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Margaret Jane Windes

On March 25, l925, Bess gave birth to a daughter named Margaret Jane Windes, renamed "Peggy" by the parents and grandparents, and Grandmother Margaret (renamed "Ona" by her husband and "Muddy" by my older sister), was out of her mind with joy. She and Peggy were inseparable, and Margaret adored her first grandchild, assuming, of course, a dominant role in raising the child, often to the anger and frustration of Mother Bess.

Pauline taught English and "Expression" at the high school in Cassville, and sister Peggy took "expression lessons" from her for years (and piano and accordian lessons from Maude Wilson, too).

On Lena's apparitions and incantations would go, until either she finally stopped seeing things and talking to them, or I went downstairs and got in bed with whoever would have me, occasionally Bess and Russel, who would say, "What's she doing tonight? Anything new? Has she reached the "bootatatata" phase?" More often I crawled in with sister Peggy. I would cuddle her real hard and put my hand over hers and rub her thumbnail until I went to sleep. Thumb-rubbing thus became my way of escaping the threatening outside world and restoring my homeostatic tranquility.

The relationship I shared with my older sister, Peggy, was changed when she went off to college to the University of Arkansas in the fall of l94l, and then to Southwest Missouri State College that winter. She left college, May of l942, to move to Philadelphia to live with Uncle Kenneth and family and work in the Naval Aircraft Factory at the Navy Yard, a job Lt. Commander Windes had gotten her. I saw her only twice before the war ended in l945.

My sister Peggy, who after a year of college had gone to Philadelphia in l942 to live with Uncle Kenneth's family and work at the Navy Yard there, returned to Missouri in the summer of l944 for a brief vacation. We had not seen her during all that time. She wanted me to return with her to Philadelphia to see the east coast and visit both with her and her friends, and with Uncle Ken, who by that time was stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City. Russel and Bess agreed and bought my roundtrip train fare, which was thirty four dollars, and gave me fifty dollars to spend, and Harley Fryer reluctantly gave me a "short" leave from the Orpheum.

Peg and I left on the morning Frisco train to St. Louis on July ll, l944, a month after D-Day. From St.Louis we took the Pennsylvania Railroad "New York Limited," at four in the afternoon and arriving the next morning in Philadelphia.

My sister Peggy, who after a year of college had gone to Philadelphia in l942 to live with Uncle Kenneth's family and work at the Navy Yard there, returned to Missouri in the summer of l944 for a brief vacation. We had not seen her during all that time. She wanted me to return with her to Philadelphia to see the east coast and visit both with her and her friends, and with Uncle Ken, who by that time was stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City. Russel and Bess agreed and bought my roundtrip train fare, which was thirty four dollars, and gave me fifty dollars to spend, and Harley Fryer reluctantly gave me a "short" leave from the Orpheum.

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The trains were incredibly crowded, mostly with servicemen, and services were almost nonexistent. There was no way of getting a meal in the dining car, and just to use the restroom took half an hour of waiting. At each stop, Peg or I would jump off, storm the local depot's magazine and candy counter, take whatever food was left, and jump back on the train. We had nothing but cokes, candy and potato chips for the entire trip.

We did meet a lot of interesting people, however. Peggy was as gregarious as I was, and she got involved in a lot of poker games with the servicemen. She even shot craps with them. And I roamed the long train, talking to anybody who wanted to talk to a fourteen year old and learning as much as I could.

In Philadelphia I stayed at Peggy's apartment at l054 Yeadon Ave., in Yeadon, a suburb to the southwest of downtown Philadelphia. She shared the apartment with Helen, who was in her late twenties, and her twelve year old son, Kirby. Helen, a lesbian who had a series of girlfriends after her four year marriage, had met and fallen in love with Peggy, who was clearly enjoying her first samesex relationship. They both worked at the Naval Base, and they slept together in the apartment. During my two weeks there, I slept with the very cute Kirby in his bedroom.

While Peg and Helen were at work each day, Kirby and I explored Philadelphia, taking the street car downtown in the late morning and coming home at rush hour. The car fare was a nickel, each way. With Kirby's help, I saw it all, The Independence Mall, Independence Hall, Carpenters Hall, The Quaker Meeting House, the Banks of the United States, the Betsy Ross home, the Liberty Bell, the Franklin Mint, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Academy of Music, The City Hall, and so on. We went to the big department store, Wanamakers, and had luncheons there.

On the first Saturday of my visit the four of us took a train to Atlantic City where we spent the day on the beach. At one point in the afternoon a great deal of debris came ashore, and the bathers told me the debris was from a German U-Boat, sunk by the U.S. Navy. True or not, it was momentarily exciting to me.

