Journal of a 77 Year Old Gay Man Coming In For the Final Landing

Archive for February, 2018

Interview With Mom #3

Ronnie Tipton baby

Me on a blanket – I have regressed to this same hairline now

Before Margaret moved in, Mom had her kerosene stove removed because Pop didn’t pay the bill. Pop didn’t pay the rent so they were about to get evicted. They then moved to Towerville. Margaret and the kids moved down the street to a rental property on the Old King’s Highway, PA Route 340. This is where I used to spend a week or two in the summertime when I was older. Margaret’s house didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing either. I still remember the quietness of the night with the ticking grandfather clock.

We lived in Towerville a couple years. Pop got a job at Capital Bakery in Coatesville, PA. Pop had about six dogs in the back but no food for us kids. Mad had to call the SPCA to take care of the dogs so they wouldn’t starve Mom had to call her father (Grandpop) to give her some money to feed us kids. He gave her $5.00 so she could buy milk for us.

Pop was away on a truck trip. Pop was a cross country truck drive and was away for weeks at a time. He had failed his physical for the draft and instead contributed to the war effort cross country truck driving. During this time Mom found out he was “running around” with other women.

During this time, Grandmother (Mrs. Tipton, Pop’s mother who was a widow) was living with them. She took turns living with one of her different eleven sons she had with my paternal grandfather who died of a heart attack at age 54 in 1939.  Grandmother, who had diabetes, would sneak peanuts in to eat which she shouldn’t have because she was diabetic. She did this one too many times and slipped into a sugar coma. She came out of that coma and her doctor changed her insulin injections from three times day to once a day. Mom said she “didn’t last too long on this insulin and went into insulin shock.”  She died same night that it was announced on the radio that President Roosevelt had died. They were listening to the radio on the kitchen table.


Hester Tipton

My grandmother Hester Lewis Tipton (I don’t remember her)

My grandmother died a few months before the end of the war.  She died thinking that her son John had died in the war. After the war was over it was discovered that John was a prisoner of war held by the Germans.  He was a paratrooper captured in Belgium and imprisoned in a castle in Austria. He escaped twice and was recaptured twice. My youngest brother was named after John, who our family thought died in the war. When Uncle John came home he got married and his first born was a son who he named, you got it “John.”  This is why we have three “John Tipton’s” in our family. Unfortunately, Uncle John died young.  He was 39 years old when he accidentally set himself on fire where he worked at the Gindy Trailer Manufacturing Company in Downingtown, PA.  I was a pallbearer along with my two brothers at our Uncle John’s funeral. Both my brothers and I were in the Army at that time and we wore our uniforms to the service. This was the first funeral I ever attended. This was also the first time I ever saw a dead person (didn’t look like him, his hair was combed the wrong way). This was also the first time I was ever in a Catholic Church. Uncle John had converted to Catholicism when he married his wife, Aunt Peggy, who was Catholic.


Uncle John Tipton

Uncle John Tipton (right) – survived the war but not civilian life

Interview With My Mother #2

Isaac Tipton, Sr. Lukens Steel ID card

My father’s employee ID card at Lukenweld

1942 – Pop got a job at Lukenweld. The family (me, Mom ad Pop) moved to Towerville, Pennsylvania. This was a double house. Sally Kitchen lived in the house next to them. This is my earlies memory. I remember someone yelling “Sally! Sally!” Many years later, when I was an adult I asked my Mother who was “Sally.” This is when she told me about the Sally who lived in the house next to their rental house.  This had to be the same “Sally” because I’ve never known another “Sally” in my life.

Mom said she thinks she lived in Compass, Pennsylvania before Towerville. She wasn’t sure.

She said it was an old hotel building that was split up into apartments. The building has electricity but no indoor toilets.

Mom said that Eugene White and his “woman” – not his wife – his “housekeeper” lived in the other side of the house.

Compass is where I fell of the roof. Mom said I had climbed out the second floor window, to the roof covering the front porch of the house. She said I slid down the roof and hit the ground. Mom was in the kitchen on the first floor and she saw me going by and dropping to the ground. She heard me crying.

Ronnie Tipton baby in crib

Me in my playpen, no more falling off roofs

Mom didn’t have a phone in the house. She ran across the road to the neighbors (they had a cow and she used to buy milk from them). Those neighbors called the doctor to check me out. He said that I would have to go to the hospital. Mom said “your insides stopped working a bit but then they started them up again.”

I didn’t have to stay overnight in the hospital. The people in the hospital said I was alright and they sent me home. (Note: here I used another one of the nine lives allotted to me on this go around).

Mom said my brother Isaac wasn’t born when I fell off the roof. Isaac was born in April of 1943 so I was about a year and a half old when I fell off the roof.

Mom’s step-mother Margaret (Hadfield) and her kids (Mary, Bobby and Ruthie) moved in while we lived in Compass because Grandpop (my Mother’s father) threw her out after he caught her with another man. The house in Compass had plenty of rooms since it was a former hotel.

To be continued. . . . . .