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After returning from Korea I had to find a place to live hope-fully in the Hollywood vicinity where I grew up.
I found a boarding house run by a wonderful woman named Mrs. Glasser. She was a widow whose late husband had left her little but their house. So she converted it into a rooming house that would accommodate a few boarders, most of whom were paired up two to a room.
My roommate was to be a young man named Bruce.
Well, Bruce definitely had a theatrical air about him, and the thought that he might be homosexual did cross my mind. But he wasn't making any moves on me, nor did he do anything specific to confirm my vague suspicions. He was actually quite the ideal roommate.
But I couldn't help wondering about the pink Jockey shorts.
When Bruce noticed me noticing them, he said, "Oh, those. Well, you see, they went into the wash with a red shirt I'd just bought. I mean, who knew the silly thing would bleed?"
"All right," I thought to myself, "If you say so." But that didn't explain why all his underwear was pink or did it?
My best friend Carl had also recently gotten out of the army, and moved into Mrs. Glasser's, where he had a room to himself. When I asked what he thought of Bruce, he said, "He seems like a nice enough guy. But he does smile a lot, doesn't he?"
Then one afternoon I came home and found Bruce lying on his bed reading a pamphlet of some kind. He was on his stomach and had the small magazine propped up against his pillow. He gave me his usual friendly hello and then went back to reading. Suddenly he was laughing.
"Oh, this is just too funny," he said.
"What's too funny?" I asked.
"Oh, I don't think you want to see this," he said, pushing the literature under his pillow.
"Don't want to see what?" Now, of course, I definitely wanted to see it.
"Well," he said, "all right. But I'll just let you see the cover. You probably wouldn't like what's inside."
By now I was ready to kill to see inside this mysterious pamphlet.
"Okay," he said, sliding it from under the pillow. "But don't say I didn't warn you. And don't look inside."
Bruce handed me the small magazine and I guess I was just about as shocked as he expected me to be. It had a plain cover with its title printed in bold letters. "ONE The Homosexual Magazine."
This was 1952, and you just didn't see stuff like this out in the open not even in Hollywood. In fact, my first reaction was that it must be totally illegal and that Bruce was probably in danger of being arrested if he were found with it.
"Where did you get this?" was all I could sputter.
"In Pasadena, at a newsstand near the theater," he answered with another smile.
"Is this legal?" I asked, still in a state of shock.
"Well, it was on a newsstand, wasn't it? It's just that nobody ever had the nerve to print this sort of thing before. Its the first edition, by the way."
"Yeah, and probably the last if the police see it," I said, still in a state of disbelief.
"Oh, don't be so provincial," he said with feigned indignation. Then, as I started to open it, Bruce said, "Oops don't look inside you might be even more shocked."
Of course at that point nothing short of an earthquake was going to keep from taking a look inside.