June 3, 2018

A very drunk Tommy and Andy stumbling back home from Cabaret. Yes, I’m wearing leather pants. No, I can no longer fit into them…

Back at home and working on putting together a memorial service. Not the kind of thing one wants to do but there were plenty of others grieving and everyone was in need of a way to say goodbye and to celebrate everything Tommy was.

Weekend update: I’m staying put at home for the next week and a half or so which means no travelogue until I start up the east coast sometime late next week. The major task for the week is getting everything ready for Tommy’s memorial service on Monday the 11th. The pieces are coming together and if it works the way I want it to, there will be music and laughter and honor paid to all of the different pieces of the unique person he was.

This weekend, I have been digging through boxes and file cabinets and unearthing half forgotten memorabilia looking for pictures for photo montages. You would think this would be relatively easy, but Tommy didn’t have a sentimental bone in his body and didn’t keep pictures and paper ephemera. His mother had given him a box of childhood pictures a few years ago which was a great help and I have a lot from our time together, but the fifteen years between 20 and 35 are something of a cipher. I know the broad outlines of where he was and what he was doing but he didn’t leave a lot of traces, at least not around our house. I have people who knew him then on the look out.

It’s a somewhat melancholy task sorting through all this stuff as every piece has a memory associated with it of some kind. I’m not allowing myself to wallow as I have a task to accomplish but I do continually surprise myself at some of the things that I find. It will probably bring more half forgotten stories to mind over the next week or so. The big issue I am having is trying to digitize things. I found three scanners in the house, but can make none of them speak to a computer. I have a feeling I will own a fourth before all is said and done.

I found pictures of our first vacation together, the free New York cruise. We flew up to NYC three or four days before the boat sailed and checked into the world’s smallest hotel room at the Milford Plaza. (I was cheap…) The bed took up most of the floor space and the suitcases covered what little the bed left uncovered. You had to arrange things just so in order to open the door. We, of course, attended the theater, going to see the Studio 54 Cabaret. It was late in the run and I can’t even remember who the leads were but Mariette Hartley and Tom Bosley were Schneider and Schultz. We had a table right down front where a couple of the Cabaret girls were very flirtatious and we ordered Southern Comfort Manhattans with side cars pre show and again at intermission. We were both quite tiddly by the middle of the second act and neither of us quite remembers the walk back to the hotel (although there is photographic evidence of us imitating Bernadette Peters in her Gypsy pose out there…) The next night we went to Take Me Out which we quite enjoyed, especially Denis O’Hare. The cute boys getting naked was a bonus. I know there was a third show, but I don’t recall what it was.

Tommy and Andy on their first vacation with Shann Carr and Bryan Jamison

It had been a very grey cold spring and early summer in NYC that year and so the cruise did land office last minute business from locals desperate to get some sunshine. We boarded the boat, sailed past the Statue of Liberty and under the Verazzano Narrows Bridge and headed south. The stops were Miami, where we went to visit my old friend Marc who is a law professor at the University of Miami; Key West, where we once again had too much to drink and ended up in the leather shop where we made a number of highly impractical purchases. I still have the chain mail shirt that we thought was too much fun to pass up; and Nassau, which was like every other Caribbean cruise port.

When we got back to Birmingham, we had very definitely taken the first steps towards being the one word TommyandAndy that we became. Most of the guys on the cruise who met us had thought we had been together for years, and we were starting to feel that way too, even though we had only met six months before.

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