I had a very close lesbian friend.
We first met in 1956 and we became immediate friends.
It was May 4th of 1963.
And we didn’t go to the bars together frequently, but this night we decided to go to the bars.
We went to a private club in Philadelphia because there were blue laws at the time.
Bars closed at midnight, so there were after hours clubs
Earlier in the evening, I had gone to another bar and as I was entering, there were a group
of guys coming out.
They were all dressed in suits.
Well, it was a very dressy bar.
It was called Drury Lane.
This group passed me.
It was very congested in the doorway, but I noticed the first one.
And we didn’t actually – we actually didn’t lock eyes, but we we sort of glanced at each
I went into the bar and I stayed there till midnight and then the bar closed.
Went to the after hours bar with my lesbian friend.
It was a very long, rectangular bar.
We were on the long side of the bar, about halfway up.
At the other end of the bar, the short end, were this group of guys who had passed going
into the Drury Lane earlier in the evening.
And my friend looked over and she said, “Look at that boy at the end of the bar.
He’s so beautiful.”
And I said, “Well, that little guy there with the blonde hair is more my type.”
And she said, “Well then go over and talk to him.”
I said, “Oh, I don’t do that.”
She said, “What do you mean you don’t do that?”
I said, “I don’t do that.
Someone has to speak to me first.”
We just continued to talk and she kept insisting that I go over and talk to this person.
And she nagged me until I got up.
And there was a an old fashioned heating radiator against the wall behind the group of guys,
and so I went over and I put my hand on the radiator and just leaned there.
The fellow, that one who I had said was more my type turned – looked over his shoulder
at me, came over and put his hand on top of mine and kissed me.
Just one kiss but we stood there, not saying anything.
And finally I said, “Do you wanna dance?”
This was a dance bar.
And so we started dancing.
And my friend was sitting which, as I passed her going to the dance floor, she said, “I’m
meeting someone at the – at Rusty’s,” the gay -the girls bar, “and see you, I’ll
talk to you tomorrow.”
We just danced.
We started to speak tentatively.
I had discovered that he had a very thick accent.
He was – he had recently arrived in America.
He was only here for about a year and a half at that time.
But I knew he was Cuban.
So we danced the night away and we talked, as I said, haltingly.
We decided to leave the bar.
We spent the night together.
We started seeing each other frequently and we got along very well.
His English was not very good.
By July, I was tired of walking up to his fourth floor studio apartment and so we decided
to look for an apartment together.
And that’s what we did.
And as of August of that year, we took our first apartment together.
We live in an – from there, we moved to another larger apartment.
Eventually bought a house.
And then we moved to the suburbs.
The move to the suburbs came after living in a house for 29 years.
And we had aged.
We felt we would miss our Center City lifestyle.
We discovered that we didn’t necessarily have to.
We still continued going to the opera.
We had subscriptions to the opera, the ballet, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Continued that for over 20 years.
Our relationship matured.
Actually, it matured earlier but my family accepted him as part of them.
We never had to come out to them.
He was just part of the family.
And when there were great nieces and nephews, he became Uncle Pedro.
And we lived in our suburban apartment until 2012.
Until Pedro had a major surgery, which he did not survive.
So after being together for 49 years, 5 months, and 2 days, he passed away.
We cared dearly for each other.
And we did whatever each of us could to promote the other and help them at whatever way we
We were not together in the time of marriage, and so we never had the opportunity to exchange
But without having that, we still were able – were devoted to caring for each other in
sickness and in health.
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