On that Sunday night the four of us went to the Robin Hood Dell outdoor theatre where we heard the Philadelphia Symphony conducted by Andre Kostelanetz, my very first symphony concert. The program included George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," Oscar Levant at the piano, which I greatly enjoyed.

During my first week in Philadelphia, Uncle Kenneth came down from New York. We met him at the Navy Yard where he had business, and when he suggested I go back on the train with him to New York, I didn't even bother going home to pack.

After my trip to New York with Uncle Kenneth, I spent a few more days in Philadelphia with Peg and Helen and Kirby, and Kirby's dog, Major, a big shepherd who has asthma and wheezed at the foot of our bed every night. I told them countless stories of my four days in New York, and I played the records for them that Ken had given me. Peggy and I sang together the songs from Oklahoma, and we particularly liked "Everything's Up To Date in Kansas City," and "People Will Say We're In Love." She didn't care much for Guy Lombardo, of course, since she was devoted to swing and the music of Dorsey and Miller and Goodman and Woody Herman.

In bed at night I couldn't get out of my mind all those scenes at the Brooklyn YMCA, and I dreamed of the beautiful Navy guys I had met and watched in the shower, and remembered how I had tried to hide my erections the first day, but only the first one.

My first night back at Peggy and Helen's, I persuaded Kirby to take off his pajamas, and the two of us slept naked together, and I think I had my dick in his crack pushing hard most of the night. I certainly didn't hide my erection from him. I even persuaded him to play with me until I came, a pleasant if shocking event for him.

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The night I left to return to Neosho, Peggy took me to the 30th Street Station where I was to get my Pennsylvania Railroad train back to St. Louis. We stood there on the platform waiting for the train to arrive from New York and squeezed each other's hands and hugged each other and sang, "Don't throw bouquets at me. Don't tease my folks too much. Don't laugh at my jokes at my jokes too much. People will say we're in love." Perhaps Peggy and I were at that moment in love. When I kissed her goodbye and got on board, and the train headed west for Pittsburgh and St. Louis, I cried for the longest time, just thinking of Peggy standing there on that lonely platform singing "People Will Say We're In Love." I still cry when I hear the song.

Sister Peggy returned from Philadelphia after the war, and after spending a month with us in Neosho, she got a job in Kansas City with the War Assets Administration, an organization established to sell off surplus war goods. She moved to Kansas City, met a nice Irish Catholic girl named Rosemary Dillon, and moved into the Dillon family home at 40l2 Booth Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. She and Rosemary and Rosemary's brothers, Bud and Jack and Mike, started coming to Neosho for occasional weekend visits.

I was particularly fond of Bud, who was my age and very Irish sexy. We both enjoyed sleeping together and jerking each other off. And I enjoyed spending parts of vacations at the Dillon home in Kansas City. The Kansas City Southern Railroad continued to run four passenger trains each day through Neosho to Kansas City, and the trip took only three hours. Bud would meet my train, and we'd have great times together going places in both downtown Kansas City and neighboring areas.

Kansas City at the time had an extensive street car transportation system, and we could buy a day's pass for a quarter and go all over the city. We did the downtown stores; We did matinee performances at the famous Follies Burlesque on l2th Street, home of the "Twelfth Street Rag;" We attended the many jazz places out on 30th to 39th Streets; We visited the shops, restaurants and movies at the new Country Club Plaza between Ward Parkway and Wornall Road. Bud and I also played golf together, a game I enjoyed but was never very good at. I liked to visit the Nelson Art Gallery, which was not as good as the Forest Park Art Museum in St. Louis, at the time, but which already had a good collection of French impressionist paintings including several of Monet and Matisse.

The Dillon family, very traditional Irish Catholic, consisting of mother, father, three sons and three daughters, was a new experience for me. I knew very little about the Roman Catholic faith at that time, or of the demands that religion made on its communicants. I was emotionally attracted to its seeming beauties and mysteries, but logically and intellectually turned-off by what the religion asked me blindly to accept. Since all the Dillons but Bud seemed to be utterly devoted and committed to the church, however, I spoke nothing of my reservations. Bud and I just continued "doing what comes naturally" to us for a long time, until he got married at twenty, a marriage which lasted two years.

We frequently spent parts of weekends visiting with my sister Peggy and her friends the Dillons in Kansas City. In Kansas City we attended films, enjoyed dinners on the Plaza, and heard jazz groups at bars and clubs on both 39th Street and l2th Street.

 

 

 

 

 

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