by Mighty Mouth

Al de Dion - my partner for 8 years

    As I usually state at the beginning of each episode, everything I wrote is true and not exaggerated. I developed the concept of orientation meetings for prospective members of the Mattachine Society in New York and scheduled one each month. I listed the most-commonly asked questions about our purpose, provided the answers, and handed them out to the attendees, lecturing in front of them as though it were a classroom. I remember a good-looking guy sitting about three rows back, with a soulful and sad face that seemed to beg for compassion. When most of the "class" had left, this guy lingered. He introduced himself to me and Walter, the treasurer of the Society at the time. His name was Al. Since Walter and Al both lived in Brooklyn, Walter offered to take Al home in his old Cadillac convertible, after dropping me off at my East Ninety-fifth Street Manhattan apartment. It was July 18, 1957, the day before my twenty-sixth birthday.

    When we arrived in front of my building, Al asked, "Aren’t you going to ask me up?" I replied that I had just met him and didn’t think it appropriate. I found him attractive and interesting, but the real reason for refusing was that I was getting over a bad case of the crabs and had shaved off all of my pubic hair. Nevertheless, I offered him my phone number. He phoned the next day, a Friday. He asked if I would have dinner with him, and I agreed. We met in midtown on  Sunday. I enjoyed his company and we agreed to meet again soon.

    I began to see him frequently, but warning signals were going off in my head. After six weeks, I decided that he was not for me. We met for dinner in a diner across the street from the YMHA on Lexington Avenue, at Ninety-second St. I told him, AI don’t think this is going to work. I want to end the relationship as of now and you go your [email protected] He cried and begged me to reconsider. No person had ever cried upon my rejection. Being the softie that I am, I relented and continued to see him. By October, a month and a half later, I moved into his apartment in Brooklyn.

    Al lived in a dilapidated, four story walk-up building at the corner of Cumberland and Fulton streets, in front of a subway entrance to the Lafayette Avenue station. Each floor had two or three apartments. It was what’s called in New York a "cold-water flat," meaning that it had no central heating. This is somewhat of a misnomer, since cold-water flats usually had a hot water heater installed to serve bath and kitchen. The living room had a working fireplace, which provided much-needed warmth in the winter. Our bedroom was stone-cold. The advantages outweighed the disadvantages. He paid only $25 monthly rental. My share was $12.50. Considering that my rent on the Upper East Side two bedroom furnished apartment was $50 per month, a savings of $37.50 was awesome.

    Al lived on the top floor. The entire building was gay except for the one other apartment on our floor. A cute teenaged boy lived there with his father, and they quarreled often. When they moverd, we took over their apartment. The super was an early middle-aged guy on some kind of disability who picked up extra money making dresses for drag queens. He looked much older than his age. Thus he would tell people he was seventy-five years old, and they would tell him how well-preserved he was. His decorating tastes were most peculiar. His bedroom was painted all black, including the walls, ceiling, and baseboard. The door to his bedroom was camouflaged on the inside. When it was closed, the room seemed to have no exit. Most puzzling.

    Al and I were the same height, 5' 8", and have a similar body structure, except that I was a bit more muscular. Like so many gay couples, we began to dress alike. We both took crew cuts. Many thought we were brothers. Al soon became immersed in Mattachine activities, but adopted the pseudonym Al de Dion, taking the surname of one his relatives. In the Mattachine we earned the nickname of the Bobbsey Twins. He had joined the army near the end of World War II, lying about his age. He attained the rank of sergeant. He always sported his tough-sergeant attitude, so no one on the street suspected we were a gay couple.

    One of Al’s gay friends in the neighborhood was a promiscuous guy who pretended to be straight. Once, when I was zipping up my sweater, he said, "The sound of a zipper sends cold chills down my spine." Of course he was referring to a fly zipper, probably having spent many moments in breathless anticipation till a zipper came down.

    In the summer of 1958 my dad retired from the factory, where he had worked throughout his adult life in Louisville, getting the proverbial gold watch. He had a house built in Ft. Myers, Florida as his retirement home. He bought all the furnishings in Louisville and had them shipped there. I suppose he thought they didn’t sell furniture in Florida. He was poor in reading road signs and was afraid he would get lost many times if he drove the trip alone. He asked me to come to Kentucky and travel with him. But I wanted Al to go with me.     While at my dad’s, Al and I quarreled constantly, a now-frequent occurrence. My dad’s last words to me (I never saw him alive again) were, "Get rid of this boy, he is no good for you." He was perceptive.

