“And every woman at the high school reunion had EXACTLY the same thought: ‘Thank god I don’t look as old as the rest of them.'” (Thanks for this, Barbara!)
Today is my birthday… and not just ANY birthday. 65. We share this construct that this is the official day of retirement. I have always assumed birthday 65 is the swinging door to the Old West saloon where you leave your guns at the door and belly up to the bar and begin to embellish all your accomplishments. Anybody will listen, as long as you’re buyin…
Without fishing for contradictions, the truth is I really don’t have any accomplishments that come to mind. I just continue to muddle through, maybe like the rest of you. BUT…I have discovered later in life the profound beauty and ugliness of the written word, and it’s capacity to influence the world and connect us to one another: hence this website.
I will be headed shortly to Washington, DC, all because Fred Rivera had the courage to write Raw Man, which I had the privilege of editing and publishing. Courage to write it? Is that hyperbole? I think not, because writing this narrative of Vietnam required Fred to revisit the trauma and tragedy of war, and it’s aftermath. As many of you know by now, publishing Raw Man was a pebble in a pond, the ripples of unimaginable consequence. Fred is to be reunited with Herman Johnson, whom Fred believed died in his arms in Vietnam a half a century ago, and , at their reunion scheduled for July tenth at the Wall, the United States Army will be present Herman his Purple Heart for wounds never acknowledged.
And while it’s true that I really don’t have any accomplishments that come to mind, it is also true that it ain’t over. I will continue, with the passion of Romeo and Juliet, to uncover and publish stories as important to our understanding of ourselves as that of Fred Rivera. What more could I ask of life, other than to be loved, which I have in such abundance from family, a lover who will remain anonymous, and friends such as those who visit and participate in this website?
A birthday present for His Moiness-in-Chief? How about contributing to the Gofundme campaign I’ve set up for Fred, to help pay for the film crew that will document the amazing reunion in DC? I would much prefer you do that than another subscription to Maxim, or a discreetly sent bottle of those little blue pills. (I may give that a rethink when I am eighty.)
love to all,