Monday, January 30, 2012

January 30th, 2012 - He Passed!; R.I.P. Bradley Thomsen

I love Monday nights. Just knowing that the first day of a long work week is behind me gives me a sense of peace, especially when it was a good day. Well, today was a good day for me personally and I find myself in a much better mood than I was just a day ago. Big smiles!

He Passed!

Just yesterday I told you about a student who I’ve been tutoring for the past three months to prepare for his state examination in Global History. I mentioned how horribly difficult the test was in my Education Smeducation rant, and I still think it’s not fair, but in the incredibly wacky world of education, making up for hard tests with lots of grading leeway and lower passing scores, I’m happy to report that he passed the test! After way too many tries at passing the darned thing, he now has all of the requirements he needs to earn his diploma. Congratulations big time buddy!

R.I.P. Bradley Thomsen

I am sad to report tonight that the husband of one of my oldest friends, Marcia, passed away unexpectedly last night. I heard the news early this morning from Marcia’s daughter and I am as shocked as anyone within that circle to learn of Brad’s death.

Marcia and I go back a long ways, from my days working as a stock boy at Stern’s department store. I was in my late teens/early twenties when I worked there and I met Marcia during a difficult time when many of my formerly friendly coworkers found out I was gay and suddenly ostracized me from the group. Marcia was new at the store and had been hearing much of the chatter going on about me and one day she reached out to me with an ear and an offer of friendship.

For the next almost 30 years, she and I have been through a lot together, both good times and bad, and even though she now lives in Florida we still manage to stay in each other’s lives somehow. Her two children, Layne and Jordan, who I met when they were small, are like my niece and nephew and I’m grateful to have them in my life, as well.

A little more than eight years ago, Marcia told me she had met Brad. He was from Long Island and he was going to be coming down to Florida to live with her. Of course, I was hesitant and doubtful about what seemed like too sudden a decision, but I have never been one to ply my own opinions onto others, and so I was just happy for my friend.

Marcia and Brad were married in November of 2003 and I was on hand to witness the event. Over the years I came to know Brad pretty well and what I can say most about him was that he was quite a character! Always jovial and always outspoken, Bradley was always a presence whenever he was around. Through and through, he and I got along pretty well, and I can say with all honesty that he was a likable guy.

I remember during one of my many visits to see them in Florida, Marcia insisted that he and I spend some time together so that we could get to know one another. It was the first and only time in my life I ever took an airboat ride in the Everglades, something we had both always wanted to do. It was quite an experience!

What I am grateful for the most about Brad was that he was around to take care of my friend Marcia. For the longest time, she had been completely on her own and doing her best to survive. In him, she found a soul mate, someone with whom she could spend her days with and be happy and worry with, and I can say with certainty that that’s exactly what he was for her. Thank you Brad! Rest in Peace!

Brad and Marcia

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