Friday, December 2, 2016

National AIDS day

 I thought that I would share some of my memories.........

There's a building on the corner of 124th street and Rockaway Beach boulevard that I spent my childhood summers in. The building was built in 1920's and had these beautiful curved stairs that were straight out of a hollywood movie with a grand foyer to match. My aunt and uncle lived on the second floor of the building and I always thought rainy days were the best! I would run down the stairs to the the first floor and knock on the door that was directly next to a tiny elevator that hardly ever worked.  A pretty young woman would always answer the door with a toddler in diapers clung to her leg sucking on his pacifier. It was Frances I was looking for to come out and play in the foyer with me. His little brother John could only look at Frances as he ran past them and out the door. Frances and I were the same age, about six years old. Frances had blonde wavy hair like his mother, and John had the straightest brown hair you would ever see.  Frances didn't seem to care that I was girl, he would always come out and play with me.  We would spend hours together, making up games and laughing, he was my best friend every summer, until my aunt and uncle moved a few years later.  

We all grew up and I actually moved back into that building when I was 19 with my 2 year old son, as a single mom. I thought John and Frances had moved out, but their Mom was still living in the same apartment, next to the rickety old elevator that no one dared to use.  I lived back on the 2nd floor, but things were very different this time, the building wasn't so grande the way I remembered as a child.  I always knew that Frances and John were both hemophiliacs, but I didn't know that Frances had passed away the year before I moved in from AIDS related illness at the age of 18. When John turned 18 he also got sick and passed away from AIDS related illness. The saddest moment in my life was when I was walking home holding my little son's hand and John and Frances Mom walked up to me and said "both of my babies are gone, I have nothing left to live for".  The sadness in her eyes broke my heart, all I could do was stand there and hold my baby's hand bit tighter.

The year or so I lived in that building with my son,  a young coworker and friend, had left her two babies with the sitter and didn't come back- she had AIDs and didn't want them to see her die. My next door neighbor was in his late 20's and always flirted with me and say he wanted to marry me..... if he didn't have AIDs- his entire family had disowned him because of his illness and he was totally alone.....  I had another friend who got into a car accident that left him with a hip injury and during surgery he got infected. His girlfriend left him and told him no one would ever love him, she was wrong, he was loved, he was a beautiful person.  I won't forget my friends. They left way too soon....




  1. This is so poignant. These people live on through your memory of them, and your love.