January 17, 2011


Larry, age 11
The Jersey Shore (1972)

Every year our family went to the Jersey Shore for our summer vacation. It was a big extended family affair and I was one of the youngest of the kids. Here I am posing in my  homemade "cut-offs" reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I had the spoken word album as well!) Pretty gay, right? And I love the cigarette machine in the background.

I didn't think about being different in those years. My family didn't seem to think it was strange for me to imitate Lily Tomlin as Ernestine, the telephone operator, or to draw pictures of my grandmother in 60's style fashions.

They were very nurturing. I'm sure I raised an eyebrow or two along the way, but nobody seemed to mention anything.

I feel lucky to have grown up in those days - attitudes seemed less uptight. I remember my mother, aunts, and older cousins all wearing big wigs. And my dad and uncles wearing flashy leisure suits with open collared shirts.

I wore platform shoes from Thom McCan and an off-white polyester jacket to my 8th grade graduation.

I was your typical good boy. I did well in school, was an altar boy, had a paper route, played sports (not very successfully), and basically stayed out of trouble.
I guess deep down I knew I was "queer".

I liked to sit with the women at the table after dinner instead of watching sports.
I decorated my bedroom bulletin board every holiday. I loved to shop at the Wonder Stores for sizzle shirts and brushed denim Palazzo Pants. (I think Frank DeCaro can relate!) 

What's strange is that I somehow felt that I needed to edit my queerness. I had a girlfriend, but nothing ever happened. I had male friends, and nothing ever happened. Although, my best friend turned out to be gay. I survived those school years and much of college basically in the closet. I came out when I was 23, at my 5th year high school reunion.

Looking back now,I realize that nobody stopped me from being who I was.
It just took me a little longer to realize it, and to embrace it.

Larry's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Bill Bixby (in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father")
I wanted to be Eddie. I wanted to live with Mrs. Livingston!

Bill Bixby 12x16 Color Photograph (The Courtship of Eddie's Father) This Is a Recording Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Hardcover)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was a baby of the 80s, but that's the only difference I can find with our backgrounds and the way we describe them. Thanks for posting!