Chapter 7: THE NIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN

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Casey Connell/Upsplash.com

Fire is roaring in our outdoor fireplace while my husband Kory and my brother George watch from the bright red Adirondack chairs on the deck of the cabin Kory and I built on George’s land just outside of Magnolia, Mississippi. The night air is quickly cooling, so I snuggle down into my coat and pull my hat down a little tighter on my old bald head. This is how we often spend cool Sunday nights when everything is closed. We stay home and I cook. Then we build a blazing fire with wood we split ourselves from dead trees on…


Chapter 6: FAMILY REUNION

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Aehne Tokape/Upslash.com

Years after my mother died, I finally went through her box of old photographs to put them into albums. Among them were a few taken on Uncle Elzie’s farm near Carthage, Mississippi during a reunion of my mother’s family from when we still lived on Belvedere Road in Jackson.

One black and white snapshot of two of my second cousins revived a humiliating memory. Sidney and Charlie are standing happily together on the lawn in vintage dresses and finery, squinting against the glaring southern summer sun. The day came instantly back to me in a flood of memories and emotion…


One man’s memoir. Living out after decades of straight marriage.

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Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

“How could you not know you were gay?” asked my wife of twenty years after I finally spoke my truth. It was challenging to come up with a concise, convincing, honest answer. I’m writing this memoir, this series of stories that don’t necessarily have to be read in order, in the hope of offering a more complete portrait of the unexplainable.

This memoir spans a life of struggle to accommodate a culture hostile to my existence as a gay man in waiting. By which I mean an ongoing denial of my innate sexuality before I eventually found my way.

Precursors…


Chapter Five: THE BICYCLE ON BELVEDERE ROAD

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Our block of Belvedere Road in Jackson Mississippi in the summer of 1956 when I turned seven was a shimmering low rise of foot-burning faded asphalt with shoulders dipping into weedy grass swales interrupted by one car driveways. The post World War II modest single-story shuttered cottages at the end of each drive were covered in asbestos shingles in shades of pale blue, green, yellow, gray, and pervasive 1950’s white. Spring-loaded screened doors, dressed variously with dulled aluminum cutouts of preening cranes, beaming suns, and the occasional flamingo creaked and banged abruptly as tan barefoot children rushed in and out.


CHAPTER 4: TOYS

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Miikka Luotio/upsplash.com

The bare hardwood floor of the spare bedroom in our house in the country outside of Kentwood, Louisiana is strewn with my toys. There are no neighbors with children nearby, so I seem to have gotten more toys than ever. There are all the things a five-year-old could want including cars and trucks; International Harvester tractors my daddy brought me from his job; my plastic dishes; stuffed animals including my favorite teddy bear; my Davy Crockett coonskin cap with its raccoon tail; my cowboy outfit and guns, a western ranch and corral set with cowboys, Indians, and horses; my old…


CHAPTER THREE: PLASTIC DISHES

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Ryan Hafey/upsplash.com

Each summer, we drive up to Millington, Tennessee to visit my gram who lives alone since grandpa died. Her house there is smaller than ours, but my mama and Aunt Dot grew up there. Gram has a big old Frigidaire with a loose handle I’m afraid of breaking because they say I keep yanking it so hard, I’m gonna “pull it plum off!”.

I don’t like getting yelled at, but it happens all the time, so I spend a lot of time outside where it’s cooler anyway. Outback, beyond the covered wooden porch with the rusty washing machine and its…


Chapter Two: POPCORN BALLS

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Source: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My first memory is of an “accident” I had just after I got out of those thick scratchy cloth diapers held on by sharp safety pins. I wish I had a better one, but where better to start than at the beginning.

As I stood outside on the grass in the driveway of our house in McComb, Mississippi in my new green corduroys pants, I felt a sudden whoosh of heavy, warm, and already stinky, wetness fill my new clothes. “Mama….., Mama….” I wailed through trembling wet lips with tears running down my face. And Mama came; a very unhappy…


THE BICYCLE ON BELVEDERE ROAD

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Our block of Belvedere Road in Jackson Mississippi in the summer of 1956 when I turned seven was a shimmering low rise of foot-burning faded asphalt with shoulders dipping into weedy grass swales interrupted by one car driveways. The post World War II modest shuttered cottages at the end of each drive were covered in asbestosis shingles in shades of pale blue, green, yellow, gray, and pervasive 1950’s white. …


Gold wire wheels

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Sam Manns/Unsplash.com

The houses on Bellecastle St. in uptown New Orleans were so close together you could hear your neighbors talking in their home next door. The quiet street was in the earliest stages of gentrification and remained a racially and ethnically mixed neighborhood. It was here that Kory rented an old house before we moved in together in 1993.

One evening when I was there, I heard his next-door neighbor Ms. Geraldine’s heavy footsteps as she trod the worn wide cypress planks that floored her shotgun home just a very few feet over the property line. …

Laurence Best

Larry Best is a retired trial lawyer who writes about the alienation that led him into the closet until he was 42 years old and his life since coming out

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