January 25, 2011


James, age 11
Marlboro, NJ (1976)

This pic was shot on the deck of a Tall Ship that was one of many anchored in NY Harbor for the Bi-Centennial. I decided on a fuchsia, wide-open Polo shirt and coordinating plaid pant to befit the occasion, which also appears to be my first gay cruise, as evidenced by some of my "shipmates". My charming sister Eileen (to the left) appears oblivious.

"All aboard the SS SWISH!"
I think the first manifestation of my "differentness" had to be around age 7.
My parents were shopping for a new house, and they'd brought the realty brochures for my perusal, upon my insistence. Within an hour of having them, I'd copied the more desirable floor plans on graph paper, and began a series of renovations to improve their "feng-shui" and decorating desirability. 'Why can't they just put this doorway where it BELONGS?'

Mother would stare, smile, and eventually agree. Our 5 bedroom bi-level shone with 70's magnificence, due in no small part to my input.

I look back at the MANY photos I could have chosen to submit, and while they all strike a knowing and warm nostalgia now, I did fight "it" for a long time. When I finally got the job done and came out at 27, the weight that was lifted brought us all together into a very loving, involved, and somewhat maddening family unit - that I wouldn't change for the world.

Like any kid coming of age in the 70's, the Friday night TV blockbuster of The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family was a HUGE influence on my dress, style, and - now that i think of it - my love of interiors. Yup, I was the weird kid who looked at the ACCESSORIES on the set of The Partridge Family. They had a porcelain CHEETAH that I coveted.

Even daytime TV in that era was so fantastically gay, it's no wonder I was GLUED to Match Game, Mike Douglas, and The Dinah Shore Show. I even coveted Mike's Eero Saarinen table and interview chairs!!!! Hello!!!

But it wasn't til I saw "CHiPS" that my "maturity" manifested itself in a much different way. Seeing Ponch and Jon assisting those white-toothed California families and hot-pantsed Pinto drivers-in-distress sure struck a chord.
I wanted them. Badly.

From prior submissions here, I can see I'm clearly NOT the only gay boy deeply affected by this groundbreaking TV program...

James' first, famous-person same sex crush:
Erik Estrada & Larry Wilcox ("CHiPs")
Signed CHIPS (Erik Estrada / Larry Wilcox) 8x10 By Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox Photo Best of Match Game DVD Collection Eero Saarinen: Objects and Furniture Design (Objects & Furniture Design by Architects) MWAH! The Best of The Dinah Shore Show


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T. Budd said...

Love Jim. Love his story. Sassy boy.

Swirl Girl said...

Proud to be James' friend. Great story.