    The city government in New York passed a law that all cold-water flats had to have central heating. Radiators were installed in every room and our rent increased to $40 per apartment! because we were on the top floor, the thermostat was put in our new living room, set to a low temperature and locked. It was usually cold in our combined apartments. I invented a way around the problem. I took bags of ice and put them on top of the thermostat. This made the temperature drop quickly and the heat came on. The super never discovered this trick.

    I discovered early-on that Al was a sexual predator. His need for sex reached to the molecular level. I normally prepared our dinner, usually arriving home before him. We had a scheduled time to eat. Dinner was ready, and I would wait and wait. On arriving, he would usually say, he had to work late. Eventually I realized that it took him three hours to get home because he was stopping at every men’s room in the subway on the way. At times I would note semen stains on his pants, and he would reply, "I spilled mayonnaise on them at lunch."

    From our living room window we could see down Hansen Place five blocks to Flatbush Avenue. I would stand at the window when he was late and anxiously watch the street. One night, probably using binoculars, I spotted him cruising another guy a block away. I ran out of the house and down to that corner and said, "What the hell are you doing?" He replied, "Get away, I don’t even know you." I went back home. There was a vacant lot on Carlton Avenue behind our building. I suspected that he would take the guy there. Sure enough, I shortly saw two shadowy figures enter the lot. I was never so devastated in my life!

    One night, while I was waiting for Al to get home, our doorbell rang. I looked out my window and saw a stud downstairs. I buzzed him in. He asked for Al, but I said he wasn’t home. It was obvious what he was after. So I had my way with the guy and he left satisfied. I also was not free from guilt. I loved T-rooms too and had my share of sex in them, but didn’t have Al’s obsession.

    Al's original ambition was to become a priest. But he couldn’t reconcile this with his gayness. Yet he could never give up that wish. While I knew him he joined something called "Old Roman Catholic Church," whatever that is. He was ordained a bishop in that church, and suddenly began to collect [email protected] of saints. He filled our apartment on Cumberland Street with showcases full of what were supposedly human bones. I thought it repulsive. How anyone could be so gullible as to imagine that these were saints' bones is beyond me. There must be a thriving cottage industry somewhere out there for this market.

    Eventually he became pastor of one of the two or three of these churches. It was located in East New York, Brooklyn. The congregation was not very large, but he conducted service there every Sunday. I never once went. Eventually the parishioners found out that he was sucking the pee-pee of every willing teen  in the congregation. Since he was a "man of the cloth," nobody called the police. They told him to "cool it," but I doubt if he did. In the course of his career, Al amazingly was fired from EVERY job he ever held. And he held dozens.

    By the spring of 1965, almost eight years after I moved in with him, he said he was moving out. He bought a co-op in Williamsburg with a twenty-one-year-old black guy. His tastes had gradually changed from white to black. He moved out in May, leaving me alone in the apartment. I fell apart. I spent three more months there and then rented an apartment on Grand Army Plaza. Al kept our apartment for many years until the old tenement was torn down, and Cuyler Park was enlarged to include the area where our house had stood. It became his "fuck" place, since he was always cheating on his black lover. When Al left me, a friend, Gene Thornton,  said, "You will never again have another lover." Depends on the definition.

    My relationship with Al didn’t end when he moved out. Knowing a good cock when he saw one and being insatiable, he often phoned to come see me. Most people would refuse after such a humiliating experience I had with him. But I realized that it was a way for me to get my revenge. For the next thirty-five years, all I needed to do was phone him and he would come running to service me. I never touched him again sexually. I would lie back, push his head down and say, "Suck it cocksucker." Or I woulld say, "hat a fabulous cocksucker you are." He loved it. He eventually had all of his teeth pulled, and was one of the best cocksuckers I ever had in my life. I often suggested that we have a three-way, but he would have no part of it. He passed away in May of 2015 at age 86.

    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]

Mighty Mouth


Mighty Mouth


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