Friday, December 01, 2006
world AIDS day

Today is World AIDS Day....and I cannot let it go by without expressing what I feel....So, this is my post from last years World AIDS Day....I honestly do not think I can write anything more heartfelt than what I wrote last year, and unfortuneatly these are still 'the facts' and it is, for me, the best way to honor all who were lost....

So here it is, my dear dears....


As we approach World AIDS Day, I thought I would post just a few of the Names Quilt Panels of some of the 44+ people that I knew personally who have died of AIDS related illnesses since 1983. Now, on this World AIDS Day, 2005, this plague is still very much with us, and as you know, there is still no cure.



Tony was the first person that I actually knew who died of AIDS. He was a brilliant novelist, an incredibly talented actor, and a beautiful watercolorist-painter. It was 1983 and he was 45 years old.

Quite a few years ago The Names Project AIDS Quilt came to Pasadena, Ca. And it was the largest portion ever displayed in the Los Angeles area up to that time. I had actually seen smaller portions of the quilt, a number of times over the years, but this time...this was the first time that I found some of the panels of people I had known. This time, The Quilt was at The Rose Bowl and they said that just this particular portion of the Quilt filled approximately two football fields. To get some idea of the enormity of this great and moving on-going project, here it is in Washington D.C., on the Mall.

Take a good look at this:

To try and give you just a tiny idea of how many people who have died of AIDS are represented by the Quilt....there are 8 panels in each Block.

One Block.

Then they put 4 Blocks together, so that there are pathways between each block to allow people to really see the panels and to be able to read the names of all the people in each Block.


Kenny was a Singer/Dancer/Comedien...I knew him because he always performed in the AIDS Benefit that I have been Co-Chair of (along with Betty Garrett) for almost 20 years... The last time
KENNY performed in the S.T.A.G.E. Benefit, was 1992. Despite the Kaposi's Cancer that appeared on his face, he sang and danced and he was hilarious, as always.
He died a few months later. He was 39 years old.

The Quilt, as it appeared in Pasadena with the pathways between for viewing.


FREDERICK was a wonderful actor and a beloved acting teacher. But what all of us remember FREDERICK for more than anything else, was at Christmas time he would get a list of children's names from The United Way who would have no Christmas at all, and then he would ask his friends to make one wish of one child or two or even three wishes, come true, that Christmas. And this was done anonymously. You never met any of these children, and it was one of the most meaningful things any of us participated in at Christmastime each year. He began doing this in the early 70's when he lived in New York and then continued this after moving to Hollywood. The Christmas of the year he died, over 400 children had a Christmas they would not have had without FREDERICK. He died in 1992. He was 57 years old.


JIM LEE was an 'artist' when it came to plants. I first met JIM, when I saw some very beautiful Desert plants outside a building and asked the building owner's where these plants had come from. I was told "Flamingo Garden's" which was JIM'S Nursery. For around 8 years I frequented his nursery at least two times a week. We became great friends because I loved Desert Plants, too. And many of the plants in my garden came from JIM'S place. Eventually he had to give up the nursery because of his failing health. This was very devistating to him and to all those who loved him. He was 48 years old when he died.

One of my oldest and dearest friends that was lost to this terrible terrible disease had no panel in
the Quilt when it was in Pasadena. But I honor him this World AIDS Day as a rememberence of things past that I do not ever want to forget. He will always be in my heart.


CARL was a designer who had an extremely successful Gift Shop in Beverly Hills called Kaldeidscope. CARL loved Broadway show music, and entertaining with panache, and beautiful things, and beautiful people, and he kloved creating "Santa's Workshop" at Christmastime. About 3 months before Christmas, CARL would begin making 'Christmas Magic' in what he called Santa's Workshop in the back of the shop. When you walked into Kaleidoscope, there was always the scent of fragrent candles and 'show music' playing from some Broadway show that CARL loved....and he loved a lot of them! The August before he died, we shared one more 'Happy Time' together, seeing Barbara Cook and Mandy Patankin at The Hollywood Bowl. Spending time with CARL was more fun than anything you could imagine. His enthusiasm for life and romance and fantasy made everything around him beautiful and memorable. I miss him more than I can say.

He died, just before Christmas, December 1990. He was 53 years old.

