I’m From Rosemead, CA.

by Gordon Christy-Stefanik

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

Though originally from a small rural town in Czechoslovakia, my adolescence was spent in one of the many suburbs of Los Angeles after we had emigrated to the U.S. I did quite well in high school, and I don’t think that any of my classmates suspected that I was gay, primarily because I had been labeled as a “science geek” having been president of the Science Club for two semesters. But I was certainly well aware of it and knew that eventually I would have to talk to my mother about my sexual inclinations. My father had died during the Nazi occupation of our country when I was seven years old.

After a year of college I decided to enter the military where I could perhaps “become a man” and forget my adolescent attraction to other boys. After a battery of tests, which revealed a facility for foreign language, the recruiting officer suggested that I enlist in a secret branch of the Army where I would spend a year at the Army Language school and eventually be assigned to an intelligence gathering unit. In joining the military I had conveniently avoided that long dreaded conversation with my mother.

After basic training I was sent to Ft. Devins, Massachusetts for the first segment of my intelligence training. Immediately on entering the two man room, and meeting my roommate for the next few months, I realized that I had just fallen in love with this handsome, vivacious creature. Fortunately it was a completely mutual attraction. After we finished our training there, we were sent to Monterey, California, and the Army Language school. Although Gregg was in the Korean department and I was in the Russian department we still managed to see each other nearly every day.

Though we had known, and loved, each other for nearly a year, I finally took Gregg home to meet my mother towards the end of our language training. It was one of those fortunate experiences in that my mother and Gregg had become instant friends.

On the second night home, we had gone to a Greek restaurant and Gregg, with a number of other men, was dancing a traditional folk dance. My mother had been watching him dance, commenting on how gracefully he moved, when she suddenly leaned over and said to me, “I couldn’t help but notice that you and Gregg seem to be very much in love.” As I attempted to protest, she continued, “I have eyes, I have ears, I too have been in love…”

In essence, I had just been “outed” by my mother — and in the same breath she announced that she very much approved of my choice of a lifetime partner, especially in that she now had two sons to love.

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