Ricky Loved Madonna

Gentle readers, today is Madonna’s 58th birthday. Below is a short story that first appeared on JMG on this day in 2006, a date which, as you’ll see, plays a role in the story.

Ricky Loved Madonna

Twenty years ago today, August 16th 1986, I was a few months into a new job with AMC Theatres, a position that I would hold for seven years after having spent a few years after college drifting around bartending and DJing. After burning through three DJ gigs in about a year, I took the management job with AMC almost in desperation, happy to finally have a regular paycheck. I bought my first brand new car. I had several dozen underlings. I had a business card. I felt like a grown-up, almost.

Twenty years ago today, it was a Saturday. As the assistant manager, I had to be at the theater at 10am even though I had closed the midnight shows the night before, not getting home until almost 4am. I stumbled through the still-unfamiliar opening procedures. My mind was on Ricky. I took the cash drawers out to the concession stand and the box office and turned on the air conditioners and lights in all the auditoriums. The first movie, a Disney cartoon, started at 11:30am and we had hundreds of people in front of the box office before I even rolled up the mall gates.

Twenty years ago today, the night before was a Friday. It was the opening night of the remake of The Fly starring Jeff Goldblum. My six-plex was jamming. The Fly sold out at every show, driving the overflow audiences into Top Gun and Aliens, which were still doing decent business on their own. All six auditoriums sold out by 8pm and I rushed to get that show’s money counted before the first of the auditoriums began to let out and we had to start the process all over again. I pushed into the counting room inside the manager’s office and dumped several thousand in $20s onto the countertop.

The intercom buzzed.

“Mr. J., there’s a man here to see you.”

In the lobby was my friend Todd. “Joe, I’m on my way to see Ricky. Can you come? He’s worse.”

I looked out into the mall where hundreds of teenagers milled around in front of closed storefronts. The Interstate Mall was on its last legs. All that was left within view was the theater, a pinball arcade, an adult novelty shop, and the driver’s license bureau, which was closed at that hour. The teens roamed the broad unswept avenue of the mall in swirling, shrieking packs, anxious for the late show to begin.

I shook my head. “Todd, I’m the only one here. I have the late show and then the midnights. The last movie doesn’t let out until almost 3am. I have to lock up.” Todd nodded and made a move like he was going to hug me, then realized that a dozen of my employees were watching. Awkwardly, he stuck out his hand as if that’s what he’d intended all along. I shook it and he left. I had never shaken Todd’s hand before.

Twenty years ago today, one week earlier, Ricky went into the hospital. He’d had a seizure on the bathroom floor of his sister’s condo. Todd and I went to the hospital the next day and found him lying unconscious in his bed, unattended, in a pool of feces. Todd staggered into the hallway and tried to control his retching while I looked for a nurse. At the nurses’ station, the stout Jamaican woman behind the counter nodded curtly but didn’t get out of her chair when I asked that Ricky receive some attention. I went back to find Todd sitting out in the lounge.

“Joe, I can’t be here. I’m freaking out. Do you know we walked right in there without a mask on?”

“I think the mask is more for him than us….so if…”

“I have to go.”

At Todd’s insistence we stopped at the Burger King a few blocks away and washed our hands. Even though we hadn’t touched Ricky or anything but the door of his hospital room, we scrubbed the front and backs of our hands like we’d seen surgeons do on television.

Twenty years ago today, two weeks earlier, Todd and I dropped in at Ricky’s sister’s condo. Ricky had been forced to move in with her. He’d lost his job at the giant hotel near Disney where he’d been training to be a pastry chef. For a long time he’d managed to keep his illness a secret, wearing long shirts even in the hot kitchen so that nobody saw the purple lesions that were marching inexorably from his elbows to his wrists. A lesion appeared on the back of his hand and that one he covered with make-up, but when one appeared right on the tip of his nose, the head chef and head of human resources had called him in on his day off to fire him. Surely he understood, they told him, that they couldn’t have him handling food.

longboxWhen Ricky’s sister opened the door, she made a face. “He’s not feeling well.” She’d already made it clear to Todd on his previous visit that she did not like her brother’s “friends.” Todd said quickly, “Oh, well, we just wanted to drop off a present for him.” I had Madonna’s latest release, True Blue, on CD in a sparkly bag. We knew that he’d gotten the vinyl album earlier in the summer, but since he was such a big fan, we knew he’d like to have the CD version too.

