1991 — Friday the 13th of November — Left Trinity Christian Academy against my will — I was “outed” by a fellow colleague, David Delph, who would later become Headmaster of TCA, motivated by one of my closest friends, Robin Hodges. She would later be responsible for outing me at my next job at Ursuline Academy. I was kicked out of my church, Fellowship Bible Church, by the pastor, Steve Hixon, who was my former roommate and my best friend since 1971. I bought my favorite car, Mazda MX6… awesome! (…and a great way to drive fast down Highway 380 screaming at the moon and releasing my angst!) Deni and the girls moved into a house in Richardson. I was alone in our home in McKinney. My dear friend Maggie Winslett, got me a job designing wrapping paper for Susan Crane Design. Victoria Secrets and Neiman-Marcus bought my designs. Got divorced. My ex-wife became best friends with the very boyfriend of mine, Chris Williamson, who she had talked into not seeing me anymore. He got a job teaching drama at TCA. I started dating my first “partner”, Robert Forsythe… moved to an apt. on University Blvd. Got Hair Club for Men and LOVED it!
1992 — Bought a beautiful, Tudor-style house in Oak Cliff with Robert who planted a multitude of exotic flowers. We had awesome neighbors. I loved it.
1993 — Started teaching at Ursuline Academy and Brookhaven College (Art History, Painting, Art Appreciation). I taught at UA for 4 fabulous years. I taught at Brookhaven for 8 years.
1994 — Robert and I broke up. He moved to Monroe, Louisiana. I became best friends and business partner with Todd Barnhardt who had just moved here from New York and L.A. He taught me all about applying my painting skills to wall painting: faux and trompe l’oeil. He was also a musician and had recorded a country-western album of his original songs. He was absolutely beautiful. I would end up being star-struck with him until his death in 2017.
1995 — Robert moved back in with me (and with his new boyfriend ???). I inherited my daughter’s pregnant cat who had 6 kittens which drove me crazy. I started dating a friend of Robert’s who is a very excellent painter (he’s on Facebook — Don David Young, he now lives in Palm Springs)… A tree fell on my house and one of the kittens drowned in the street on our first date. I should have taken those events as an omen of what would come. Don and I were involved in a 7 car pile up on the Dallas North Tollway which totalled his truck. That sent both of us into a 3 month funk which would evolve into a very strange separation of ways. I declared bankruptcy and lost my house.
1996 — Started dating JR Brown (Flex-Fitness Gym in West Village) and we moved into a FABULOUS apartment on Cedar Springs (The Springs). Our apartment had a wonderful space for my studio and had a balcony which overlooked the Dallas skyline. I got several commissions for paintings. I was in Heaven. When I met JR he was 26 years old, 6’4″ and weighed 340 pounds. After a year of intense weight training and a strict diet he lost 110 pounds and become a total hunky heart-throb. Who once was a man totally obsessed with me, he turned into a narcissistic, arrogant, mean-natured prostitute. I was so in love with him, I couldn’t even tell him to leave. I became extremely moody, bitchy and lonely.
1997— Ursuline beat TCA for TAPPS (Texas Association of Parochial and Private Schools) State Art Championship!!! The next day I was fired for absolutely no reason. This caused me to fall into a deep depression and self-destructive behavior. I still struggle with depression due to this unexpected and mysterious event.
1998 — Catherine was accepted to Arts Magnet and she moved in with JR and me. I also taught photography and drawing at Arts Magnet (Booker T. Washington High School of Visual & Performing Arts) for two years. Catherine made straight A’s (coming from the Resource Room at TCA) and wrote her award-winning one-act play, The Perfect Family, which would become the inspiration for her TV pilot in 2018.
1999 — Pamala Ezell, Becky Thompson and I founded the Walt Whitman Community School, the first private school in the world for Gay, Lesbian and Transgender High School students. The pay sucked, but we got a lot of exposure on radio and TV. We got coverage on CBS News, Oprah, Good Morning America, Politically Incorrect, and in a multitude of newspapers – The school was chosen “Best of Dallas” in D Magazine, one of “Top 100” of the year in OUT Magazine and MTV made a 90 minute movie about the school. My favorite experience was having Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King spend the whole day in my classes.. Billie Jean is responsible for giving me back my daughter, Karen, by explaining what it’s like to publically be “outed.” What an amazing woman!
2000 — A horrible year. JR and I broke up while I turned to using drugs as an escape. I moved into a tiny apartment with my daughter. I fell apart. Catherine moved back in with Deni.
