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03 September 2017

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John, thank you for providing some missing pieces of the puzzle of your life after we were in school together — in that period I saw you only once after graduation, in 1978, when we took pictures of ourselves with our VW bugs in Cincinnati. Then we lost touch for many, many years.

I can only dimly imagine what it must have been like to be ‘a flake of pepper in a shaker of salt’, especially during those intense years of youth.

I remember our discussions about this around age 20. I could relate, a bit, being gay in a sea of heterosexuality, but the similarity ends there. Your experience was poignant and personal, encompassing many aspects of your life: professional, social, sexual, in a way that most white people don’t understand.

Sometimes I am amazed that we survive these challenges into adulthood, and I for one am very glad that YOU stuck it out and are still around! Your life is a variegated success story, dappled with disappointments and triumphs. An authentic, complicated life that you continue to live — hopefully with more understanding and joy than you had many years ago in Cincinnati.

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