His sister led us into the bedroom where we found Ricky shrouded in blankets and watching television. He was cranky and inattentive to us, but momentarily brightened when we gave him the CD. He examined the cover. “It’s the same as the album, just smaller.” He didn’t have a player, hardly anyone did yet, so he laid the longbox reverently on his nightstand, propped against the lamp. His sister hovered in the doorway, smoking, anxious for our departure, and we soon obliged her.

Twenty years ago today, three months earlier, I met Ricky for the first time at a party thrown by Todd. I’d heard from Todd that Ricky was “sick,” as we nervously called it back then, but he seemed fine to me. We stood outside on the patio and watched guys jumping into the pool.

Ricky said, “So what do you do, Joe?”

I said, “Well I just started working for AMC Theatres.”

Ricky screamed a little bit. “Which ONE?”

I stepped back. “Interstate Six, why?”

“Because I am in there ALL the time. I saw At Close Range about five times just to hear Madonna’s song in it!”

“She wasn’t in the movie, was she?”

“No, but I’m just a freak for her.” He paused, then added dramatically, “We have the same birthday!”

“Oh….really.” I began to look around for Todd.

Ricky began to get very animated and his words tumbled out. “Yes. Same day, same year. I was born exactly at midnight and my mother always said I could have August 15 or August 16 for my birthday – it was my choice – and for the longest time I had it on August 15 cuz that’s Julia Child’s birthday and she’s a chef and I wanted to be chef and so she was my idol when I was little. Such a fag, right? Anyway, when Madonna came out and I found out her birthday, I was all…that’s IT. I’m August 16 from now on!”

Ricky continued professing his undying love for Madonna until I was finally able to make a graceful escape. Later, Todd told me that Ricky had dressed as Madonna for the previous Halloween and belonged to her mail-order fan club and we laughed a little bit at his adorably nutty fandom.

Twenty years ago today, August 16th 1986, it was a Saturday. The theater had brisk business for the morning show, selling out the Disney movie. After all the houses were rolling, I pulled the money from the box office and sat alone in the office to count it. I turned on the radio so I could hear Casey Kasem counting down the Top 40.

Todd called. “Well, the hospital just told me Ricky died around midnight last night.”

“Oh, no. Did you get in to see him…before…..?”

“No, his sister and mother were there, so I just left without going in.”

“Right.” That’s how it often went back then.

Todd hung up and I sat there finishing up my money counting. I didn’t know how to feel. I really couldn’t call Ricky a friend. I had to count and recount the money several times. I kept losing my place. Then I heard Casey Kasem say, “Hitting number one today is Madonna with Papa Don’t Preach.

I called Todd back. “So, did they give you a time of death for Ricky?”

“Yeah, midnight.”

“Right, but is that today or yesterday?”

“What?”

“Well, today is his birthday and it’s Madonna’s birthday and I just heard that she’s number one today…and…..it would be, you know, sorta nice if it was today.”

“What the fuck is nice about dying on your BIRTHDAY?”

We never talked about it again. I never did find out what day was listed for Ricky’s death. As the years went on and Madonna’s fame increased, the press began to note her birthday. And ever since that started, I think of Ricky on August 16th. I never knew Ricky’s last name. He wasn’t a close friend. But he has stuck with me over these two decades.

Twenty years ago today, Ricky, aged 28, died on his birthday. I will always hope that it was his August 16th birthday. Ricky loved Madonna.

  • Kelly Lape

    Ten years of reading. Ten years of tears.

    • Mister Don

      They’re never over

      • stuckinthewoods

        that’s okay. I don’t want them to be over.

        • Terry Teeter

          Same here.

  • Boy Elvis

    Joe, your stories from the 80’s always make me feel pretty much all of the feels.

  • hdtex

    Happy Birthday Ricky. May you rest in peace with all of my friends, brothers, and lovers who went with you. You all will never be forgotten.

  • DJ Stuart

    I’ve waited all day for this to post and share. It breaks my heart every time I read it.

    • TuuxKabin

      It’s an anniversary date. Our subconscious remembers, if we don’t, then we’re reminded and it comes to the surface.

  • yeruncle

    Now I’m crying in my office. This just blindsided me. Almost a whole generation was lost to us. I was just too young to witness the worst effects but the memory of that time is as raw now as it was then.

  • JauntyJohn

    I am 54 years old.
    I am still here.
    I remember.
    When I go out dancing (far less than I used to, I admit) I dedicate one dance for all my Ricky’s.
    It’s important to remember them all, so many died in fear and with hostility and judgment all around them.
    We were all afraid back then.
    The world has changed — in some ways faster and farther than I could ever have imagined back then — but I remember.
    Thank you, Joe, for also still being here, and for also remembering.

