The Life and Times of Bruce Bramson


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My Dad often remarked how it seems time flies faster and faster as one grows older: I have certainly found this to be true as well. However, the perception can change in an instant! Just a month ago my hip failed, and time has slowed perceptibly. Five days in hospital, and the rest here at home, boredom has set in! Fortunately, my Doctor has authorized me to return to limited work, which will help pass the time for the next 9 weeks or so, after which it is back to hospital for a new knee.

Meanwhile, I describe some of my stay in Manila, Philippines:

As mentioned previously, following my last assignment in Egypt I went from there to Manila, by way of Greece, Bangkok, Mumbai, and the old MIA. It was a long flight, and I arrived to complete bedlam at MIA: friends who I had alerted to meet me were nowhere to be seen, but there were good-looking guys EVERYWHERE! A taxi driver found me a room—in a brothel!—where I slept off the time-change, but not before walking across Rojas Boulevard to the seawall, where I quickly found a fellow as horny as I was.

The next day I arranged for a more pleasant hotel—the Mabini Mansion—located in Ermita, which I soon found out was sex-central for Manila. I also contacted my friends who were astonished to find me there: my letter to them arrived a week after I did! The next week was a whirlwind of tricks, short-time rooms, and wonderfully cooperative guys who seemed as fascinated my me as I was by them. All too soon, though, I had to move on and return to San Francisco.

I was pleased, therefore when a few weeks later I got a line on a job opening in Manila. I was quickly snapped up for the one month assignment, and found myself back in Manila once again. This time I was put up at the Gilarmi hotel in Makati, as the work-site was also in Makati, and my friends lived in an apartment there as well. Days were spent at work; nights back in Ermita as often as I could manage it. All too soon, my work was complete, and preparation was under way for my departure. But the day before I was to leave, my boss handed me a brief document that had been turned in as a work-product by another member of the consortium: “What do you think of this?” he asked.

I quickly read it, only a few pages long, and pure, unadulterated bullshit. “You can’t possibly give this to our client,” I explained. “Would you like to stay another month and re-write it?”

Would I ever! So I had another month to work and play. All expenses paid, at that! By now I had discovered the mall known as Harrison Plaza, one of the best cruising spots in Manila.

I’m sure I had a camera, but I find I took no pictures in Manila. I noticed that whenever a camera was aimed at someone, they began primping and acting up: boys were particularly difficult to photograph. Besides, the ones I wanted most to take photos of were usually youngsters buck-nekkid enjoying a brief rain-squall!

Too soon, this assignment ended, but not before arrangements were made for a return in a few month’s time, for another assignment. This time, I arranged to arrive a whole month early, staying once again in the Mabini Mansion, during which I had nothing to do except—boys, and I had more than my share. It was a wonderful month. Harrison Plaza had burned to the ground while I was back home, but it fell to a kid I judged to be no more than 9 to point me to Robinson’s, which had quickly become what the old Harrison Plaza had been: cruise central.

Once this month of debauchery was over, I moved to Quezon City, as the Company I worked for was under contract to MWSS, which had built fine new facilities in QC. I stayed on the 6th floor of a quite new hotel, and usually walked to work across the campus of the University. Despite its newness, the hotel had been constructed as a haven for cockroaches, and it was here that I found them in bed with me occasionally. When I would mention to the Concierge that “I don’t mind sharing my bed, but I prefer having a choice of mate” she would look at me blankly: I had to spell it out. “There were roaches in bed with me last night.” They would spray something around that day, but I think the roaches loved it. The real problem was in the shoddy construction, which left wonderful gaps and holes the roaches loved to hide in. Still, I did manage to share my bed a number of times with someone more to my liking, although I had also found some of the bars where the boys might occasionally dance “bold”, if one waited late enough, and where most of the boys could be rented with rooms upstairs, or taken “off”, all for a price. Once again I had per diem paid in local funds, and nothing much else to spend it on except—boys.

Altogether, I spent nearly 9 months in and around Manila. I loved it!

In between the various assignments in Manila, I spent time refurbishing the Library in my old house. It was just four bare walls when I began:

It took shape over many months:


Literally, the first pieces of the library

There is a music center, storage for LPs, lots of shelf space, and drawers for display of “stuff”:


I personally shaped every pice of lumber

It topped out about 9 feet from the floor:


The second set of shelves is in place

Behind those vents are hot-water return pipes which heat and circulate some air to keep the room perfectly dry.


The shelves are backed with mahogany

A place for the phone and for Webster’s 12th Edition:


Below the phone, special shelves for the Encyclopedia Brit

The material is sugar-pine: I could not afford Mahogany!


Setting the LAST nail!

The music center. The row of buttons controls speakers throughout the house:


Everything is built in

After staining to resemble mahogany!


On July 7, 1981, the gas chandelier was lit in the new library

Over the years, all sorts of artifacts and books have been added.


The Library is named for Clara Wiley, who lived to see it completed


Webster's 12th gets a place of honor


There is a traveling ladder to access the upper shelves


Display cases for "stuff" are wired to the house alarm

There’s still a few things yet to be done, especially a hardwood floor. I wonder if I will be able to do that after all my bionic joints are healed. Only time will tell!

There’s still many years between 1981 and the present to describe, so stay tuned!



Written by Editor

September 10th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized