I think it's important to remember friends who have died from
complications of HIV infection. Grief makes us want to forget,
because the memories hurt. These friends were all good people who
all died young, most early in the epidemic, and who all had
something unique and valuable to offer the world. I'm grateful to
them all for the many things they added to my life before It Came
I've been thinking about this memorial a long time. As I get down
to doing it, it seems too little, not serious enough, not intimate
enough, and maybe somehow unfair, like death itself. But finally I
decided to turn off the internal censors and record my thoughts,
however they come out.
Rest in peace, every one of you.
||I was very taken with him. But at the
time of our affair, we were both too needy, not really
able to meet each others' needs, so things were always
problematic for us. My first trip to Europe was with Paul
and it was he who introduced me to downhill skiing,
something he was fabulously good at. After he moved to
San Francisco his boyfriend there died, and finally Paul
also fell ill. In the end he was unable to go on living,
preferring to end things rather than wait.
||The ultimate bartender, Larry was one
of those outgoing, gregarious people that everybody
liked immensely. His secret, such as it was, was that
he liked everyone, I mean outwardly and actively
liked them. He was also ever ready to get involved in
wild sexual escapades with the denizens of Rod's, the
bar where he worked. In those days, a group of people
would charter a bus for the weekend and troop down to
Chicago for a nonstop party, with much booze and
drugs, plus carousing in back rooms. No one knew what
was lurking, of course. Larry was one of Madison's
||A bon vivant without equal, Richie had
degrees in horticulture and landscape architecture, loved
the land, and dreamed of having a large plant nursery. He
could make anything grow, and not just grow, but thrive.
To support himself he drove a Madison city bus,
coincidentally the line I live on. He was extremely campy
and loved showing off in public. If he spied you while
the bus was rolling down the main campus-area shopping
street, he'd jam on the brakes, throw open the window
next to the driver's seat and screech, "Yoo hoo, GIRL!
How ya doin', honey?!" This would happen whether the bus
was empty or full. Outwardly very loud and brassy, he was
at heart a small-town guy. He had the land, and he had
the gift for nurture. Fate steamrolled his dream.
||I met Rob through Usenet. We somehow
clicked as friends and traded countless emails, sometimes
two or three long exchanges every day, for all the time we
knew each other, which was from 1986 to his death in 1992.
He was one of my best friends ever. He was a very complex
person. He worked for PacBell in San Ramon, and lived in
Concord, about 30 miles east of San Francisco. Although he
was from Long Island and had gone to college at Cornell,
one reason he lived in Contra Costa county was because
there he could afford a horse property. To see him
together with his mare Oriana was to understand his love
of the west. When he discovered that he was HIV-positive,
he was terribly scared. In the early 90s people did not
usually die as a result of pneumocystis. But he did.
||Bisexual and into every "alternative
whatever" that survived the Hippie period, Mike formed a
men's group that I attended for a while. He was a
particularly kind soul. His work was recondite: the
biochemistry and molecular biology of vision. But for all
that he hung onto a then somewhat faded era of free love,
he was actually a very upright, straightforward person,
genuine in his people interests, which were many.
||Tall, quiet, and good-looking, David was an
extraordinarily gifted violinist who got a great fellowship
to study in Germany. Off he went. I never saw him again.
All his hopes and dreams were cut short less than a year
||He was a farmer, basically, from a good solid Dutch family in east-central
Wisconsin. We met one Sunday afternoon at beer bash. We had a little
dalliance together, not at all serious, then he shortly took up with
another friend who stuck by him to the end. The remarkable thing about
him, I think, was that he didn't seem at all remarkable. But he was good.
| Duncan Earley
||In the early 70s, Madison was one of the most
progressive cities in the whole US, politically and
socially. Duncan was active in our Gay Liberation Front
group, which arranged a national convention here over
Thanksgiving of 1971. Sincere and ever so sweet, he had a
great shock of long blond hair and was very good-looking.
