By Mighty Mouth

I got a temporary job as an enumerator for the 1950 US Census in Louisville. I was all of eighteen, the minimum age acceptable for the job, making me one of the youngest employees. I was assigned to an all-Negro neighborhood, which made me a bit edgy. My prior contact with blacks had been minimal. This was long before the black liberation movement and the 60s riots. I didn’t encounter any hostility, only wariness. One middle-aged black guy I interviewed had the guts to proposition me. Never one to deny myself or others satisfaction, I said OK, and got a good blowjob.

When I turned eighteen, I became eligible for the draft. It was the time of the Korean War. I didn’t want to risk getting killed in action. I was also hoping that I could figure out a way to enroll in college, and I didn’t want an Army stint to interrupt my education. As required, I took the physical. On the written exam I noticed a listing under the health problems section, "homosexual tendencies." I checked "no" in the box. Needless to say I passed all tests satisfactorily. I shortly received by mail a 1-A Classification, meaning I could be called up quickly. Later I realized that I had the perfect way out of my predicament. I wrote asking for a new exam stating that there was a problem that wasn’t brought up in the first physical. A month or so later, I was scheduled to repeat the process. Near the end of my exams, as I stood nude in a line of boys equally without clothes, a doctor interviewed me. He asked if there was anything elseI should bring to his attention. This time I had marked "yes" in the homosexual tendencies box. I pointed it out to him. He said, "Did you make a mistake?" I said, "No, I didn’t." He angrily said "Put on your clothes and get out of here." Soon thereafter I got a "4-F" draft card. Nowadays we have the dictum, "Don’t ask, don’t tell." They didn’t ask, but I told. Later, if anyone asked why I didn’t serve in the armed forces, I lied that I got an exemption from the service by virtue of being a full-time student. As a matter of history, no male in my father’s direct line served in the US military since an ancestor who was a militiaman in Pennsylvania during the Revolution. I suppose we aren’t very patriotic. What I did took a lot of guts for 1949.


When I was almost homeless, I asked a man I knew if I could stay with him and he said yes. He was 55, I was 18. I lived with him during the winter of 1949-50 in an upper-middle-class neighborhood on Southern Parkway in Louisville.

Wilson was living proof that a gay culture thrived in Louisville in the early twentieth century. He was born in 1895. As a teenager he got a job as an usher in the old McCauley Theater. He told me that almost all the other ushers there were gay, too. This story fascinated me, since gays had no recorded history when I was young and it made me wonder how far back organized gay society went. I believe that the collective gay consciousness took shape about the time of the Civil War and Whitman. The first time I visited Wilson, I got propositioned. His passion was just to perform oral sex without reciprocation. He was a master par excellence and whom I consider one of the best service-givers I ever experienced.

He later introduced me to a legendary Louisville queen nicknamed "ZaSu Pitts," after the Hollywood star of the same name. He was a professional dancer and had appeared in some Hollywood films when younger. He was so dainty that he would cut the grass in his small front yard with scissors. In the 1930s, there was a ACC camp (Civilian Conservation Corps) outside Louisville. These were set up during the Depression for unemployed males, generally between eighteen and twenty-five. They were paid $30 per month, plus room and board. Wilson and a buddy, possibly ZaSu, would often take Wilson’s car to the camp and "knock off" five or six each. According to Wilson, they were all ready and willing, being horny teenagers without ready access to women. He said that he carried, on occasion, what he called a "persuaser," a revolver which he could use should he get into a bad situation with rough trade. If that were true, I never saw the weapon.

    A highlight of my high-school singing career was to get a part in the chorus for a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, with students from citywide high schools. I auditioned for a principal role, that of Ralf Rackstraw, but didn’t get it. At least they gave me a part in the chorus. I remember that the last name of the boy who got the part to this day. He was one of the most beautiful boys I had seen. I immediately fell in love with him and used my already sophisticated powers of seduction on him. One of the directors caught us holding hands back stage, and that caused quite a scandal.


Mighty Mouth


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