2001 — Got a job with Showcrafters painting sets for The Dallas Opera and convention stages for IBM, GM and Toyota. Worked for PepsiCo painting 15 murals. You might have seen one at the entrance of Farmers Market, Dallas Love Field, or the Galleria.
2002 — Started bartending at Pegasus Pub in Oak Lawn where I met Josh & Ricky. They invited me to move to Denison, Texas, where I lived with my new boyfriend, Jay, and took care of his friend, Ricky, who had Hep C, until he passed away. I also worked as construction supervisor/designer for Josh, a wealthy man whose house had burned down. Josh, formerly a very good-looking, muscular gay man, had been the victim of a hate crime at Lake Texoma which left him in a wheel chair with only one leg. In addition I worked as a bartender at the local gay bar – the only one in North Texas/Southern Oklahoma area. While I was away for an extended vacation, everything I owned – my art, my clothes, furniture, books and music collection – burned down, along with the new construction. They say lightning never strikes in the same space twice. This time it struck three times. My life sucked again, and I was thrown into a deeper hole of despair, turning to more drugs and sex.
2003 –Moved to McKinney with my sister, Sharon. Taught K-5th grade art at a really nice, new public school. Got really sick with Hep B and was hospitalized. Tested positive for HIV and also Hep C. Moved to Bonham, Texas, with my new bf, Bruce Titsworth, who turned out to be a disastrous alcoholic. During my emotional break-up I totaled his truck while Bruce walked away and was missing for several weeks. After Bruce and I supposedly worked out our problems, I moved back to Dallas with him, but he ended up repeating his terrible behavior which resulted in both of us being evicted from our apartment. I was broke and homeless, but still employed in McKinney on temporary medical leave due to my slew of diseases. I lived in the back of an abandoned 18-wheeler cab for a month until I was ousted by the owner. I bought a brand new 2004 Pt Cruiser, packed up what was left of my possessions, mostly clothes, and called my school to let them know I was planning on returning to teach. They informed me they had hired a permanent replacement which I found out through a lawyer, was legal. I was without income to pay for my new vehicle or a place to live. 10 days later I totaled my brand new car while trying to make a turn only a few blocks from where I was going. I was homeless, jobless and more importantly, totally depressed and embarrassed. I lived under the trees and bushes on Turtle Creek for almost 5 months, eating one free meal a day at the Gay & Lesbian Resource Center. It was there I met Patrick O’Neill who helped me try to recover some sanity for my life. I moved into the Welcome House for 10 months of recovery from everything which caused my previously mentioned diseases. It was there I encountered the mission work of the White Rock Community Church. Patrick and I began attending their services and membership classes every week. After a few months I became a member of a church for the first time in my life, even though I had worked as a staff member for several churches before my “outing.” It was there I encountered a spiritual rebirth. During this time I also attended AA meetings, sometimes 3 or 4 times a day. I learned about meditation and living “one day at a time.” This prepared me for the death of my mother who was always my anchor and biggest fan. She died of emphysema while living in a nursing home with my father who had acute Alzheimer’s disease.
2004 — Moved to Missouri to live in my parent’s home while my father still was living in a nursing home. My father died very soon after I moved back home, but not before gasping his final words to me while I was holding him in my arms, “I love you, Wally.” Not only was this the first time in 7 years he knew who I was, calling me Fred after his brother most of the time, this was the first time he had ever said he loved me to my face as an adult.
2005 — Met a wonderful guy, Trey Bush, and moved into a house with him in Columbia, MO… We had a wild and wonderful year, but I didn’t accomplish much…. I went shopping a lot and spent a lot of money. We broke up, my car was stolen, and we were evicted from our beautiful home after spending all our money on more clothes, furnishings for our home and more drugs. I was homeless again.
2006 to 2013 — After walking from Columbia to Jefferson City which is about 30 miles away, I checked myself into another mental hospital. After conecting with a wonderful case manager I was able to moved into a very dilapidated one bedroom studio apartment in Downtown Jefferson City. While attending regular AA meetings again I met a wealthy man who helped me open a gallery in the Capital Mall (Mindscapes) during the Christmas holidays. Thanks to Dale Bruemmer I sold over 35 paintings and acquired a few commissions. I closed the store due to high rent and low patronage after the holidays. I painted alone in my tiny apartment for the next few months until I finally was approved for disability income after 3 attempts. While I was there I met an amazing nurse named Thom Switzer. He became my best friend. During this time my ex-partner, Robert Forsythe, came to visit me and fell in love with Jefferson City. I fell in love with his chihuahua, Micro, who became absolutely compatible with my beautiful cat, Sushi, who was a gift from my daughter, Karen.