He'd been gone from Madison a long time when he got sick.
||Whatever Howard loved he loved with unlimited
passion; his was the principle of the excluded middle when
it came to affect, be it friends, taste, historical or
political opinion, or just about anything else, above all
food and wine. While he was probably the most mercurial
person I've ever known, he was a surprisingly steadfast
friend. I think we loved each other, in some nontrivial
fashion, even before we met face-to-face. The story of
the friendship is elsewhere, but his death in June of
1995 is one of those griefs that doesn't fade with the
passage of time.
||Ice-green eyes, the palest white skin, jet-black
long hair, and not your everyday kind of beauty, Cliff was
also incredibly bright, very left in his politics, and a
little hard to decipher sometimes. He was a sort of spectre:
one moment you'd see him, the next moment he'd have vanished.
He'd been gone from Madison a long time when word came that
||He was the very definition of a hunk: gorgeous,
built for days, oh so smooth (the most wonderful skin I've
ever seen), so energetic, and so stubborn! Very outgoing and
ebullient, Lash would invariably give me a giant hug and a
big wet kiss, no matter where we were, whenever we saw each
other, and that might include standing naked in the showers
at the University gym. After his first bout of pneumonia, he
got very active in informing the public about AIDS, appearing
on local television shows and speaking in the high schools. He
did a lot for AIDS awareness in our community. Selfishly, I
wish I could hold him again, to experience the wonderful
electricity about his physical person.
||A Ho-Chunk (what used to be called the Winnebago
tribe), John went to Austin and died, one of the very first
people I knew to go. We had spent long hours over beers,
talking about Native stuff. He was keen on recovering as
much of his vanished heritage as he could.
||A fine lawyer, Grid was incredibly kind, and
sincere almost to a fault. For him, it was a long,
lingering and basically awful process of running out the
hourglass. Early in the epidemic, there wasn't much
anyone could do.
||A fabulous player of the Baroque flute, David
was an international star on the early music circuit. We
played together in Indianapolis in 1977, where we both
attended a month-long institute on Baroque music
performance and took part in the associated festival.
||A member of the American Players Repertory
Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin, Steven was a
distinguished Shakespearean actor, garnering rave reviews
at every performance. As so often happens, I didn't even
know he was sick until one day I was at the hospital for
some very minor purpose, and there he was, out for a walk
with his IV trolley at his side. Friendly as always but
terribly gaunt, he was clearly very ill, and it was to be
the last time I saw him.
||A businessman in Phoenix when he died, Steve
was from a Madison family. He always made me feel wanted
as a friend, in addition to our many sexual escapades. I
saw him last in the summer of 1982 when he was back for a
visit with his folks. We had always reveled in doing sex
together, and we did on this occasion too. Such wild
abandon. Less than a year later, he suddenly died.
Naturally, neither of us knew at the time that the sex we
had had would soon be called "unsafe."
||Reid worked in a record store with my boyfriend
Ron; in fact they had a fling that I didn't know about
until years after it happened. But he was shy and always
bore a somewhat bemused look, a wry smile, as though he
knew something he wasn't supposed to know about you. We
weren't terribly close buds, but I recall that he was
always soft-spoken and very gentle.
||German to the core, Ed spoke the language
perfectly. He was small and wiry, but he worked out and
had terrific arms. One day I went to the hospital just to
get lunch, for they have a fairly decent cafeteria. There
was Ed, not looking too well. Almost at once he confirmed
that it was AIDS. None of the medications seemed to be
helping his intestinal problems. He was so frightened by
what was happening to him. I didn't know what to do other
than hold his hand.
||We weren't especially close but we moved in the
same circles most of the time Chuck lived here. He spoke
perfect French. He was very quick-witted and had
a very clever acid tongue, with a great flair for
puncturing the balloon of self-inflated egos. After
leaving Madison he went to live in Long Beach, where his
closest friend had been named Chancellor of the University,
and it was there that he died.
||A computer scientist, sweet in the most nerdly
way, though "nerd" was not yet the word for computer types,
Bob kept his longhaired hippie look long after that era,
then suddenly he was no more.
||Harry fairly radiated sexiness. It was one of
those situations where you always talk about doing it but
somehow don't get around to actually doing it. Until...
