I just listened to a podcast about the 25th anniversary of the movie “Philadelphia.” It moved me so very much and took me back to the 1980s in New York City.
It was 1984, and I had just begun working my first “real” job at The Waldorf=Astoria.
The lead Assistant Manager was a man named Michael, who was a wealth of knowledge and knew how to deal with any and all situations and guests. If you aspired to be like someone in the job, Michael was the inspiration. I did not know Michael well at the time, but I remember his partner, Andrew, died not long after I started after being so very sick. A couple of years later we learned he passed away from AIDS, and later Michael also succumbed to the virus.
So many people I knew in the 1980s died of AIDS. It really had only been firmly identified in 1981 in NYC, so for Andrew to pass in 1983 he must have been one of the early ones to contract AIDS. New York City and San Francisco were ground zero for the AIDS epidemic.
It was a very scary time. There was no cure and no hope; it was a death sentence then. If you wanted to know if you were HIV positive or had AIDS you went to a clinic and had your blood drawn. You then took your own blood sample and dropped it in a refrigerator outside of some place (maybe the health department?). No one was even there; you just filled out a paper with an identifying number and put your sample in the refrigerator and called in two or three weeks to get the results by giving your identifying number. It was all anonymous. If the results were negative you breathed a huge sigh of relief because for that moment you had dodged a lethal bullet while others had not and were still dying around you.
It is a virus like chicken pox, so we need a full proof vaccine. Thank G-d now if someone is HIV positive, you can live your life – it is not a death sentence as long as you take the prescribed medications. Someone used the analogy of diabetes – take your insulin and you are fine. So if you take your meds you can keep HIV at bay. Recently I learned there is even a daily pill to take as a preventative.
So why did I tell you this story? Because even with all the advancements, people still die of AIDS.
This June, 2019, we’ll be selling a variety of rainbow baked goods. For every rainbow cake purchased we’ll be donating $1.00 to AIDS Foundation Houston and for every rainbow cake slice, we’ll donate $.50. While the podcast recommended the organization, RED, and I think it is also a good choice; I wanted to keep the monies raised in Houston. If you don’t feel like cake, just make a donation at one of the two websites. It’s time to stop HIV/AIDS and make sure as many as possible live a long, healthy life.
To listen to the 2 part podcast it can be found at the links below:
(It followed one on Jaws, so that’s why the url has Jaws in it.)