Rick, age 6
Albany, NY (1974)
This photo was taken circa 1974, and as you can see, I had a "thing" for cleaning. Perhaps it was the pink vacuum cleaner? Perhaps it was the cute striped pants I was sporting? Either way, I seemed quite comfortable tackling the floors in the apartment my parents rented from my grandparents.
I knew I was different very young. But, it wasn't until my sister's Bat Mitzvah (when I fell head over heels in love with the DJ), that I knew I was gay. It was while hearing Steve Winwood's "If You See a Chance" that I knew I liked men.
I think I liked all the cultural things that most gay kids in the 70's did. I had a thing for the Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, and begged my mom to let me watch "Charlie's Angels." I distinctly remember a Madonna "cassette" while vacationing at Lake George in '83. Madonna was my savior as an awkward teen.
Through grade school till high school without a steady girlfriend, in my senior year of college, I had a date with a girl named Wendy. And it all made sense.
We worked together, and Wendy was hell bent on getting me back to her dorm.
Once in her dorm, she played her VHS of "The Seventh Sign" and started making out with me. And, it happened. I politely excused myself, ran outside of the dorm, found a quiet corner, and hurled. Hurled away all of my thoughts that I could EVER be straight! It was truly, a turning point.
The next day, I sat my mom down and told her I had something important to tell her. I was 22, and I came out. It was a beautiful experience. Her response was,
"I knew, but wanted you to tell me, so you could be truthful to yourself. And I love you." I'm incredibly lucky in that the rest of my family felt the same way.
After a brief period of time as a teen when I never cleaned my room, I've now graduated to vacuuming with a Dyson, which is used frequently.