Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1, 2011 - Remember Me

It’s Tuesday night and it’s already been a long week! Yesterday was the first day back from winter break and the students were all mentally still on break, making the one day seem like at least two. (Okay, maybe I was still on a mental break, too!) I was a busy boy last night catching up on some end of the month deadlines, and so I didn’t have any time to post here. So here’s the latest from my so called life:

Call Her “Miss Ross”

As I said, I had a few pieces to work on yesterday, one which was submitted as a feature article and the other that I published. Both pieces were on one of my favorite singers, Diana Ross. Diana was my first diva, coming to know her at the time in my life when I first started to become aware of myself as a gay person. I credit her with initiating my love of dancing and dance music in general, as well as that special fondness for female performers whom I’d come to love in the years that followed.

Diana Ross was the guest on Friday’s Oprah show and I probably should have written these two pieces in advance of the show instead of afterwards. When I took a look at Yahoo on Friday night, I saw that she was the top trending search that evening and I would’ve gotten a lot of page views as a result. Oh well, lesson learned! Anyway, I hope there’s still some leftover interest in the diva as people watch the reruns on their DVR’s. Maybe then I’ll get some decent hits from them after all.

The first article, which I published, is called Diana Ross: My First Diva, and it’s one of my favorite types of pieces to write. That is, it’s written as a personal memoir talking about my own personal experiences with the singer and how she’s been a part of the soundtrack of my life. I’ve got plenty of fond memories surrounding Ms. Ross and I shared some of them in the piece. People tend to enjoy these types of articles as well as I enjoy writing them, so please check it out!

The other piece is meant as a companion to the earlier one. It’s another one of my “top ten” lists, only since Diana’s catalog is so vast I had to make it a “top twenty.” It should be out soon and I’ll share the link when it’s out.

Remember Me

One of my favorite Diana Ross songs is one from way back in 1970. Of course I never knew it until much later, but I simply love the lyrics and being the sentimental sap that I am, I associate them with special people who’ve come and gone from my life at one time or another and whose memories I will forever cherish. Take a look at the lyrics as you listen to the song:

Remember Me -(Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson)

Bye baby, see you around
Didn’t I tell you I wouldn’t hold you down
Take good care of yourself, y’hear
Don’t let me hear about you shedding a tear
You’re gonna make it
You’re gonna make it

Remember me as a sunny day
That you once had, along the way
Didn’t I inspire you a little higher
Remember me as a funny clown
That made you laugh when you were down
Didn’t I boy, didn’t I boy

Remember me as a big balloon
At a carnival that ended too soon
Remember me as a breath of spring
Remember me as a good thing

Bye baby, see you around
I already know about the new love you’ve found
What can I do but wish you well
What we had was really swell
I won’t forget it, I have no regrets

Remember me as a sound of laughter
And my face the morning after
Didn’t the sky beckon us to fly?
Yes, you’ll remember the times we fought
But don’t forget me in your tender thoughts
Please darlin’ oh yeah

Remember me when you drink the wine
Of sweet success and I gave you my best
Remember me every song you sing
Remember me as a good thing

Remember me as a sunny day
Please darling, remember me as a good thing
Remember me when you drink the wine
Remember me as a good thing
Remember me as a big balloon
Don’t forget me darling

The very first person I ever applied this song to was my high school girlfriend Karen. After about two years of being boyfriend and girlfriend, I ended our relationship once I’d begun to realize my true identity at the age of 19. Karen was and still is a very special person to me. She brought me out of a timid high school shell that I’d been living in for several years and for that I will be forever grateful!

I remember you, Karen, as a sunny day that I once had along the way.

Joey D was a good friend of mine for many years. In all of my life I’ve never shared such a connection as the one I had with him. He and I worked together at Stern’s Department store for several years and he became a long time friend after we both stopped working there. For years and years we’ve shared many a laugh and plenty of good times together. Unfortunately, about ten years ago Joey suddenly disappeared from mine and everyone else’s life in pursuit of who knows what. I haven’t heard from him since December of 2000. Until the day I die I will forever remember this very special person.

