blast from the past

blast from the pastOH! MY! GOD!

Talk about your blasts from the past...

When I got home tonight there was a big fat padded envelope in my letter box. I pulled it out thinking "Well this is seven kinds of weird, I haven't ordered anything, and nobody ever sends me prezzies"... pulled it out and turned it over to look at the return address...

OH! MY! GOD!

The name was one that I hadn't seen in FOREVER (more on that in a second) and I couldn't get into the house fast enough, all the while going "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god"... dumped all my stuff, tore into the envelope and pulled out a book and a letter...

And I fell smack bang into the middle of Nostalgiaville...

Way, way, way, way back before I'd come out or moved out of home or whatever (we're talking the mid 1990's here), I placed a "personals" ad in one of the gay magazines (yep, I remember back in the day when gay mags had personals) for a "pen pal" (unfortunately I didn't keep a copy of the ad, I'm guessing it would have been a riot)... and this is back in the days when Adelaide phone numbers only had seven numbers, not eight... lordy, lordy, lordy...

But Ash and I started writing to each other... actual real live letters too (okay, they were printed rather than handwritten, but they were snailmail)... and we wrote and we wrote and we wrote and we wrote and we traded some short stories (okay, mostly he sent me his stories). Nothing made me happier than opening the mailbox and discovering an envelope with Ash's big bold capitalised handwriting. And eventually I ended up with a huge A4 sized box that all the letters got layered into (and which I always intended to collage with stuff, but that never happened)... along with the couple of cassettes he dubbed for me (the Sister Act soundtrack and the Bond Themes), a couple of posters for plays he designed, some press clippings, and, if memory serves, a handmade Christmas card. Unfortunately we never put dates on the letters, and they got all mixed up at some point and they're all out of order... so I can foresee a project in the near future...

If I had to sum Ash up in a single phrase, I one that springs to mind right at this precise moment is "Easy, breezy, beautiful Covergirl"... partially because it's got that camp appeal and so did he, and I always saw him as this graceful (and very, very, very tall) slightly unreal and somewhat "Art Deco" styled creature (there was always something very 1930's-1940's about him)... thoroughly lovely though.

Even though we lived in the same city it took a long while for us to actually meet (all my fault, I was a chickenshit... and I'll hold my hand up to standing him up once first... whoops, my bad), but eventually we did... to see a play if I remember correctly (something by Agatha Christie)... then he moved interstate, but we saw each other a couple of times when he came back to visit (there was a New Years Eve in there at some point, and he was the one who took me to Adelaide's one and only gay club for the first time)... then when I went to Melbourne the first time we met up for dinner.

Somewhere along the way we switched to email, which was much more efficient, but not quite the same as finding one of those big fat envelopes in my mailbox...

And then we lost touch. I don't remember quite what happened, I'm sure it was one of those things where they take a while to write, and then you take a while to reply, and a while becomes a long while and then a really long while and then somebody never gets around to replying.

But reading his letter today I was back to being in the 90's... he writes pretty much the same now as he did then... and he made reference to certain people that although I never met them, I remember from all his letters, and I was about 150 different kinds of happy...

Also in the envelope was his very first published novel (WOOHOO! I could not be more excited for him!)... that is SOOOO going to the top of my "To Read" list, and once I've read it I'll have to throw my thoughts together and encourage everybody to seek it out... actually, I think the phrase "demand that you go out and buy this book right now" will factor in there somewhere...

It's just a whole world of WOW to hear from him again after all this time...

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2 comments:

Sunshine said...

What a lovely story about Ash! :)

And the only gay club in Adelaide - that's the Mars Bar, right? (I have never been but Sam originally came from Adelaide and one of his brothers still lives there).

yani said...

Yeah that would be the one... there have been a few others come and go, but it's the one constant...

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