Archive for the ‘FAMILY’ Tag

7 DECADES SERIES 1997-JUNE 1999 23 A   Leave a comment

1996 didn’t end on a good note as once again I was robbed though I did have insurance and got a check for over $1,000. With the bad there is always good and I was promoted to trainer of servers at Who Songs which gave me a much better paycheck plus I was getting better stations and making more in tips . There were rumors about the restaurant being sold but nothing concrete. By the way, in case you didn’t know, when being trained in restaurants as servers you follow an old-timer, do most of the work and don’t get any of the tips, just straight pay which, if I remember right, was about $5 an hour in Florida! I would, sometimes, slip the trainee a few bucks if I had a good night and I felt they did more than their share and were catching on quick.

January 1997 started off good as I was still working, making money, eating out and going to the theatre seeing such shows as Rogers and Hart’s “Babe In Arms”, Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winning “3 Tall Women” with Bob, Jim and Gino, eating at Tom Jenkin’s BBQ (now closed) or Jalesco’s (still open) or Lester’s (open)depending on which playhouse we were going to–needless to say still going to the movies–seeing such movies as “Jerry McGuire” –all in all a good month.

The rumors started again in February about Who Song closing but now it was added that the whole corner was going to be demolished and there would be a Target going up. I really didn’t think much about it and just continued enjoying life like Gino and I going to see the new movie “Evita” then a bite to eat at Wings ‘N More (closed) or going to Catfish Dewey’s (open) for all you can eat shrimp which, if I remember, was $11.95 or going to the IMAX theatre to see “Into The Deep”. At 61 I didn’t seem to be having any problems of any kind and there aren’t any notes in my diary regarding anything being wrong which, of course, is the time to watch out! The rumors were true about Who Song and we were given notice which is rare in this business!

At the same time, after my place being robbed 3 times, my rental insurance was cancelled. Gino, Emir and I would go to the beach and have lunch at “The Deck” (closed)or went to see Faye Dunaway in “Master Class” at the Parker Playhouse. I did get a job interview at La Bomba (open) but didn’t get the  job. I was now living off money I had in the bank which was a combination of the insurance and my income tax refund. I was gettign unemployment but along with Florida always being one of the lowest in unemployment payments being a server you really didn’t get much to begin with but I wasn’t complaining.

March was also the first time I went to ‘the baths’ in over 20 years and they hadn’t changed a bit in spite of AIDS being prevalent in South Florida. One having nothing to do with the other I do have a note that I went to The Eagle to get Chuck a t-shirt but they didn’t have them. Funny what notes I kept and which I didn’t. I did hear from Bill for my ‘unbirthday’ in the middle of March! In April, still not working, and admittedly, not looking too hard for a job, I was still spending money going to see a performance of “Riverfest” at the Parker Playhouse and “The Heiress” at the Caldwell Playhouse. I do have a remark about staying up all night reading Mario Puzo’s “The Last Don”. I do have a note at the end of April saying, “Also, going broke again!”

Posted March 25, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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7 DECADES SERIES 1990-1995 MIKE, AIDS & FAMILY 21 A   Leave a comment

Most of our life is spent in daily routines from getting up, going to school/work, coming home, having dinner, watching TV, going on the Internet and then to sleep. We may vary weekends by going out to eat or a movie or to a wedding and, those who are lucky may go on a vacation each year. What we mainly remember of past years are things, both good and bad, that take us out of our routines which can be anything from losing a job, a death, a new life and changing our life. I had many good times in the 1990s and many bad but one stands out above all.

Michael McCarroll was the first friend I made when I moved to Fort Lauderdale, meeting him at the Sandpiper bar and restaurant. I have spoken about him before but I have never spoken of his death and the influence he, and that event, had on me. Out of respect for him I won’t go into much depth as Michael was a very private person regarding his illness.

