Monday, November 16, 2009

A Gift

One of the nicest gifts that my late friend Tom ever gave me was in the summer of 1980. He asked me to spend a week with him at Lemonscent Acres in New Hampshire which was home to a group of gay men. The Acres began life in the early 70’s as a commune of 5 gay men from different walks of life and from different parts of the country who had met at some college in New England where they were studing and had formed a very tight friendship After college they all decided to buy land and start a gay commune which at that time they thought would be a revolutionary idea, which I guess it was.So they bought acres of lovely land with a lake on it and soon the guys started work on a beautiful big house for all of them to live in. After many many months of hard labor during the very cold New England winters and hot New England summers the beautiful home was finished and they all moved in. However they soon realized that even though they were fond of each other they couldn’t stand living in the same house. Two of the men Jim and Joe who were lovers stayed on in the big main house and began to dabble in real estate and Bill who was a carpenter and Albert who was a writer, and Clem who was a graphic designer started work on their own places. It kinda reminded me of the three little pigs building their sweet little homes to keep out the big bad wolf. In this case however there was no big bad wolf, only the big bad world, and the men were far from being pigs, although I guess one or two could be accused of being sex pigs. I first met Jim, Joe, Bill and Albert at a party that Clem had in his big loft in Chelsea and I liked them all. I had already Known Clem because Tom had invited him to several of his lovely dinner parties that I was also a guest at. Clem had a successful graphic design firm and lived a few blocks from where I lived and he would go up to the Acres on the weekends and on holidays such as July 4th and labor day. This was the late 70’s and the gay world was sweet on itself in a big way. Tom would go to New Hampshire every summer for a week or so and would regall me with tales of Lemonscent and the beautiful fun men who lived there and the many beautiful fun men who would visit. Finally Tom invited me to go with him to The acres, and although not a country person at all I jumped at the chance to get out of the hot summer city. I was also honored to be asked as I was his only friend that he ever invited to go with him to Lemonscent. So one hot day in August we took the long bus ride to New Hampshire arriving late at night in pitch black darkness and were met by the brother of one of the guys who was also visiting the acres. We were going to stay at Albert’s still unfinished Pentagon house, and yes it was indeed a pentagon with a stone base and foundation but built entirley out of wood. There was no lights or running water yet in the house and as I said it was still unfinished with quite a bit of work left to be done.. Albert was away for the week, so we made the best of what we could find in the sleeping loft which were a couple of dirty old moldy mattresses that smelt like death.. We awoke to the much nicer smell of fresh coffee and were greeted by Bobby a very handsome young man who was staying with Bill and his new lover George in their house which was finished and was modeled on a 18th century house. A tour of the land and the houses was foremost on Tom’s mind and after a light breakfast he took me all over Lemonscent to visit the guys and look at their houses which were mostly finished. I really liked it up there. It was so green with big old trees and strange (to me anyway) things growing all over the place. We went swimming in the lake and since I could not swim I was very careful, but still I almost drown slipping on the muddy shallow bottom. I went under and started to frail about waving my arms and I somehow got out of this seemingly death by drowning accident and made my way to the shore where I waited for the others to get back from their long swim. “Didn’t you see me frayling about and waving my arms Tom?” “I thought you were just waving at us.” No more lakes for me from now on I would sit on the shore and watch the men go skinny dipping and fantazize about who I would like to make love with.


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