San Francisco AIDS survivors: Who are they now?

My dear husband Jeff Joel once remarked, “It’s so much better getting older, because there’s just so much more to think about.” And he was only 55! That was about a month before he died. So you can imagine what it’s like for me, now, at 73, in terms of how much there is to think about! Here’s a case in point:

Back in 1984, I was working as a fledgling professional astrologer in Jackson Wyoming who had just been invited by one of my long-distance clients to visit the Bay Area. My visit was successful; in fact, many clients there told me they knew no one like me as an astrologer. (Well, yes, we astrologers are all different, alchemically blending unique perspectives distilled from our own varied life experiences with the very potent symbol system offered in astrology.) The next year, I went back, invited by another client, Claudia, a woman who told me after I had “read” her chart, that this was the first time anyone had ever “seen” her. She became — and remains — a dear, close friend.

Claudia lived in the Castro. I would become astrologer there, returning year after year for weeks at a time, to serve a community infected with the then-raging plague of AIDS.

So — fast forward 30 years — when I awakened last night — at 2:22 A.M. precisely, — I found myself inexorably drawn in to this long article in the San Francisco Chronicle. A beautifully rendered, heart-felt account of what has happened since that time to survivors of the plague. Reading through the various stories, I experienced cascading feelings, as memories of my own profound encounters with terrified men in what had been, until the mid-1980s, a truly gay community, swirled through.

Last Men Standing




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