From 26 to 30 / Desde 26 a 30

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

MY DEAR OLD friend Mary (we’ve been friends since 1973) sent me some photos. I’m still waiting for her to scan them for me — ahem — but these skewed and distorted images will have to do until Mary gets her scanner working.

I drove up from Brooklyn in November 1979 to visit Mary who had moved to Boston. I fell in love with the city, found a job, and moved four months later. The photos on the street were taken in 1980. I think it was the 4th of July parade.

Mary introduced me to Brian, her best friend who became my dear and (first gay) friend, although I was still dating women at the time.

My sister Dale died 12 months after I arrived in Boston. I came out of the closet. Five months later I met San Geraldo. Fifteen months after that, he and I moved to Los Angeles. Seven months later, we were living in Washington, D.C. where I worked for U.S.News & World Report.

And that takes us to the final photo of me on a sofa with my feet on Mary’s lap.

It was 1984. Brian and Mary were sharing an apartment. I was in Boston on business and spent an extra two nights with them before heading home. Brian was not the best influence, but he was a true friend and I loved him. I won’t tell you what I did that night (partly because I have no idea what I did that night), but I was feeling no pain. Until the next morning!

That was the last time I saw Mary. She and Brian moved to Hawaii a few months later. Mary met the love of her life, married, and moved to the middle of the country. She’s still there, raised a son while earning more advanced degrees, and has been working with learning disabled teens ever since.

SG and I finally got to Hawaii in 1986, but Mary was already gone and Brian, our dear wonderful friend the “serial monogamist,” was living with his latest boyfriend. He eventually moved to San Diego so we were elated when SG got his job there in early 1993. But, at that same time, Brian was ill and returned to his family home in Massachusetts. We drove up to see him a couple of times. He died before we left for San Diego.

And that’s what ran through my head when I saw these pictures. Whenever, I think about what might have been — like taking my education more seriously and choosing a university better suited to my interests, I always think, ‘But then I never would have met Mary. And that was an exceptional friendship. And had I never met Mary, I never would have met Brian. Or moved to Boston. Or met San Geraldo.’ And I’m filled with gratitude for what I’ve had and have, for Dale, for Brian, for Mary, and for San Geraldo, and for so many other people in my life. All that from a few 40-year-old photos.

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MI QUERIDA VIEJA amiga Mary (hemos sido amigos desde 1973) me envió algunas fotos. Todavía estoy esperando que los escanee por mí, ejem, pero estas imágenes distorsionadas tendrán que funcionar hasta que Mary haga funcionar su escáner.

Conduje desde Brooklyn en noviembre de 1979 para visitar a Mary, que se había mudado a Boston. Me enamoré de la ciudad, encontré un trabajo, y me mudé cuatro meses después. Las fotos en la calle fueron tomadas en 1980. Creo que fue el desfile del 4 de julio, el día de la independencia.

Mary me presentó a Brian, su mejor amigo que se convirtió en mi querido y (primer gay) amigo, aunque todavía estaba saliendo con mujeres en ese momento.

Mi hermana Dale murió 12 meses después de mi llegada a Boston. Salí del armario. Conocí a San Geraldo cinco meses después. Él y yo nos mudamos a Marina del Rey, California, 15 meses después de que nos conocimos. Siete meses después, vivíamos en Washington, D.C., donde trabajé para U.S.News & World Report.

Y eso nos lleva a la foto final de mí en un sofá con los pies en el regazo de Mary.

Era 1984. Brian y Mary estaban compartiendo un apartamento. Estuve en Boston por negocios y pasé dos noches con ellos antes de regresar a casa. Brian no fue la mejor influencia, pero era un verdadero amigo y lo amaba. No te diré lo que hice esa noche (en parte porque no tengo idea de lo que hice esa noche), pero no sentía dolor. Hasta la mañana siguiente!

Esa fue la última vez que vi a Mary. Ella y Brian se mudaron a Hawai unos meses después. Mary conoció al amor de su vida, se casó y se mudó a la mitad de los Estados Unidos. Ella todavía está allí, crió a un hijo mientras obtenía títulos más avanzados, y ha estado trabajando con adolescentes con discapacidades de aprendizaje desde entonces.

SG y yo finalmente llegamos a Hawai en 1986, pero Mary ya se había ido y Brian, nuestro querido y maravilloso amigo el “monogamista en serie”, estaba con un nuevo novio. Eventualmente se mudó a San Diego, así que estábamos eufóricos cuando SG consiguió su trabajo allí a principios de 1993. Pero, al mismo tiempo, Brian estaba enfermo y regresó a la casa de su familia en Massachusetts. Fuimos a verlo un par de veces. Murió antes de que nos fuéramos a San Diego.

