September 2, 1969
Dear H. R,
Admittedly I live a double life. I am married, and there isn’t an hour that goes by that I’m not reminded of it. There came today a letter from Sarah (my wife). Even after everything she still frequently writes newsy letters to me about our farm, but she’s stopped sending me an allowance.
I’d feel terrible if she sent me money, which she did at first. I don’t know why I’m writing to you about this, except maybe it’s because I have so few friends and you have obviously taken an interest in me.
Who am I? Who is Sarah?
And where are we?
Listen, as I pointed out, I live a double life. I have made compromises along the way, and I continue to make them. My wife knows I am gay. Good thing. The greater number of people who know it the better, but I haven’t been able to tell me parents yet. It may take a while.
To live here in The Castro, even in poverty, is a joy for me. I feel good. Since moving here my stride has literally quickened. I’m full of energy whereas in Maine I slept a lot and rarely left my attic.
I have written to you in this way because I trust you and trust that you will not spread any rumors about me.
Until we meet again, Tom Hayes
I don’t know if you are gay. It doesn’t matter to me if you are or not. I’m not looking for another relationship. My life is complicated enough.
September 3, 1969
I’m glad my last letter got to you because I wasn’t sure it would. Freedom and joy after the riots at the Stonewall; come join the party. Now I’ve decided to look for a real job. As you know, I’ve always worked and have grown tired of the penniless existence I’ve led since coming to San Francisco. I am not a hippie and am lucky that I don’t look feminine (though I don’t think if I did that it would make as a big difference here as it would elsewhere.) Thank God times are a changing, but in most places they haven’t that much yet.. So we fight on. What choice do we have?
I’m not sure I want go to Portland as you suggested, but I won’t just arrive on your doorstep. Now that I’m settled here the idea of leaving The Castro actually frightens me. Image me being hesitant when I want to be with you? I don’t know why I care so much what the world thinks. Besides here is the center of the gay universe.
If Sarah comes for a visit, as she has threatened to do, I’ll have to be on my best behavior, but I really don’t see her leaving the farm even for a few weeks. She would really have to be motivated.
The arrangement I have here precludes her staying here. If she comes, we’d have to find a hotel that we could afford. There are plenty of hotels, so I’m sure that we won’t have any trouble finding her a place to stay. Then I’d have to decide if I wanted to stay with her. Knowing Sarah, she would want me to but I’m not sure I could do it. Indeed sharing a bed with her is no longer as appealing as it once was.
You can’t help me with this, so for God’s sake let’s focus on something you have control over. For years now I have been urging you to come see me, and I’m sure that if you did we could get along. We both know how to live on a shoestring. I’m not sure if we could make it on $10.00 a day, but I think we could come close. I’m planning to get a real job soon, and I have no idea how you manage to get by, but you seem to manage. I’m tired of not having any money anyway. Now and then I get a few dollars from my writing. But damn, I can’t count on it, and most likely that’s not going to change.