Editor Has Impromptu Interview With His Grandmother


[The editor as snappy by Brad Walsh during last year’s Princess Cordless photo shoot.]
AB: How old were you when you got married?

JW: Twenty-three.

AB: Do you think that was too young or was that just right?

JW: For me it was alright. Well, let’s see – we were married in ’46… Yeah, I was twenty-three.

AB: And when did you have Marsha?

JW: Five years later.

AB: You waited a while, huh?

JW: No. We just couldn’t get pregnant.

AB: Oh, really?

JW: After two years we decided it was finally – we needed to have a baby, and it was almost five years. Heck, she was born in 1950, and then it took five more years to get your Uncle Peter. Don’t let anybody tell you it’s easy to have a baby.

AB: I won’t. I won’t let anybody tell me that, no. So, what you think of gay marriage? Should two men be able to get married? Should two women be able to get married?

JW: Why not? If that’s their proclivity, why not? What they do with themselves is fine.

AB: What do you think about all the people who argue that they shouldn’t be?

JW: That they’re just trying to be assholes.

AB: When you were growing up – obviously gay people existed, but do you remember any gay people growing up? Did you ever hear about them?

JW: Yeah, there was a boy in my class; his name was Walter, but we didn’t realize until after he graduated that he was gay. We didn’t know – we were that niave maybe or maybe stupid, but we just didn’t know. We knew that he was different from us, but he would go to our parties, but – he was a good kid.

AB: What happened to him?

JW: You know, honey, I don’t know. I don’t even remember seeing him at our last reunion, and I was there for the 60th. I don’t know. But it was live and let live. Nobody bothered him. We had fun.

AB: So back then, being gay wasn’t – obviously people didn’t come out and say, “I’m gay,” so it was just accepted that some men slept with men?

JW: It was just – well, we heard people say, “Oh, I think actually he is gay.” Yada, yada – you know the routine, but nobody paid much attention to it until it was put in front of your face: “Did you know that Walter was gay?” And I said, “Well, we have known Walter all of our lives, so what difference does it make?” And they looked at me kind of funny, like they thought I was going to jump off the deep end, or something. But I liked Walter – he was a nice boy who grew up to be a nice man. I wish I knew what happened to him.

AB: When the Stonewall Riots happened, what was your perception of that – of gay rights, of all these gay people were all of a sudden saying, “I’m here, I’m queer.”

JW: Honey, I didn’t realize what they were doing.

AB: Oh, really?

JW: No, I didn’t have any idea. In fact, I think your grandfather told me, because I couldn’t conceive of any other way of having sex than they way I had it.

AB: Right.

JW: So, that was it, but it was fine.

AB: What about me? When I was a kid, did you think I would grow up to be gay?

JW: No. I never gave it a thought.

AB: Really? Because I wasn’t very – boyish.

JW: No, you weren’t very boyish, but a lot of kids aren’t.

AB: What was I like as a kid?

JW: You were a delight. We loved you – your papa and I loved you – well, I still do, and he would if he were here, too. You’ve always been a thoughtful child, and man. Always. Even when you were little and we were at your house, you would always come and make sure we were okay and had everything. You always were.

AB: Is there anything in your life that you regret? Any one big regret?

JW: That it didn’t last long enough with your grandfather, that he was taken away from me too young. We had so much more to go. He didn’t get to know you kids like I do. I was laying in my bed the other night, and I was talking to him and I said, “I wish you could see this house, my little house – you’d love it. But there’s not enough room for you.” [Laughs] But you know that’s Papa’s humor; that’s the way we were. Oh yeah! Good luck at finding somebody for you to love like that.

AB: Yeah. I’m actually seeing somebody right now.

JW: Are you, darling?

AB: Yep.

JW: That’s good.

AB: I like him very much. He’s pretty cool. I like him.

JW: Being cool is not enough, honey.

AB: No, I mean – I can chill with him and we have fun. He’s a cool guy.

JW: God, I love you!

AB: I love you, too, Gram.