    • Verasjones2

      <<fb. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!il673r:….,….

  • skyweaver

    Rest in peace, Ricky. Thanks, Joe.

  • WebSlinger

    Joe and countless other gay men…you lived to tell…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzAO9A9GjgI

    I have a tale to tell
    Sometimes it gets so hard to hide it well
    I was not ready for the fall
    Too blind to see the writing on the wall
    A man can tell a thousand lies
    I’ve learned my lesson well
    Hope I live to tell

    The secret I have learned, ’till then
    It will burn inside of me
    I know where beauty lives
    I’ve seen it once, I know the warm she gives
    The light that you could never see
    It shines inside, you can’t take that from me

    The truth is never far behind
    You kept it hidden well
    If I live to tell
    The secret I knew then
    Will I ever have the chance again
    If I ran away, I’d never have the strength
    To go very far
    How would they hear the beating of my heart
    Will it grow cold
    The secret that I hide, will I grow old
    How will they hear
    When will they learn
    How will they know

    • Boy Elvis

      By far her best song in my opinion.

      • that’s actually a tough call. i don’t like a lot of her stuff, esp a lot of the later stuff. but she keeps surprising me with excellent shit every once in a while. i guess my personal favs would be “holiday,” the really good dance remix of “music” and (don’t mock me) “papa don’t preach.” 😉

        • JCF

          “Like a Prayer” is my fave.

    • CanuckDon

      Very much agreed!

      The membership of my men’s group is building with a lot of men who are new to the city or coming out later in life. I thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie but,find myself having to re-tell the story of my city’s gay past (there’s very little left here in regards to places that are gay-oriented) because at times, I”m the lone one in the group who knows the history.

      So I’m beginning to document it and give the proper respect to bars that were once the playground to so many who lived and frolicked here but are gone too soon. I hate it sometimes…having this feeling that I’m the only connection of those around my age who died…and pissed off that I was never one for using a camera.

    • Adam Schmidt

      I always wonder if she knows about Ricky. If someone has sent this (or one of the previous year’s versions) to her so she can know about this fan of hers and how he lived and died.

      • WebSlinger

        Joe’s tribute is worthy of Madonna’s attention and the attention of MANY others

  • Gene

    I feel like I knew him now…its been so many years of reading this…
    its is good to be reminded. Good to remember. And, while I did not know him, I take a strange sense of comfort in the…is “community reading” the right way to say it? of this.

    we have come so far in so many ways…sometimes, most of the time, I forget that I came to manhood in a time of a plague that was killing so so many men (and women) like me. I put it out of my mind.
    It’s good to remember, and to be reminded

  • Blake Jordan

    O/T: But still 2.5 months to go, so let us hope that nothing shocking to enough left voters is revealed about Clinton before November 8th, that changes them to Stein (Johnson) / non- voters…

    • Treant

      With Egg McMuffin on the ballot now, I really want to see new data from Utah.

      • Bruno

        Me too. But I have a feeling it may end up being more a grand thud than a grand entrance.

        • Treant

          Ditto. The “Who’s that?” factor hasn’t decreased at all in the last week, and I’m simply not interested in learning anything about him anyway. He’s a non-player.

          • Bruno

            Though I certainly hope he has some effect on tRump’s % in Utah. It all depends on the Romney endorsement, if one is forthcoming.

    • JCF

      We can take NOTHING for granted, until the votes are counted. (And w/ Drumpf’s lawyers, I mean Electoral Votes are counted!)

  • PickyPecker

    Sleep softly sweet princes. I will always remember you in my heart.
    https://media.giphy.com/media/71PLYtZUiPRg4/giphy.gif

    • TuuxKabin

      Thanks again PickyPecker, for the sensitivity of your comments and links to be shared here. Time for a lie down and maybe a cry. I love JMG for bringing us all together in our daily thread. Stay sweet.

      • PickyPecker

        Sweet and cool dreams, Tuux. xo

    • GanymedeRenard

      Please stop, Picky! That “sleep softly, sweet princes” is making me cry even more. :`(

  • madknits

    Every time I read this, I cry.

  • Piercedchrlz

    Who the hell is chopping onions in my office?

    • MaryOGrady

      Ninjas. They are sneaky like that.

  • nokkonwud

    …..

  • As always Joe, Thank you for re-posting this. I too lived through this. Please continue to post this one each year. Your story is beautifully written. Let’s remember those who helped shape us.