I remember you, Joey, as a funny clown, that made me laugh when I was down.

Kevin was one of my first steady boyfriends, and one I’ll never forget. When I met him he was engaged to the lover of his best friend who was a lesbian. He agreed to marry this girl, who was from Sweden, so she could stay in the country to be with Lisa, the friend. What he got in return was the chance to fool his family once and for all with a big, gaudy wedding. It was a memorable experience, for there were two wedding ceremonies, one at the justice of the peace and one at a reception hall. On both occasions I was the one who spent the night with the groom.

Kevin magnified my love for Diana Ross. To this day I’ve never met anyone who was such a big fan of anyone’s. It was he who taught me the magic of the Supremes and many other unbeknownst to me Diana Ross songs. I still have a cassette tape he made me for Valentine’s Day full of his favorites.

About six months into our relationship, Kevin confessed that he had cheated on me and ended the relationship before I had a chance to. I was heartbroken, but Kevin told me that I was special and that he wanted to remain friends. You can imagine the thoughts that were running through my head at the time, but true to his word, he persisted in his word and we did eventually become great, great friends.

In the summer of 1990 I got a call from Kevin. He was finally pursuing his dream of living in Miami. He had a fondness for Latino guys and Miami was a hotbed for that. He’d bought a condo on Key Biscayne and quit his job. I was happy for him and excited that I’d have a place to visit, but unfortunately this would be the last time I’d ever speak to him.

In January of the following year, I got a call from Outi, the woman Kevin had married years earlier. She told me that Kevin had died of AIDS. He had gotten sick soon after moving to Florida and faded quickly. I was shocked and heartbroken, to say the least. To this day I still think of Kevin, and he’s one person who certainly left us way too soon. He was only 33 years old.

I remember you, Kevin, as a big balloon at a carnival that ended too soon.

Joe has been the one and only love of my life so far. Together, we spent 20 years full of all the kinds of memories that any couple might share. I remember about a week after I’d met him he came to visit me at my job to ask me a question.

“Do you like Madonna?” he asked.

Did I? Of course I did! It turned out that he bought two tickets to an upcoming concert in the hopes that I did indeed like Madonna (an understatement!). Next came one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me:

“Well, the concert’s in August and I want you to know that if things don’t work out you can still come.”

That would be the first of many fond memories I’d have of/with Joe: “Thinking of you” cards left on my windshield early in the morning; moving in together; trips to Aruba, Bermuda and Italy; buying our first house together; Broadway shows; parties, and countless other great things I will always cherish. Though he and I are still in one another’s lives, of course it’s different now.

I remember you, Joe, as a breath of spring. I remember you as a good thing!

These are but a few of the special people who’ve come along in my life only to go forth from it eventually. Though they are no longer with me, I will always remember them with great fondness and I’m grateful for the time I’ve spent with each and every one of them.

Summer’s coming!

Spring is definitely in the air now that February has come and gone and the weather begins to ease up from the wintery frost. Summer dreams are beginning to wander into my mind and I’ve begun to do what most others start to do in January: get ready for it by trying to get into shape. Though I am currently in the best shape of my life, I’ve never quite gotten over that hump of having a great build. After months and months of neglecting my workout routine, I’ve finally returned to it and I’m remembering why I always did it in the first place, determined to reach that goal.

Getting exercise works wonders for your psyche. I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard the past couple of days and it’s helped me get some of my self-esteem back. For the first time in my life, I’m hoping for a six-pack, and judging by the feelings in my abdomen, I’m on my way…

For once and for always, thank you so much for reading. See you next time…

1 comment:

  1. Wow John - what a great article I like the way you related your Diana journy with the people you were so close to and so greatful to have known. they all seemed to have made a great impact on your life - thus far. Being one of your close long time friends I have to say I'm glad we are still "together", and have plenty of fun memories and hope to continue to make more...........Vea