2014 — Moved into a very large 3 bedroom, two-floor home with my friends Thom and Robert. Thom and I each have our own bedroom while we use one bedroom upstairs for a studio where I paint. Robert has the downstairs for his own living area complete with kitchen, bar and studio space. We all get along fabulously.
2016 to present — My daughter Karen married an amazing man, Dhenmark Padecio, and a year later had my first grandchild, Elliott Hagen Padecio. I got to visit him when he was just a month old and later returned to celebrate his first birthday with the entire Kington-Linebarger clan. Catherine brought her very wonderful boyfriend, Luke. They have since moved in together living in a house in East L.A. (I love it!)
The past two years I have lost two of my favorite people in the world – Roland Adcox, son of my best buddy from Dallas, John Adcox, and my hunky-monkey artist/musician best friend Todd Barnhardt. I am still in denial about losing them both. Todd used to call me every morning at 4 a.m. for the past four years. I still wait for his call every morning. He was the last intimate relationship I have had. I planned on growing old with him.
I have also lost several students over the past few years. I thought I would be the one to go first, with all my diseases and old age. It just doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes I feel guilty than I’m still alive and my lovely, much younger friends have died. I guess God isn’t finished with me yet. “Selah!”
In 2015 Andy Galloway, a former student of mine from TCA, filmed a documentary about me simply called, “Wally.” It has won numerous awards on the film festival circuit all around the world.
Sarah graduated from Philadelphia University of the Arts, lives in New York City, worked for Bobby Flay (The Iron Chef/Food Network) and performed on Broadway in a cabaret one-woman show and with a band “722” who just got back from a 4 month tour of China. She also bartended at the Museum of Modern Art’s Adjoining Restaurant called “The Modern” which received the James Beard Award for excellence while she was there. She is presently bartending at Duane Park, the oldest cabaret in America, where two of her friends there were on The Voice this past year.
Karen graduated from Harrington Academy of Art in Chicago in Interior Design, moved to Seattle to work for Williams-Sonoma, got laid off, moved home to live with her mom and worked for West Elm, Bo Conept the Dallas Design District and presently an architectural designer at Arteriors Home. I inherited her cat, Sushi, who is now my best buddy.
Catherine graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts, moved to L.A. to work for DisneySynergy. She also worked on the TV series “Legends” and “Madame Secretary.” She is presently working on the pilot for a new CW show, “Roswell,” based on the 1998 TV show while also being a producer for the annual L.A. Film Festival. She has written/directed/produced over 35 movies already, and working on her own pilot called, “The Perfect Family.” Guess which family that’s about?
Deni, who teaches drama at the Fairhill School in Dallas, Cat, Karen and Sarah came here for Thanksgiving as well as for my birthday last year. She is still the one who knows me the very best. I will always love her with all my heart.
I wish I lived on the beach, but I don’t. I wish I felt good everyday, but I don’t. I wish I had a large studio and sold lots of work, but I don’t. But I’m ok… and MUCH MUCH better reconnecting with my sweet, wonderful sister, Ann, (who recently won the National Drug Courts Award), and my sister, Sharon, a retired nurse who lives in Texas. I am finally living a low-drama life with Thom and Robert, and corresponding with my students and friends on Face book.
I am presently working on my autobiography and always painting. I have had visits from my daughters, Deni, Andy & Adam Galloway, Cheryl Montgomery, Dan Getz, John & Roland Adcox and Jon & Jenni Millet since I have lived here in Missouri. This month (September 2018) I will have a visit from another former student, Kris Maples. During one visit to Dallas I was the guest at Christen Crew’s “Wally Does Dallas” party at her house which attracted about 200 guests and lasted until 3 in the morning. It was an amazing, amazing experience. She has since had another party for me in her home with her husband Jeff Christie, a professional golfer. In 2017 I was flown down to Dallas to be honored at the TCA Alumni Art Show where 27 years ago I was fired for being gay. I had the privilege of staying at the fabulous ranch home of GeorgeAnn Shafer, another former student and colleague. I was invited to participate in the TCA Alumni Art Show by Jon Millet, Head of the Visual Arts Department and former student and by David Delph, Headmaster of Trinity Christian Academy-Addison, the very man who outed me which got me fired in 1991. When I questioned the unexpected invitation Jon’s words to me were healing: “What happened in the past should stay in the past.” He’ll never know what those words have done to bring me closer to God.
Finally, being “gay” means “happy” for me!