I try to imagine the lives they had. The books they read, the games they played, their hundreds of sunrises and breakfasts and walks through city streets.
I try to imagine their friends, their lovers.
I try to figure out if they were gay..
Of course, they grew old and died long ago, so I can never really know them.
Unless they drop in for a visit.
Remember what Walt Whitman said:
Full of life, now, compact, visible,
To one a century hence, to you, yet unborn, seeking me
Fancying how happy you would be, if I could be with you, and become your comrade.
(Be not too certain but I am now with you.)
But for these turn-of-the-century hunks, I have a name and a place. They are the Tonawanda, New York high school basketball team, which won the New York State Championships in 1907.
Basketball was only invented in 1891, so they were playing an innovative new sport.
In 1924, he told the Michigan State College Record: "Am still single." If he wasn't married at age 37, chances are he never had a wife.
He also said "Hope the dormitory fans win out, because it is there the rigorous and hearty germ of college spirit is sprouted, and kept alive."
He really liked those MSC dorms.
As an adult, he worked in a granite factory.
An article in the Grand Island Dispatch mentioned that he belonged to the Young Men's Club of Grand Island, which played pingpong in Larson's Soda Bar.
In 1952, "Harry Webb's Orchestra" performed at a Gay Nineties review at an elementary school in Grand Island, near Tonawanda.
He died in 1957 in Toledo, No mention of a wife and kids.
In 1972, Cornell alumni news tells us that his old friend Clarence N. (Sliver) Seagrave tracked him down: "They were a great pair and still are."
Who do I want hovering over me now?
Simson is the hottest and Hewitt is most likely to have been gay. But if I can only get one, I'll take Duval-Duvill-Clarence. He has an air of mystery, and perhaps of tragedy.
See also: Beefcake and Bonding in Old Photographs