  • coram nobis

    Condolences, Joe. Beautifully told, and a good remembrance.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    28. Twenty Eight !! 🙁

    • CanuckDon

      You know what I fucking hate? Is when I’m telling stories of the city’s past to those who are new in my area and say “he died in ’89” and then on with the story ’til another “he died in ’93”. There’s an acceptance there that we’ve had to adopt and now part of our being. It’s not until someone says you know a lot of guys who died that you feel this sense of embarrassment for talking so casually and then a momentary, inner thought of “yeah…I do”.

      • stuckinthewoods

        I understand what you mean. It’s part of me. Someone recently asked me why I don’t have a cell phone and without thinking I replied, “everyone I know is dead, they’d get “no bars,”.. not even knowing if that still means reception. When AIDS was new, my lover’s ex from NYC came to visit. I asked if he knew many who died and he said he’d stopped trying to count at seventy. I thought I never knew 70 people.. of any kind….but years later, away from the centers, partnered and knowing few people, I stopped counting at forty.

  • pj

    i worked with ricky. he was not a great actor but he was fun to be with and he loved men, as often as he could. when the show was over he couldnt get a job in the theatre so he started to work in a bar in new york and worked his way up to manager. one night he closed the bar and was walking to the bank to drop off the nights receipts when he was robbed and stabbed. he was taken to the hospital and was told he had that new gay disease which was much more serious than his stabbing. he died soon after that. the first person i heard of who got sick with the gay cancer. he was happy and handsome and didnt deserve to die. the first in a long long line of men who passed through my life and died to soon. i try to remember them, and talk about them when i can. i miss them all.

    • Kelly Lape

      JMG has a large reach. Thank you for sharing another aspect of Ricky’s (and all the other Ricky’s) impact on our community.

  • Silver_Witch

    Stupid allergies… Snot and tears everywhere. I lost so many friends, cried so many tears and knew there is no God for what god would allows such suffering such loss. To all my friends (wayne and micheal) and Ricky you are missed!

  • Adam Schmidt

    I think the defining quality of being a regular here is that you can burst into tears at the title of a post. That knowing what you’ll find inside is going to tear your heart out… and you go in anyway because it’s a sorrow that needs to be shared.

  • boatboy_srq

    One more reason SSM and PPACA matter: between those two nobody in the US should have to go through those horrible times again. Enough partners were locked out of ER and ICU and hospice, and enough were shouldered aside by unfriendly blood relatives who cared more about their own embarrassment than about the patients on the gurneys. And enough have been striped of every penny treating a disease that Washington ignored for over a decade. Enough.

    Thanks, Joe. For being there, and for reminding us.

  • Larry Gist

    In the summer of 1986, I had just graduated from High School and I was still finding myself. I was trying my best to be a good boy and stay away from boys and booze. I had applied, and been accepted to Bob Jones University in a vain attempt to make myself straight. I was so scared of the disease and I had seen several friend succumb.

    Twenty-five years later, I finally found out that I was among the number, but luckily it happened in the Truvada era, and I am OK. But I still think of all those who weren’t so lucky.

    • Adam Schmidt

      I tested positive 5 and a half years ago. It always kills me to read these posts, knowing I’ve got the same disease they did but I’ll live and they didn’t. That a pill a day is all the difference.

      • Larry Gist

        I know exactly how you feel.

      • stuckinthewoods

        please, please don’t feel bad or guilty knowing your prognosis is bright. I closed the eyes of too many not to rejoice in the fact that you can be well.

        • Adam Schmidt

          I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t know if you can be positive these days without knowing deep down just how lucky you are compared to so many others.

          • stuckinthewoods

            I just know that the men I loved and miss would be happy for you. That “knowing deep down” is enough in return.

    • Joseph Miceli

      I joined the Army in 1985 and went back into the closet for 4 years. It kept me alive. I was so afraid of being discovered that I went without sex for years at a time…between the ages of 20 and 24!!!! The other thing that kept me from sex was that, when I went home from leave after basic training, everyone seemed to have caught the disease or been rumored to have it. When I came home from Germany two years later to visit family, all of my friends were dead.
      Just….gone.
      I didn’t know anyone anymore. Everyone was just erased as if they’d never been, except for a few trolls who never got laid and who took miserable joy in telling me about the plague’s progress among the young and the beautiful.
      I never really recovered from that time. Intimacy and trust are not things I take to easily and my sex life is… not good.
      But I’m here. I guess I have to be thankful that I made it. So many didn’t and to be ungrateful for a life that they were not allowed to live seems churlish.
      Sleep well, beautiful boys. I wonder what you and I would have become if we’d had the chance.

