Years passed and I married and had a family. I ended up in Garden City, Kansas. When that marriage went south, I returned to Hutchinson. There I met the second man in my life who would offer me comfort in a storm and ask nothing in return. His name was Gib. We never really dated so much as sort of hung out together. He was a friend of my mom's. He was also a cook and I was a waitress until I became a cook also. He helped shop for Christmas Santa Claus gifts and helped put the things together on Christmas Eve. He was engaged to a girl named Cheri, but though they lived together, they never married. I never understood their relationship. He and I were friends, but he and Cheri had something, and yet nothing.
The one thing both these guys and I had in common was that the relationships were purely platonic. I never expected more and they never asked for more. I can search the world over and never find 2 men that made such an impact on my life! Ah, but hindsight is always clearer then foresight, isn't it?
Years passed and the AIDS epidemic reared it's ugly head. Gib moved to California. He died there. I was in Pueblo by then. Mother called and said Gib wanted to get together over Thanksgiving that year, but she was afraid. I told her I could and would love to come and see Gib. I was not afraid. I just wanted to see my old friend. Plans were made, but he did not make it. I know there was no funeral and he is in an unmarked grave. I still miss him. The very first panel on my AIDS Memorial Quilt is for Gilbert Fields.
I learned later that Corky had also passed. He was also a statistic in the early stages of the epidemic. Jimmy came later. And Mark. And Mike. And a list that goes on and on and on. I have always had a rapport with the gay community, even before I knew there was a gay community! They have been my friends when I had no friends. They held me up when I could have sunk beneath the waves.
I have no idea why these two guys are on my mind today, but there they are. I just wanted to share with you, my readers, a small glimpse into my past so you can maybe understand why I am who I am today and why I do the things I do. I guess I am trying to give back to the community that cared for me when I did not care for myself.