Mr. Wow Blog
Mr. Wow Leaves Home
7:52 pm | April 3, 2012

Author: Mr. Wow | Category: Point of View | Comments: 72

 

 

I was wondering what to do today, what to write.  The fact of being laid off—and the uncertainty of applying for unemployment—has weighed me down.  I don’t have the heart or energy to tackle the Trayvon Martin tragedy or Rick Santorum saying “bullshit” or the relentless robotic aura of Mitt Romney.  Or the fading presidency of Barack Obama.  Or even the illness and surgery of our oldest, purriest cat, Doll.

  Frustration, fear and self-loathing have taken me to dark places.

    And so I offer an essay that has been on my computer for a while.  Something, not exactly “light,” but a piece that might explain me a little bit. How I came to be me. Certain aspects of me. The more…sordid me.

   I hope I won’t shock any of you too much.  

 

HE’S LEAVING HOME…Bye, bye.

 

How Young Mr. Wow Came to Confront NYC’s Mean Streets in 1968.

****************************************

 

“I took money, Steve….I made a way of life out of it.  The deep shame didn’t hit me until much later.”

*************************************

 

“When the time comes that I am no longer desired for myself, I’d rather not be desired at all.”

****************************************

 

All true movie fans (and/or gay men) know the origin of the two quotes above.  Miss Elizabeth Taylor as the overripe call girl Gloria, in “Butterfield 8.”  And Miss Vivien Leigh as the fragile Karen Stone in “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.”  Both characters traded in sex.  One sold, one paid.

 

Mr. Wow saw these films as a youngster.  Well, let’s say as a tween–in today’s parlance.  They had an effect.  By the time I watching Miz Liz strut around in her silky slip, and Miss Leigh pine after insensitive hustlers, I was sexually active, and aware that youth was my big calling card. I had no illusions.  Feature by feature I was just a normal, cute-looking kid.  But I was smart and already too worldly for my little world.

As I became more sophisticated (that is, I read a lot of Harold Robbins) I sometimes fantasized about being so desirable that I would be paid for my time, a la La Liz.  I also saw myself in Vivien Leigh’s character!  Even at 13 I knew someday I’d be in that position—not famous, not beautiful, not rich. (Not a woman, either.)   But I would want younger partners.  This struck me profoundly–that I would look so mournfully into the future. Anticipating faded petals while I was still barely a bud myself.

And even then I didn’t like myself.    But I accepted myself.

 

My disordered childhood left me unmotivated to succeed, or to “be” anything. I certainly didn’t become self-reliant.  Rather, I was obsessed with physical—not financial–security and on my ability to charm somebody into providing me a stable environment. All I wanted was a home. I never fantasized about money or fame.

During my time up at the Peekskill, NY orphanage, St. Joseph’s, I begged a beautiful social worker to adopt me. She was African American and had taken me into her home on Thanksgiving.  Of course she could not adopt me—I was not an orphan. My mother was alive. Hospitalized,  suicidal, volatile–but alive. And she wanted me. She had spent her own grim childhood in the care of good nuns at an orphanage. That her little boy had ended up in the same situation was for her an agony of guilt.

This social worker had already broken rules taking me home with her. (I met her family and they were great!)  But I never forgot her, or that she cried when I saw her for the last time. She was much nicer than the nuns, and the only tenderness I found up there at St. Joseph’s.

****************************************

 

By the time I was fourteen, running away from home—fleeing life with an insecure, tormented mother I hardly knew, or cared to know– had become a rather boring habit.

At first I came back within hours.  Then more hours.  Then a day.  Then two.  Always I would wander, walking on and on and on. I had this strong feeling that if I walked far enough, I would somehow, magically, fall into a new life.  Like Alice down the rabbit hole, or through the looking-glass.  I made myself believe that turning the next unknown corner might change my life, in some fantastic fashion. That never happened.  Not as I anticipated, anyway. I was no Jack Kerouac, taking to the road and having terrific, mind and soul defining adventures. I waited for things to happen to me; passive and fatalistic. I did not believe in myself as a person, only as a commodity with an expiration date.

 

Midway through my fourteenth year, my epic rows with my mother reached a boiling point. I was relentlessly truant from school and despite an amazing ability to forge teacher’s names on notes and intercept the mail and phone calls, I was doomed to be caught.  There were terrible scenes.

Nothing mattered more to my mother than my education.  She was compelled to leave school at 16, to work. She  suffered what she thought were her intellectual deficiencies, though she wrote poetry, painted and was well-read. There was no possibility of having money to send me to college—we were on welfare by the time I was 11—but my mother hoped I might advance enough to earn some sort of scholarship.  No way. School bored me.  I read voraciously and was certain I knew more than my teachers. I didn’t feel the need to learn French or advanced mathematics. (Today I still count on my fingers!)  My teachers tended to love me at first, then become puzzled, then ignore me—after all, there were students on hand who wanted  to learn.

