THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD Morris Ardoin likes to cook and play canasta. He hates sleeping on the ground in a tent, cannot kill an animal with a gun, and dreads hunting trips with his father and older brother. He notices the things that can make life “magical”: a dining room chandelier, translucent plastic curtains with flowers printed on them, the smell of lavender in a dresser drawer. From a young age, Morris is aware that he is not a “proper boy.” For someone growing up in a small town in Louisiana in the early 1970s, this is a problem. Stone Motel is a memoir that reveals what it was like for a gay man to come of age before the changes wrought by Stonewall reached the American South.
Daniel Burr lives in Covington, Kentucky, and is a frequent contributor to this magazine.