Y eso fue lo que me pasó por la cabeza cuando vi estas fotos. Siempre que pienso en lo que podría haber sido, como tomar mi educación más en serio y elegir una universidad más adecuada para mis intereses, siempre pienso: ‘Pero entonces nunca habría conocido a Mary. Y si nunca hubiera conocido a Mary, nunca habría conocido a Brian. O se mudó a Boston. O conocí a San Geraldo’. Y estoy lleno de gratitud por lo que he tenido y tengo, por Dale, por Brian, por Mary, y por San Geraldo, y por muchas otras personas en mi vida. Todo eso de algunas fotos de 40 años.

Subtítulo de Mary: Verano – 1980. Nuestro primer año en Boston juntos.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

28 thoughts on “From 26 to 30 / Desde 26 a 30”

  1. Those ‘charged’ photos do it every time!
    What an exciting and formative time in your life, Mitch.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is a very profound post, Scoot. I read it, I teared up a bit and then my petty little brain shouted “Wow, you sure look good in jeans!” Sometimes I wish my brain would keep its big mouth shut 🙂

    1. Deedles:
      Oh, bless you and your “petty little brain.” I think I look better now in jeans; I weighed about 12 pounds back then. Tell your brain I’m grateful she doesn’t keep her mouth shut!

  3. Wow, what a memory you have. How strange, life takes us places and Fate throws things at us and we have no idea where that will lead us. Wonderful memories.

    1. larrymuffin:
      My memory is strange. I can tell you what I wore on a given day 20 years ago or a conversation I had with a complete stranger on a plane in the 70s. But ask me where I left my phone and I’m at a loss.

  4. I like what I can see of that apartment in that last picture. Looks kind of bohemian.

    You mentioned U.S. News and World Report. Are you, or did you used to be, a journalist?

    1. Kirk:
      That WAS a very cool apartment in the Back Bay. One enormous room with exposed brick walls, and a loft. I was in publishing design and production automation at US News.

  5. Thank you so much for your blog, Mitchell. I am new to it, but am grateful to have found it before my intended journey to the south of Spain this summer. I was particularly touched by this post, having lived in NYC during the 80’s and 90’s. Glorious, but traumatic decades. Tambien,
    Muchas, muchas gracias
    Neil

    1. neil:
      Thanks so much for finding me. I hope you find some useful information here. Let me know if I can be of any help with info from the bit I know.

  6. Ah, the 70’s and 80’s. Bloody hell, it is lucky that most of us have plenty of “I don’t remember” moments as I doubt we’d be happy to have those memories back.

    1. Cheapchick:
      You’re so right. And I remember enough I wish I could forget. I DO know that that night in Boston was the last of my extreme partying. I reached my limit!

    1. anne marie:
      I sometimes forget how interesting life has been and how many adventures there have been. But I never forget that SG is the icing on the cake… especially since he even BAKES the cake!

  7. There’s a lesson there for everyone … don’t spend too much time second-guessing yourself and your decisions. Everything truly does happen for a reason. One little step or change and wonderful happens…in the form of good friends and SG!

    The only sad part, for me, is not seeing Brian that last time. But you have the memories … for the most part! =)

    1. Bob:
      We did get to see Brian three times at his parents’ before he died and we moved west. The first time he was even able to go out to lunch with us. So grateful for those visits. So many lifetimes ago.

  8. Wow, great images. We are where we are based on the turns our lives have taken. The summer of 1980 good for you.

    1. David:
      That move to Boston was pivotal in my life. Difficult times, wonderful times, and no second guessing.

  9. Amazing how our choices, however random or insignificant they seem at the time, chain together to make our lives. Lives that, in retrospect, we couldn’t imagine unfolding any other way. And it’s great to have photos to remember them by (we’re probably the last generation to appreciate the rare photos of our pasts… these kids today recording everything in their lives with their camera phones!).

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I wonder if there’ll be the same sense of discovery when looking at old digital photos in another 30 years.

    1. Debra:
      It’s interesting: I’m not a meant-to-be kind of person. But I do believe simply that what happens happens and there’s no wishing it different because everything would be different. (“I chose and my world was shaken. So what? The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not.”) Have you ever read the story “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs?

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