Sunday, February 22, 2009

82-83 High School Freshman

High School was not at all what I expected. Once again I felt like I missed the class that was held before the first day of school... knowing where all your classes are located and having lots of friends to eat lunch with already. How did everybody know everybody? As the weeks wore on I was becoming depressed. As pathetic as this sounds in retrospect, the only thing I was looking forward to was the nomination and election of Class Beauties and Class Favorites. Sixteen girls (finalists) from each class were selected by the students and then narrowed down the following day to eight Beauties in each class. Class Favorites were also chosen by each class and included six girls and six boys. I recall there always being one black beauty and two black favorites in each class due to 8-10% of the student body being African American. The winners were announced over the PA system to the whole school during the morning announcements. On several occasions the freshman and sophomore classes tried to elect a very unattractive girl just to be clowns but fortunately the faculty caught on and pulled the names before they were announced. I would have my picks all ready a week before the election and rarely did I miss a name called. By my senior year people would say, "Hey Ronnie who's gonna win this year?" A few years ago I learned that most if not all Wichita Falls Public High Schools did away with the election of Beauties and Favorites. Good for them, I guess, but I have to wonder what the reasons were behind decision to cancel the elections indefinitely. As high school students, isn't the choosing of the most beautiful and favorite people just an exercise readying them for real life? Both the elections and life are unfair... you have a better chance if you have money, it's very clique oriented and political. So again, I wonder, what were the school administrators reasons for no longer choosing to utilize the election of beauties and favorites as a life lessons tool. It seemed to work for over 30 years. What went wrong? Whose son or daughter didn't win? LOL.  I'm just glad I'm not in high school during these days. I would have been so bored. :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First Gay Party Summer 1982

After Harlow's "The Pub" we went to a party at a big house in one of the older but nicer neighborhoods of Wichita Falls. Somewhere around Grant St. When we arrived I was really nervous as this was so new and I really didn't know what to expect. An all gay party, really? Who would be there? Old men, drag queens? I know one thing, no one my age would be there. To my surprise (for the most part) everyone looked normal. There were no drag queens or old men or trolls. It seemed like any other party, I guessed, as I had only really seen them on tv. Each room had groups men and women talking and laughing and i remember wondering if they were ALL gay. As we moved outside there was a pool and I remember my friend Charles introducing me to a guy swimming as "the cheerleader at WFHS" Tony Rios. I wanted to transfer schools after that because at Wichita Falls High School they had male cheerleaders so I figured they must be a more progressive, open minded school. I found out later that the few cheerleaders that WFHS did have over the years were ridiculed and made fun of so even if I had gone to Old High, as it was sometimes called, I would have been in the same boat. LOL. One of the things at this party that stood out the most though was the music. It was in every room and nonstop DJ remixes. I was so impressed. I found out it was a Dallas radio station (K107.5 fm) via cable radio. I didn't know you could get radio stations on cable. I remember this was the first time hearing Planet Rock by Soul Sonic Force
mixed seamlessly into Numbers by Kraftwerk.
American Disco, R&B and rap fused together and sounded so much like German techno that they could be mixed together like this. The whole Kraftwerk album (Computer World) is incredible, their best IMHO. I consider Kraftwerk , Patrick Cowley and Giorgio Moroder three of the most important forces behind the creation of the Disco/Dance/Electronica movement. The sounds destined for the dancefloors of the world can be heard as far back as the late 60's on Kraftwerk's early LP's and the early 70's on Donna Summer LP's produced by Moroder. Patrick Cowley was a pioneer and major contributor to the history of the synthesizer in dance music. Cowley was the producer of nearly all of the late great Sylvester's hits which made him very well known in gay San Fran and the rest of the dance music community before his unfortunate death in 1982 of AIDS. Sylvester also left us in 1988 due to AIDS. Both are still highly respected in the gay community today, gay icons, remembered by their contributions to dance music and their courage to fight AIDS. At a time when so much was unknown about the disease and our government was doing so little, Sylvester and Patrick were on the forefront of the people living with the disease, who didn't have to come forward but did anyway, trying to raise awareness.
Mid-Summer Charles and I (now an item) got a job a the fireworks stand for about a week. I had managed to keep Charles (pictured left) quiet enough around my parents that they had not noticed how effeminate he was, so I thought. One night after getting home (I was in the shower getting ready to go out to the skating rink or mall or just riding around or something) and Charles comes to the bathroom and starts knocking very loudly on the door. In the most fem of voices he was yelling, "Ronnie, it's your cousin, Jack, and he says that it is imperative that he speaks to you." Years later my mom told me she knew right then, the sassy way he called at me through the door, that something wasn't quite right with Charles. She was at work when he did his aerobics routine on the living room floor. Whenever Showtime had what they called Showtime Shorts they would feature a girl or two doing aerobics to The Hills Of Katmandu
and Charles would follow along to perfection. It was so GAY. Maybe even a little dragish. Charles had a past with drag. He often told a story about him being in the Miss Gay Wichita Falls Pageant and during his talent number slams a door that broke the glass to the DJ booth. He was doing ABBA's The Visitors. There is a part in the song that says, "through the door I feel I'm cracking up." This is where he supposedly slammed the door. During another drag queen episode we were at his mom's house in Sunnyside, which was my old neighborhood. Johnny was there and we were in Charles' room playing records and they put on some Pat Benetar record. Charles ran to the bathroom and after a few minutes emerged in a wig and lipstick! I had never really seen a drag queen before and definitely was freaked out by seeing my boyfriend in a wig. He proceeded, much to Johnny's delight and my disgust, to float around the room doing this horrible drag number. Finally I reached up and snatched that wig off his head. Not knowing it was pinned on with bobby pins, I received a firm slap across the face. It was really a hilarious scene I'm sure but I can tell ya, I have never pulled a wig off a queens head since then. LOL.