|The way I picture myself now - alone on the bench in the woods - waiting|
This morning I got to thinking about how old I am and all the friends I've made (and lost) during my long reign on this earth.
|Me - alone at our Boot Road apartment Downingtown, PA 1958|
I began with my little circle of friends in elementary school and my neighborhood on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. I still remember there names:
All gone now. It seemed as one group of friends receded from my life another group would come in during my later school years:
I'm fortunate in that most of my high school friends are still around and we're still friendly.
|Another informal class reunion gathering - 2005(I'm the guy in the back giving my friend Olin rabbit ears)|
When I left high school and joined the Army I made a whole new group of friends:
|Me (left) with Army buddies Bill Allen and Dick Egan - 1960|
Sad to say but all these friends are now gone.
Then came the time after I got out of the Army and I entered the Gay Life. Oh yes, I made a LOT of friends then. Many I have lost track of but there are also many I know are no longer alive.
Then there are the friends from my straight life at work:
Anne Marie Del Grande
|Me with my First Financial Bank co-workers - 2000|
This is just the tip of the iceberg of my friends. Sometimes, like this morning when I woke up, I wonder in amazement that I have survived and lived longer than most of my good friends. With all of these friends, with the exception of course of my grade school friends, I think I've had the conversation of how long we would live.
|Me (with the silver sequined top hat - of course) with my classmates at our 35th class reunion - 1994 (yep, the gaily colored feathered boas my friends Jean and Pat are wearing were mine too - I know how organize a good party)|
Sometimes, in the early morning hours like this morning when I wake up and realize I am alive for another day, I wonder if my friends who have passed on are waiting for me somewhere "up there". Do you think we will have a grand reunion? A gathering at the beach like the last scene in "Longtime Companion?" I doubt it. I think when you die that's it. Total oblivion. But I wonder.
|Me (at head of table) at one of the gay men only Thanksgiving dinners at my friend Bob McCamley's home - 2005|
If there is such a thing as Heaven then it would be a reuniting with my friends, pets and family, all of whom have passed on. The way I look at it, when we die (as long as the process of dying isn't too gruesome or painful), it's a "win-win" situation. Either we go to total peace (oblivion) or we are reunited with our loved ones.
|One of the informal class reunions we've had over the years at my friend Bill Brookover's home - I'm in the red|
And that is what is going on through my brain this morning folks. The mental musings of a 73 year old gay man who has had a long and happy and eventful life.
|Me in Ottowa Canada - 1967|