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May 01, 2006

31. Tom

An expatriate American living in Rome for decades, Tom runs the best city tours, ever. He studied in art & architecture and knows Rome’s littlest secrets and biggest stories. Tom’s good humour makes even a scary drive through Rome tolerable.

May 02, 2006

32. Matsuda-san

Matsuda-san just retired as janitor in our building. His cleaning schedule was never-ending: 4 trash days, daily vacuuming, and window washing. He even polished the gates. Christy Homes won’t be the same without him but he deserves a great retirement.

May 03, 2006

33. Kate

Kate edits a prestigious academic journal on Japan. Her knowledge of Japanese history and events is extensive and she puts her thoughts very clearly in soft-spoken English washed smooth in years of Japanese living. Her maiden name, Wildman, doesn’t match.

May 04, 2006

34. Tod

Tod was a precocious boy who grew into an intelligent man. He found his calling at 12 on a Tandy computer, then honed his skills and knowledge to a sharp (witted) edge. He’s been my best friend for 17 years.

May 05, 2006

35. Seth

Nephew Seth got the best of both parents – his mother’s intelligence and his father’s long lashes. Shy on first greeting, he opens up with play and puzzles. He’s growing into a big boy now, and we are missing his childhood.

May 06, 2006

36. Ted

Belligerent in his homosexuality, Ted despised straight men with frequent, loud and passionate discourse. Tolerated straight women, marginally, which I appreciated since I was his stage manager. Playwright, actor and theater critic for a Pittsburgh papers, he is local color.

May 07, 2006

37. Billy

Billy was all the boy characters in dress-up play and our reenactments of the Mod Squad. He happily biked the dirt paths on the vacant lot, raced Big Wheels down the driveway. We moved in 1975; where is he now?

May 08, 2006

38. Hugh

Hugh is a voice on the other end of an MP3, an e-mail correspondent, and also my business partner. We’ve not yet met. Hugh’s an “idea man” with an imagination that never quits. First LibriVox, now Collectik…who know what’s next?

May 09, 2006

39. Rob

If Rob sleeps, I’m not sure when. We’ve weathered many tight video deadlines with all-night editing sessions. He is detail oriented, twiddling a sequence until it is as perfect as time allows. Somehow he finds time to learn new techniques.

May 10, 2006

40. Hanako

Hanako is a creative mischief-maker. Her art gets noticed in the press, but she doesn’t take credit for it. A student at Tokyo’s most prestigious university, she is usually behind on assignments because she spends too much time making art.

May 11, 2006

41. Barry

One of my sister’s school friends, Barry piqued my interest when I was in college. Calm, relaxed and beyond hip, yet as down-to-earth as you can be, he sold me his hand-painted bass. He was definitely one that got away.

May 12, 2006

42. Kitty

Kitty sat elevated in the family store - behind the candy bars & across from the meat counter - pouring over the accounting and peering over the shoppers. Her exotic name intrigued me, then I learned Kitty’s short for Katherine.

May 13, 2006

43. Uncle Marvin

Uncle Marvin, well into his 80s, sends me off-color jokes by e-mail. Is that appropriate? It must be, they always make me chuckle. Ever a man of high humour, Uncle Marvin’s raspy, staccato laugh brightened up many extended family dinners.

May 14, 2006

44. Aunt Ginny

Aunt Ginny was Uncle Marvin’s bride. Her hearty laugh must have rung out often in their home. I remember her sense of fashion – summery white pants and a nautical blue striped shirt – it never compared to the smile she wore.

May 15, 2006

45. John

John had great ideas. We enthusiastically began a video project together, but after a couple months, he kicked me off the production and started saying paranoid and terrible things about me. I never understood what made him to do that.

May 16, 2006

46. Dean

Dean wore plaid shirts, unfaded jeans and Peterbilt belts. At all our junior high dances, he politely and bravely asked me to dance. I always declined, secretly hoping for a “better” partner who never materialised. Unforgivably vain. I’m sorry, Dean.

May 17, 2006

47. Tara

I met Tara at work in Tokyo; now our friendship spans years and many miles. Tara epitomizes “you can take the girl out of America, but you can’t take America out of the girl.” Finally I realise that is OK.

May 18, 2006

48. Larry

He managed the community pool in 1983, the year the bullies invaded. A classically short, stocky and agile wrestling coach, Larry put a stop to their antics and kicked them off the premises. As lifeguard on duty, I was thanksful.

May 19, 2006

49. Koki

Koki has a funny, playful sense of humour and a warm toothy grin to match. He & Tod trade jokes in one another’s languages and on days they both bike to work, they take their lunches far away from Otemachi.

May 20, 2006

50. Mr. Brubaker

Bob Brubaker, gawky, bespectacled, sandy-haired with a nose and ears made for teasing, taught music to cruel junior high classes. Plunked out by Mr. Brubaker on tuneless pianos, we memorised the school song: “…glowing yooooouth… seek the door of truuuuuth.”

May 21, 2006

51. Denise

Denise is not the most outwardly colorful family member. She is subdued in groups, preferring to observe rather than to jump into the fray. But get her alone and her light cannot be contained. She’s a gem of an aunt.

May 22, 2006

52. Tommy

My favorite grade school Boy Friend, which was not, as we frequently explained, the same as boyfriend, Tommy amused our lunchtime circle with his jokes and by chugging pints of milk. We timed him every day. Ten seconds. Holy cow.

May 23, 2006

53. Adam

Adam was outgoing, confident and irritatingly self assured. In every situation, he expressed strong opinions of the world and himself. I called him a pretentious git to his face at a party and he never spoke to me again. Whew.

May 24, 2006

54. Julianne

Julianne is of the earth and the sky and composes music that sings her soul’s songs. Although I admire her accomplishments in music and art, the unstructured, right-brained flightiness that makes her creative world go makes me shiver and cringe.

May 25, 2006

55. Judy

Judy oriented me to Tokyo while we hunted props for Hysterick Theatre in 1996. Who knew you could buy panties at the convenience store? We had coffees and long engaging talks. Now she’s in NYC directing, teaching & producing festivals.

May 26, 2006

56. Debbie

Debbie was a university thespian. We worked well together, but she never let me into her circle of friends because I wasn’t lesbian. She did teach me the secret of being an adult: adults carry postage stamps in their wallets.

May 27, 2006

57. Jay

Jay was the voice of God. At Christmas mass his booming voice pronounced God’s words in a choral reading of Matthew 1:1-24. Jay was also faculty sponsor of the Duquesne Red Masquers and arguably the best actor on our stage.

May 28, 2006

58. Kris

Kris has the auburn hair I always wanted, porcelain skin and freckles that blur together in the summer. Artistic and smart, she’s worked hard at a mid-career change and next autumn will have her own 3rd grade classroom.

May 29, 2006

59. Moritz

Moritz became my friend in Chicago when we attended the symphony one weekend. A skilled clarinetist, he met his wife in the string section. For fun, they play in London symphonies rehearsing alternate days, so they can mind the children.

May 30, 2006

60. John

John was the other half of “John & Alan,” the first gay couple to befriend me. He was organist for a Catholic church, graduated from a Catholic university, and was friends with many priests. Didn’t seem strange at the time.

May 31, 2006

61. Mizuno-sensei

Mizuno-sensei has run his hands all over me every week for the last five years. He knows my form better than anyone else on the planet and I melt under his touch – sometimes drifting into sleep. He’s my shiatsu masseur.