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…I was stationed at Tinker Field in Oklahoma, and assigned a job in the command headquarters on the airbase. Evenings and weekends, I was now free to go into Oklahoma City, and when I was checking out the men’s room of one of the big movie houses downtown, I met two soldiers who were just hanging around in the lounge. They were show-offs, and when they saw me watching them, they both whipped powder puffs from their regulation shirt pockets and flamboyantly powdered their noses, which, considering that they were in uniform, I found hilarious. It was my first introduction to camp, though I still hadn’t learned the word…
…I also went out drinking at a tavern with with a bunch of regular army men from my barracks…
…One night, a master sergeant joined us from the next booth. A baby-faced youth with a southern accent who smoked cigars… Glenn, as it turned out, lived in one of the private rooms at the end of my barracks reserved for noncoms, and I began joining the bull sessions in his room, during which he tied trout fishing flies, his favorite hobby…
…I knew he liked me when he gave me one of his trout flies, which I pinned to my shirt. Sometimes we would walk around the base at night, he’d light a big cigar, and in the darkness I’d be moved by the brilliant desert sky to philosophize, which he would tolerate with grown up amusement, though he was only nineteen himself.
We soldiers were transported back and forth between the airbase and Oklahoma City in the backs of personnel carrier trucks, and it was always a dash to catch the last run around 11:30 P.M. One night, after a double date with a couple of civilian girls we worked with at HQ, so many GIs piled into the truck that I had to sit on Glenn’s lap, and in the pitch blackness, hanging onto each other as the vehicle bounced over potholes, his lips nuzzled mine and buyddyhood turned into a love affair.
Text: Excerpt from Gay In the Army, by Edward Field (b. 1924),
from a longer excerpt which appears in Gay American Autobiography,
Edited by David Bergman
Image: Army Buddies, 1944, subjects/photographer unknown
via miss magnolia thunderpussy/ipernity
Music: My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time, 1945
music by Vic Mizzy, lyrics by Manny Curtis,
performed by the Les Brown Orchestra with vocals by Doris Day.