My name is Bobby Lee Curtis and many people have said I should write a book so I have. This is my story, about my path, the people, the moments, the shit that happens, and my pursuit of happiness. I have included pages straight from my journals, post cards, and letters I have received as well as stories I just like to tell. I want to share my rich life with you. This is the way I saw it. Things I can’t forget. Things I don’t want to forget.
I like to think of myself as a typical southerner, polite, charming sometimes, loyal and generous to a fault; a regular Blanche Devereaux. Oh those Golden Girls! I was born in late January, 1963. Being “White Trash” was not easy when I was growing up. Add an alcoholic widowed mother and seven kids. Now imagine us, in a small two bedroom wooden rundown house, all competing for one tiny bathroom with no shower. We did have a tub. Our dining room never was, until decades later when we did the transformation. It did duty as storage or an extra bedroom, really just one more room to throw beds in and piles of stuff. Our house was in Southern Maryland . We lived in a town called Woodland , about 15 miles south of Washington DC , the capitol.
Back then, people didn’t think too kindly about white trash. They still don’t, thanks to The Jerry Springer Show and my people strutting around on his stage showing off the few teeth they have left in their heads. For me, my childhood was fun, not all good of course and sometimes downright sad, but it was fun. We only had six blocks in our part of the woods. That was the extent of Woodland back then. Memories of my sister Cynthia Margaret ever having lived at the house are just not in my mind. To tell the truth, my brother Thomas Gene was just not there that much either. I filed him away in the back of my mind long ago.
Tommy had had something ticking in him for years. He was just horrible to us kids sometimes when he was there. He would always sleep late and when we woke him, he would line us up to bang our toes with a hammer to scare us into obeying. “Shut the fuck up!” he would scream. How in the world do you keep a house full of kids quiet when all we wanted was Captain Crunch and cartoons in the morning? My brother Stanley Douglas went into the Marine Corps early. It’s strange to look at Stanley ’s picture, side by side with my Daddy’s. The likeness is amazing. They looked like brothers. That had to be wild for Mom. He is so much our father in my mind.
For nearly twenty five years, my mother’s house was the place where I learned about life. It was the center of it all for me and I was safe. That time of my life remains on the top of my list of Good Places, that and Crescent Rock on Skyline Drive in Virginia . To sit there and look out over the world with the wind riding straight up the granite wall is something I will always crave. All of us kids and Momma grew up together in that little house. Even if I don’t somehow remember them all being there, I know they were. We were all happy. Well, almost always.
& n b s p ; & nbsp; Some of the ways that shape the lives of white trash are so redneck. Throw in racism, and stupid ideas just seem to take over. Being Gay in that house called for me to be very resourceful. I know my baby sister Lorna Sue watched Kid and me through the key hole when I had my first bedroom alone. From early on in my life it was a secret. I always had to hide it. I now know I was aware, certainly, by twelve or thirteen years old in Junior High, around 7th grade.
& n b s p ; & nbsp; This tale is about the strange things we did to have fun. It’s about the times when we had no money, about being hungry, about eating bologna and cheese with mustard for dinner all the time. It’s hearing that damn gate screech every night of my life! “Run! Mom’s home…” Some parts aren’t happy and many are downright melancholy and frightening, but hey, it was our life.
White Trash is what we were. Where I grew up the people we knew were mostly Rednecks. Both of us were holdovers from what was once thought of as the Great South. We are the descendants of what were surely well known families somewhere, sometime. They are everywhere in our neck of the woods, old families.
Now don’t confuse Poor White Trash with Country folks. That’s different. White trash is a particular type, real lazy you see. They aren’t Hillbillies either. Those people live in the foothills of West Virginia , Virginia and PA. All poor people aren’t white trash and all white trash ain’t poor. As with every group, there are good ones and those not so good. Then there is “Trailer Trash,” which as everyone knows, sits right at the bottom of every list. I knew I had seen it all in DC. RCWT Get it? There sat a beautiful old stone Victorian home, near the Zoo, on a hilltop over looking Rock Creek Parkway . Damn if those people weren’t just Rich City White Trash with cars and shit all over that yard. Their mighty home was falling apart around them just like ours. Silly isn’t it? Maybe so, but it’s a large part of America I think. The best thing