Michael told me he was diagnosed with AIDS, over dinner, the week before- -this was October 6, 1988. He was prescribed AZT and that sort of scared me as I had only heard bad things about it. (For more information on AZT go to: On June 7, 1989 he went into the hospital with Kaposi’s sarcoma , a form of cancer, and pneumonia and was there until July 9 . He would tire easily but continued to teach. Very little was known about AIDS back then with kids being kicked out of school for being HIV+ and doctors and nurses refusing to take care of patients among other things. He loved teaching and refused to give it up knowing he wouldn’t harm a student so when it came to medicine and bouts of illness he would pay out of his own pocket because if the school became aware of his having AIDS he would be fired–it was allowed back then.

He came down with CMV February 23, 1991 and on April 21 went into the hospital. On August 10 he was once again in the hospital with  Kaposi’s sarcoma in his stomach and in early September his father and sister came down. Nancy knew he was gay and had AIDS but his father didn’t know the former and he still didn’t want him to know. Ray didn’t push him as to how he got AIDS and returned to Michigan to his wife, Michael’s mother, Shirley and I don’t think to the day she died, years later, did she know he died of AIDS as both Ray and Nancy told her he had cancer from smoking.

I visited Michael every day he was in the hospital and on October 8 he was moved into hospice. Nancy and I spent as much time as possibl with him and one evening when I was sitting with him I whispered that it was okay for him to let go, that we who loved him didn’t want him to suffer anymore. The next, on October 11, 1991, Michael died. Nancy made arrangements for his body to be sent to Michigan and she left 2 days later.

Many things would happen in my life over the next decade but the one thing that stood out, and still does, was the loss of my friend, ‘brother’ Michael who got aggravated with me when I spent too much money, who would give me, and others, the shirt off his back if he had to, who believed that everyone was good and even found excuses for those who did him wrong. He showed me what goodness was and how it could be applied to everyday life. I didn’t always succeed but I tried to be another Michael who only knew how to give love to others.

Thank you for the 12 years of friendship and caring Michael and I am sorry for not listening to you regarding money as less than a year later I was where you feared I would be–declaring bankruptcy.

Posted February 4, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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I met Steven around March 1980. He had a lover, Arnie, who was an alcoholic,(maybe part of his attraction for me was that I drank) had an invalid mother who he took care of but he lived with Steven. I’m not sure but I think they had been together for a few years. Steven had been married and had 2 children and recently bought a home in a fashionable, old neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale. We got along great and I think he was ready to leave Arnie for me and then, November 11, 1981, I met Bill! The picture above was about 2 hours before we went to dinner and I had to tell him about Bill.  After Bill and I split we bumped into each other, tried again but ‘it’ just didn’t work and then he did the unforgivable–he forgot 2 Leap Year birthdays in a row! I would see him one day around 2008 and I am sure he is still puzzled why I ignored him and his “Hello”—hey, I can be petty, too. Haven’t seen or heard from him since–?!? He really was a nice guy but let this be a warning–don’t forget to acknowledge my Leap Year–you don’t have to give me a gift but call or send a card or an e-mail!

Many people come and go through your life but some you just never forget.  I met Bob Barry in Memphis who was there with his lover but I have no recollection of who I met them through or even who the heck was his lover but I have never forgotten Bob. We kept in touch over the years and though he lived in Dallas and I lived in Memphis and then Fort Lauderdale we had a bond. When he died I felt a darkness come over me.

The story of Mark is very strange to me and the only way I can explain it is that I didn’t realize he cared a lot for me, more than I cared for him but we did have something special going. I met Mark through an ad I had placed in The Advocate when I lived in Memphis. I got over 300 responses and invited them to Memphis either Memorial Day or July 4th or Labor Day weekend. Out of the 300 about 200 showed! I don’t remember which weekend Mark came if from Dallas where he lived at the time but he stayed an extra week and had a lot of fun. When he left we kept in touch including when he moved to Santa Fe which he loved.  On February 29, 1992, celebrating my 14th Leap Year birthday with a party at my place from  1-9 PM, without any warning or hint that he was coming, Mark walked through the door. It was one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises I ever had. I heard from Nina and Jean in Dallas, Ginny in Minnesota, Perry who I hadn’theardfrom in awhile and who would lead to my staying  here at Gateway. He stayed until the 5th and we went all over town, introduced him to everyone I knew and he even met Richard from Phoenix! He left Fort Lauderdale for Orlando and I never heard from him again.