One of my teachers was so outraged by my indifference to him and to schoolwork in general, he ordered my mother to come see him, so he could have the pleasure of telling her, “Mrs. Wow, I think your son absolutely does not belong in an advanced classroom.  In fact, I am going to make sure he is placed where he belongs, in the ‘average’ classrooms. Though he is barely even that.”  (I don’t know how the system is now—but back then kids were divided into ‘average’ and ‘above average’ levels.  It caused a lot of grief and insecurity.)

 

After that, I was openly contemptuous, which caused this learned man to throw a book at me.  He missed. He hit the smart kid seated behind me..

 

In any case, I was always inevitably caught in my intricate but-sure-to-fail truancy lies.  My mother and I slugged it out.  Well, she tried to, and I ducked.  She had a hair-trigger temper and the unfortunate habit of slapping me hard, often in front of others.  She would then wonder why so many took my side, despite her very real concerns and grievances. “Don’t be fooled by his innocent look!” she would scream after sending me reeling with a roundhouse backhand. (I wasn’t trying to look innocent, but all who witnessed these scenes certainly thought I was.)

 

By fourteen I’d shot up to 5’ 7”  to my mom’s 5’2”.  (For a minute it looked like I might be tall.  But I never grew another inch.)  So it became comic as she tried to hit and corner me in our tiny two room Hollis, Queens apartment.  The struggle was now ridiculous, and I often fell into giggles, leaping from sofa to chair and back again as she flailed, hoping to make a strike.  My mother was not amused.  We battled bitterly shortly after my fourteenth birthday. I didn’t feel like being slapped. I opted out of the house yet again.

 

I walked down Jamaica Avenue, then up to the more affluent Hillside Avenue and continued into Jamaica itself.  I was so familiar with the area—the crumbling but still-deluxe Loews Valencia Theater…Gertz department store (with its tawdry and active men’s room)  and the very nice public library where I spent many truant hours, reading good books in exquisite isolation. (The men’s room there also had a lot of traffic.)

 

This adventure would be different.  For one thing, I was away five days.  My longest sojourn from Hollis, ever.  But something else was in the air.  Me! At every turn, on every bench, in every theater seat (I knew how to sneak into the Valencia for free), and on each and every street, I was  accosted, approached, seriously eyed.  I was by no means naïve, or sexually inexperienced, but this was ridiculous.  Had every gay man in the world decided to take a vacation in scenic Jamaica, Queens?  And were they all somehow attracted to little ole cute-but-not-extraordinary Mr. Wow?

 

Apparently so.  Several of these men were young and good-looking.  (One took me to his tiny room the local YMCA.  He cried with shame when we were done, which horrified me.  Whatever problems I had, confusion about my sexual identity was not among them.)   Others were not so young.

The night before I trudged sheepishly back home—to my hollow-eyed mother who was simply relieved I was alive—I encountered a drunk in the bus station.  He was stout and bald and reeked of liquor.  I was holding up a wall, clutching a paperback copy of “The Queen’s Necklace”—all about Marie Antoinette’s fatal bauble.  I’d stolen it from a drugstore, and was reading it while wandering.

He approached.  Ugh!  I moved away.  He followed.  I went outside.  He followed.  “Hey, kid—you wanna make ten bucks?”  This stopped me.

In 1967, with a mother on welfare, and reduced to stealing 95 cent paperback books, ten bucks might as well have been a hundred.  “Come on, come on over here,” he slurred, indicating a deserted area of the bus parking area.  I followed him warily.  When we were secluded he turned, grabbed his crotch, and said, “So?”  I said, “Money first.”  Who knows where that  bit of business sense came from?   He handed over the ten.  I looked at it.  I looked at him.  He looked mean. He smelled bad.  I ran my ass off.  He was too drunk to do anything but curse me as a faggot.

The next morning I was back in Hollis, promising my mother I’d straighten up and fly right.  Of course I wanted to finish high school and grow up to be a responsible person.  I thought I meant it.  Kind of.

I was thrilled with my ten dollar bill.

**************************

And then I was fifteen.  My last year at home was a total joke.  I was out of school so often that my teachers and supposed classmates didn’t even know who I was, on those rare occasions I deigned to appear.  I spent a good deal of time with the guidance counselor.  She was bright and funny, and had a connection to show biz. I amused her. I made her laugh.  She’d always say, “Oh, you’re okay.  You’re just too smart for your own good.”  Once she said, “Have you ever considered acting?”

I answered, “What do you think I’m doing right now?” She looked somewhat stricken. That I might be less jaunty than I appeared hadn’t occurred to her.

When not being “counseled” I spent most of my stolen hours up at the local library, but I did scoot into Manhattan.  I wandered around the Times Square and 42nd Street area. That’s when it truly was “bawdy, tawdry 42nd Street!” I didn’t know it—or maybe I did—but I was getting the lay of the land.

On a warmish November afternoon in ‘68 my mother and I had our final confrontation.  Suspecting I was not going to school, she waited at my bus stop.  Of course, I wasn’t on the bus; I was jauntily making my way down the street from the opposite direction.  Curses, foiled again!

