I’VE RETIRED FROM THE FIELD OF HOMOSEXUALITY

I have been coming to Key West for 30 years. Bought my home 20 years ago. In all that time, Key West has been One Happy Family.

Not so 10 years before I first came. The winter of 1979-80 was a time of flux. Straights versus gays. Violence commonplace. The gays generally on the losing end.

A bigoted man of God resided in Key West. A Baptist minister. His goal was to drive the deviates out of town. He bought an ad in the Key West Citizen. His position simple. He recommended 100 men with baseball bats walk down Duval Street and hit the “freaks” in the head.

The good minister claimed that was the way it was done in Key West in the days he loved and remembered.

One of Key West’s leading citizens at the time was Tennessee Williams. Thirty years a resident. Resided in a quaint bungalow on Duncan Street.

Williams had a gardener who cared for his grounds. The man was found in a pool of blood at his home. He had been killed by point blank shots to the head and neck.

The man was a friend. Williams took his death badly.

Six days after the gardener had been killed, William’s home was broken into. Vandalized, some minor thievery.

Williams was further disturbed. First time in 30 years anyone had invaded his home.

One month later, Williams and a house guest friend were coming out of the Monster. A gay disco off Duval. Late at night. Both men feeling no pain.

Williams and his friend were jumped by 4-5 guys. Williams struck and thrown to the ground. His glasses broken. His friend knocked down from a blow to the jaw.

The friend shouted they may have knives! Let’s get out of here! Williams refused. He stood his ground: “I am not in the habit of retreat.”

Some time thereafter, a group appeared in front of Williams home. They threw beer cans at the house. Shouted, “Come out, faggot.” Then threw fire crackers.

Williams and his friend were in the house. The fire crackers sounded like bullets. Williams and his friend thought they were under attack.

A little history.

Beginning in the mid 1960’s, Key West began becoming economically depressed. The Naval Base had significantly down sized, businesses were closing down. Many left.

It was then that the gays began arriving. They sensed Key West was a place for them. A place they could make home. They were like immigrants. Worked hard from day one to make Key West a better place.

With the gays came problems. Not just the disturbed minister. The gay improvements to the community caused real estate prices and taxes to go up. The gays were buying more and more property.

Some of the gays were not typical of non-gay Key West residents. For example, Williams’ gardener who was shot in the head several times was an eccentric. He would walk around Key West shouting, “I am a woman.”

Male prostitutes arrived on the scene. I find this fact amusing. If the new residents were gay, why did they need male prostitutes?

Drugs and crime accelerated. Assaults and battery common place. The gays were under siege.

Key West was Williams’ home. Had been for 30 years. He refused to leave. He also withdrew from sex at the time saying “I’ve retired from the field of homosexuality at present…..because of age, I have no desires.”

Williams understood why the gay community was being warred upon. Bad gays had followed the good gays to Key West. The bad ones were giving the good ones a bad name.

Key West soon became known as the Fire Island of Florida. Williams said the name did not fit. He viewed the bad gays and others as punks and predators.

Williams was possessed with foresight. He believed this anti-gay sentiment would pass. He firmly believed the violence would be gone by the next year. He was correct.

In the meantime, the Baptist minister kept ranting and raving. He threatened to bring Anita Bryant to Key West to assist in his anti-gay crusade.

The minister thought things would go one way or the other. He gave it 5 years. He took the position by the end of that time, there would be a revival of a “normal society” or the homosexuals would have taken over.

The good guys won.

During the winter of fire, Williams became exceptionally careful. He stopped walking or riding a bicycle down Duval late at night. He claimed he was “more frightened” in Key West “than I am in New York.”

Williams refused to leave Key West: “I have been here longer than they have and I’m not leaving.”

I never sensed the war like atmosphere when I arrived in Key West for the first time 10 years later. Gays owned businesses. Gays were in business with straights. No feeling of discrimination existed. Everyone loved everyone else. One Happy Family.

 

JIMMY HOFFA AND BUM FARTO…..WHERE ARE YOU?

On this day in 1975, Jimmy Hoffa disappeared. Five weeks later on September 9, 1975, Key West’s Bum Farto disappeared. No relationship between the two.

Hoffa had been a prominent union leader. It is thought organized crime had a hand in his disappearance.

Farto was Key West’s Fire Chief. He had been arrested for selling cocaine from fire stations under his jurisdiction.

Both have not been heard from since their disappearances. Safe to say, they probably never will be heard from. Some day if we are lucky, we may hear the how and why of their disappearances.

Yesterday afternoon was spent researching this week’s KONK Life column. I have not decided on the title yet. The subject matter is the treatment of homosexuals in Germany. For a period of 84 years. Beginning in 1871 and ending in 1985.

Special emphasis given to Hitler’s treatment of gays. Jews were gassed. Though in significantly lesser numbers, homosexuals maltreated also. Castrated.

I will write the column this afternoon.

Last night was dinner at the bar at Tavern ‘n Town. Bobby Nesbitt time, of course. Bobby waved me over. He laughingly told me how much he enjoyed the Bagel column.

I was looking for a change of pace article last week. Can’t write about heavy stuff all the time. Bagels were it. As opposed to this week’s column which will involve the horrendous treatment of homosexuals in Germany. Especially, Hitler’s Germany.

Terri still good. Actually as if nothing happened to her this past week. A heart attack last Tuesday. God love her!

Enjoy your Sunday!

DIXONS BACK IN TOWN

My years in Key West have brought me many new friends. Two are Tom and Fran Dixon. From Buffalo. They have business interests which bring them to Key West several times a year.

We have become very close. Fran makes homemade candy. Chocolate her specialty. Each trip she brings me a box. It was no different last night. We had dinner together. Fran gave me the candy. Two kinds. Told me one chocolate was made with something hot. The candy would have a tang.

