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Author Topic: When I was 31………………  (Read 1784 times)

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Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
When I was 31………………
« on: March 29, 2007, 12:50:23 PM »
1978 wasn’t a very good year, it was a confusing time to be a gay person, but most of all, it was a time when many of us learned about the truth of cruelty of the society which we were supposed to call our own.

I started out the year switching jobs from Xerox Corp. to Eastman Kodak, and it was a move that was uniquely tied to my “gayness”.  I had applied for a promotion at Xerox for which I was the most qualified person in the region, and the opening was filled with a very youngish “airhead” of female persuasion, who also had tits that would have given Dolly competition.  Seeing the writing on the wall; and observing that most of the gay employees were coming under some pressure to move on to other employment; I went to Eastman Kodak to inquire about employment with them.  They were just moving into competition with Xerox directly and my talents and skills were in short supply at that time, ensuring an audience at the very least. 

I drove up the peninsula to San Francisco to the office that Eastman Kodak had purchased in the 1940’s, on the waterfront, and was a good 20 minutes early for my interview.  When it was my time, I went into the office of the personnel manager and behind a large desk, sat a man of some maturity, smoking a very ornate pipe.  I sat down and introduced myself and shortly thereafter, told the gentleman that I was totally not interested in working for Kodak if my being gay was going to ever be a problem for anyone in the company and I was completely committed to finding employment that would not necessarily embrace my “Queerness” but at the same time, never make it an issue.  He leaned back in his very rich leather covered office chair and took a long drag on his pipe, exhaling slowly to temporarily fill the small office with a pungent cherry smell.  He stated very matter-of-factly that if Eastman Kodak was to give me an offer of employment that it would have nothing to do with my gayness and if I accepted such an offer, I would not be expected to bring my gay activities to work, any more than anyone else would be expected to bring their sexual proclivities to work with them.  I simply stated that he had given the “right” answer, and we could proceed with the interview.  It was a good interview; I aced all the tests, and was offered a job that paid a full $5500 more than my Xerox job.  That happened in January 1978.

In March, in my living room in Sunnyvale; the Freewheelers Car Club was born.  This has to be the highlight of this year, and from those original 16 members, the club has weathered the annihilation of many of the first members from this disgusting virus, and has grown to over 300 members today with over a thousand classic cars in the club. 

Later that year, the fight to pass Proposition 6 in California was brought to a fever pitch by a strange conservative Christian by the name of Briggs, and fought mightily by San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk.  The religious right had come to be the most offensive and hateful group of political activists that this observer had ever seen in America.  Proposition 6 was a proposed law that would make it legal to fire anyone who was a teacher and gay.  It was the first time that the public at large in the largest economy in the United States was called on to support gays by law.  The Proposition was soundly rejected by the populace and as a result, Dan White, a minor personality on the San Francisco board of Supervisors, resigned in protest.  In the following days and weeks, it was found that the only way he could be re-instated was for the mayor to appoint him back to his chair.  He felt he had made an emotional mistake in resigning and he wanted his job back.  The day that Mayor George Moscone was to announce the new appointment to the vacancy, Dan White, a former policeman and fireman, went to city hall with a loaded revolver, and shot the mayor and Harvey Milk, dead!

I was sitting at a signal light, under the 280 Freeway, after just leaving Stanford Hospital on a service call; and while I was planning to turn south and go to another call in Cupertino, I simply stayed on the freeway and went on down to the Sunnyvale exit and went home in complete silence and disbelief.  We were now setting out on a new and previously unexplored page in gay history, and none of us knew or could have even guessed what kind of insanity would follow.  People all over the San Francisco Bay Area were coming out of the closet in protest, and straight people all over California were coming out in support of the gay community in droves.  It was a new and different world that none of us could possibly have guessed would happen. 

Later in the year, November to be exact, Dan White was given five years in prison for the cold blooded killing of two very good people.  I still have issues with that time, and have placed this rant here for your reading instead of my Blog, because I wanted to spur conversation about that time and how it affected you in your state, and how that early part of the gay movement affected your life and your experiences.

Thank you for reading,

Yours,
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Bucko

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  • Posts: 1,947
  • You need a shine, missy!
    • The Spin Cycle
Re: When I was 31………………
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2007, 02:03:03 PM »
I remember 1978 very well. It was the year I graduated from High School and moved into Boston. It was the year I commenced my adult life.

I celebrated my eighteenth birthday (Jan 28) by going to the hot disco in town. It was a smallish club hidden in an alley behind the library, just outside of Copley Square. 1978 was high summer for disco music: the soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever played all night. I met my first lover that night. It was the first time I'd ever gone home from a bar with anyone. I was hardly a virgin, but not aware of my body or needs yet to know haw terrible the sex was that night.

A good friend hosted a party for me that weekend. It was memorable for two reasons: It was the first time I'd ever heard the Sex Pistols and the first time I kissed a straight boy (the music confused me, the kiss confused the straight guy who would up more or less bi). In February I attended a Valentine's costume party in a dress (my first stab at drag) and discovered that cool straight girls love gay guys. The party was hosted by a dear friend I'd known forever (originally from church!!) whose sister was visiting from California.

The sister filled my head with tales of another world, a cool place where being gay wasn't as onerous a burden, and where establishing residency entitled me to a free college education (as was the case in California in 1978). She offered to help me out and I made plans to move to Palm Springs upon graduating.

The guy I'd met in Boston, my future lover, was initially condescending to my idea of moving diagonally across the country, then increasingly negative. he sent me letters containing pages of poetry and words of love, which was heady stuff to my 18-year-old mind. He was in his mid-twenties and totally smitten by me. He gradually made me overcome my dream of moving far away with promises of eternal love and support.

In April he hosted a dinner for my sister and several of my friends. The food (curried chicken and rice pilaf) doesn't sound very exotic now, but at the time struck us all as very gourmet, and the wine (and dope) was excellent. By the end of the party, everyone thought me a fool for wanting to try California when I obviously had everything I could want right there in Boston.

The sex was still terrible, but I thought that it was just me adjusting to being a bottom.

The last time I performed in any theater was the night of my senior prom. As I didn't feel that I had any business attending, I gladly accepted an offer to fill in last minute in a small role in A Midsummer's Night Dream. David (my lover) sat in the audience, with two of his friends from Boston. We later went to a dive near the beach and were almost lynched. Two interracial gay couples were two too many. evidentally.

When David finally met my parents, they were struck dumb, which was definitely for the best.

David was in attendance at my graduation, the only black face in the crowd. After commencement, I ran through the crowd to meet him (and my family) and jumped into his big strong arms, giving him a giant smooch. The crowd was not pleased, but no riots were reported.

By then I'd already been living in an apartment in Boston for about a week, as I'd moved the day after my last day of school. we lived in a small two-bedroom and had a roommate named Bob. Bob was the biggest pothead I'd ever met and would tip my housekeeping with grains of hashish or long roaches.

Life with David quickly became a horror. I discovered too late that he was a sexual compulsive and would trick several times a day. Our sex went from terrible to sadistic, as he'd rationalize his extra-curricular activities by insisting that I neither gave him enough ass nor that I enjoyed the experience sufficiently. I came home from work one night to find my best friend in bed with him and that's when the fighting kicked up into high gear. Thereafter I was told to either join in when he brought someone over or sleep on the couch.

I did a little of each, but was miserable. But moving back to my mother's house was impossible even if I'd considered it. I struggled as best as I could and moved out in September with a friend, a girl in whom I'd confided. Rhonda was my hag, and we set up something approximating a home. But she was disinherited by her strict Catholic parents, first for living with a man in sin, then for consorting with a homosexual when the true nature of our relationship was explained.

The year finished with my getting Mono, sick in bed for almost a month. I was working as a security guard and kept an absurd schedule, working between eighty and one hundred hours a week. My diet was terrible and I did a lot of drugs in the little downtime I had.

Ah 1978! How can I ever forget?

Brent
(Who has a long memory)

Blessed with brains, talent and gorgeous tits.

The revolutionary smart set reads The Spin Cycle at least once every day.