So on this World AIDS Day, I remember, with love, each and everyone of the people I have lost to AIDS.

And here they are:

Jim Abbott, John Allison, David Amorena, Bill Bokoskie, George Brenlin, Fred Chris, Panos Christi, Paul Cira, Jerry Clark, Peter Collfield, Robert Doud, Robert Elston, Neil Flanagen. Danny Fortus, Mitch Geisart, Alison Gertz, Howard Goldberg, Jeffrey Goodman, Bobby Gorman, Sebastion Hobart, Paul Hunter, Michael Jeter, Jimmy, Austin Kirby, M.G. Macormic, Doug Marney, Gary Mascaro, Bill Moore, Michael Morris, Ron Muchnick, Tyre Patterson, Harry Percer, Alan Peterson, James Carroll Picket, Tom Redmond, Freddy Sadoff, Terrence Scammell, Jacque St. Onge, Neil Tucker, Clyde Ventura, and Ben Wilson.


And to the 15+ people I know who are living with HIV/AIDS, as I write this, I pray that there will be a cure, very very soon!

Support World AIDS Day

Links to this post:


had this to say:

This is auch a touching tribute to such a variety of obviously talented and kind people. I am so sorry you and others lost them so early in their lives and yet I am also glad that you knew these people and have such good memories. Here's hoping they find a cure soon to give those living with this disease some hope.

I am here via Michele's this time but I would ahve come by anyway.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 2:42:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

This is such a touching tribute and I am so sorry that you lost the friendship of these people so early in their lives but I am glad that you knew them as they were obviously talented and kind. I also hope that a cure is found soon to give hope to those who currently live with this disease.

I am here from Michele's today but would have dropped by anyway. (This is the second time that I ahve tried to post a comment so apologies if this is a duplicate but blogger is not being helpful).

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 3:05:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I am honorred to be the very first to comment on this important re-post. Eloquent, Naomi, and obviously heartfelt. I hope there will be a cure soon.

P.S. It takes us 4 days to do the Mansion and the outside. The tree at the top of the stairs is not a pine; it is a weeping cherry tree, and will be planted on the grounds after Christmas.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 4:03:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I didn't know about the's difficult to see something so huge that represents lost lives. I've been lucky enough to not have known anybody with HIV/AIDS....yet, but I guess it's only a matter of time.

Well done on such a moving post honouring World AIDS Day.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 4:45:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Such a sad disease...I pray that a cure comes about soon.


Friday, December 1, 2006 at 6:33:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Wonderful post. Perfect. I have goose bumps.

The first person I knew who died of aids was a secretary at my office. She was the sweetest person you would ever want to know. This is about 22 or 23 years ago. We still whispered the word "AIDS" then.

I visited her in the hospital. People at the office thought that I was crazy to "expose" myself to AIDS. It was a horrible time.

She told me she had tried every drug known to woman, and that was how she got AIDS. She was a recovered drug user, but she recovered too late.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 9:09:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Hello again. I am so glad that you liked my pics. I always love it when my pictures bring pleasure to someone. This may surprise you but my camera is simply a small HP (can't remember the number but I will check for you when I get home) 5.1 megapixel camera. I so want a better camera as I do find it limiting but I just work within it's constraints. It does seem to be good at night shots but you need a steady hand (lol)!

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 9:47:00 AM PST 

Blogger mar
had this to say:'s SIDA in Spanish but just as bad news...

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 10:29:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Amen to that. Even funding for treatment would help. I saw that the Clinton’s Foundation Brokered an AIDS Deal with two Indian drugmakers to make 19 different anti-retroviral drugs designed for children available at an average price of 16 cents a day, or $60 a year, which is about 45 percent lower than the lowest current price. A step for the future.

Michele sent me.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 11:59:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Incredible tribute... I have not experienced a friend dying from AIDS, and in this case, I consider myself fortunate.

Here via michele's

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 12:01:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Bless you, Naomi, for giving them a name, for breaking through the stereotypes that have plagued this disease since it garnered its first headline, that have kept the world from realizing just how much damage it has caused, and continues to cause.

May greater understanding lead to a cure. May we all be here to witness it.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 12:17:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Very important post, Naomi!
You made a great and touching tribute. Truly, this is a very sad disease. I hope with all my heart that there will be a cure very soon.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 12:40:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Michele sent me, Naomi.