I sent Mark a snail mail birthday card but it was returned with addressee unknown. I called and the phone had been disconnected. He was one of the many who ‘disappeared’ in my life never knowing what had happened though I suspect Mark has died.

Ah Andy. I will talk about him in another post but the picture of us was taken in Julius’s, the oldest gay bar in New York, and it was to be one of my last times going to New York. Andy was/is an unexpected joy in my life –another one who ‘disappeared’ from my life  with no communication. He lived with his family in the Bronx and lived up to the reputations of all redheads. As I said, more about him later.

I know most of you have no idea of who this people are and most won’t care but they have all been part of my supportive ‘family’ through the years and have helped me get to where I am today.



Posted October 2, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“Y’all are just a bunch o’ Yankees. What y’ look into is not a meer –it’s pronounced mirr-ohr!”

“…two words pronounced wrong–“our”, which has 2 syllables. and “Tuesday,” pronounced “twosday” not “teeoozday.”     “Miss Susie says…”


“Dahrlin’…(most females addressed in this manner .)

“Well-l-l there’s MIss___________”

“Come back, little Sheba!” (to an inattentive female during rehearsal)

“Whoa there, Miss Molly!”

“Holy cow, gal! You can hit that high C! C’mon now, do it!”


On the first Monday night of each quarter “Mr. K” would conduct ‘hearings’ (as opposed to auditions, since he believed that anyoen who could match tones should be given the opportunity to experience the excitement of singing major choral works to orchestral accompaniment, if they put forth the effort. The ‘hearing was simply employed to place the singer in the proper voice range section.) On one such occasion, after many hearings of “Way Down Upon The Swanee River” a young lady with a confident manner, enetered the hearing room. With a clear ringing quality in her voice Mr. K took her though scales from low G to A above the staff, his eyes growing larger with each sequence. Giving her a gracious compliment on her voice Mr. K excused her. When she was gone he turned to his assistant and said with wonderment only he could exude, “The roof of her mouth must look like the Sistine Chapel.”


“…a oneness which abides.”

“…a terribbly meaningful experience.”

“Your joys, hopes, dreams and fears are mine. I want mine to be yours.”


I took Dr. K to his first performance ever of “A Chorus Line”. He sat crying, trembling, through the song “At The Ballet”. This was a man who had sung all over the world, had taught music for over 25 years and after the show said, “That song, ‘At The Ballet’ is one of the most perfect pieces of music I have ever heard in a Broadway show.”

We lost him too soon.   


Posted September 19, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Reading about a dozen web sites you can get the distinct feeling that a functional family doesn’t exist! Though the majority anti parents is done by teenagers many grown ups really don’t have nice things to say about their families. Is blogging only done by discontents?

The roughest blogs are written by teenage girls mainly against their mothers–could it be a normal mother/daughter step to adulthood? Teenage boys also moan and groan but what I found surprising it is against their mothers! In the ‘old days’ the model was mother stayed at home and took care of the kids and father went out to work and brought home the money for all material things like a roof over their head, food on the table and clothes on their back. Now we have mothers in the work force, fathers being stay at home dads and the kids run everything. Are the inmates running the asylum?

Stepping aside, being objective, who has the harder role in parenting today? Has the father never gotten the “How to be a Dad” book or did he never read it? Is he doing what his father did not changing with the times? Is the mother a helicopter mom (hovering over the child too much) or is she busy with outside activities whether is be work or volunteering and turning her kids over to day care or a nanny or grandma? Or has nothing changed as far as parenting goes since 1944?

Though it is hard to do (and shouldn’t be) but for the purposes here put aside the 9 months of pregnancy and the actual childbirth (ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH) who do you think has the harder job raising the child? The bigger responsibility? And why are so many families dysfunctional?

For this blog let’s not hear from functional families and what a “Leave it to Beaver” childhood you had and how great your  “Father Knows Best” was–I promise I will have a post where you can crow all you want!

Ladies, where do you think te fathers are failing? What would you do if you were a father? Men the same questions for you—what do you think you could do that mothers aren’t doing and what do you think men can do that they aren’t? And let loose–your spouse and/or kids won’t read this!!!


Posted July 24, 2012 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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