A friend of mine died of COVID-19, I just learned. I haven’t seen her in about 20 years. She grew up in Boston and moved away. I met her when I moved *to* Boston. We overlapped here for a few years. I was young and I have a story about what she taught me. 1/
When I moved to Boston for college, I was a bit of a punk (in every sense of the word)and hung out with the non-college or art school kids in Harvard Sq. more than the kids in my college. 2/
Some of these kids are still my friends and I will say that street kids and rejects are some of the best, most loyal, most fun, and smartest people I’ve met. 3/
This kid though, she was not a street kid. She was middle class. Her dad was a professor. Her mom was a home-maker. She was white. And she had the strongest sense of justice of anyone I ever met. 4/
I’m old. I’m talking about the 1990s. If you aren’t old, you may not know what the world was like before the internet and online “social justice warriors”. Without the connectivity of the internet, it was a much more lonely and isolating thing. 5/
I was a freshman in college. She was a senior in high school. She still lives with her parents. My roommate and I didn’t jibe well, so in the winters, I spent a lot of time at my new friends’ places - not sleeping over, but just hanging out during the days. 6/
I sensed her mom wasn’t exactly cool with me, but she told me not to worry about it. That’s just what her mom’s like. So I tried not to worry about it. 7/
One day, we were lying, clothed as ever, on her bed - kids don’t really have somewhere else to hang out with friends away from parents. She was explaining to me the virtues of Stevie Nicks. We were looking at album covers and listening to music. 8/
Her mom kind of bashed on the door and said it had to stay open. She was running up and down the hall in a tizzy. My friend went to the kitchen to argue with her. I really thought I should just leave, but I didn’t want to leave without saying anything, so I sat there frozen. 9/
Their argument ended up moving to the doorway as I cringed in the room. Finally, her mother said, “you’re...les-bi-ans!” My friend said, “so what if we are, Mom? So what?” I finally said, “I really think I should go, and scuttered out. 10/
At that time in my life I was in the “not that there’s anything wrong with it” stage of discomfort with homosexuality. I had gay friends - all male, so “safe”. I didn’t really judge them for it. 11/
But I did think they were “different” and I probably would have been squeamish with an out lesbian. I moved through this stage quickly as I ended up with a lot of LGBTQ friends of different genders and orientations. But I wasn’t there yet. 12/
Anyway. She got kicked out of the house. Slept in my dorm a lot. Slept on the streets a few times after my roommate reported her. Slept at friends. Got two part-time jobs. Finished high school. Worked for 2 years to save money. Moved from Boston to San Francisco. 13/
Paid her way through college. Got funding for grad school. Became a professor. Imparted wisdom to students. 14/
Somewhere during college, her mom “forgave her” for being lesbian and they restored their relationship. Her mom got to the point where she wanted to meet my friend’s girlfriends and really be involved with her life. Really got over the issue altogether. 15/
My friend did not tell her mother she was NOT a lesbian until she decided to marry a very nice man she’d been with a while. She never lied to her mother. She just let her mother’s phobia work itself out and avoided the topic. 16/
She was a f*cking tough ass chick.

So, here’s to you, my friend. I and a few more of your other admirers are going to have a zoom dinner party in your honor.
Rest in power.
You can follow @eminently_me5.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: