TRUE CONFESSIONS - 25
By Mighty Mouth
I swear to you, dear reader, that everything I say is true and without exaggeration. I entered University of Louisville in 1950. Mine was a hectic routine, with classes in the morning, a fast, late lunch, then rush off to work at the cigarette factory, arriving home at 12:30 a.m., and up early the next morning for 8:30 or 9 a.m. classes. I don’t know when I had time to study, but somehow I got good grades. I stuck to this schedule throughout the 1950-51 school year.
When I could no longer deal with throwing arm loads of tobacco into a machine at Philip Morris, I started looking for other options. I discovered that the university offered something called work scholarships. One could work a certain number of hours per week and instead of being paid, earn credits toward one’s tuition, at "x" dollars per hour. This program was controlled by the dean of men. I hated the man because to me he was such an obvious faggot. In those days I made no effort to hide my extreme hostility to gay stereotypes. In fact, I went out of my way to insult and annoy people who displayed them. When I appeared for my scheduled interview with the dean, I swaggered into his office with my best Marlon Brando, "The Wild One," attitude. I was probably dressed like a tough guy, too, as I almost always wore my engineer’s boots, white T-shirt, leather jacket, and tight jeans, so popular at the time.
I don’t think the interview went too well, but he maintained a cool head. He asked me about my interests, in an effort to place me in a work environment that I might enjoy. I told him that classical music was one of my main loves. He said that there was an opening in the Music History Department and sent me there. I was interviewed by the head of the department. I passed muster and got the job. I was introduced to the other person in the department, G. P.
When I was granted the work scholarship, I quit Philip Morris and went back to the farm. Dad was still commuting to the city, so I could help with the farm chores as before and get a ride to classes with him. Soon after I started my job, G. P. became very solicitous. He invited me to visit him at his home. He lived in a tiny "doll house" with living/bedroom combination, a small bathroom, and even smaller kitchen. It was a unique set-up. It sat in the backyard of a former mansion on Fourth Street, in Old Louisville. It probably had once been the servant’s quarters, or a playhouse for the family’s kids. It no longer stands. Our relationship quickly turned sexual. It was seduction, but I wasn’t the initiator. I was nineteen, he was thirty-six. I began stopping by his house often after classes, before meeting my dad to return home. He was from Chicago, but spent part of his childhood in La Porte, Indiana. He once took me to visit his parents in Chicago. We slept on the living room floor of their small walk-up apartment, having sex while his parents slept just feet away. He was an ex-member of the Socialist Workers Party, where I believe he met his first wife, L. S., most likely in New York.
By my junior year at U. of L., the demands of my job in the Music History Department, farm chores, and my studies, became too much to handle. I needed to escape the farm. I asked G. P. if I could stay with him, and he accepted. He rented a slightly larger apartment in a former mansion on Belgravia Court, at the end of St. James Court, nearby the doll house. Old Louisville is the gem of the city, filled with late nineteenth and early twentieth century architectural splendors. Whether he decided he needed more space to accommodate two, I’m not sure. Supposedly it was a secret, kept from his department colleague, that we were living together. It’s difficult to imagine he didn’t sense it, as we all worked together every day.
I was not allowed to answer phone calls in G. P.’s apartment, for fear that someone would discover I was there. He insisted that no one was supposed to know about this relationship. I could phone out, however. I instructed my buddy Fred on the procedure. He was to phone, let it ring once, then hang up. He would immediately phone back again. If G. P. answered, he hung up again. If I answered, that meant I was alone and we could chat. This was a constricting situation. I could not bring myself to call G. P. by his first name and he resented it. I could not put a name on someone whom I sensed was abusing me sexually and emotionally, but at the same time providing intellectual stimulation.
We gradually began to quarrel a lot, why I don’t recall. When he became angry he wouldsometimes grab his shirt and rip it to shreds while still wearing it. I inherited my father’s temper, so we had some violent arguments. One spat happened in a San Francisco hotel room in 1954. I became so enraged that I pushed him into the closet, closed the door, and propped up a chair up under the door handle. He was living a closeted life anyway, so why not spend some time in the real thing. I then calmly walked out of the hotel and spent a couple of hours sightseeing alone in the city. When I returned to let him out, we were both more subdued.
At some point he had met a sailor in one of New York’s notorious Forty-second street movie houses. In the forties and fifties, the entire block between Broadway and Eighth Avenue was wall-to-wall cinemas. They were famous cruising grounds, but I never bothered with them. He said the kid was the best cocksucker he had ever met, who could swallow his unusually large thing Alike a peanut@ (his expression). He kept in touch with the guy and decided to visit him from Louisville. He invited me along for the trip in his car.
When we got to Norfolk, we put up in a cheap hotel and G. P. phoned his sailor-boy. The guy arrived quickly. I found him singularly unattractive. G. P. asked me to leave the room while they did their business. I would have enjoyed watching. It was a humiliating experience for me.
When G. P. accepted a teaching position at Queens College in 1961, he bought a huge apartment on Central Park West, with breathtaking views of the park. By this time he had become one of the best-known composers and musicologists in the U.S.
Some time during the mid-60s, G. P. invited me to visit his apartment. He was home alone. I was pleased that he wanted to renew our friendship. But instead of wanting to know how my career was going or other personal aspects of my life, it immediately became clear that he had only one thing in mind, namely sex. I turned him down. He got angry and asked me leave. I realized finally that we had never been friends. I decided I would never again see him. In spite of his having married three times, I suspect G. P. had sex with females very infrequently, if at all.
If anyone wants to read a free copy of my book, “Memoirs of a Gay Rights Maverick,” I’ll send it to you as an email attachment. Advise me via email: [email protected]