Wright Jr. High Days, New Orleans, La.

Wright Jr. High Days, New Orleans, La.

Mama drove us from Georgia to New Orleans. Daddy went ahead finding a house. The first thing I remember when I got to New Orleans was the banana tree in the back yard. The second thing was the little black boy that wanted to play with my brother Bob. We lived in a two story house on 703 Napoleon Ave. below Magazine Street. There were electric trolley buses on Magazine Street.

I was just learning to dance. I was going Wright Jr. High School. Jane and Mama outfitted me in Ivy league shirts and slacks and white bucks shoes like Pat Boone. The problem was that the kids at Wright dressed in jeans and black loafers and were from a different part of town.

They would ask me, “What are you, Cat or Frat?” And I did not know what they were talking about. Alan Dupre and I became friends because he wore white buck shoes. He liked the DJ’s. And one time He and I went to see one of the DJ’s.

Another thing I did when I was at Wright was march in a Mardi Gras Parade because I was still in the Boy Scouts. I was in the honor guard. But I lost interest in the Boy Scouts when they took us camping because their idea of camping was to, take us out and set up a camper and the Scoutmaster cook for the boys. So I quit.

This was beginning to be a pattern for me. I had already quit piano lessons, now I quit Boy Scouts.

I was also friends Felipe Echeverria. I was an active acolyte in the Episcopal church during this time and was not a fighter. My father never taught me to fight. So when the boys would taunt me, I would say it is against my religion.

One day they followed me home trying to get me fight. The next Monday, they set up someone to pick on me and he threw the stuff from my pockets down the stairwell. By the time we got to the gym, I was pissed off and swung at him and he hit me giving a bloody nose. The fight ended. At least I tried.

But, I was never able to defend myself, and always being intimidated by Jesse Fernandez. Even during the summer vacation, he would stop his car and harass me. Someone told me they had decided I was one of three most queer guys in school: Felipe Echeverria, and Alan Dupre being the other two. Felipe is now a PhD. Alan I am not so sure about.

So when I met Andy Calandria, who introduced me to ham radio at Wright, I realized that I was not queer, just smarter than the rest. Andy helped get my ham license. KN5UFA. Daddy told me if I got my license he would buy me the transmitter. I already was using the shortwave receiver that was in my room. Mama and Wright Jr. High had me getting ready for High School, but I was not sure where I was going to go.


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