My mother was speechless with rage. Odd, for her.  I was en garde, waiting for the slaps or savage pinches or just the yelling—like the roar of the Concorde taking off. (To this day, a raised voice will cause me to shut down, flee or hyperventilate.)  She said nothing until we reached Rudy’s the corner convenience store, just across the street from our modest apartment complex.  It was a little bit of everything at Rudy’s—a fountain, burgers, drugstore items, newspapers, magazines.  And there was Rudy, too—a crusty character who never warmed to winsome Mr. Wow. (Perhaps he suspected that I often stole magazines and books.)  My mother ordered a cup of coffee, and the mere act of speaking—“no milk”– unhinged her.

She began screaming to Rudy and several neighborhood ladies, about what an excruciatingly horrible, terrible boy I was.  I never went to school, and for sure I was going to hell because of all the trouble I caused her.  (She had a point, but–Young Wow did not smoke, drink, take drugs, use foul language or hang out with a bad crowd—or any crowd. I was a big nerd.  And, tempting though it was, I didn’t sass my mom.)

Rudy and the gathered neighbors knit their brows and shook their heads.  Wasn’t I ashamed of myself?  What kind of a boy was I?  Did I want to go to hell?   And then, as per her habit, my mother hauled off and slapped me so hard I fell back against a pyramid of canned goods, knocking everything over.  Rudy exclaimed, triumphantly, “See what you did?”  One of the ladies piped up, “Look what you’ve done to your mother, she is always so sick, how can you be so cruel and irresponsible?”

“Go home!” shrieked my mother.  “I’ll deal with you later.”

 

No thank you, Mom.  Later never came.  I dashed out of the store, flung my pristine, uncracked schoolbooks into a garbage can and headed up toward Hillside Avenue, and the subway to NYC.  I had exactly 15 cents in my pocket.  That was the fare. I was wearing grey slacks, a white shirt and short lightweight jacket.  I probably had time to go home and change, or throw a few extra clothes in a bag, or root through my mother’s bureau draws for some money.  I knew she’d be some time at Rudy’s, telling everybody I wasn’t as innocent as I looked.

But falling into the canned peas was my final straw.  I felt desperately sad for my mother.  I knew her own brutal history and I knew that she tried her best. I didn’t love her. I didn’t hate her, either.  But we were not meant to live together.  In later years I realized she wasn’t meant to live with anyone—she trusted so few– herself least of all.  Alone was better. Although it was so terribly alone.

Alice said, once she found herself in Wonderland: “It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”

 

So, call it strange or sad, but that November day that I sauntered out onto 42nd Street and 8th Ave, determined never to return home…something made sense. To me.  I knew my looking-glass was sordid, grimy, and held little hope.  But I never expected Wonderland anyway.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…eventually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments:
  • maryburdt

    Hi Mr. Wow, I just finished reading your blog.  I thought I knew you pretty well from following you religously for the past three years, but I did not.  Of course, I knew some of your history but obviously not all.  I must confess that a few tears filled my eyes as I read about your younger life.  What can be said, sometime life sucks (pardon the pun).Just know that your followers love and care about you and wish you all the very best in this new endeavor.  Mary..

    8:21 pm | April 3, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Mary..

      I don’t work a Chilean mine.  Yeah, I had rough childhood.  And when it comes to it–who didn’t?  Thank you for reading.  I am encouraged by this new, totally independent thing in my life.  And terrified.

      Life can suck.  No pun intended. 

      Love.

      Mr W

      8:40 pm | April 3, 2012
  • Baby Snooks

    I wonder if it was the times as they say. I had several friends who “had enough” and also left home.  With nothing.  Not willing to risk changing their mind I suppose while “planning the great escape.”  I always envied them for some reason. I wanted to leave.  But I had become this odd “caretaker” child.  It just recently occured to me that I needed a “caretaker” more than they did. Instead I had a great-aunt who basically handed me the AmEx card and told me never to leave home without it but make sure I always came home.  So I always did.  My father handed me one when she died and he could afford to pay it himself.  He asked me at one point if I realized I had spent a million dollars in 20 years. I hadn’t realized it.  I started when I was 13. With clothes and a psychologist. I would rather have had a million hugs. Life seems more brutal when we look back.  But in some cases it was brutal at the time. Dumb me also discovered men were willing to pay for it. But some couldn’t have offered enough. And those who didn’t need to usually were shocked when I suggested spending a weekend somewhere. And I pulled out the AmEx card. I could have at least suggested their leaving a tip or something. I might have had a nice retirement  account.  But alas I didn’t. It never occured to me a bank would rip me off along with other assorted disasters and I would end up with no money. If I had been smart I suppose I would have left home. “Without it.”  And I would have done what my friends did. And what I suspect you did. Someone once told that we are all whores on one level or another. And that is probably true at one point or another in our lives.  It’s called survival.  My friends turned out okay. So did you. I on the other hand really didn’t. Despite all the “scruples.”  You all learned what used to be called “street smarts.” Which are far more important I suspect than scruples. Reality is we all have to be whores at times. Just to survive.

