My dad was born in 1918 and raised in Fellows in California’s Central Valley, the eldest son of an oilfield roustabout.
As a school-age child who knew he was not like the others, he was regularly beaten and bullied. As a young man in Hollywood in the early 1940s, he was arrested for being gay.
After that, in his own words, he could no longer stand the horrors of being queer.
He went into the closet, changed his name, entered the Army – where he would spend 4 years on active duty during World War II – and on a brief furlough married my mother. Together they raised four children. I am their second born. My mother died just shy of their 64th wedding anniversary.
My father would lead a double life those 64 years and died two years later in 2008 at the age of 90. Society approved of one of his lives and condemned the other.
I’ve written a memoir about his life as witnessed through my own eyes and my own heart. The story is one of shame, struggle, resilience, love and honor. It is my dad’s story. It is mine.