This was one of the first posts I read on your blog so I guess it's been a year since I found you. Oh my.

I used to do research on AIDS but I switched over to breast cancer due to the difficulties with AIDS. It seemed too daunting a task to me at the time (about 12 years ago) but there's been a lot of progress this past decade. Still a long way to go, of course. Any viral disease that is highly mutagenic and hides in the immune system is a real nightmare to fight.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 12:46:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

That was really very touching and informative as well. I guess this is what I pay for being off the blogging world for a while. I would have put up the red ribbon too if I knew about it. I opened your site only today. It would be useless for me to be putting up the red ribbon as it is Dec. 2 now over here where I am.]
You really do write well and give justice to the people you write about.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 2:34:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I remember this post from last year Naomi. The size of that quilt is mind boggling. Quite an amazing thing. I know people that have died from AIDS but I didn't know them personally. Very sad thing. Seems like you don't hear about it as much as we used to, which is sad, since it's still out there and just as deadly.

Great post Naomi.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 2:36:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I know and have quite a few friends on this quilt. Thank you for reposting this. When it's not at the top billing, people tend to forget.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 4:02:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Lyn M.
had this to say:

What a sad but beautiful tribute to so many wonderful lives.
On this day as always, I remember well my dear Lebanese Designer friend Kerop Gebeshian who lost his battle with Aids 20 years ago.
The frequent visits he made to our home never needed an invitation.
His one-of-a-kind delicate hand knitted gown made for Mrs. Gerald Ford was donated to the Smithsonian.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 5:50:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

As poignant today as it was the first time I read it. Thanks for the reminder.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 7:17:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

that's an incredible quilt! and an incredible tribute! i watched a special on TLC tonight with Ashley Judd and Selma Hyek(?), where they toured Latin America with YouthAids organization to promote AIDS education and Awareness. It was very moving and sad- especially to see the children who were affected.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 7:25:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, this is such a beautiful tribute. That so many lives have been lost to AIDS is so horrible. I just saw a show on CNN about orphans in Africa & it's heartbreaking.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 10:03:00 PM PST 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

I remember two patients on this day.

The first was a young man with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia that I saw as a resident in Dallas in 1980. This was so rare a pneumonia and he was only 23, so young. At that time the physicians on the east and west coasts were starting to see a pattern emerge, but in Dallas we had not clue yet. No tests for the AIDS virus, no name for it, no idea how to help except try and treat the infections. He died three months later.

Then in 1984, a young patient was admitted with severe Herpes infection, worse than the doctors had ever seen. By then we knew there was an immunodeficiency disorder probably caused by a virus but no test was available yet. All we could look at was the T-cell counts and hers were so, so low. Still, all they could do was treat the infection. Her social situation was poor, an older cult-like person was involved and she disappeared from the radar of social services for about six months. Later that year she developed disseminated Herpes with Herpes pneumonia and her ravaged body couldn't recover. She was only 18.

I doubt that either have been remembered on the quilt; the disease that took them had no name then, it was just a dark nebulous unknown.

If you can get the word to even one person... this disease respects no one.... male, female, teens.... anyone. Prevention is the only sure way to avoid HIV.

Friday, December 1, 2006 at 11:34:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Here to add my prayers to your tribute again this year.

[hugs] Naomi, and bloglove to all your friends, and those suffering all over the world.


Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 2:04:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I personally don't know anybody who died with this horrible disease. But here too there were big manifestations and information stands. It's a shame that after the first shock when this disease were discovered everybody suddenly stopped to inform the young people of today. In the 80th they did a lot and afterwards everybody "forgot" and now ...

Thanks for your comment on my "lights" I feel as if I am doing a world tour for Christmas trees ! I go from one continent to the other (what a clima change) and discover that finally they look all more or less the same !

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 2:11:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks again for sharing this very memorable event. I really admire the vast information you have collected. I have been very busy lately and I truly missed reading your posts. I will come back as soon as I can to read the rest.


Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 3:59:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Wow! I somehow missed this last year. It's so very touching and sad. It reminds me of visiting the Vietnam Wall, but so much more colorful and excellent in the way it makes each life become more visually real. The long view photo is shocking.