    8:40 pm | April 3, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Baby…

      My problem was I had no “great escape.”  I just wanted out, in the most unorganized way.  There was no “there” in my life as a child.

      I turned out…hmmm…not so good..  B. has suffered.  Then again, so have I.

      8:46 pm | April 3, 2012
  • Baby Snooks

    I suspect your mother loved you very much. Like mine she just didn’t know how to. Quite sad. My father didn’t know how to either.  They loved each other very much. But they also were “George and Martha.” Also quite sad. 

    8:47 pm | April 3, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear baby..she did, very much. 

      9:03 pm | April 3, 2012
  • I’m so glad, when you weren’t sure what to write, that you wrote this. I’m also glad I found you. xo

    8:49 pm | April 3, 2012
  • Baby Snooks

    I think you turned out just fine. You give off “good vibes” was we used to say. You have a good heart. Despite it all. Don’t think so?  Ask B!   My standard answer to the ongoing “schadenfruede” of Elizabeth Taylor is “She meant well .”  As in I doubt she really ever really meant to hurt anyone.  I doubt you did either. 

    8:56 pm | April 3, 2012
  • goodgirl096567

    Wow! What a story. I can’t wait  to hear more.

    9:03 pm | April 3, 2012
  • Dab
    Dab

    I’m so intrigued, can’t wait for you to continue. While reading of your young life, I couldn’t help but think about my own. A short-tempered mom and an angry, abusive father. Dad, a disabled veteran of the big war, had a very bad head injury and took medication for twenty years and had side effects that probably contributed to his inability to manage his anger. Not being able to verbalize his feelings, he struck out with his hands at whatever was near. I was usually the target when my mom wasn’t. I started plotting my escape when I was 12. It was harder for a young girl to go out on her own with no one to help, so I stuck around until I was 17 before escaping. But I still remember reading the classified ads trying to see how much a rental room would cost and how much I would have to earn on a job, with no marketable skills, to be able to live. All I could think about was being alone, being able to read, watch TV and eat a meal without fear of being knocked on my backside without warning. I was at the hospital with Dad just days before he died. He apologized and said he didn’t understand why he treated his family so badly. I forgave him hoping I could go on with my life without too much anger related to my youth. It pretty much helped. I still don’t trust people so I’m lonely as a senior citizen. Without my significant other I would be all alone.Thank you so much, Mr. Wow, for sharing with us. It means a lot to me that you can open up to us. I understand about your younger years and why you left home. Your story helps me understand about mine. Dab

    9:26 pm | April 3, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Dab…

      It is much harder for a girl, then and now. I had it fairly easy on the streets.  If it wasn’t for B, I’d be–well, dead, probably, or a lonely 59 year old in small cluttered room with my books and tapes and CD’s.   It’s not that we have this fantastic life together–moonbeams and all that shit.  But he is there for me.  He knows the worst of me and says he loves the best. Whatever the hell that is!  He is tender and loving.  And he cooks, too.  

      I don’t cook anymore, and I am not very tender and loving a good deal of the time.  The older I get, the more I feel what I missed in my childhood.  And nobody can give it back to me.  Though god knows, B has tried. 

      11:08 pm | April 3, 2012
  • Charming and compelling. Keep going. Chexy

    9:32 pm | April 3, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Chexy…

      Thanks.  I will. 

      Chexy…hmmmm.  I like that.

      9:02 pm | April 5, 2012
  • DanS

    Your stories about your life are always so interesting to me. Sometimes, the details seem just as crazy as those black and white movies you always make reference to. And I wonder how the hell you came out the other side of that as a functional human being. I can already hear you saying “That depends on how you define ‘functional’.”, but I would say “That just means that you’re equally capable of living life just like any of us out here.” Take that as you will.There are times you’ll be saying something and I’m thinking “Did he somehow steal that directly from my brain?” But this post posits something foreign to me. It’s true that I was at odds with my parents for most of my childhood, but I won’t bore you will all of that – it’s a snoozer by comparison. But my parents and I are ridiculously close now and I can’t imagine it any other way. It’s like when I became an adult, those genetic donors and I suddenly had something in common and we could relate in a way that we simply couldn’t do in an adult/kid way.But I’m always interested in those little cogs and springs that went into making Mr. Wow the fascinating character and riveting writer that I see before me now. It’s not that hard to write an interesting story, but it’s a lot trickier to be an interesting person.

    9:57 pm | April 3, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Dan…

      Thank you and you won’t bore me.  Tell.  What do you think this is about?  I want to know more.  I want to make sense of my life.  I want to give and I want to embrace.  I’ve been quite lucky, actually..

