The Leather Of It All!
By Nevin Jefferson
January 11, 2004, 4:03 PM; I met Kenneth Kosary in September of 1984 at the Marigold Bowling Alley in Chicago, IL. It was the first night of bowling for the Lincoln Park Lagooners that had 8 teams including mine from the group Professionals Over 30. It was like the first day of High School when you don’t know anyone and you feel totally alone, empty, and lost. I wasn’t lost for long because Ken found me right away and made me feel welcome. The empty void was filled with love, compassion, and general concern for my well-being. Ken was this type of guy which is one of the things that I loved about him. This was my first outing into the gay community on a social level where girls and studs could be themselves, be friendly, and enjoy the company of your peers. I told Ken that this was my debut into the World of Sissies and that I had come out to myself and the folks around me 2 years ago at the age of 28. He called me an “Old Fart” because I was 30 and he was just a young, hot, blonde, of 26. He gestured for me to walk to the bar with him so we could make the first of many walk-throughs of the very, very, very, crowded bowling alley. I had my ass slapped, pinched, got groped, felt up, and other friendly actions involving hands, that look, and smile. Ken told me that this was why you never ordered a drink from the waitress. This what was called in-door cruising with the Men’s Room as the playground. I bought Ken a beer and ordered a boiler maker for myself. After bowling Ken gave me a tour of all of the gay bars featuring his candid commentary. “If you want to pickup, go to Little Jim’s.” “If you want to stand around looking cute with your nose up in the air there’s Christopher Street.” “If you want free pizza and want to shoot a game of pool with me there’s the Halstead Street Bar. I‘ll buy you a beer.” I joined him at the Halstead Street Bar where everyone from bowling went because they had a Bowler’s Night complete with specials. Ken told me everything that I wanted to know about him and everything that I didn’t want to know about him. He worked in a lab for one of the largest hospitals in Chicago. He lived on the North Side in his own home that was paid for. His preference of men was Black! And he was into leather with his being a Boy looking for a Daddy. Of course, I didn’t have a clue about what he was talking about. Ken being Ken explained the ways of leather, bondage, and S&M to me along with the protocol. In September of 1986 on the first night of bowling after summer break, Ken sat down next to me and handed me a beer. I thanked him then told him that I had stopped drinking. He congratulated me then excused himself and returned with a cranberry and orange juice. “The cranberry juice will help flush out your kidneys and the O.J. will give you vitamin C.” I knew that something was wrong with Ken by the way that he was acting and with Ken whenever he needed to talk to you, he was glued to you until he got the chance of gab. “I can’t talk to anyone about what’s happening with me because I don’t want to be treated like a leper and avoided like a bad dose of claps. You, I like you because I know that I can trust you. You’re in your making with the results looking very promising from where I’m sitting.” Ken sipped his beer then took his turn bowling where he bowled the odd combinations then picking up the spare. “My lover died last year of Aids. Nobody knows this! I just tested HIV+ and I don’t know the first thing to do.” “I’m sorry! Are you okay?” “No! Go Bowl.” “How did you manage to bowl two gutter balls on opposite sides?” “Practice!” I hugged Ken then told him that I would always be there for him no matter what. I gave him my work and home phone so he could contact me day or night. I helped Ken get through red tape and bullshit from the Department of Welfare then helped him apply for Disability. I found out about all of the programs that were being offered and got the necessary assistance that Ken needed. Over the years Ken took severely ill with my being at his Death Bed complete with his hysterical mother and the family Priest. Ken always called me whenever he went into the hospital so I could visit him. As usual he bounced back and went about business as usual. This is the time when I came up with the Black Dress and Veil jokes. Whenever Ken went into the hospital he told me to take my Black Dress and Veil out of the closet. As I got more involved with the Gay Community via writing, ACT/UP Chicago, Chicago House, and Positively Aware Ken always came to me whenever he had a problem that needed to be resolved. “How come they’re aren’t any books about safe and safer S&M?” “Beats me!” “I’ll beat you all right! Especially if you don’t do something about getting a pamphlet out to the Leather Bars. There’s a need for it Babe!” “I’m on it!” Ken was impressed with the booklet that came out about Safe and Safer S&M along with other topics that needed to be discussed safely. He took me out to dinner and then to my first Leather Bar. He began managing at The Eagle then moved to the AA Meat Market where they had a strict leather dress code. Ken was also very loyal to the people who he knew and loved with him taking up for them not being a problem at all. When the man of my nightmares who I was madly in love with was spotted at The Eagle picking up, Ken approached him. He told the guy that he’d better not hurt me and either the busted party break it off or he would. Ken took me to lunch the next day and told me what had happened and why everyone who knew me and the guy as a couple were acting funny around me. It hurt! But, hey at least someone cared enough to tell me. When I moved to Washington, Ken visited me a month later with the sole purpose of designing my home. He visited me again in Spanaway with Richard, the love of his life. They were together for 5 years before Richard cheated with Ken sending him packing. He dropped the guy off at the Greyhound Bus Station with the ticket of his destination. Before we embarked on Road Trip 2003, Ken told me that he was envious of me for living in The New Yorker a high-rise apartment on Lake Shore Drive where all of the well to do folks live. He couldn’t afford to live there, but I could. I told him that I didn’t work cheap jobs and that I had grown up in poverty and refused to die in it. This was something that he had to share with me. He told me that he was proud of me and always would be regardless. Ken went up to the Pearly Gates this afternoon around 1:35 very peacefully which I was praying for. I’m thankful to God for the 19 years of friendship that he blessed us with. While we were on our Roller Coaster Tour in LA and SF we got a chance to really have heart to heart talks. He told me that I was making a comeback. This is what the text was telling him. I let him in on the fact that I knew that he had been grooming me as a boy since day one. He congratulated me on becoming a fine Leather Stud who knew how to take care of Daddy. Without getting in the way! Ken was into leather which is why I called him Leather Ken in my Saga’s. Me? I’m strictly vanilla sprinkled with kinky with a twist of wild. He told me that he could die in peace because he had bought out the masculine qualities in me that I carried quite well. When he first met me, I was too Nellie for his tastes. Thank God for true friends who care for you. The only thing that he had to die knowing was that I wasn’t married off. He didn’t want me to be alone. Althou we were miles apart with him in Chicago and me here we were together in spirit. I talked to him last week and he did he best to keep his wits about himself. He knew that I would turn everything around without any doubts. He didn’t have to die worrying about me losing everything. He knows that I play for keeps! Since I can’t go to the funeral due to lack of funds. I’m going to Church at the time of his funeral and pray. I prayed for him after I got the message. Praying for reposed souls is my prayer specialty! I also prayed the prayer for the dead. May he rest in peace, Amen! Kenneth Kosary October 31st 1958-January 11th 2004.
© Nevin Jefferson, All Rights Reserved