A couple of years after my 1977 move to the Big Apple, I met Eddie Sedarbaum, a native New Yorker who at the time was a civil servant working for New York City's Department of Social Services.

Do the math. Come April we'll be celebrating our 39th anniversary.

Above left: A photo that was taken in 1979 by my mom
when we came down to Birmingham for Christmas.

Above right: If the photo on the left doesn't convince you that Ed is adorable,
take a look at this shot of him taken on the occasion of his first haircut!

Above: A portrait of us that was snapped in the early '80s
by New York photographer Lilyan Aloma.
Eddie and I love it because it makes us look as in love as we really were
and as attractive as we could only wish we were.

What adventures we've had!

Eddie and I have never had much moolah for traveling,
but in the course of our nearly forty decades together
we've have enjoyed several neat jaunts.
Like f'rinstance, we went to Disneyland (at the top above)
and spent time ooo-ing and ahh-ing at the scenery in Big Sur.

And we went to England in 1990 (which helped take my mind off the fact
that the contract for Stuck Rubber Baby was being negotiated back home at the time),
where we made some longstanding friends . . .

. . . whom we got to visit again a couple of years ago
on our way back from a comics convention in Finland.
At my side in the photo on the left above
are Benita Wakefield, theatre production manager extraordinaire,
and the incredible comic performer Kinny Gardner,
who was given the British Empire Medal for services to Theatre and Disability
in recognition of his role in founding
(along with the late and phenominally funny Alastair McMillan)
the deafness-friendly children's Krazy Kat Theatre Company.
Eddie and I got to know Kinny when he wrote me from England
to ask permission to adapt my comic strip "Cabbage Patch Clone"
into a skit for his cabaret act. I said, "Sure," of course.
We stayed in touch after that, and then he and his lover Alastair
invited us to come over to London for a visit.
Later he came to the U.S. to perform his cabaret show in New York
and I designed a flier promoting his appearance and . . . well . . .
You get the idea. During our stay in London this spring
we got to see Kinny perform in Oliver in the Underworld,
which marked the 35th Aniversary of the company's founding.

And wouldja believe that Eddie and I were passengers
when David Letterman taped his 5th Anniversary Special
on an airplane while it was flying from New York to Miami?!
It was my College Theatre friend Cheryl Thacker,
who was lighting NBC's Letterman show at the time,
who coaxed us into going along on that stunt.

Above: See Eddie chatting
with the legendary "Larry (Bud) Melman" before takeoff.
Oops! Here comes Dave scurrying up the aisle.
The guy's so swift, y'can't get him in focus!

After we disembarked in Miami, Letterman's "audience"
was invited to a cocktail party on the roof
of some snazzy hotel in Miami.
Eddie's mom and dad, who lived in West Palm Beach,
were able to join us.
Then we were all hustled back on the plane
for our (untelevised) return trip to New York.

When Cheryl had called us the day before to ask,
"How would you guys like to spend tomorrow flying to Miami and back?"
she hadn't been kidding.

Above: I've done various drawings of Eddie at work and at leisure over the years.

Eddie has explored several career directions during our time together.
Shortly after we moved in together Eddie left his Human Services job,
and for ten years he worked at home as a freelance book editor.
He would be in his workspace at one end of our apartment
applying the Chicago Manual of Style's wisdom to manuscripts both good and bad,
and I would be drawing my Wendel comic strip
in my studio at the other end. (We took our lunch breaks together.)

In time Eddie began wondering if he might be able to actually earn a living
doing the kind of work he had already been doing as a volunteer
since we first met, when manning the phones at the Gay Switchboard
had been a principal way he gave back to the LGBT community.

It turned out he could. He drew a salary for a while
working under Matt Foreman at the New York Anti-Violence Project
lobbying in Albany for a statewide hate crimes law
that would raise the penalties for hate-motivated attacks
on gays and other minorities. He went on to work for the Anti-Defamation League
until he decided to organize SAGE/Queens, a community center
for LGBT seniors in the borough of Queens.

He also led the founding of a new organization called Q-GLU
(Queens Gays & Lesbians United) that built up steam fast,
serving as its president for a several years
before passing the leadership role to Kim Kreicker
(wearing a red blouse in the photo above).

The most unexpected development from my point of view
was when Eddie decided to run for the New York State Senate in 1998.
It was a grueling but rewarding effort that gained enough traction
for the New York Times, New York Newsday, and the Amsterdam News to endorse him.
Most of the progressive organizations in town did the same.
But he lost to the incumbent as insurgents usually do
and isn't inclined to put himself through that kind of electoral marathon again.

Above left: Eddie speaking at a Queens Pride Parade rally during his campaign.
That's his loyal spouse standing on the platform behind him.
In my wildest dreams I could never have imagined that someday
I would have a front row seat for an honest-to-god political campaign!

Above right: A campaign poster I designed
using the "Ed Sedarbaum for State Senate" logo
that our friend Tim J. Luddy contributed to the effort.

Above left: In 2003 we moved to North Adams, a small city in northwestern Massachusetts,
where Eddie worked as Communications Coordinator
for the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition
until he retired in 2009.
We temporarily lived with Lulu the Dalmatian
in a yellow duplex on Union Street (see the middle pic above),
whose living room was so close to a busy street
that Lulu once leapt through the glass of a closed window
trying to apprehend a passing construction truck.
(Miraculously, she was unhurt by the broken glass.)

Above right: The house on Cliff Street that we were able to afford
because of the break Massachusetts provides to home-buyers
if the home being purchased is a two-family one
in which
one portion is rented to tenants
and the other is occupied by the owners themselves.

Above left: Some have wondered why we would want
to leave exciting New York City to live in rural northwestern New England.
Maybe this photo will help answer that question.
(The kid is Rafi, a family friend who
by now has grown from kidhood into adulthood.)

Also, by virtue of being residents
of the always-ahead-of-the-curve Massachusetts,
we were able to get legally married in our Cliff Street back yard
once same-sex marriage was legalized in the state in 2004.

Above: Eddie's mom came to live with us during the final months of her life.
Watching her struggling to climb the steps from Cliff Street to our front door
made us think more about our own advancing ages
and what getting older might mean for our stamina.

In 2011 we moved to our present home in nearby Williamstown (see below),
which has a lot fewer stairs to climb
if you don't count those that lead to my downstairs studio.

After retiring from NBCC and volunteering for several years
as a teaching assistant for second-graders at Williamstown Elementary School,
Eddie began being bothered by the isolation of many older LGBT folks in our area.
So he founded a new organization called Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County
and, once it began receiving some much-needed grants,
served as its paid, part-time director.

Over time the organization attracted enough members
to merit five meetings every month: one in Williamstown; one in Pittsfield;
one in South County; a T&L (Talk and Listen) confidential discussion group;
and a group for women.

Above right: Rainbow Seniors marching
in the 2017 Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade
as part of the Berkshire Pride contingent.

Above: Eddie got to meet Don
when the three of us were in Birmingham at the same time in 1984.
Wounds from our breakup had healed, the three of us hung out together comfortably,
and there were no unhappy vibes lingering during Don's final years.

Above: To wind things up, here are those boys
that you saw before in the 1980 Lilyan Aloma photo
as they/we are today, these several decades and lots of hair loss later.
Eddie and I love this excellent family portrait, which includes
the framed Frederick Douglass print by our friend Ann Grifalconi
(an award-winning artist and children's book author/illustrator)
and our present-day pup Punky (valiantly attempting to impersonate a lapdog).
It was taken last year by photographer Paul Yanchyshyn.

Speaking of Punky, she has a page here, too!

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