      10:53 pm | April 3, 2012
  • Omasan

    Input your comments here…Mr. Wow,  sorry you are feeling blue.  Can’t wait to read the rest of your story .. while your childhood was turbulent and unhappy (I assume?), it certainly makes for good reading.  Thanks for sharing.  Good luck in your new venture!

    9:59 pm | April 3, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Omasan..

      Thank you!

      My childhood was turbulent and sometimes unhappy.  Whose wasn’t, one way or another?  

      I survived.  Though I didn’t grow up much.

      10:43 pm | April 3, 2012
  • Baby Snooks

    “My disordered childhood left me unmotivated to succeed, or to “be” anything. I certainly didn’t become self-reliant.  Rather, I was obsessed with physical—not financial–security and on my ability to charm somebody into providing me a stable environment. All I wanted was a home. I never fantasized about money or fame.”But you ended up with a home. And with someone who loved you. In addition to being charmed by you.  Very few of us end up with what we wanted. You did. I hear Miss Streisand singing in the background. “How lucky can you get?” I wonder when the “powers that were” will realize we all love the reality of Mr. Wow. It is our reality. Mary Wells Lawrence and her yacht and Liz Peek and her asparagus are not our reality.  B isn’t the only who loves you!

    10:02 pm | April 3, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Oh, Baby!

      My fave moment is when she pushes the needle off the record and mutters, “How  lucky…”

      B. just came in and hugged me and said “Oh, go look at your comments!”

      And he knows all of you.

      10:29 pm | April 3, 2012
  • Mr. Wow, you ABSOLUTELY have a viable book here!!  People would read it!  Your crazed fans are already anticipating your next installment!  And… there is such a thing as self-publishing electronically these days, it’s not as if you have to sell it to a publisher who will mangle it in the process of publication.  The story has everything – kindness, turmoil, adventure (even if you don’t think so).  It’s a 20th-century Tom Sawyer story, a kid out making his way in the world by hook or by crook, a good kid at heart, but one who drives the adults around him crazy.  Love it!!

    10:16 pm | April 3, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Lila…

      Eh…not  a book.  And this was laziness and depression on my part.  I couldn’t wrap my head around something outside of my immediate self.  But, yeah–before you say it, you’re correct. Everything I write is more or less about me anyway, my opinions.

      I’ll think on the book.

      xxmrw

       

      10:40 pm | April 3, 2012
  • Dear Mr. Wow,Thank you…so many of my friends have never shared their stories with me…so I have to guess…but now I have yours to consider.  Please keep writing, and there is a book in this…whether you see it or not!

    12:38 am | April 4, 2012
  • Max Andrews

    Mr. WoW:I’m a new follower, but I REALLY need more!  One of the best, truest, most real essays I’ve read in years.Please, sir, may I have some more?XO,Max

    2:55 am | April 4, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Max…you may have some more, but not right away.  Heavy lifting.  But go to my archives and you can find my battles with booze and drugs and depression. But no matter what, they didn’t drum me outta Hollywood and nobody’s plucking my wig off in the ladies room.

      8:55 pm | April 5, 2012
  • LandofLove
    LandofLove

    Thank you for your story, Mr. wOw. It was amazingly honest and compelling, and I admire your courage in posting it for everyone to see. Although your experiences were so sad and difficult, you have come through them with such compassion and maturity–more than what you give yourself credit for. You can see your mother’s situation so clearly now–most people wouldn’t have that insight and self-awareness. Bravo.

    9:32 am | April 4, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Land…

      Thank you, darling.  How could I not see my mother’s side of it?  I’ve had only a few real moments of maturity.  But the first had to be accepting and understanding my mother as human being, as a woman.  That didn’t make our relationship “right” but it helped me enormously.   She tried very hard to be for me what her own parents were not for her, and for her many sisters and brothers.  She didn’t fail me.  Life failed her.

      9:06 pm | April 5, 2012
  • lulu

    Your sharing has brought out the best in you and will continue to. It will give you a new insight with the responses from all of us who read your blog and comment. With all of us you have a ‘family/tribe’ who will not only listen but offer. Keep writing and sharing!!!

    9:56 am | April 4, 2012
  • Haunted Lady
    Haunted Lady

    My first impulse to give you a big hug and keep you safe from all the muck but I think B probably does that. You have an astonishing ability to keep things very much in perspective. A crappy childhood can be overwhelming and can take over your life completely if you let it. The fact that you have someone who cares, you have a home, you have something to say that others want to hear and many people genuinely care about you shows you can keep the psychic wolves at bay. Myself, I had a mother with a mental illness. I saw college as my ticket out and chose to bide my time to get that golden ticket. I hated my mother for a long time but eventually decided it wasn’t worth the effort. When I learned more about her illness, I figured hating her was like hating a shark for being a shark. I don’t hate her but I don’t love her. She died about 30 years ago and I have never felt anything but relief about it. I’m glad you’re here and willing to share. And I still want to give you a hug.