Blathering on AIDSmeds since 2005, provocative from birth

Offline Ihavehope

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,366
  • Yes, I'm a cry baby, AND WHAT?
Re: When I was 31………………
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2007, 02:04:40 PM »
1978

Infected: April 2005
12/6/06 - Diagnosed HIV positive
12/19/06 - CD4 = 240  22% VL = 26,300
1/4/07 - CD4 = 200 16% VL = ?
2/9/07 = Started Kaletra/Truvada
3/13/07 = CD4 = 386 22% VL ?

Offline aupointillimite

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,229
  • FUS DO RAH!
Re: When I was 31………………
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2007, 02:33:03 PM »
I'm afraid I have nothing intelligent to add to this discussion.

Like that's gonna stop me.   ;)

1978 ruled for me, too. 

Hangin' out in my mom's ovary while she was in California was the most. 

 :D

I just read that 1978 was the year the gay pride flag made its debut.  Interesting.

"Hong Kong Garden" by Siouxsie and the Banshees was also released.  I am now sad that I missed 1978. 
Your tastebuds can't repel flavor of this magnitude!

Offline Dachshund

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,999
Re: When I was 31………………
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2007, 02:33:24 PM »
I lived through the anxiety and fear created by Prop 6. I was a rookie teacher at a suburban school in Northern California at the time. I remember being told by a fellow teacher that I shouldn't get too comfortable teaching at "his" school, that I would be leaving as soon as Prop 6 passed. Suburbia is just as racist and homophobic as any southern backwater...maybe more.

I walked to SanFrancisco City Hall in the candlelight tribute to Harvey Milk. I was shocked by the sentence and Dan White's Twinkies defense.

Hal
(who tires of the excessive, needless photojournalism)


Offline Bucko

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,947
  • You need a shine, missy!
    • The Spin Cycle
Re: When I was 31………………
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2007, 02:43:52 PM »
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088275/

http://www.tellingpictures.com/films/2.html

Brent
(Who cried like a baby the first time he saw the movie)
Blessed with brains, talent and gorgeous tits.

The revolutionary smart set reads The Spin Cycle at least once every day.

Blathering on AIDSmeds since 2005, provocative from birth

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: When I was 31………………
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2007, 03:15:23 PM »
Geez thanks guys.

Espcially Benj for his very graphic memory of the ovary.

Brent, you do have a way of bringing fine story telling to the table. 

Doxie, I had no idea you were touched by the terror of the "right" hand of God in 1978.  Thanks to HIM, we are still looking back on that time as a victory instead of the beginning of all out war.

For a bit of levity here, I thought I would dig up a photo of my first realy Classic car that I had in my collection, which was at the time, only one car.  Shortly after that the collection started to grow, but never in the sense of Jay Leno.  I was never found with that much available cash.

Love,

[attachment deleted by admin]
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline Jody

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,843
Re: When I was 31………………
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2007, 09:10:43 PM »
Thanks for the trip in the time capsule Tim back to 1978...Maybe it would be a great concept to pick various years and detail the "Where were you back then" theme.

For me I was still 22 years old in June of that year when I graduated college.  It was a really wild time with parties and well...more parties.  Finding the bar scenes, the clubs and it was still - UGH - disco time...There were Grateful Dead concerts (I guess only dinosaurs remember that !!!)

I started to work full time and was still home until 1980 when I moved to California for 2 years... I guess Kodak took Moffie to Rochester, NY..I remember when you mentioned that big snowstorm in upstate New York back in 1978 when we were talking in Montreal...That really makes you appreciate Arizona I guess.

Anyway it was quite a unique time and I was still growing up in it, seems like just yesterday and yet a million years ago.

Jody  ;)
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: When I was 31………………
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2007, 10:03:36 AM »
Ah yes Jody, that was the trip from hell, when the pilot of the plane flew right through the middle of Rochester, because he couldn't find the airport.  When I saw the Xerox tower go by the window, I knew the end was near. 

Oh yes, the blizzard of '78, proved my decision to stay in California was the best one. 

Love,
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline scotttt

  • Member
  • Posts: 146
Re: When I was 31………………
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2007, 10:11:15 AM »
"Hangin' out in my mom's ovary while she was in California was the most. "

What about your other half, hangin' out in your father's ball sack?  You must have been nuts to forget about that.

 


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