onsdag, juli 08, 2009

Stonewall 40 years – I was there

Or almost. I arrived in New York City in the early morning of Sunday June 29, 1969 together with four friends (Larserik, Michael, Carl-Thomas and his boyfriend). We stayed at the 42nd Street YMCA.  Pass 1969_2(1)

In the hot afternoon I went for a shower. I met a guy there, John, and we went back to my cabin. He did not himself  live at the Y, but a few blocks away, and he invited us for drinks to his apartment where we had a magnificient view of Manhattan. He told us of the incidents in the Village on Friday night.

We went down there in the evening. There were still crowds outside the Stonewall Inn in Christopher Street.  We stayed in the area with lots of people going around. We came back the following night, still large crowds in front of Stonewall.

As one observer writes: “There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we're going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren't going to go away. And we didn't.”

We did not know then that  this was one of the decisive events in Gay History, the memory of which is celebrated in many countries – where it is at all possible.

We then flew to San Francisco – THE gay city at the time – at the end of The Flower Power epoch  but a decade or more before AIDS. I landed up in Berkeley on 4th of July, and I have a few photos from there.

Then to Los Angeles. There I met Walter’s mother. We had coffee together, as you can see.

Walter and I shared my flat in Stockholm when he was a student here 1961-1963.  He later became a professor at Smith College, a distinguished women’s college in Massachusetts. (His obituary stresses his Catholicism – something that did not manifest itself during his Stockholm years, and only hints at his being gay – something that was definitely part of his way of life. He liked Sweden, except for it’s bright summer nights: ruinous for cruising he used to say.)

Then back to New York, where we could stay in a flat on the Upper West Side thanks to friends we had met in San Francisco, and spent a week-and at Fire Island toghether with John (from YMCA)  and other friends. We stayed in New York when the first manned moon landing took place.

It was quite an eventful summer.


2 kommentarer:

Julia sa...

Någon på Juliagruppen-seminariets mingel berättade att det var någon där som varit med på Stonewall. Jag får lite gåshud bara vid tanken.

Anaïs sa...

Det var roligt att träffas igår! Tack för din vänlighet. Jag blev mycket glad.

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