    9:59 am | April 4, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Haunted one…

      B. indeed gives me hugs and an acceptance that is..well, saint-like, in a way. (not that he doesn’t have his faults, but his goodness outweighs all that.)

      My mother’s death was also something of a relief. It was a brutal death from cancer, and I was there at the end. So it was a relief in that I was finally free of this relationship that I could never heal, and a relief for her.  She was beyond all her pain.  But yes.  I wish she was alive today.  I’ve done a little more than she might have expected.  It would have been nice to share some of it with her. Even this.

      9:15 pm | April 5, 2012
  • Susan

    WOW! Thank you for sharing your story. I admire you so much for your honesty.
    Like so many of your reader have commented we all have a past.
    I just want you to know that although everyday isn’t a bowl of cherries for you I think your writing and passion for making your life better is a real inspiration to others. Always remember that you NEVER know who you have helped or inspired on any given day.
    Have a good week and a Happy Easter.

    10:11 am | April 4, 2012
  • Daniel Sugar

    Knew I’d find you one day, you owe me $10.00

    10:36 am | April 4, 2012
    • deirdre

      Daniel,
      Shame on you! That is hilarious!!!

      11:50 am | April 4, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Oh, Dr. Sugar!

      I know  you’d never accost an innocent boy in a bus station.  Who was reading a book about Marie Antoinette.  In 1968.  In Queens.

      8:59 pm | April 5, 2012
  • Sherry

    Your background is very touching, yet you persevered and made a life for yourself with B. Tell him thanks for me. As you said, we all have our stories of difficult childhoods, but would not be able to write about it as clearly and humorously as you have. You have a lot of pluck Mr. Wow. I hope you know how many of us are genuinely fond of you, so not only do you have B. you have your loyal readers.

    10:39 am | April 4, 2012
  • Chandara Sun

    I myself often find I release my inner demons when writing it out. I could have never sat down and told anyone anything verbally, but just the mere act of writing often brings things out of me I haven’t thought about in years, and once it is all written down, you see parallels and full circles that you weren’t even aware of before. All of us have stories to tell, and I hope you can continue on with yours soon. ;-)

    10:41 am | April 4, 2012
  • Charlene

    “Didn’t we all have an unhappy, difficult childhood?” you ask. And many of your readers seem to agree. I didn’t. I had a loving family. My childhood challenge was outside the family, as my dad was a career Navy man, at a lower level – never made officer nor wanted to. So we were transferred every year, back and forth between somewhere in California (paradise) to somewhere in the Pacific (paradise). All my acquaintances outside the family were short term: either they were moving away or I was, so no point building a friendship. Today in my 60s, I am very much a loner. I read your stories about your life (as a fan from your first appearance on Wow) and it’s a window into hardship that is totally foreign to me, but everything you share expands my understanding of what it is to be human, to be sensitive, insightful, and a survivor. You give me what a friend would, intimate confidences, and trust that I will sympathize and understand. You’re filling a hole in my soul. Thank you.

    11:02 am | April 4, 2012
    • LandofLove
      LandofLove

      Beautifully said, Charlene.

      12:44 pm | April 4, 2012
    • Charlene, I know what you mean. We grew up mostly overseas, moving every 1-3 years as well. I ended up in the Army partly because I couldn’t decide what to commit to for a career; it seemed somehow more “natural” to uproot myself and learn something entirely new every couple of years, but I’m still kind of weirded out by the idea of settling into a permanent home.

      12:44 pm | April 4, 2012
  • deirdre

    I am crying for that boy and cheering for the man he has become. As other have already posted; you have the home and the love you were looking for with B. You also have the love of the crew of followers who are a fairly diverse group from what I can tell. Yet it appears that each and every one of us would go the distance for you without hesitation. I had a wonderful childhood with parents who loved each other and us. I know it was rare and cherished it. I am blessed to be married to a man who loves me as much as I love him and we have children and grandchildren who are the light of our lives. Yes, we have had ups and downs, life is real, not a fairytale. But we have done all this together, just as you and B have. I love this group of people who share their thoughts and love for you and B. This blog is just great and I believe you do have a book in you.

    11:58 am | April 4, 2012
  • KEMH

    Dear Mr. Wow,

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to many. Please tell us more!

    Thank you,
    KEMH

    2:07 pm | April 4, 2012
    • deirdre

      Baby Snooks and maryburdt, thank you both for the update on Liz! I was looking around too and didn’t find anything. will add New York Social Diary to my list.

      3:54 pm | April 4, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear KEMH..

      I will.  And then you’ll be sorry!  (go to the archives to find my previous ramblings.)

      8:57 pm | April 5, 2012
      • KEMH

        Dear Mr. Wow,

        Are you daring me? ;-)

        Read your previous articles. I stand by what I wrote. You *are* an inspiration to many.I can’t wait to read more!

        Thanks!