After he finished his PhD in economics and finance, he
went off to teach at a small liberal arts college near
Boston. I visited him there for what turned out to be
something of an epiphany for both of us, a series of those
"a night to remember" nights to remember. He started a
mutual fund, putting his very sophisticated computer
models to work, then quit his teaching job and moved to
New York, where he made fabulous amounts of money. But he
died. As with everybody else, it shouldn't have happened.
||Kevin was Howard Faye's boyfriend. Howard and I
had been friends at a distance by virtue of email, so I
knew a lot about their relationship before I met Kevin,
which happened in a lovely house in the high desert east
of Los Angeles in the spring of 1992. What a thoroughly
likable person Kevin was, very mellow, very laid back.
Howard was so afraid Kevin would die first, and in fact
||On the net, Seth was abrasive and, I thought,
difficult to like. But when we actually met, at the
first-ever soc.motss "con" in San Francisco in 1988, he
was there with a wild-looking German boyfriend, and he
proved to be quite charming in person.
||When he lived here, Tim was terribly quiet,
somewhat in a daze all the time. I was terribly attracted
to him and eventually we got together. He moved to Seattle,
where he took up art direction for the theater and had a
fairly impressive career. I recall that he did a
Hamlet at a theater in Houston, pictures of which he
showed me on one of his trips back to Wisconsin to see his
family. I was on a solo camping trip in the Canadian
Rockies one time and got pretty sick with giardiasis. I
called Tim in Seattle and asked if he would be able to put
me up while I recovered, which of course he did. We spent
a week together then. Friends fade in and out of each
others' lives sometimes, and that's what happened here.
Then he was no more.
||A student of Marcel Marceau in Paris when last
I saw him, John had studied acting and dance here in
Madison. In Paris, he took my friend Paul and me to an
Algerian restaurant where we had great food and flagons
of some very heavy red wine. Both Paul and I got fairly
ill from overeating couscous. After his return to the
States, John, by nature skinny as a rail, had no reserves
at all when he got sick. He went very quickly.
||A mathematician, Doug loved dominating the
making of arrangements for the first motss.con in San
Francisco. At a birthday party thrown for me by my pal Rob
Bernardo a little earlier that same year, Doug tied a woven
cloth bracelet around my wrist, saying "Wear this, it will
help keep me alive." I still have the bracelet, since
replaced by several others now that Doug is gone.
||A poet of great power and originality, Terry
moved from Madison to New York, where he lived the fast,
exhausting life of the party and disco circuits until he
could live it no more.
||Danish and the good friend of my friend Odvar,
Orla lived across the street from me when I moved to my
present house, in 1964. But it was in
Denver, which he loved, that sickness and dying caught him,
years later, to our great loss. He was honest, a rare true
gentleman in matters of good manners, and uncommonly sexy.
||A late-night denizens of bars, a driven man in
so many ways, Neil was overwhelmed by living and could not
endure to go on living with the illness that had seized him.
His sister teaches drama and dance in Madison and has made
a living memorial to him on behalf of people with AIDS.
||A specialist in Indian studies (as in India,
not as in Native America), John was a Buddhist and the
boyfriend of a somewhat wacky psychiatrist here. They moved
to San Francisco after college and I lost track of them
until word came that John was gone.
||I met him in San Francisco in 1988. He was the
great buddy of my good friend Roger Klorese. He was wild,
completely full of life, one of those many whom one wishes
to have had a chance to know better.
