at LSU, in the Army, and lucked out when I found ONE and liked them and felt at home and was lucky enough to have family support and could serve the cause.  Dorr would say, yes, when you found time away from the Marines you kept looking for—I found a few and fresh from the Navy Melvin.

My few streaks of independence were sort of strange. I first ignored orders not to open and close the curtain at the theater I worked for because I had thought that was a sophisticated big town thing—and should have been fired.  I just did not show up for an added KP in the Army was willing to take the risk as didn't think I deserved the punishment, so didn't and went to library and nothing ever happened.

When I got kicked out of the Army I didn’t think much of it for myself—was only in for two years anyway.  Today I think that i was a lousy soldier.  I got upset when what I wanted didn't happen—had no thought of what was good for the Army. 

I drove my lovely Pontiac convertible home to Bossier City, left it and a note saying I was ok and not to worry, walked over the bridge to the T&P train station on N Market (later a temporary library, Noel memorial) and got on the train with about $200 and went to L. A.

I loved it the moment I saw it on a family vacation—I didn't want my family to hurt for my sexuality, but I had no problem with it.  Like the Army I didn’t think they would suffer wondering about me.  Later I joined the church and that meant the B.C. church knew where I was and my father visited me.

It had to be luck. I got a paper found an ad for a dormintory bed, and then found a job, got it and didn’t get invovled with ONE till after going to the Mattachine convention in Denver, 1959.

Job didn’t ask much about discharge.  Did get my LSU record, which was terrible, Same for 2nd job—first was (Anderson Clayton) Cotton Co., doing cables, And 2nd was what is still Retail Credit, and should have checked discharge as, like current questions about man who exposed NSA, they didn’t bother to check even though I had access to personal files of people with credit.

When house here burned in ’89, I moved back. We thought of building a library—not a good idea, even now, no demand, and now internet is important and I stayed here as cheap and had house, etc.  Do not see any old fellow students, only neighbors, not even glbt people. I traveled in early days, Dallas every month, etc.  Not strong enough to do much now, but still want to see Hot Springs, and Cajun 
country.

Enjoying internet and TV and eating too much—but not expensive.  So I am where I started. 

So now let’s see how things go for our issues.  That keeps me young.

2 comments:

Phillip A. Dragotto said...

Billy, I don't know how you can say you were lazy with all the work you did for the Movement and the follow-up commentaries you make. You should be proud of your legacy of initiating change and being part of paving the road to decriminalize homosexuality. You are a pioneer of liberty. Never sell yourself short.

All of our lives take different paths. For me it has been about self-acceptance. I do have clinical depression and anxiety which I take meds. for; I have a good shrink. I think most of it is due to the inner battle I fought with my identity from as far back as I can remember until I came out in 1974. Then, it was a whole new battle of learning where I fit within the gay community.

Career-wise, I've worked for high end companies all my life, and even throughout being self employed, I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the cream of the crop in the L.A. area. I have at times made good money, and at times, squandered it. I am not by any means wealthy and eke by, but live just fine.

I went to Catholic grammar school and high school, and graduated with honors from the Chouinard Art School of the California Institute of the Arts in the area near Mac Arthur Park.

My family was not wealthy, but I grew up in a high end neighborhood, Sherman Oaks, south of the blvd. in the San Fernando Valley, if you know L.A. you know the area I speak of.

Thus, most of my friends from school had parents in the entertainment business, as the ones who lived in Sherman Oaks and Encino, chose to send their kids to private Catholic school, even if they were not Catholic.

My closest group of friends were the gang that hung out at the home of Julie London and Bobby Troup in Encino Hills. I met them in 1966 through Stacy Webb, first born of Julie and Jack Webb. Julie and Bobbie, her second and last husband and composer of Route 66, were wonderful people. Julie was the most beautiful woman I ever met. And I remained friends with the family my whole adult life. I still keep in contact with Lisa Webb, the 2nd daughter of Julie and Jack Webb. Julie was one of the most liberal persons I've ever known and very self-effacing.