        KEMH

        8:28 pm | April 8, 2012
  • bilgud

    Mr. Wow,
    You have the beginnings of a great movie script.
    I hope that we can read more.
    Although I am much older than you, much of your childhood years brings back memories of my own.
    I am so glad to have found your blog.
    Matthew Reddemund at boy culture blog wrote about you today.
    You’re now famous.
    Bill

    2:23 pm | April 4, 2012
  • Baby Snooks

    Just to keep everyone apprised of where everyone is following “The Exodus” I couldn’t find Liz Smith this morning on Huffington Post. But did find her on New York Social Diary. And apparently she has been added to the roster at New York Social Diary…. http://www.nysocialdiary.com/node/1907929

    3:06 pm | April 4, 2012
    • maryburdt

      Baby, New York Social Diary reported that Liz Smith would, starting today, be a daily contributor to their site. I am so happy to have her there because I read DPC daily. I am sure she will continue entertaining us at The New York Social Diary.

      3:30 pm | April 4, 2012
    • Hi Snooks, HuffPo does carry her daily column but I have noticed it updates later than some others, usually mid-morning. Right now I’m using HuffPo as the RSS feed to get a link to Liz’s latest, but I’ll check out the NYSD. Maybe it will update sooner… and allow easier commenting than HuffPo does… thanks for the heads up!

      4:02 pm | April 4, 2012
      • PS, click my name here to get to a new site…we have collected up the links to Liz, Mr. Wow, and Margo in one place, and hopefully it will also be a place for the “regulars” to hang out.

        4:05 pm | April 4, 2012
      • TheRudeDog

        Lila, I’ve found MY easiest way;  Just subscribe to the RSS feed (which, thankfully, takes about 2 seconds), then check the “Feeds” tab right next to your “Favorites” and “History” tabs for updates.  Although your idea sounds like one-stop-shopping, which is terrific!

        1:24 am | April 5, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Baby…

       

      The Huffpost hasn’t been putting Liz up till later in the day, tho I think that might change.  I’ve discovered the best way to find her is type in Liz Smith Huffington Post. which will take you directly to her column.  You can also find her column on Myway and MyExcite.

      4:21 am | April 8, 2012
  • Charlene

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    LandofLove, thank you.

    Lila, you seem to have found a positive in all the moving about, and
    built on it as being ‘natural’. Way to go! I never did, and despite 30 years in
    Chicago, always felt out of place. I’m back in California now, yet can’t decide
    where ‘home’ is.

     Mr. Wow, about writing that book: you’ve already begun. I think your
    natural form is the essay – short, pithy, humorous. And you’ve got many already
    in hand in what you’ve written for Wow. Don’t be overwhelmed by the notion of
    sitting down to write a long novel or tell-all. All you have to do is continue
    what you’ve been doing, then, sometime in the future, you’ll gather up the best
    essays you’ve already written, and publish them together in book form. We’ll
    eat it up.

    7:16 pm | April 4, 2012
  • Charlene

    Goodness! I’ve no idea what all that stuff is preceding my message, or how it got there. Sorry for the wasted space.

    8:44 pm | April 4, 2012
    • TheRudeDog

      And here I was, SO impressed that you’d written your own code!!

      1:20 am | April 5, 2012
  • Susan

    I watched a Doris Day movie last night on TMC…..Midnight Lace. I had never seen it before. TMC is showing DD films all week. Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowell, John Gavin, Myrna Loy….sooooooooooooooo dramatic! Fun movie.

    9:11 am | April 5, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Susan…

      Never cared much for “Midnight Lace.”  I think DD was too self-sufficient to be a believable victim. 

      8:48 pm | April 5, 2012
  • Rho

    So happy to see your blog, Mr. Wow.  May I wish you and Mr. B. Happy Easter and Happy Passover.          s

    10:07 am | April 5, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Rho…

      The same to you, honey.  And thanks!

      8:46 pm | April 5, 2012
  • rick gould

    Maybe a collection of essays? I would buy it ; )Perhaps you could dictate them ala Mrs. Goforth!I love reading you, Mr. W.Rick

    3:03 pm | April 5, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Rick…
      It is “urgentisimo” to write that book of essays.

      8:44 pm | April 5, 2012
      • sadiebb

        hey mr wow!if you do decide to publish (and i think you have plenty of material right now) you might want to check out iuniverse.com. they are affiliated with barnes & noble, will design a nice cover and put you on amazon & b&n. i have published 4 books thru them, using one of the lower cost options and resolutely ignoring all marketing attempts to bump me up to the expensive ones.  you are very talented & have some credentials though so i would say get an agent already!! bet someone would gladly pay to publish your stuff !!

        2:49 pm | April 6, 2012
  • deirdre

    I live in song lyrics (yes, I know) and this one has been in my head and coming out of my mouth since I started reading the blog and all of the comments.  ”what a funny boy he is, no one’s dashing cavalier…” and the final lyric “funny how I’ve come to love him so”… and I do.  I have no idea who you are and I don’t care, you provide a great place for so many people to laugh, complain, argue and share.  It amazes me that you still seem not to understand or know your gift which is to provide the seed which allows all of us to nurture thoughts and feelings we might not otherwise express.  I just saw your reply to Haunted one about B who gives you love and safety, I am so glad.  Don’t be so sure you late mother doesn’t know how far you have come and how well you have done.  I bet she knows about all of us. I also suspect that B would tell us you give him just as much as he gives you.

