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MY FIRST TRUE LOVE IS GONE

Turn out the stars, he’s gone.


There certainly were more obviously attractive men in the company he kept:


Ken, with his balletic yet oafish clumsiness and classically adorable face.

Forrest, with his broad, manly shoulders, hint of Irish brogue, swagger, and cleverness.

Even James, with his glorious blonde hair, chiseled features and questionable musical ability.


But no, not any of those other men.


For me, there was only...


Agarn.


Played by the masterful Larry Storch, a brilliant mimic, impressionist, master of linguistic boondoggles, and lovably small, weak, dumb, and....I don’t know, somehow... familiar, Corporal Randolph Agarn was MY idea of an absolute dreamboat.


Familiar. Yes, maybe that was it. He seemed so reachable and human and… smaller than life.


All my men friends have sheepishly admitted to being attracted to Melody Patterson, the cowgirl known as Wrangler Jane. At least she was close to their age! Just 16 when she got the job, she turned heads of men and boys alike.


But back to Agarn. Corporal Randolph Agarn, to be exact. From New Joisey!


I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw him.


I only know that in the last few years, I found out I wasn’t alone. There are apparently hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe millions of us.


When I finally got the brilliant idea to look for him on FaceBook, (insert sarcasm there) far into the pandemic in 2020, I discovered post after post from women, hundreds of them, now grown of course, who claim to LOVE him.


Love him?


Not like I do!


I remember now, I DID finally get to meet him - for a moment.


He was touring with Vincent Gardenia, (Moonstruck) Karen Valentine, (Room 222) and Gary Sandy (WKRP in Cincinnati) in a play called "Breaking Legs" in Baltimore in November of '92. I don't remember the date, but I remember Vincent Gardenia passed away just a month after I saw the play, still out on the road. They were all so wonderful and friendly, meeting me and my boyfriend at the stage door.


I tried to tell Larry how much I loved him, but it was a little awkward, with my boyfriend standing right there!


After I finally looked him up on Facebook, I realized I had just missed numerous opportunities to meet him again.


There he was at a club I know downtown in NYC, every year, celebrating his birthday, and being celebrated!


There he was in a parade in his honor at a local NJ amusement park!


And Lordy Lordy Lord, how many times might I have passed by him in Central Park, playing his saxophone? Maybe I could have played a tune with him!


Terrible.


I missed many, many opportunities to meet, and hug, and kiss, and just to see and talk to someone who made my childhood bearable, someone whose character on a show at least, seemed good, and honest, and guileless. (I am sure without Morgan O’Rourke’s influence he’d have been an angel)


Farewell, and God bless you, Larry Storch. Ours was the purest love imaginable. Like John Donne’s immortal poem says:


Dull sublunary lovers' love

(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit

Absence, because it doth remove

Those things which elemented it.


But we by a love so much refined,

That our selves know not what it is,

Inter-assured of the mind,

Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.


I’ll never get to hold those hands, look into those eyes, kiss those lips, or embrace you. Never get to tell you what you mean to me.


But I loved you.

Still love you.

Always will love you.


Who says I don’t?!

D.P.


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