Andrew Milner, 1955-2005
Mark got up at 5:45 a.m. this morning to fly to Denver for our friend, Andrew Milner's, memorial service. Andy was one of Mark's oldest and dearest friends. I don't think I've ever seen him up at such a God Awful hour unless he'd stayed out all night. I don't even wake him up until 9 for work. Andrew would have been truly touched to find out that Mark was willing to get up at the crack of dawn to bid him "goodbye." There aren't many people he would do that for. Andy died of Pick's disease. He was only 50. That's a disease where your brain slowly rots away. Doctors suspect you get it from eating cow brains and other exotic entrails. The last time we saw Andy, he didn't really know who we were.
Andy moved to Manhattan right after Mark and I did, twenty years ago. He lived with his boyfriend, Tom. They had the coolest apartment in the East Village and two dogs, Cosmo and Rex. Cosmo used to go nuts whenever he saw one of those 24 ounce bottles of Sprite. He'd jump up and down like a mad dog and you'd either have to sedate him or put the bottle back in the fridge. Their apartment was beautifully decorated with lots of real, important art. Andrew and Tom were the ultimate NY sophisticates, true bon vivants. Tom managed the Broadway show, Cats. He got tickets to every Broadway opening and we all used to go together in a stretch limo - first to the premier, then to the amazing party that always took place after. Andrew was in the movie business so he was always jetting off to Cannes and other exotic places for film festivals. Another friend, Charles, used to accompany Andy to Cannes. He told us that everyone who was anyone knew Andy and sought him out, from Steven Spielberg to Clint Eastwood. Tom and Andy were the most exciting friends we had. Being with them felt like living in the New York City of the black and white movies. We were definitely not in Colorado anymore.
One of my favorite memories of Andy and Tom was Thanksgiving 1988 when we went to their house for dinner. I brought along my best high school friend, Larry Schechter, also gay, so everyone got along brilliantly. Sadly, Larry died a few years later in a small plane accident in Alaska (lesson: don't ever take a side trip on a cruise that involves a small plane). But that night, Tom made the most magnificent traditional dinner. We ate it in front of a roaring fire, drinking fabulous wines. The piece de resistence (I have no idea how to spell that) was the home made pumpkin soup he served from a pumpkin tureen that he made himself. Tom was a true gourmand. I threw up later that night, but it was worth it.
Eventually Tom and Andy broke up and moved away. There was knock-down drag-out fight over a piece of art that Andy bought. Tom claimed it was evil. New York City was never the same for us after that. The glitter-life was gone. We still loved the city, but became more domestic in our pursuits. No more limos or opening night parties. When we saw Andy last time, he would get glimmers of recognition of us. He kept saying, "didn't we used to have so much fun together in that...that place?" He could barely remember our time together here, much less the name of the city where we had fun. I am so bummed to think he's not here on earth anymore. I hope Larry was there to help him cross over to the other side.
Friday, December 02, 2005