Once upon a time, there lived the Silverman family – father Abe, mother Bev and twin son and daughter Gaylord and Judy, both 18. The Silverman’s lived in a nice house in New York, and everything should have been swell in the summer of 1958. Unfortunately, things were not swell like they should have been.
This morning, Judy had found Gaylord hiding in her closet holding up her new dress and admiring himself. When challenged about why he went into the closet, Gaylord had attempted to laugh it off and said he had done it to annoy his sister as a joke. If this was a one-off, it would be believable. But Gaylord had a history of similar incidents dating back to when he was a boy.
As a child, Gaylord had insisted on playing with dolls with Judy and their female cousins, not being outside building forts, climbing trees and playing sports with their male cousins like real boys should. At junior high he had wanted to do typing, cooking and sewing with the girls, not boy’s subjects like workshop, woodwork and metalwork. He had wanted to have Bat Mitzvah like Judy rather than a Bar Mitzvah like a boy. He was asked to leave the boy scouts, after problems fitting in.
In high school, things only got worse. Gaylord tried to join the swim team and several other sports, and each time had to leave due to ‘unspecified problems’. Gaylord and Judy were expected to find summer jobs as teenagers, but while Judy was a model employee, Gaylord had to leave each one including his job this summer, again for reasons people wouldn’t discuss.
Abe and Bev were worried, and Abe confided in a work colleague about his concerns. The coworker said his nephew had similar problems but had been to a special camp that helped him, and made some phone calls, getting Abe the number of a man who could assist.
Abe arranged a time for him and Bev to meet the man and his colleagues. They arrived for the meeting, finding that the man wore a leather jacket like a greaser. The others were a cowboy, a Red Indian, a police officer, a construction worker, a sailor and a soldier. Together they appeared a bit of a strange combination, but all looked like strong, manly men, just what Gaylord needed.
The men explained how they helped boys with problems like Gaylord, by taking them on a month long camp into the woods of Vermont, where they learned how to be proper men through sports, long hikes, team activities and hard work, such as packing fudge at a candy factory. Their dire warning that the problems with Gaylord would only get worse – he might become a communist, or a homosexual who lured children away from playgrounds and into his car with candy – convinced Mr. and Mrs. Silverman this program was a must for their son. Both parents signed the forms, and Abe wrote out the check.
When Gaylord found out about the camp, he at first was very happy about spending a month with so many boys, but this waned over the next week. On the morning the bus arrived to take Gaylord away, he panicked and tried to run away up the street. The cowboy had to chase and lasso him, and he and the construction worker dragged him aboard the bus.
As the bus containing the 7 men and the boys vanished, Bev was a bit upset but her husband and daughter convinced her that they were doing the best thing for Gaylord. For the next month, nothing was heard from Gaylord apart from a letter saying everything was swell, and that he and the other boys had enjoyed looking at Uranus through a telescope.
When Gaylord returned home, he was a different man, confident and masculine. He started college in the fall, getting all A’s that led him to medical school, where he became a doctor. While this was happening, Gaylord had been dating pretty Rachel Goldman from a well-connected family and they married, eventually having 2 sons and 2 daughters, Gaylord a great husband and father.
Gaylord was a source of immense pride to his parents and a pillar of the community. He got on well with his sister, Judy now married with kids of her own. Thanks to the men at the camp, all that Nancy-boy stuff that had plagued Gaylord in his youth was long forgotten and everybody lived happily ever after.