Sunday, July 28, 2013

Where Are They Now?

My friends - 1980

Going through some photos yesterday and I came across this photo.  It was taken in the fall of 1980 near Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  

From left to right:

Richard Moore
Joe Murtha
Bob M.
Bob McIntyre
Paul Bickerstaff

They were friends of mine.  They are no more.

Richard Moore - I do not know where he is. I haven't heard of his whereabouts for years.

Joe Murtha - died of AIDs related illness two years after this photo was taken - 1982

Bob M. - now resides in a senior care facility in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  He does not recognize me.

Bob McIntyre- died of AIDS related illness several months after this photo was taken - 1980

Paul Bickerstaff - I do not know where he is.  I lost touch with Paul after this photo was taken

Seeing this iconic photo triggered memories in me.  I remember exactly when I took this photo.  We were all walking out towards North Shores, near Gordon's Pond in Rehoboth Beach.  Back in the 80's, the Rehoboth Beach area wasn't the tourist mecca that it is today but it was a place for closeted gay men to gather without fear of losing their jobs or causing their families great embarrassment.  

Seeing this photo makes me sad of course because I no longer have these guys as my friends.  I had no idea at that time I would survive them all.  Perhaps Richard (who I was never close with) and Paul (who I was THISCLOSE with) are still alive. 

Joe Murtha and Bob McIntyre were partners. Both were cremated after their deaths and their ashes scattered over their five acres of "hideaway" land nearby where this photo was taken, as per their wishes. 

It would be nice to hear from Paul again but one thing is for sure, we could never capture "The Moment" like we did that chilly, autumn afternoon near the dunes of North Shores.  When I see this photo I am reminded of the last scene of "Longtime Companion."


Friko said...

Hi Ron,
thank you for the return visit.

This is a very sad post; I am truly sorry that you lost so many of your friends not only to the dreaded AIDS but also to the vagaries of time and circumstances.

Treasure the friends you have now.

anne marie in philly said...

sad post; have you googled both paul and richard? and whose cats are in your banner photo; they are precious!

Ron said...


I LOVE GARDENING. In fact, I have to go out and lay some mulch around plants that I just transplanted this morning. The humidity is up so I think I'll wait until this evening when the temperatures are down a bit.

I have a long list of friends that I have lost to AIDS and the vagaries of time and circumstance (I like your phrasing).

And yes, I do treasure the friends I have now especially the new friends I have made through my blog. Once a year we meet in Lewes, Delaware. One of the best things to happen in my later life.

Have a great day!


Ron said...

Anne Marie,

Those cats were my Mom's. Sister and brother: Molly (calico) and Rusty. They were feral kittens my father found born in his cornfield. There was also a all white cat named "Snowball" but he died early. Molly and Rusty were my Mom's "longtime companions" who died within a year after her death.

I've tried Goggling Paul and nothing. I never got along with Richard. He was weird. He wasn't really my friend but was Bob's friend. I really knew I didn't like him when I heard he kicked a cat to death because he was frustrated that Bob wasn't home one day. The cat was named "Ronnie" after me.

Life is stranger than fiction.


Karen said...

I google Paul's name, but without any other info I couldn't get much further.

Ron said...


I've tried to look Paul's name up before but couldn't find anything. I'm pretty sure he is alive because I haven't found his name in the Social Security Death Index. I think he's a couple of years younger than me so that means he was probably born around 1944 of 1945.


Ur-spo said...

If you live long enough, this is true for all of us.

Anonymous said...


I have found Zabasearch a great "friend finding" tool. Tried it and found two Paul Bickerstaffs in PA and one in Ohio plus some
in Texas and Rhode Island. The first ones have middle initials which may help you.
Stuart in Central Florida

Anonymous said...

Time is precious. I work at being nice now. In my youth, I was mean. Now, my age group is all about love.

Ron said...


Oh so true.


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