Tuesday, December 1, 2015

In Memory Of Tony and So Many More

from the AIDS quilt - Tony LoPilato, lower left

Thinking of Tony LoPilato on World AIDS Day. He became a hospital patient at a time when little was understood about AIDS and those who had it were stigmatized and shunned. Friends who went to visit him reported indignities such as food trays left at the door for fear of contamination. 

To break the chains of ignorance and fear, a band of carolers went to Muhlenberg and sang for Tony and everybody, a lesson on good will. Gay men and those who loved them went on become pioneers in education, activism and care for people with AIDS and HIV. 

AIDS took out a whole echelon of Plainfielders-by-choice, who had moved here with high hopes for the Queen City and saved many of its architectural treasures for posterity. Those who recall the times remember their enthusiasm and commitment, a wellspring cut off in full flow when the so-called "gay plague" struck the community. 

I remember going into a store that Donald Morris opened on Park Avenue and seeing him whisper to someone a secret he didn't want me, a casual customer, to hear. But I guessed why he looked stricken. All too soon, he was on that sad roster of those who didn't make it.

We'll never really know how much more Plainfield would have gained had current treatments been available in the 1980s. All we can do is remember and wonder.


1 comment:

  1. Bernice, thanks for your tribute to those gay men lost to AIDS in the 80's who did so much for our Plainfield community. They were so committed to Plainfield. My heart saddens when I think of all those friends who I lost.