This is going to be a strange post because I am writing something I am not sure of or believe. Was my life as I know it or did I block a whole section out? Is she wrong? Does she think I am my brother though that doesn't seem reasonable?
In any case I have a page on facebook but don't go there too often as I feel it is more for younger people. In any case I was contacted by---oh let's call her Mary Lou though I don't think she would object to my using her real name. She had contacted me saying she knew me and mentioned a few things that made it plausible. A couple of days ago she sent me the picture--top right (1951-1952??) and said it was me when we were 15 or 16 but I know I was FAT when I was16. I wrote her back that I wasn't sure if it was me and what was on the jacket. She replied to me that it said "New Mexico Lobos". I was confused as my brother did go to the University of New Mexico but I don't recall his ever giving me a jacket nor do I ever remember wearing such a jacket. More than that I know when I was 15-16 I was going into Manhattan, to thetheatre, cruising, going to gay bars and the baths and my immediate thought "Would I be able to get in those places where/when you had to be 18? Did I look like I could 'pass' in that picture?"
I asked Mary Lou if she could give me more information and she sent me the following:
"I met you through Susan Schwartz, and then we all ran around together... I guess it's called "hanging out" now! There were the Playboys...a social club that I'm sure you belonged to...Vinnie Reda (now a congressman in Rockland County, New York (with a checkered record) Nicky DeAntonio, Gerry Sansiper, Bernie Artz...all went to Columbus High...You and I dated (?) movies, etc. and always argued about Frankie Laine and Doris Day...I loved him, and you hated him...you loved Doris Day and called her Dodo. But you gifted me with Frankie Laine albums. Anything else that I can fill you in on?"
Okay I remember Susan Schwartz whose parents had a home in Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey, where my folks also had a home. She was a red head and fun. There was talk about her parents being communists but remember this was in the late 40s, early 50s when all Jews were thought to be communists! I never heard of or belonged to (or did I?) The Playboys. I certainly remembered Vinnie Reda who was very important in my life at that time but I don't know if he would even recognize my name! Yes, Nicky was also a familiar name. How do you tell someone that you don't remember dating them, especially at that age? Yes I went to Columbus High and no doubt I loved Doris Day--I saw her for the first time in her first movie "Romance on the High Seas" and wore out my copy of her recording "It's Magic"--I also kept scrapbooks of her for most ofmy teen years. Regarding Frankie Laine I really did like him but so did my brother so how could I like him? Hey he also liked Yma Sumac and I wouldn't say I did, too!
I asked Mary Lou to send me anything she could remember and I'm waiting. Meanwhile I completely don't see 'me' in that picture though there is a slight reresemblance to my Marine picture. Was I thin in my mid-teens? I don't think so! Did I block out my 'straight' life? There is very little of it in anything I have written including "The Free Prisoner" which was about my childhood in the Bronx and my coming out, not even in the 7 Decades series I have been writing the past year.
Mary Lou gave me a few links to pages about Vinnie where I learned he is now a Republican commissioner in the Northeast and, for some irony, it is the same county where my brother was very active in the Democrat party and helped get many elected. There is also some stories about Vinnie's honest y but I won't go there .
Something tells me to leave things as I remember them and not go digging in the past about people who, supposedly, spent time with me. I'll see what else she comes up with and decide then whether to continuee on!
What do you think? Is that me? Why would I block out what seems a big part of my life? Was I playing the 'game' so many teens play in their coming out process? Was I really two people--the activist living a life of hedonism and the other dating, going to high school, belonging to a 'social' club? The former is so clear to me while the latter doesn't register at all. I remember running from school to go to the movies or catching the IRT to go downtown and seeing the second act of so many legendary shows and performers. I spent weekends in bars, jazz clubs, the Village and/or at the Everod Baths and can describebe each as to how decorated, laid out and clientele.
The odd thing is that when I came back to the Bronx, after living in Florida upon discharge from the Marines, I found out that my mother had thrown out all my diaries from my teenage years---and my Doris Day scrapbooks!!! I have only bits and pieces, mainly a few photographs, from my teen years so unless I get proof I can only imagine what this is all about!