afternoon of August 23rd,2005 I heard the
sound of fire engines on the street in front of my building.
My neighbor Bill and I ran downstairs to see what was happening.
That was the last time I was able to get back into my apartment for well over a year.
A wall in my building had buckled.
My building was originally constructed in 1827.
The city buildings department declared the building unsafe.
I had lived in my apartment since 1977 and my life and world pretty much revolved around my home,which I loved.
I was lost and devastated.
What followed for me was a long nightmare.
As a gay person my Greenwich Village neighborhood was in reality for me the only place I felt completely comfortable and at home.
After several stints in grubby hotels I found a small room to rent about 2 blocks from where my apartment was.
The room was the small bedroom in a woman's apartment that she needed to rent in order for her to financially survive,it was very depressing.
I moved in and was to spend 15 months living there,never sure I would ever get my apartment back.
Work had started on repairing my building but it went very slow and was constantly being held up by the discovery of additional structural faults.
At times it felt hopeless but thankfully my landlord stayed the course to fix the building.
The woman who's apartment I was living in turned out to be a very nice person who never bothered me or made me feel uncomfortable living in her home.
However I was uncomfortable,very uncomfortable,very unhappy and very scared.
I had lived alone in my own home for so many years I was far to old to be living in someone Else's bedroom.
Its funny,as one gets older you expect and prepare in your head for things like illness,losing loved ones etc.
Preparing for ones building to fall down is something that I think doesn't cross most of our minds,at least not mine.
As time slowly progressed I had to find things to do with my waking time,since I only had the space of a bedroom and not even a chair to sit in.life was at a standstill.
I started to go to the LGBT Community center which is just a short walk away from my room
At the center I started slowly to meet people and get acquainted with many that I might have never met if not for my predicament.
Another group I had wanted to explore was SAGE.
I had heard so much about SAGE and wanted to check it out for years but never did,now I would.
I became more and more involved with SAGE,mostly on a social level in the beginning.
I began meeting many great people,so many of them giving me the emotional support to help me get through my situation and keeping me as optimistic as possible.
I came very,very close to NOT surviving but thats a story for another time.
As time went on I became more involved with many other aspects of SAGE and was helped by their wonderful,compassionate staff to deal with health issues,legal issues and anything that I could not cope with on my own.
I am very grateful to SAGE staff and SAGE members who I now call friends.
In December 2006 my building was finished and I moved back home.
I wanted to tell this story because it very much pertains to my current life,a life very different from before.
SAGE and the LGBT Center have become an important part of what I am and what I do now.
I am adding a list of links below that I hope you will all check out.
The Official SAGE Website.
The LGBT Community Center.
GLF retrospective held at LGBT Center in June 2008.