    9:23 pm | April 5, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Deirdre…

      What a funny boy I am.  Well, what a boy, anyway. I used to hope I’d grow out of it–this “boy” thing.  My big calling card.  There was a point when I was sure I’d passed right into “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” territory.  How far was I from grotesque with my jeans and my sneakers and my backpack?  But then, not that long ago, I was with a group of people, all much younger than I.  I laughed and drank and had a hell of a time.  I didn’t pretend to be younger than I am–I’ve never done that.  But nobody accepted my age.  And it had nothing to do with how I look, just how I behave.  Yes, you know me, I’ll say “You behave like an idiot, Mr. Wow!”  Maybe.  Still, I think it’s not so bad to keep the boy–or the girl–alive.  I’m only 59, and I feel certain that circumstances will eventually kill the boy.  But not yet. 

      And when that time comes, I think B. will love the man, as he has loved the boy. I hope so.  (B. will probably think, “Hurry up with the man, already. I’d like some safety and comfort too!”)

      10:18 pm | April 5, 2012
  • Pam d (formerly pdr pd)

    Well…I’ve finally found you Mr. Wow.  Have been very worried about you
    and wrote to the powers-that-be at Wowowow three times, asking what the
    heck was going on and what have you done with Mr. Wow; never to receive
    the courtesy of a reply.  Will never click on their hallowed halls
    again, especially since I “found” you this morning and never want to “lose” you
    again.  You’d had a cold that was hanging on the last time I heard so
    when weeks went by and I couldn’t find you in Wow, I was afraid that the
    cold had, perhaps, turned into pneumonia…I’m glad that’s not the case.  I’m very sorry about your
    job and hope you will find another one very soon. I’m extremely disappointed in the people at Wow for being so short sighted to “drop” you – I visited that website only to find out if you’d written something. I’ve said before that you should write a book and after reading your heartrending blog this morning, am begging you to give it serious consideration and to stop selling yourself short.  You are a major survivor; you have a great deal to say and you say it so well.  It’s scary to be in your 50′s and unemployed living in the good old US of A where politicians are hell bent on destroying our country.  You are a writer, Mr. Wow – an exceptional one at that.  This is your opportunity to embark on a new, rewarding adventure. However, keep up the blog; it’s very important to your many admirers who have happily followed you from the not-so-hallowed halls of Wowowow.com, delighted that we will not be deprived of your thoughts and opinions on many things that mean a lot to us.  There’s only one Mr. Wow and you are he (him?).   

    5:48 am | April 6, 2012
    • Pam d, yes, what you said!  Some of us feel exactly the same.  Click my name here or Google formingthethread, some of us are making a go at trying to establish a spot for the old regulars who want to keep in touch.  And there are links / feeds for Mr. Wow, Liz Smith and Margo… who I think were the main pillars holding up the site at the end.I am sooooo glad that Mr. Wow has his own blog!  He is a treasure!

      11:14 am | April 6, 2012
      • Pam d (formerly pdr pd)

        Indeed he is, Lila!  I’ve been disgusted that no matter how often I contacted the powers-that-be at Wow asking about him, that they didn’t have the courtesy to reply.  So glad to have FOUND him again!  I like the format and the fact that he’ll be writing more often than he did on Wow.  His thoughts and opinions matter though I think he’s too modest to admit it.

        11:19 am | April 6, 2012
      • Haunted Lady
        Haunted Lady

        Lila, I took a look at your blog. Really nice. I plan to lurk and post there as much as I can for the foreseeable future. Thanks for the link.

        6:44 pm | April 6, 2012
  • rick gould

    Mr. Wow-Have you ever read other coming of age memoirs, like This Boy’s Life or Running With Scissors? There are bits of your story that remind me of those stories. Beyond that, you grew up in a unique time, NYC in the 60s…on the verge of Stonewall and beyond…and you were witness to that post-era as well as a bird’s eye view to real celebrity…that and your empathetic yet sharp writing is why I nag/encourage you ; )Good luck to you, the blog, and all your ventures, Mr. W.Me? I am taking a 6 day break from school to New Orleans… perhaps I will visit Mrs. Venable and see about one of those special “OP-erations…” Cheers!Rick

    4:57 pm | April 6, 2012
    • Mr. Wow
      Mr. Wow

      Dear Rick, I’ve read those books.  Which is the reason I pooh-pooh my own efforts.  That’s real literature.  But I can’t say I regret living during my time, it’s been fascinating.  And, I won’t deny it, a hell of  a good time, too, when good times were all I thought about.

      Have fun in New Orleans. Best to Mrs. V, and her opulent niece. 

      2:44 pm | April 7, 2012
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