||His memorial service was remarkable, I think,
for the loving kindness shown his boyfriend by all his
small-town Wisconsin relatives. He had been an extraordinary
beauty, but the disease had stolen the outward good looks,
as it sometimes so cruelly does. I saw him fairly often near
the end because he lived only a couple blocks from me and
the brief walks he could manage took him past my house. It
took a long time to happen, but inexorably the time came.
||Rodney was 39 when he died. I had known him since
he was 17. As soon as he was 21 he opened a gay bar in the
town, the first real gay bar Madison ever knew. He
had a flair for the business and before long had bought an
old historic hotel and fitted it out with a whole complex of
bars, gay, straight and mixed. Several years after his death,
that hotel burned to the ground. Rod's bar had long sponsored
the annual lesbian, gay, and bisexual picnic in Madison, an
event that draws people from all over the Midwest. Every year
picnic is launched by a large LGB Pride March. After Rod
died, the family created an AIDS hospice called the Rodney
Scheel House. It is a major asset to people living with AIDS
in our community.
||Schiros are a famous Madison Italian family:
cops, businessmen, that sort of thing. John was a
counselling psychologist. He had moved to Austin many years
ago, but we saw him about once a year until the last year.
He had a terrific sense of the bizarre in human affairs and
a great sense of humor.
||On my "Extraordinary Friends" page there is a
link to a little book about me written by a friend for my
40th birthday party. Lloyd was the "Phaedrus" mentioned
in that book. There will always be music.
||Here he was known as an eccentric young man
who danced alone, pogo-stick style, hour after hour, in
the bar and who played the alto recorder late at night in
the parking deck of the undergraduate library because he
liked the acoustic. He had studied in Amsterdam with Frans
Brueggen and was quite a good player. When he moved to San
Francisco, he took up photography, much influenced by Robert
Mapplethorpe, I think.
||Everybody from Madison goes to San Francisco,
just about. Lloyd had worked in information technology here,
eventually finished his degree and decamped to SF, where he
worked first for the Federal Reserve Bank. When the bad news
got back here, there was general lamenting, for
anyone who knew him liked him immensely for his general
friendliness, good humor and genuine interest in you.
||I don't know what to say. He was my roommate, we
were great friends when he was here working on his PhD in
French literature. When he was in Paris for a Fulbright year,
the letters were fabulous. I hope I can recollect some of the
details when it bothers me less, if it ever does, that he's
no longer living. Some fraction of one's friends go on to
become famous. George wrote regularly for Christopher
Street, and a lovely eulogy by Andrew Holleran appeared
there after George's death. He also edited the first four
volumes of the Men on Men series, an ongoing collection
of gay writing.
||A very unusual fellow wth every drug problem in
the book. He lived with a dancer I didn't much like, but Rocky
was friendly to a fault unless he was high on drugs, at which
time he became extremely manic and very loud. It was hard to
be around him then. Less loaded, he was soft-spoken and very
|John van Reizen
||A former member of the Statistics faculty at the
UW-Madison, John had moved to New York and was teaching at
Columbia when he got sick. I hadn't known a thing about it
until Time Magazine ran a feature called "The Faces of
AIDS" or something like that, showing that the disease was
taking all kinds of people. There was John's picture. He came
out late in life and was one of the few gay dads I knew well.
||A Madison dentist I used to run around with on
occasion, Jim had the most extraordinary eyes, of the palest
||One of the most wonderful love affairs of my life,
"Monies," as all his pals called him, was dark and rather
mysterious. Innerly he was a poet from a small Minnesota town,
Red Wing, on the Mississippi. After we broke up, he moved to
Boston, then to New York. We had long been out of contact when
suddenly I saw his face on the CBS Evening News, which was
reporting a conflict between his friends and family and the
hospital where he lay dying, because the doctors would not
allow life support to be withdrawn.
||Lighting and stage designer, a student of Gilbert
Hemsely at the UW-Madison, Steve was quiet, very retiring,
almost unbearably intense, and incredibly sincere.