September 26, 2007.
I’m about to try to cover a little flavor of the letters I faxed to Jim Schneider and Joe Hansen in 1997– ’99. And our published newsletters would cover the history too.
But obviously I am intrigued by rereading a decade later what in a sense is current history, compared to what we were doing 50 years ago. It seems to me that there has been more change in things I am in or interested in the last 10 years than all the 40 years previously.Jim (and Joe) would know the difference; from phone calls at high cost, to the fax, after Don Slater died, at a cheaper rate—12 cents a minute I think and then five cents — (I sent hundreds of newspapers a single page on the book A Few Doors West of Hope) as I do now by email at no cost. And cell phones, so I don’t have to be at home (although this one does drop calls, etc.)
And think about it: Todd White alone came in this time period. And Ron Tate retired and became active. I finally met and visited with Bill Percy, as did Paul Harris and Melvin Cain. While I used to have phone visits with Jeanne Barney and Morris Kight, it is not as much as I do by email now (I’m not sure she considers this a plus of course.)
And I didn’t know Aristide Laurent before this decade, or Toby Grace or Toby Johnson. The sodomy case came after Don, but I think the Colorado case had happened before he died, didn’t it?
And the surge of gay characters on TV shows, and I had not heard of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert before — I didn’t get satellite here in Louisiana before 2003 I think.
Some of the old issues remain: people still trying to stop us from using the term “homosexual,” the media still covering only the celebrities — how many covered Yolanda Retter’s death?
And I see letters I wrote in the past decade saying the same things I’m saying today.
And we discussed before Don’s death about getting HIC on the Internet, and now Todd is doing that. And if our material is safe at CSUN and is known and available, then that will at least make it hard for future historians to say they didn’t know our views and information and what we did.
I have said before but will say again: There are two things that are of great interest to me, and things that I don’t think I or anyone else would understand when they are young. First, I have now outlived most of my friends and enemies. And second, in a sense I have lived to find the answers or know how things turned out when I/we thought about the future 50 years ago. I’m afraid one thing didn’t change: me.
Specifically, I could (if I could send copies to you), show you how terrible my typing was on that old typewriter, still sitting on the floor in the kitchen, with no ribbon available — it was an old Sears given to me and can’t be used now anyway. But it cut off part of letters and had lots of typos (even with spell check I still have typos), but at least the letters are not cut off, etc. And oh how much easier typing is this way! And the cell phone, if working, is free after 7:00 pm and on weekends, and costs less than the old house phone.
As opposed to the old stereotype of older people telling young kids how much better they have it today, I’m telling them that and it is true. I have always, for instance, told students that if they want to see how much progress has been made in talk about homosexuality, go look at old issues of Readers Guide to Periodical Index and see how few items are listed in the ’60s, and then glance at today where hundreds a month are listed, even though most are from The Advocate and still don’t reflect a diversity of opinion as much as ONE did back when it was the only publication available.