Jack, age 6
Portsmouth, RI (1963)
This photo was taken in my parents living room, which I fondly remember with 50's furniture and knick-knacks, and which I cherish till this day. And there I am posing with my Kimono, a gift from my Aunt Irma and Uncle Jim who were stationed in Japan at the time. In pictures of me as a child I always seemed happy and always smiled for the cameras.
But from an early age I realized I wasn't like the other boys, and I always knew that. I wasn't a fan of sports (although my father and grandfather loved them with a passion I never understood). While I was happy to play sports, I didn't care much if I won or lost - I was just happy to play.
As such, I was usually picked last to play on a team. I absolutely loved playing with GI Joe dolls, but mine were never fighting - they were usually packing up their uniforms to go on vacation to the beach. LOL!
I always loved the idea of vacations and travel. When I got older, (around 13)
I use to pack a small suitcase and take a bus to the local airport and sit at the departure gates pretending I was going on vacation. At the end of the day I would simply take the bus home.
In hindsight I guess kids knew I was slightly "different," and I guess I don't remember a time in my life that I didn't know I was different, although gay wasn't the word I attributed it to. I never formed a lot of friendship with other boys while growing up, and more easily formed friendships with girls. But I did have a couple of good male friends while growing up in high school.
During college, I formed a number of strong male friendships, with a strong emphasis on drinking. However, I guess my choices of TV watching in the 60's being the annual airings of The Wizard of Oz and Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella should have told me something.
Like many others my age, my efforts at being straight and entering marriage eventually failed. However - that marriage resulted in two wonderful children am I thankful for every day, who accept me the way I am. Coming out wasn't a perfect experience for me by any means, and I put it off until my early 40's. But then again, coming out is usually not perfect experience for anyone.
I have a great family who I love dearly. I have to especially thank my partner of 15 years who has made my life complete and who I love dearly. He challenges me to be a better person almost daily. Without him, I would probably have remained in the closet for many more years, wasting additional time.
Life is very good being the real me.
And I don't have any doubt about it - I was born this way.
Jack's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Mark Goddard (Major Don West on "Lost In Space")