Longform

Baby Man

Page 3 of 8

Windsor has yet to collect his share of the inheritance. That comes later this summer. In the meantime, he's making plans, setting up investments, and being a grown-up as seldom as possible.

"Sometimes, though, I have to be an adult," he says. "I have to take care of my responsibilities."


The stares and laughter are a part of the appeal of the "24/7 extreme AB/DL" life. Which is why Windsor chose to meet at Bogie's, a bar he admits is pretty rough.

"I do enjoy pissing ignorant people off. I like to point out how stupid people can sometimes be," he says, with the faint Southern accent he acquired while splitting time among Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi for most of the past 25 years. Then, he lights up a cigarette, with mild hesitation. "But to be honest, I don't really piss off that many people.

"I've found that most people are at the very least tolerant, if not downright supportive of my appearance."

Just then, Dan, one of the new arrivals in the tight corduroy shorts, approaches. Already drunk, Dan struggles to put together a sentence, opening his mouth to speak, but unsure of the question he wants to ask.

"Wha--," Dan begins. "W-w-why?" Then, he finally spits it out.

"Is that baby powder I smell?"

"Yeah," Windsor replies. "Do you like it?"

Dan begins to sway, nearly falling over until he props himself up with an outstretched arm on the bar.

"Not really," he says, inches from Windsor's nose. "It kinda stinks."

Dan's delivery makes them fightin' words. But Windsor has a way of defusing these kinds of situations, he says, which happen so infrequently, even he seems surprised.

"I've got a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do," he says, later. "The last thing somebody wants is to get their ass kicked by a baby girl."

As the commotion settles, Windsor shares his David Copperfield-style story: He is born. He grows up. He becomes "Baby Man."

Only it's certainly not that simple.


Born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1951, William Windsor is the oldest of four kids, another boy and two girls.

His parents, Henry and Mary, lived comfortably, Windsor recalls, but never flaunted their wealth. Henry worked as the editor for Popular Mechanics Spanish editions -- Mecanica Popular -- before the family sold the title to Hearst Magazines in 1958, and later taught Spanish and Portuguese at Arizona State University before finishing his teaching career at San Diego State University and retiring in 1980.

"My dad rarely spent money," Windsor says. "He drove a modest car, we lived in a modest house, and there were very few indicators that we had money. It just wasn't like my father to show off. He was kind of a miser.

"My grandparents, though, they lived really well."

Windsor remembers weekend breakfasts with his grandfather at his grandparents' Chicago high-rise apartment, which was decorated with pricey antiques and collectibles, like a Russian tea set Windsor says once belonged to the last Russian czar, Nicholas II. The memories he has of his grandparents are some of Windsor's fondest.

"I just always felt safe there," he says. "When I look at pictures of me and my mom, I notice that I'm never smiling. And she always looks like she's trying to pass me off to someone else, kinda holdin' me out for someone to take."

Windsor has several personal theories as to the "why" of his adult baby life. He wonders aloud if perhaps his mother wasn't affectionate enough -- he refuses to declare so one way or the other -- and thinks that he might simply need the mothering he never got as a child.

He considers his parents' divorce when he was 11 years old. His father cheated on his mother with one of his students at ASU, and eventually married her, according to Willie.

"I thought, 'I'm gonna show him. Now I'm really gonna get into this baby thing,'" he says.

None of Windsor's siblings was similarly affected -- at least, not as far as William knows. For the most part, he's not in touch with his family. His sister, Susan Halloran, hangs up immediately when called about her brother. Windsor's brother, John, a marketing consultant in Boulder, Colorado, speaks briefly, acknowledging he hasn't seen William in more than a decade. William says he's been abandoned; John says it's a two-way street.

William says that his mother, Mary, lives in Scottsdale, but he refuses to give her current name (he says she remarried after the divorce) or her phone number. He says she's seen him in his baby gear, and that they're in touch a couple of times a month -- and that at the moment, she's vacationing in Europe.

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Joe Watson