I told my number one fan to make sure to read the prior post and to visit all of the other spots they have bookmarked in their computer because if you wait too long it is hard to catch up.
Took a moment to consider what to write about tonight and figured I ought to make sure some of you know that it appears Deborah Lipstadt’s nomination is moving forward and that there is a good piece on Licorice Pizza here.
And then we move back to conversations with my uncle, some of which tie into the photo story from yesterday.
Last week marked the 28th anniversary of his dying which I suppose is tied into part of why he has been on my mind.
If he had made it to December of ’94 he would have turned 50. Had he made another five years he might still be here now because science/medicine might have helped him turn a corner.
That is speculation on my part and not based upon things you can verify and measure, not that you would need to because we can’t go back.
It is as useless as my wondering if the doc who missed one thing with my father ended up helping to cut his life short.
He probably did, but we can’t say if it is a day or five years and I don’t waste energy wondering because again we can’t go back.
Maybe I’ll Tell You A Story
It is about 1991 and I am hanging out with my uncle in San Francisco. He is 47 and I am 22 and we’re engaged in deeper and more serious conversations than we would have in L.A.
That is because I am on his turf and there is no other family around. Both of us are comfortable engaging without concern for younger siblings, parents or grandparents.
I want to know when he figured out he was gay and how he knew. It wasn’t kept a secret from my siblings or I and I never thought much about why he wasn’t married or involved with anyone.
Can’t tell you why I never thought about it. I found out because my little sister and I went to San Francisco on a youth group trip and we got lunch with our uncle.
Midway through a bite into a hamburger she asked him if he was gay and he started laughing. “Yes, didn’t you know.”
My sister, all of 14.5 nodded her head and I sort of sat there trying to figure out what happened. Didn’t change my feelings or thoughts about him, but did surprise me.
Four years later I wasn’t surprised by any of it and since I knew he was HIV positive I wanted to ask questions while I knew I had the opportunity.
I remember him telling me about having had girlfriends and how it never felt quite right. Big shot that I was I asked him if he had ever wondered if maybe there was a woman out there that could change his mind.
He knew I was teasing him and busted my chops right back.
“You have been with that many women that you know things huh.”
I laughed and told him I could say that I had some experience that covered multiple states.
“California, Ohio, Tennessee, New York, Arizona and Illinois.”
He nodded his head and told me to be careful and we dove back into it all. Looking backwards I can say I was never embarrassed and that I always believed it was genetic and not about choice.
But I don’t think I really absorbed how difficult parts of his life must have been. It was a different world than we live in now.
There are still challenges and push back, but less need to hide or so it seems to me. I could be wrong.
I certainly wish he was still around for a million different reasons such as my desire to have an even deeper conversation than I was able to at 22.
That doesn’t mean that I think I was immature because I don’t believe that to be so. Life experience is the issue because it makes a huge difference in how we see and perceive the world.
And though I got the chance to watch him work I would have liked to have had more conversations about how he created the jewelry he sold.
It would have been good to ask him about his vision and to understand better what he saw in his head and how he moved it from in between his ears to something like earrings, necklaces and rings.
I would have liked to discuss what sort of training he underwent and whether he had plans to expand upon it.
Can’t get the answers to those questions now even with the key to his apartment. Hopefully they changed the locks, would be sort of disruptive if I was able to use it to open the door and walk in.
There are actually a couple of family stories that tie into that, but we’ll save those for a different day.
Someone let old Uncle Aesop I agree and I am engaged in a couple of mini adventures that are part of a much larger one. Give it a week and I’ll be neck deep in one.
Ought to be interesting, nothing like jumping off of a cliff and learning how to fly as you fall. There is nothing to it…right.