West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 3 | June 20 - 26, 2007

Bobby Alvino, left, and Carole A. White Jr. modeling their “D.A.” hairstyles, so named because from the back they look like a duck’s posterior.

My Buckies, Carole and Bobby, best friends forever

By Toni Dalton

Every Thursday I would buy a carton of Lucky Strikes and bring it over to the Women’s House of Detention on Greenwich Ave. next to the Jefferson Market Library, where my Buckies resided after being arrested periodically for prostitution. A very unlikely trade for these women, being that they were heavy-duty dykes. But it supported their drug habit, which was becoming extensive. 

“Bucky” was the name Carole gave to her very best friends, of which I was one, and Bobby the other. She would always, all through high school and after, ask me, “Are you my Bucky?” And always my reply would be, “Of course.”

We were all about 17 then, in 1957, Brooklyn born and bred, attending Erasmus High School in a very middle-class neighborhood. Carole stood out like a sore thumb hanging out on Flatbush Ave., wearing a cowboy hat, dungarees, a vest and cowboy boots. And she was 5 feet 8 inches tall.

Both boys and girls were in awe of her: Boys were threatened and girls were curious. She used to steal all the girls away from the boys, for a while at least, until the fascination wore off.

Bobby came from an Italian neighborhood and was admonished by her family never to return. Her whole short life, she was in love with one woman, a student at New York University Law School. 

My boyfriends always accepted Carole and Bobby. For one thing, they were so much fun, and basically they had no choice, because they were my Buckies.

Most of the time, they were homeless and sometimes slept in the ladies room at Garfield’s Cafeteria on Flatbush Ave. Carole charmed the manager. And when my parents left for work in the morning, they would come up to my house to take showers, and bring bagels and coffee. We were truant a lot and went to the Village to hang out in Washington Square, where nobody would hassle us. In our own neighborhood the gangs would beat up on gays and anyone who befriended them. And the “Father Knows Best” mentality of our neighborhood was devastating to those who did not fit the mold.

Often, they would disappear and I wouldn’t know where they were, or if they were alive or dead. Some time would go by and then I would get a phone call from one of them, saying they were in jail, or Uptown, or in a halfway house, or living with some women, or in Florida. 

One time Carole called me from Eighth St. saying she was with a nun from the Catholic halfway house who left with her to become her girlfriend. Carole wanted me to outfit the nun because she was still in her habit. The nun wanted everything red — shoes, pocketbook, sweaters and underwear. So I had to get on the train to the Village to accessorize this lapsing nun. 

Another time when Carole was in Harlem Hospital going through withdrawal, the pregnant nurse whose care Carole was in fell in love with her. She left the hospital, New York and her husband to live with Carole in California. I received a phone call when they reached L.A.

Bobby was obsessed with her love for her girlfriend and the turmoil that it brought. They were constantly breaking up and making up. The continuous stress took its toll on the relationship that could never be, which always took Bobby back to drugs and finally destroyed her.

Until the end, we always stayed connected, either by phone or mail, one way or another. They always wanted to live a happy life, but due to their circumstances, failed relationships and the times, the dream never maintained itself. The drugs always won, and disappointment followed. Disowned by their families, living in the streets took a toll on their health and finally destroyed my Buckies in the end.

They died in their 20s and I salute Gay Pride in their honor — my dear friends Carole A. White Jr. and Bobby Alvino.

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