Monday, November 24, 2008

UFO sighting

Dear Dan,

Remember our UFO sighting? We were down at a neighbor's yard. I remember it was after dark in the summer. We were both still in grade school or maybe you were ready to start 7th. I don't know why I looked up but I did. So did you. And we both gasped.

We both saw a "star." Three lights came away from it, circled around quickly and went back into the "star." One other person in our group saw it as well.

Just a weird bit that happened. I remembered it because of CNN's story about UFOs this morning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bad day

Dear Dan,

Today is a particularly bad day. I was scanning a photo of you last evening.The one with the Christmas cookies. This morning I drove to work and parked in the parking garage on Pugh Street. I never park in a parking garage that I don't think of you, of course, but today all I could think of was "What were Dan's thoughts in planning this?" "What was Dan thinking as he walked to the garage?" "Did Dan use the elevator or climb the stairs?" "What was Dan thinking as he climbed over the retaining wall?" "Was Dan crying?" "Did he change his mind after he jumped?" "What was his last thought?"

This line of thinking on my part is the worst thing I can do. It doesn't honor your life and it sends me into a downward spiral.

And then I cry.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What a dream I had

Dear Dan,

Last night I had a dream about you. We were in NYC. I heard that you were intending to jump off the Empire State Building. People were panicking and I told everyone to calm down. I said it was your decision but 1) there is fencing all over the top floor 2) you might try a lower floor than the Observation deck so 3) call the police and alert them plus 4) let's get there now!

I think this was quite a combination of things. I've been thinking of you, of course. A day hasn't gone by that I don't think of you. We're getting closer to closing on the apartment. I think the trip to Sam's Club with Ruth had something to do with it as well. There was the combination of her brother's suicide, the cameras and computers plus, as I said, a day doesn't go by that I don't think of you.

And I smile, mostly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Organ donation

Dear Dan,

I know you wanted to donate your organs. I got a call from the organ donation group in KC the day after you committed suicide. The woman on the other end was very nice. She was very delicate in describing the organs that could possibly be "harvested," depending on the damage done when you landed.

At that point I was so hopeful that something good could be salvaged from the situation. She mentioned the type of testing that would be done before the organs were donated. Of course I thought AIDS testing was a good idea. At that point she asked if you were gay. Apparently the FDA does not allow transplant from anyone with a history of any homosexual activity. None at all.

That's when I asked Brian point blank. I told him we always "knew" but   that you hadn't "come out" to us. Of course not. No more than you would have "come out" that your eyes were brown.

I called the woman back  and told her we had confirmation. That I was sorry but we could not donate your organs. One or two people would not see because they would not have your corneas. Two people would have to wait for other heart valves. You would not be donating bone marrow and helping someone with leukemia.

I understand the problem. My head tells me that the AIDS tests cannot tissue. My head tells me that you can test negative for viral load if you are on certain cocktails.

However, my heart tells me that they were rejecting my dear, now dead, brother. His last wish would not be granted. Almost as if he wasn't good enough!

As if your death was not heartache enough.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Big News!

Dear Dan,

I got an email from our lawyer today. Your estate has been registered in PA. That means mom and I will (hopefully) be able to own the apartment outright!

Gary sent the deed to be approved and looked over by Harley. As soon as Harley sends it back we can get the contract signed and the property paid off.

Mom and I already paid off the mortgages to avoid foreclosure so both lawyers say we essentially own the apartment except for the paperwork.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lincoln Center

A friend and I were talking the other day and it reminded me of Dan in NYC.

I was living on the Upper West Side and working for Hertz at the time. Dan was driving a U-Haul truck into Manhattan to help friends of his close out their aunt's apartment in Tudor Village. As luck would have it, it was April 1, 1980 - the first day of the NYC transit strike.

I was supposed to meet Dan at Tudor Village and we would all go to dinner. The guys were all sleeping on the floor of my "studio" apartment. Let's be very clear. The apartment was a furnished one room, a bathroom and a small closet with a refrigerator, a hot plate, cabinets wall-to-wall with a stainless counter. There was enough room on the floor for three guys but only if the all rolled over as one unit and I didn't have to get up in the middle of the night.

I get over to Tudor Village - luckily my boss was going to the East side and dropped me off. I go in and ask for Dan. The man at the front desk has no idea who I'm talking about. I explained who the were and what they were doing and the man said "They went to Woodstock. George took them to Woodstock."

My first thought was that it sounded like the giant from Bugs Bunny saying "Take them to the basement, George. Tie them up in the basement." My next thought was "What the hell is he doing up at Woodstock and why didn't he tell me?"

At that moment Dan walked in and I found out I wasn't all the far off. Woodstock was Tudor Village's storage area - essentially it was the basement.

Once we get into the van and drive to the West Side we start trying to find a place to park the sucker. Because of the strike no one was allowing vans to park. We finally found a place in a lot parking area instead of a parking garage. As luck would have it, we were right across from the Landmark Tavern. After dinner we got a cab to my apartment.

There we were, three young men and one young woman, standing on the curb in NYC, hailing a cab. Dan asked how this was done; did they come to a cab stop or what? I stepped off the curb, threw my arm in the air and yelled "YO!" A cab pulled right over but the guys had all jumped back, startled.

As we were going up the avenue Dan asked if that was Lincoln Center. The cabbie and I laughed. He said "It said 'Parking for Lincoln Center'." And it was - a parking garage for people going to Lincoln Center two blocks east.

Dan and his buddies decided to walk to the Empire State Building and look around the City; did I want to go along? I was so beat I declined but gave him my number in case he had any problems.

Later I got a call. Dan was near Rockefeller Center but couldn't find the skating rink and Atlas. I found out he was across 5th from St. Pat's. I knew the bank of phones there. I told him to turn with his back to St. Pat's and walk until the railing stopped them. He turned around and started to laugh pretty hard because there it was!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Dear Dan,

I have been reflecting on yesterday's election and those of years past. There are several reasons I'm sorry you aren't here for this moment in history.

First for the obvious - you aren't here and you should be. Period.

Second - for all the work you did for the Democratic party. All the work you did for Joe, Clinton, McGovern, all candidates, local and national.

Third - you were a supporter for Jesse Jackson back in the day. You had the right idea but the wrong candidate. Jesse was in the crowd last night, weeping for joy. Even though Jesse and Barack had issues, there is still so much for Jesse to be proud of in his fight along the way.

McCain was gracious in defeat and I can see the attitude and spirit that made me respect him even though I don't agree with him.

Barack, Michelle and the children are going to be an amazing representation of our country.

And Dan, when you talk to Toot, please tell her how much mom and I adore her grandson. Please tell her we're sorry she isn't here as well.

I love you, bro.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today's the day!

Dear Dan,

That vote was for the both of us. Too bad you couldn't be here to cast it on your own. I miss you and I love you.