She made over 20 albums throughout her short singing career before doing the TV show "Emergency." It frustrates me that she has never been recognized as being as significant an artist as she was in American music. She launched Liberty Records and was known as the Liberty girl.

She had an open door policy to anyone who was sincerely interested in befriending her or her kids. If you were a phony, or celebrity junkie, she wanted nothing to do with you.

She loved to entertain at her home. She talked to us when we were teens as if we were adults and loved to discuss all kinds of music and politics. She had many gay friends and detested prejudice of any kind.

Of all the things I've done in my life, what I learned from Julie is my greatest pride. She told it like it is and no B.S. I will always love her. So I do spend time each day on YouTube and play her songs so they remain on the site. If you're interested, you can visit YouTube and type in Julie London, BBC bio.

Didn't mean to make this so much about me. I guess I'm just feeling a bit nostalgic today.

Billy Glover said...

Now this is a part of the "industry" that needs to be given credit. They were gay-friendly in private, but when the rightwingers and even closet queens were thinking how gay the movie people were, they were doing nothing-certainly a "problem" with us at ONE.

As to me, in a sense maybe I'm thinking my problems were not gay. I have always been lazy, the last one to get on the band bus even when starting a trip from Bossier City to new York one summer (Lions Club sponsored it for their convention) One of the ironies of life is that the local club raised money by putting on a minstrel, with white local politicians in blackface. The black high school didn't get such trips, got our extra instruments, didn't have uniforms, etc.

I was paid staff at ONE, a joke of course, and we all had family support-Tony for Don, Johnnie for Dorr. There wa also Lewis or Lou Bonham, not sure how he did. But I did drive to Long Bech and even Oceanside looking for sailors or marines, lived at one time in Cortez Hotel, off of 6th before Alvarado. I actually brought one Marine back I met in Tijuana. We "visited' for a month or so. I would take him back to base. Same with one sailor in Long Beach. Then, I met newly ex-sailor Melvin Cain on 6th St between the bus station and Pershing Squre, took him home to apartment off Beverly cross from Belmont High, and we were together most of 13 years-till he got religion. And he Peter and Irwin, et al, moved.

My point is that Dorr Legg was right, I would often come in late or leave early. But they were there in an open office starting in I think 53, and we moved from S. Hill to Venice Blvd at Western in 1962. We were the only homosexual organization/business until Mattachine (Hal et al) and then DOB (Delm, Phylis, et al.) in San Francisco. It was interesting, but I was proof that you can't run a good organization on volunteers—even with my pittance of a salary I was suppose to show up everyday, and volunteers would not do that.

After we separated in 1965, I started doing temp jobs thorough several agencies. And I am not sure how your work was, but even on such jobs, I was able to come in late and/or leave early and stayed on most jobs several months And 2 lasted over a year. I actgualy "quite one job at a bank (of CA) to go on a trip with—in theory our librarian (Leslie Colfax, actually Don's old USC classmate Jack) as he got a job in Alaska. Good trip-but he saw my ways too-I didn't enjoy the boat part, etc. In a sense I did not benefit from some advantages I got in life. (He was frustrated that i stayed in the room reading and didn't see anything on the boat part. I did enjoy the driving up from L. A., etc.

But I new that I could reject anything I didn't like-and that upset Don and Dorr. I would not have been there if I had not believed in the cause, but I also had to enjoy what we were doing and if i got tired, I just sat.

While this says I was lousy co-worker, it also shows the important point most people miss in a case-having some absent board of directors, etc. is worthless, it is the privates in the Army and low paid workers in a group that do the actual work, so all the great proposals don't go anywhere unless the people proposing come do the work.

I missed that point in the Army and in the earlh part of ONE and then Tangents/HIC. You need to be comfortable yourself, BUT you need to be part of the organization. I should have been more helpful to Dorr, I tried later with Don and I should not have gotten upset when the Army said I could not go to Germany-not enough time left it, which made me Actup and that got the attention that got me kicked out.

Anyway, you have got us both looking at our lives, not that I would change anything, but it is interesting to try to understand what and why along the way. And some tiny idea that I passed Choinard often, and never called it MacArthur Park-like Don, it is Westlake till I die.