I could not wait to get home to try the candy. Started while driving home. Good! Especially the peppery chocolate. It was a bit sharp.

The entire evening was fun. We met first at the Chart Room. Spent a couple of hours there with Jean and Sheila. Laughter prevailed.

Then Tom, Fran and I were off to the Hot Tin Roof for dinner. More fun!

Tom had a stroke a month ago. I was not aware till last night. You would never know it. He looked good and was his usual joyful self.

Tom and I are bonded in a special way. Both die hard Syracuse fans!

My friends are getting sick. Tom, who fortunately quickly recovered. Terri who is on her way to recovery. Terri returned to Key West yesterday. Spoke with her on the telephone. She was bubbly and cheerful.

It is saturday again. Comes fast each week. I have to research my KONK column today. Thought about a topic yesterday. Did a little digging. Came up with it! Not sure of the title yet. The topic concerns Hitler and homosexuals.

Hitler disliked homosexuals as well as Jews. His slogan for the Jews was: Exterminate them! For homosexuals: Castrate them!

My Bagels column is rerun in this morning’s KONK E-Blast. With the last eight paragraphs included. Bagels are American today. Not always, however. Bagels did not gain in national popularity till the 1950s.

Two social comments/observations.

It was announced yesterday that several more Flint and Michigan officials had been arrested re the Flint water crisis. The lead in the water story.

Obama immediately arranged for $5 million to help when the lead problem surfaced in January.. He also asked Congress to approve significantly more monies. Congress held hearings. The politicos could be seen on TV condemning what had occurred, enunciating clearly that something had to be done. Swiftly.

That was in January. The people of Flint are still waiting. The federal government sitting on its ass. Congress is on a seven week vacation not yet having approved funding. The people of Flint drinking bottled water and using faucet filters. Not even close to being enough.

2016 sometimes similar to centuries ago. Somtimes, thousands of years ago. Middle East beheadings one example.

Another is what is occurring in Turkey.

The coup failed. Some plotters arrested and executed. Others will follow. Turkey’s President refuses to permit funeral prayers and services for the plotters. A decent burial denied. Not even a casket. Dig a hole and drop the body in.

A stray dog facility is being erected. A place for dogs to run about and enjoy. In one corner, a cemetery is located for the bodies. It is called Traitors’ Cemetery. So marked with a small black metal sign. A place for the dogs to freely run about and do whatever.

The President sick! His actions reflective of something Hitler or Stalin might have done.

Enjoy your day!

 

A SUGARLOAF EVENING

Sugarloaf is 15 miles up US 1. One of the prettiest residential keys. Lovely homes.

I enjoyed a Sugarloaf evening last night.

June has owned or rented a home in Sugarloaf for more than a quarter century. She invited me to join her for a Sugarloaf experience last night.

First stop was a visit with Ineke and Fritz. Originally from the Netherlands, they have been U.S. citizens for many years. They enjoy two homes. A yearly residence in Connecticut, a winter home in Sugarloaf.

Fritz is a retired airline pilot. Ineke paints. Her works sell. Their Sugarloaf home walls covered with her paintings. All fantastic! Especially the abstracts. Their home lovely.

After an hour of pleasant conversation, we all moved on to Peggy and Wayne’s for dinner. Neva and Jerry joined us.

Another lovely Sugarloaf home. Sugarloaf has its own distinctive flavor. The homes reflect that distinction.

This was my third time with Peggy and Wayne. A fun couple.

A first time meet for me with Neva and Jerry. They stood out. Radiantly. They met eight weeks ago and fell in love. That quickly. It was obvious. God was good.

It was an evening of good company, drink and food. Accompanied by non-stop laughter.

I spent a good part of yesterday morning into the early afternoon writing this week’s KONK Life column. When Education Fails, A Nation Fails. Title says it all.

Our educational system has been on a downward spiral for years. Other industrialized nations have moved ahead of us. My recollection is that the U.S. is #29 among the 66 industrialized nations. A sure bet for more nations to move ahead of us economically and socially over the next 20 years.

The Blue Angels were performing again yesterday at Boca Chica. I did not have to go to the airfield to see them. My bedroom terrace was sufficient. Every time I heard the roar approaching, I ran out.

Outstanding! Beyond outstanding!

A couple of years ago, I came across an article suggesting that Lincoln had a dream that he had been assassinated ten days before he actually was. I doubted the validity of the story. Let it pass without comment.

I have come across the same story twice the past few days. I did a little digging. It seems the story has legs. It is for real.

Lincoln’s dream involved a group of subdued mourners around a casket in the White House’s East Room. Lincoln asked a guard who had died. The response, the President who was killed by an assassin.

Lincoln was bothered by the dream. He mentioned it to a close friend whose name escapes me.

The dream occurred on this day in 1865.

The world gets crazier by the moment. New York City is apparently having a problem with taxi and hired car drivers. Passengers being subjected to sexual comments and acts.

The City is working on a proposal banning the drivers from flirting with passengers or ejaculating on them. Ejaculating? Yes, it has become a problem.

Key West is one human family. Homosexuals and straights live side by side. Work and socialize together. Sexual preference not an issue.

Not so everywhere.

Saudi Arabia a problem place. The same Saudis who claim to be our friends. Those thought to have helped finance 9/11. Seventeen of the 21 persons involved in 9/11 were citizens of Saudi Arabia. Less I forget, the same Saudi Arabia that gave us $4 a gallon gasoline.

Criminal prosecutors in Saudi Arabia are recommending an extreme sentence for those engaging in homosexual acts. The death penalty.

The Saudis blame Facebook and the social media for creating the homosexual problem. They actually believe Facebook and social media are turning people gay.

Enjoy your day!