Two recent developments refocused my attention on all the friends I lost to AIDS in the 80s and 90s.
Recently, Peter Gorobetz, a teammate from my Gotham Volleyball League days in NYC in the early 90s, came to a BAMMER meet-up in Ft. Lauderdale, where he and his partner now reside. While reminiscing about the good old days, Peter and I discussed Dan O’Connor (Pic #8 here), my cabin mate on the RSVP Caribbean cruise I took in 1991, who was also the volleyball league Commissioner that year.
Peter reminded me that Dan had died of AIDS in 1992, a fact I had somehow forgotten. I decided then to put together a tribute to him to appear on @theaidsmemorial page on Instagram and am now gathering stories from friends who knew him well for that purpose.
I recently discovered an old cassette tape of phone messages among my collection of disco tapes from the 80s. A friend, David Oliver, offered to digitize my collection for me. When I listened to the preserved phone messages in the file David shared with me, I was surprised to realize they’d been recorded in 1980.
Among the many messages I discovered, were some from my late best friend, Chris Smith (pic #5 here), who passed away suddenly from AIDS in 1986. Imagine hearing the voice of a deceased best friend from 40 years in the past that was accidentally saved. It was both a blow to my solar plexus and a lift to my heart!.
That accidental discovery and the discussion about Dan O’Connor made me want to publicly celebrate one more time the lives of those lost to AIDS who were a meaningful presence in my life.
These photos celebrate some of those in my circle of friends whose lives were tragically cut short by AIDS and reminds me of how much they’re missed!