You know and have known so many special people, Naomi!

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 6:44:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

WoW! What a beautiful tribute Naomi! I have never known anyone personally who has died from aids... I guess I'm very blessed that way. That display in DC is really impressive! And the panels are just so touching... as is your remembrance of your friends. (((Hugs)))

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 6:48:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

super post Naomi!
very sorry to hear you've lost so many friends to Aids.. and I will hope along with you that you don't loose anymore.

the fact that a cure has not been found makes you wonder sometimes if they really try hard enough to cure that and other diseases.

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 8:20:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a great advocacy you have here in your post.

Millions of lives have been drenched by this disease. Though apparently expensive medications have been distributed here in the Philippines, it doesn't mean it'll be lessened dramatically. Awareness is a prerequisite.

Kudos to you. The Queerchef pimped me here.

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 10:07:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I remember this post from last year, and how it stirred my memories of my friends lost to this terrible scourge. I think I told you then that I had made a panel to honor a friend of mine that died in 1986, one of the earlier victims. He got sick on a trip to WA from his home in NJ and was given a blood transfusion of tainted blood. It was such a traumatic time for his family and his children.

Here from Michele today.

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 2:09:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Wow. Just wow.

I lost my best friend from childhood to the first wave of AIDS, also in 1983. I have always wanted to make a quilt section for him, but I'm sewing-challenged.

I am so sad that you lost so many people. I did lose a few more friends and acquaintences after Andrew, but the loss of him was the most devestating, by far. I miss him terribly, to this day.

He was 30 years old.

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 3:00:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, thanks for the visit. Re your question: a chicken biscuit from Bojangles Restaurant is a deep fried, boneless chicken breast, in a freshly baked southern biscuit. It is indeed heavenly - and I eat them all too often, along with a huge cup of their sweeter than sweet iced tea! (I have to quit both of them!!)

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 8:51:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I have only seen a small portion of the quilt and it moved me to tears.

Coming from the fashion industry, I too, have lost many friends. Aids seems to take away the brightest talent. Thank you so much for bringing World Aids Day to everyone's attention. We can not stop until there's a cure.

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 8:52:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I remember that post.
And we need to remember these people and thank God some now are living longer and healthier with the new treatments.

I wonder how I or my friends escaped this disease, only to see two of my friends kids die of it. Really sad.

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 9:07:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What a lovely post Naomi ... a real tribute to your firends and loved ones! I was just saying over @ cq's ...

I remember once, a while ago, probably 13/14 years, standing in the middle of a shopping centre on World Aids Day collecting money / handing out red ribbons. People walked past and ignored me, muttering under their breath. Someone told me I was disgusting to be collecting money for those awful people!

Thank God attitudes have changed since then! *always wearing my red ribbon with pride*

Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 10:52:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Jenn
had this to say:

This is a lovely post. Is the Quilt still touring? I also did a tribute in my blog. I recently got a book for my classroom called A Name on the Quilt by Jeannine Atkins. It is disturbing to read that AIDS is again on the rise and I feel that awareness sometimes takes a back seat to more "popular" illnesses such as Breast Cancer.

Sunday, December 3, 2006 at 7:24:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

A wonderful reminder and tribute, Naomi. I'm so glad there are people like you around to help carry the torch and be a voice.

Monday, December 4, 2006 at 9:09:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

My brother I found after 20 yrs revealed to me that he was HIV positive, but now after years of drug treatment, the virus is non-existent in his body. He still takes a maintenance level of drugs just in case. I read somewhere that there are a number of people of Swedish descent who have eliminated the virus from their bodies somehow and their DNA is being studied. My brother and I are of Swedish descent but he didn't say he was in any research group. I think the DNA thing is connected to that research on people who survived the plague generations ago and passed on a certain gene to their descendants as well. It doesn't give them total immunity, just a stronger immunity to certain types of diseases.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 8:53:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a poignant tribute to people you loved and cared for. Such a devastating disease. We need a cure now. I'd lost many patients to this disease and it seems so unnecessary.
The quilt was amazing! I'd never seen that before and it sure puts everything in perspective. Thanks for sharing this, Naomi.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 6:45:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

what a beautiful though heartbreaking tribute and post.

Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 9:22:00 AM PST 

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