  • TheManicMechanic

    These stories are what drew me to JMG early on, and ones I will often go back and read even if they aren’t featured like this. True JoeMyGoodness.

    • ralphb

      Same here. I loved the stories Joe wrote early on and miss them quite a bit. Some were very personal, and some were just observations on the world around him. Always wished they’d gotten compiled into a book.

      • MaryOGrady

        There is still time for Joe to publish a book of them. I hope he does.

  • RJ Tremor

    If I’m not mistaken, this would be the 30 year anniversary today. Been posting this for 10 years. Heh. Hearing True Blue while at work made me think of this recently. Didn’t feel like the last posting was so long ago for some reason. Time, stop flying, and life, stop being so sad.

  • MaryOGrady

    I remember those days.

  • Do Something Nice

    I love reading this each year. It always puts me in touch with those dark years that erased most of my history. Only a few people who I can call friends/lovers from the era survived.

    I remember before HIV had been identified. I refused to share food or drinks with anyone for fear that I may have the gay plague and I didn’t want to contaminate anyone. After HIV was identified as the cause, because I ‘got around’ so much, everyone including me assumed that I was positive, so much so, that my friends were ‘dibbing’ which of my belongings they wanted after I died. I put post-it notes with their names on the backs of most of the aritwork so there would be no question after I died

    I think it was after the 6th time I got tested that the ‘counselor’ who was tasked to provide HIV test results shook my by the shoulders and said ‘accept it – you tested negative again.’

    I’m probably more fucked-up by this than I realize.

    But life is good. Don’t forget to celebrate that for those who didn’t make it.

    • EqualityForAll

      I was too scared to even get tested for years and years, and I often wondered why I never had symptoms – nor did I get sick. I was no angel either – I was very active throughout the ’70’s, ’80’s, and 90’s. After finally getting tested a couple of years ago (with a negative result,) I sent a DNA sample to a lab in Canada where it was determined that I carry one copy of the Delta 32 mutation. Apparently it means that my chances of contracting HIV are very low. This could explain why you (and others) lived through it all without contracting HIV.

    • Joseph Miceli

      How many of us suffered survivors guilt? How many suffered from PTSD from the constant stress of friends dying, anticipating personal decline or from caring for the dying?

  • EqualityForAll

    Summer of ’86. I can’t remember if that was the summer when the first of my two cousins died from it. Or, was that when my first lover died from it? (We called them “lovers” back then.) Or, maybe it was when my good friend Craig found out he had it and then committed suicide by getting himself drunk and driving head-on into a highway bridge abutment.

    So many were lost, too soon and too young. I lost count. And I still have a hard time saying “its” name.

  • i remember the 80s all too well. i am so fortunate that the crew i used to run with lucked out and none of us got it. b/c in this period, we were all so young and stupid and i’m not even going to lie and say that several years of increasing information about things like protection had gotten thru to us. some of us caught the clap, some of us had some scary tearing and the inevitable morning-after freak out, but in the end we all live. Madge did some good work for our community over the years and i thank her for it.

    RIP Ricky and to all of our Family no longer with us. and FUCK YOU REAGUN MAY YOU BURN IN HELL.

    • Joseph Miceli

      Heard that, “fuck you Reagun may you burn in Hell” and seconded!

  • mikeinrkfd

    How I remember those sad days, wondering if there was ever going an end to the fear. Because of the effects this disease has had on my generation and the poor response to it, I worked in Public Health for over 15 years trying to help folks thrive.

  • CPT_Doom

    I’ve always felt guilty that, because I didn’t come out until much later (I was 33), I don’t have the list of the lost so many of the men my age have. But as I’m reading these comments, I’m thinking about the one person I do know who died of the plague, my high school classmate Jeff, who would have contracted the virus around this same time. We weren’t good friends – he was one of the very few obviously gay kids in my class and I avoided him not only because I had finally escaped the bullies of junior high when I went to a Catholic high school and didn’t have the guts to deal with that again, but also because being found out as gay meant instant expulsion. I don’t know exactly when or how Jeff died, but I do know that by our 5th reunion in 1990 he was already gone, so he had to be younger than 23. I know he had good friends around him when he passed, although I don’t know how his family treated him, but I find it so sad that the only time he could be open about who he was in front of our class was when his best friend announced his death at that reunion.

  • LovesIrony

    They can have ted nugent, we have Madonna.

