Tuesday, January 24, 2006

One Moment In Time

So, I've just begun to dig in this shoebox of memories and I came across a great picture of the past... yes dear reader, you are finally going to see what I looked like 23 years ago, at the ripe old age of 21!

This picture was taken at the Renegade Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware during the summer of 1984 (just a month after I purchased the diary I posted about last). Obviously, you can figure out which is me ... barely.

[I'm in the middle.]

Basically, your typical 21 year old, addicted to whatever 'upper' was available at the time. The little dude on the one side is Chino. The one in the white t-shirt is Joe. Reflected in the mirror is George. First, Chino.

I met Chino outside Equus sometime during the winter of of 1983. We started dating and, once we realized that wasn't going to work out, we became good friends. He became a go-go dancer at Key West bar when that place opened and then went on to join his brother as an employee at The Foodery, at the corner of 10/Pine. Years went by, he found "Jesus" and then moved into a small apartment off Passyunk Avenue, decorated with his huge collection of all things Donna Summer.

Internal Struggle was an understatement when talking about Chino. He finally left Philadelphia to live with a friend (some say boyfriend) and helped run a local deli ... until he blew his brains out one day. Roll credits.

Joe was one half of the couple I first met in 1981. His lover was Mike Labance, the ad manager for the PGN and the publisher for Au Courant - - i.e. my boss. I loved Mike almost as much as I hated him. It was probably the strangest relationship I ever had with another human being in my life and I fear that I learned the fine art of control from his erratic behavior, which was brought on by an 8-joint a day pot addiction that he had. Joe was a good kid - a bit slow, but he meant well. Totally manipulated by Mike.

George was an investor in Au Courant - a sweet older man who had finally come to terms with the reality that he was a gay man - sadly it was when he was 55. So, he found support and friendship with the crew at Au Courant, while helping us keep the new project afloat. Again, he was someone Mike totally manipulated, although I think George was aware - but just lonely.

Sadly, George died of complications from an operation a few years later. As for Joe, I'm not sure officially where he is today - I know that Mike died from AIDS in the early 90s (a year after our editor Frank died, also from AIDS). About 5 years ago I heard that Joe passed away - but never was able to confirm it.

All just memories at this point. The most awkward element about my life is that there are so few friends still alive to commiserate and reminisce with me about our memories and our past. So, perhaps that is a strong drive for this blog project. Not only to 'remember before I forget', but to just share my past with someone, anyone. Just so I don't have to experience alone.

Regardless of the reasoning, writing has become quite soothing for me - and I appreciate the fact that there are eyes out there reading this. It makes me feel a bit more whole.

So thanks. :)


Kenny said...

I think your friend Chino helped me change a tire on my car once. Came out of the club and had a flat. It's a shame about him, he seemed like a nice guy.

Liz said...

Wow. Thats an amazing post Robert. The Universe has a plan for all of our lives. I'm glad you are here and in my* life today. I just found some 80's pics of me too! hehe It's fun to look back back butI'm glad I'm not there anymore.


Anonymous said...

I remember working with Chino once at the Foodery, for about a day. He was big into coke and was constantly on the phone. His drug/dealer boyfreind came by and they would disappear in the back of the Foodery to snort and fuck. I was envisioning my future at the Foodery, covering for him while he drugged it up and doing all the work while he lived on the phone. Deciding I could abuse myself in better ways for a wage, I quit that day.

Valorie Zimmerman said...

Robert, if you really want to find out if Joe died, I can sure help you with that. Or you can just try http://ssdi.rootsweb.com . If you don't find him, try me.