Yep, it’s true. That summer my friends and I spent every day at the beach. Before work, after work and our days off were spent getting tanned and eating bad hot dogs from the concession stands.
This particular day, we were at Fullerton Beach. None of us owned cars or even drove. We usually took the bus or sometimes rode our bikes. We decided to walk from Fullerton to North Avenue to go home.
As we walked along the beach, we noticed a small crowd of about 20 people ahead of us. We soon caught up with them and noticed a party atmosphere like the Mardi Gras. People were dressed in boas, beads, costumes and heavy make-up. We just joined the festivities until we reached our destination and then we parted company.
Later that evening, my girlfriend called me and asked me if I had watched the six o’clock news. No I hadn’t. “We were in the first Gay Pride Parade!,” she announced, laughing hysterically. What?!?
After our departure, cameras from some of the TV stations had arrived to film the parade.
Well, that old black rotary phone of my parents got a work out that night! The girls were literally “rolling on the floor laughing.” The guys, not so much. Most were terrified that they had been on camera (Hi Mom!). Back then, guys in their late teens and early twenties did not want to be identified in any way shape or form as being gay.
And of course, the more the guys freaked out, the more us girls laughed!
Whenever anyone brings up the parade, I sometimes brag that I marched in the first one.
Whenever I think of it, I can’t help but smile. Who knew that I would be a part of such a groundbreaking event?
Thanks to David Quinn who writes ArkieLad here on ChicagoNow for bringing back the memories for me.