PTSD: The Soldier’s Diaries
Steve Rogers and his cat｜Day 3
Crush - Jennifer Paige
It’s just (just) a little crush (crush)
Not like I faint every time we touch
It’s just (just) some little thing (crush)
Not like everything I dooooooo depends on you
I don’t know anyone who grew up during 90’s radio days and didn’t hear this song constantly.
This is in memory of an anniversary — the anniversary of October 27th, 1943, when I first heard you singing in North Africa. That song brings memories of the happiest times I’ve ever known. Memories of a GI show troop — curtains made from barrage balloons — spotlights made from cocoa cans — rehearsals that ran late into the evenings — and a handsome boy with a wonderful tenor voice. Opening night at a theatre in Canastel — perhaps a bit too much muscatel, and someone who understood. Exciting days playing in the beautiful and stately Municipal Opera House in Oran — a misunderstanding — an understanding in the wings just before opening chorus.
Drinks at “Coq d’or” — dinner at the “Auberge” — a ring and promise given. The show 1st Armoured — muscatel, scotch, wine — someone who had to be carried from the truck and put to bed in his tent. A night of pouring rain and two very soaked GIs beneath a solitary tree on an African plain. A borrowed French convertible — a warm sulphur spring, the cool Mediterranean, and a picnic of “rations” and hot cokes. Two lieutenants who were smart enough to know the score, but not smart enough to realize that we wanted to be alone. A screwball piano player — competition — miserable days and lonely nights. The cold, windy night we crawled through the window of a GI theatre and fell asleep on a cot backstage, locked in each other’s arms — the shock when we awoke and realized that miraculously we hadn’t been discovered. A fast drive to a cliff above the sea — pictures taken, and a stop amid the purple grapes and cool leaves of a vineyard.
The happiness when told we were going home — and the misery when we learned that we would not be going together. Fond goodbyes on a secluded beach beneath the star-studded velvet of an African night, and the tears that would not be stopped as I stood atop the sea-wall and watched your convoy disappear over the horizon.
We vowed we’d be together again “back home,” but fate knew better — you never got there. And so, Dave, I hope that wherever you are these memories are as precious to you as they are to me.
Goodnight, sleep well my love.
Letter written by a World War II veteran named Brian Keith to another soldier, known only as “Dave.” The two began their romance in 1943 while stationed in North Africa together. This letter commemorated that anniversary.
It was first re-printed for wide distribution in 1961, by pioneering gay publication, ONE Magazine. But this love letter could very well have never seen the light of day. ONE put out their first issue in 1953, and brazenly sold on the streets of Los Angeles. In 1954 the magazine faced obscenity charges from the U.S. Post Office Department. They sued, and in 1958, won in a Supreme Court trial that set new legal precedent for First Amendment protections. ONE Magazine ran until 1967. (Source.)
LGBTQ* Military Stories (That Will Warm Your Heart)
I only met one other homosexual in the army. That was in Le Havre in 1917. We was on the boat coming home. I don’t know how these things work, whether it’s through conversation, or whether it’s the attitude of the individual concerned, but we seemed to come together, see. All of a sudden his arm was round my neck and this, that and the other, and then, of course, one thing led to another. And that was Phil, my affair that I had for seven years. When I come out of the army we stuck together. I was living at the time in Ilford. I rejoined the army in 1920, then I went out to Germany. I was living with Phil at the time and I saw him when I came home on leave and we kept a flat together. I was in the army because the army was my life at that period. He was somebody just like a wife to come home to…
… I don’t think our friends or family knew, yet they had a very good suspicion. Phil and I often talked about it, only he said, well, he says, as long as we love each other, what’s it to do with other people? And that was the true situation.
Text: First person account as told by Gerald, born 1892, Norfolk, England. Excerpted from Between the Acts: Lives of Homosexual Men 1885-1967, Jeffrey Weeks and Kevin Porter (eds)
(story found thanks to: www.woolfandwilde.com)
Two sailors ca. 1940-1945. An image featured in the “Love and War” exhibit at the Kinsey Institute Gallery. More info on the exhibit can be found here.
“The photo is usually seen cropped from the waist up, as it was in the 1980s when the activist organization ACT-UP used in it on a T-shirt in their Read My Lips campaign. But the print hanging in the Kinsey gallery is the original version. Below decks, the sailors’ flies are open, and they are, so to speak, crossing swords.”