  • GanymedeRenard

    You know, Joe, the first time I read this post was last year, and it deeply touched me. Not only did I become aware of your evident poetic abilities, but it also brought me to tears… So many wonderful lives lost… :'(

    What you so beautifully describe were those sad and horrible years that I didn’t get to live, which I couldn’t possibly imagine – having been born in a careless, selfish generation.

    For this, I cannot thank you enough. You remind us how far we’ve come in this ongoing fight, while making us aware of those horrendous times where we come from. No, let me correct that: Those horrendous years that YOU heroes had to endure so that we, the younger generations, could enjoy the wellbeing and liberties we take for granted. So, chapeau, sir.

  • TuuxKabin

    Still heartbreaking. Thank you Joe. We’ll always remember Ricky. August 16 will always be a date to recall. RIP dear Ricky, and all others. XO

  • David in Tucson

    Don’t stop posting this, Joe. I need to remember that time that seems so long ago now.

  • Ginger Snap

    I remember all my Ricky’s just as fondly Joe and I’m glad you created the JMG community so we can all remember together. Peace, love and I know Ricky’s stardust is having the journey of a lifetime.

  • CatCope

    TISSUES please!! Thank you, Joe!
    Whatever happened to Todd????

  • ericpayne

    It’s my birthday. I’m 57. I lived through all those early years in the Ground Zero areas of infection, first in New York, then in LA and, finally, the Bay Area (where I spent the next 17 years). I watched it all, chronicled it all in a Bay Area gay weekly, and waited for that inevitable day I would test positive…

    And I never did. Through some whim of fate, I dodged every bullet — including being the lover of two men who were positive (both of whom were named James, both of whom are now dead).

    But I always hated Madonna. James loved Madonna. Jim was more into football than music. James, shortly after we broke up, buffed up, tatted up and became a model/porn star (his specialty was foot fetish films). Jim, shortly after we broke up, lost his job with CalTRANS, and chose to live in a camper in the mountains outside Santa Cruz. Recently, looking for him on Google, I came across his obituary, which stated he had died in a Catholic charity hospice outside Sacramento.

    • Adam Schmidt

      Shit. I thought I had finished crying over this thread. So instead I’ll focus on the positive (no pun intended)… Happy Birthday Eric! That’s something I think everyone, here and gone before us, would agree on.

    • Joseph Miceli

      Happy Birthday.
      We made it, when many didn’t. Who knows why? I certainly can’t say. All we can do is make the most of the time we have been given. To do less is a slap in the face of all those whose time was cut short.

      • What bothers me is that I could completely fabricate my life story of the 70’s and there is nobody left to call me out for bullshitting. Not one of my group of friends from that decade survived and only two from the 80’s. I have no shared history with logical family. Dreams from back in the day of sitting on the retirement home porch together rocking and reminiscing are dead and buried…

        • Joseph Miceli

          I know. I have some acquaintances that survived, but no real friends that I sat at the bar and giggled with and got silly with and danced with till 3:00 in the morning…. they are all gone, vanished by the time I got back from Germany and the Army. Poof! Just … not there, and no one wanted to talk about them.
          We survived. We have to remember them because no one else will.

  • Michael

    I remember in San Francisco, of all places, some of the bus drivers did not want to touch the transfer tickets that people would hand them when the bus came through the main gay neighborhood (the Castro). They acted as if you were handing them something filthy.

  • AJ Drew

    I’m very late to reply here, but Joe Jervis writes well about personal “stuff” in a way that circles and then hones in, and I wish he would write and share more like this.

    This recounting about Ricky makes me think of “Post Mortem Bar,” the song at the end of 1989’s “Longtime Companion.”

  • fuzzybits
  • Nickolaus Brown

    I read this every year, secretly hoping there will be a different end. Every year I end crying because it is the same and it brings up how I felt when that album came out. I was 17 and that album altered my perception of what is was like to be young and catholic in this country. It was such a dark time to be young and gay. When I had my entire life in front of me, so many like me were dying. While I cry as I am writing this, I know it is so, incredibly important to remember.

  • donsf2003

    This story kinda sneaks up on you and hits you in the gut. And the jaw, and the face and the chest. And when you are on the ground, kicks you. I was not expecting that.

  • Onyx

    As always, I remember this from the first post. Hard to believe it has been 10 years. I have always loved your stories, and I will never forget Ricky.

  • Well,since this article is about Madonna,I made a tribute video to her career

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYIxKx_bOVY

    Hope you like it 🙂