Sunday, December 16, 2012

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight is about the love of a lifetime for one couple, and being never too late to tie the knot.  Today's Out Spotlight is John Morgan and and Louis Halsey.

John Spofford Morgan was studying for his masters at Columbia University. When the library would close at 10pm, it was customary for him to take the subway and head down to New Verdi on West 72nd, a gay bar that was referred to at that time as an “old friend joint” as opposed to other gay bars that were “pickup joints”.

On May 17, 1947, around 10:30 John stopped off at The New Verdi and that night Louis Halsey walked in and caught the eye of John and it was “Love at first sight,” as Lou says. John wondered if it was. “For me it was slower.”  John and Lou spent that night together and have stayed together for the next 65 years since then.

John and Lou in Beirut in 1952
 Both men served in the Navy during World War II although they did not serve together and were split apart sailing different oceans on different fronts. Following the war, the two took on very different roles than each other. John, who still speaks in the accent of the turn-of-the-twentieth-­century elite, worked as an economist. Lou, of Hungarian-immigrant stock, cut hair for decades at the Westbury Hotel. He wears rings and bright colors; John emphatically doesn’t.

 But being gay was a great equalizer then. And being married is a great equalizer now. “People say, ‘So if you’re married, where’s the certificate?’ ” Lou explains. “Now we have it.” The pair ignored domestic partnership when it came along (“A halfway step,” says John), and since they had already invested in the complicated legal work-arounds—trusts, powers of attorney—needed to protect one another, they didn’t see the point of claiming marriage rights in, say, Iowa. But when the law passed in New York in June, they knew they would take the step. “Just to see it in black and white,” says Lou. For John, “it was more like finishing something.”

The small ceremony, with a minister and three witnesses, was held in their Village apartment on November 11, 2011, a date they chose because they have for years noticed the time 11:11 on the clock by the bed. They did not exchange rings and got no gifts, “except bourbon!” Lou says. “But he”—he waves at John—“started to cry.” John wonders if he did.
John and Lou in New York City 2006

John now 95, who had a broken hip last year but is still as handsome as ever according to Louis, who is now 89. This year they celebrated 65 years together and their first wedding anniversary.


prairiegirl said...

Wow wow wow. What a love story. However did you find that one, Special? That's so romantic, getting married after all just to see it in black and white.

What a handsome pair, too!!

sass said...

What a beautiful love story! Saw bit of Austin earlier in TV trailer...can't remember name of show...also saw Liev Schriber and Jon Voight...looks like a good show.

the real m said...

Beautiful story. I saw the trailer with Austin tonight as well. The show must be airing soon if they are running a trailer. Probably starts in January. Something to look forward too!

destiny said...

What a great love story. I'm always amazed by stories of couples who stayed together so long when it couldn't have been easy given society's attitudes back in those early decades.

Cloud 9 said...

Swoon. So roomantic. What a beautiful couple.

london tb said...

This is a lovely story. Thanks Spesh.

Special K said...

I saw their picture then and now and a small caption and I knew I had to find out more about them. It really is a wonderful love story.

Jersey Tom said...

I am becoming very concerned that Jake and Talyor may never never ever get back together.

Seaweed said...

What an incredible couple and such an astonishing Out Spotlight. Really is nice to hear of people like this and get some sense of their lives. Thanks Special... this one was a great find.

Had computer troubles since Friday and now just getting back online. Laptop was zapped with some kind of malware which took up residence in my files. Being without it was like missing a member of the family for a couple of days... LOL.

I cringe every time I see or hear anything concerning Taylor Swift.

Hope everyone is finding the time to get ready for the Christmas and Holiday season without too much anxiety. I'm rather enjoying things this year for some reason, even finished my Christmas Cards earlier tonight.

Take care all.