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Gay couple's tombstone discovered in Houston's Museum District

[bold]Tombstone discovery in Museum District leads to questions for community and developers[/bold]

Museum District. A woman exploring a development site stumbled across a tombstone. The inscription showed it was for two men who were life partners in the late 80s. They both died battling AIDS, but now, several decades later, their story is resurfacing.

There used to be residences at the corner of Calumet and Chartres. A driveway led to an apartment garage, but developers have knocked all that down. Their work revealed a headstone on the property. There's no telling when or how it got there, but the woman who found it believed she knew why.

"People with AIDS were treated like lepers," Melissa Mims said.

Mims said she was out on a walk Monday evening when she uncovered what may be a more troubling piece of Houston's LGBTQ history.

"It ended up being this tombstone of these two men that were partners," she recalled.

rest of story at link (free)

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by Anonymousreply 52March 18, 2023 3:01 AM

Unless they were trans POC, this isn't a story!

by Anonymousreply 1March 8, 2023 5:07 PM

I did it! Now that beautiful old live oak tree will stand forever!

by Anonymousreply 2March 8, 2023 5:19 PM

Strange how they were buried, with tombstones, outside of a cemetery. There must have been a gathering of mourners, the hiring of a backhoe. . . I doubt it could have been a secret.

by Anonymousreply 3March 8, 2023 7:30 PM

[quote]the hiring of a backhoe

You think they had an escort at a funeral?! Are you crazy or someth--

Oh, you said backhoe. Never mind.

by Anonymousreply 4March 8, 2023 8:45 PM

Sad, yet beautiful story. Thanks for sharing this, OP.

by Anonymousreply 5March 8, 2023 8:46 PM

R4, perhaps the backhoe was one of the guys being buried?

by Anonymousreply 6March 8, 2023 10:44 PM

Bump because it's a great, heartwarming story.

by Anonymousreply 7March 10, 2023 6:33 PM


let me tell you how it was; ambulances wouldn't pick you up, some doctors and nurses wouldn't touch you, cemeteries wouldn't bury you and families would sweep in like vultures and not pay for a funeral. I was in Houston at the time, a beloved guy I worked with got "cancer" and they had benefits and prayer circles. When it turned out to be AIDS, HR lost/slow walked all paper work knowing he would die, like Jesus said he should. People were pissed off and shame on him for lying to us about it. "I HUGGED him, I hope I didn't get it" was conventional wisdom.

I could go on and on and on, as could any other EG who lived in urban America at the time.

I imagine that - After these guys died, a good friend paid tribute to them because their evil families did not. And when the landlord found out they died of AIDS, they knocked down the building.

by Anonymousreply 8March 10, 2023 7:02 PM

R8 Can you share more memories from that time? I'm really curious about the experiences of the survivors of the epidemic or those who lived through it firsthand.

by Anonymousreply 9March 10, 2023 7:47 PM

^You seem nice, but I've had sufficient. I'd rather argue about caftans or pasta or Boris or the best revival of Follies, none of which I've seen.

But if you're curious See Longtime Companions, Angels in America and the other one that is too traumatic for me to recall. Oh yeah, right. Philadelphia

Don't feel bad for me because I'm lucky, lucky, lucky. A couple of years ago I ran in to a Dr. I knew from SF at the height of the epidemic, a lesbian, of course, and it was like talking to a war hero. Her death tally must have been in the 100's. I lost about 30 people in my crew.

And the real lesson is that I HATE all the revivals and save all my love for the original, Yvonne de Carlo.

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by Anonymousreply 10March 10, 2023 11:43 PM

We Were Here

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by Anonymousreply 11March 10, 2023 11:57 PM

r9, I don't want to brag but I was known as the Liberace of Sandusky.

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by Anonymousreply 12March 11, 2023 12:02 AM

It's not heartwarming, you illiterate dumbass. It's heart wrenching. Words have meaning.

by Anonymousreply 13March 11, 2023 12:14 AM

Memes have meaning!

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by Anonymousreply 14March 11, 2023 12:40 AM

Younger people who weren’t around really can’t imagine how badly people with HIV or AIDS were treated in the 1980s. I was 16 in 1981 and thought this was going to be my future as a gay teenager.

I’ve posted this video before which I watched originally when it aired on Oprah. I also watched this follow-up she did years later. There are so many stories from this period in time - gay, straight, black, white - Ryan White, Kimberly Bergalis, Magic Johnson, Arthur Ashe, the Ray brothers, Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Glaser. I could go on and on. I remember them all.

Parts 2 and 3 of Mike Sisco’s story are on YouTube.

Bless this couple in OP’s post and all of these people.

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by Anonymousreply 15March 11, 2023 1:00 AM

The memoir All the Young Men, soon to be a movie starring Ruth Wilson, gives you a sense at how horrible things were for People With AIDS, it takes place in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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by Anonymousreply 16March 11, 2023 1:08 AM

Completely agree R15 . I was 16-17 around the times of these two gentlemen's deaths. In addition to being terrified of anyone in my ignorant and highly conservative community finding out my secret, I was equally terrified finding love and having sex with another man would result in us both suffering and dying from AIDS. Sometimes I think those fears were so insurmountable, I was frozen and resulted in me being still single and still a virgin at 50.

For awhile, it seemed all that talk of safe sex and abstinence paid off, and the proceeding generations learned and loved after the suffering of those who went through the pain and loss of AIDS. But now, sadly, there is a stupidity, a belief of immortality because "I'm on Prep y'all!" "Breed my ass Zaddy!" They've forgotten what we went through.

You know the old axiom: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

I hope these gentlemen are resting in peace, regardless of the construction work, and are happy together on the other side. Please forgive me if I missed it, but are there bodies or urns with this stone?

by Anonymousreply 17March 11, 2023 6:19 AM

Oh my. This is heartbreaking. Those were dark times. I can't imagine what it was like once one had died and the other waiting to join him. I hope they had some peace and love as they faced this together.

by Anonymousreply 18March 11, 2023 7:36 AM

RIP Faggots!!

by Anonymousreply 19March 11, 2023 7:48 AM

this baby gay needs love

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by Anonymousreply 20March 11, 2023 9:29 AM

R17 you are a victim of your psychology, the epidemic, and culture.

IMO you were badly damaged. Never living your sexuality freely.

IMO you do not have much of value to say about how young people are living their sexuality nowadays when a pill can prevent HIV. And other pills can treat if in in a worse case scenario some young person gets HIV.

Because you have tunnel vision and very serious PTSD. In fact you are still living with enormous stress, and projecting it onto others who do not feel that stress and do not need to.

by Anonymousreply 21March 11, 2023 10:30 AM

I had all the fears and anxieties that we all felt, as teens, starting our sex lives in the 1980s. However, I was always of the mindset that I am not an expert and that experts should be listened to. 1983-1986 were rough years for living in fear but in my case, it seemed by 1986, enough people had explained to me to me that safe sex rules worked. And I was able to do everything I wanted sexually, except bareback, and everything I wanted emotionally and psychologically, such as have sex with HIV+ people, and even a few time fall in love with HIV+ people.

by Anonymousreply 22March 11, 2023 10:42 AM

The video at R20 is a parody. The actor is playing a fictional character.

by Anonymousreply 23March 11, 2023 10:45 AM

What's taking so long to prove whether or not there is an actual grave there? That would take just a few minutes with ground piercing radar. I would find it unusual if someone was allowed to bury bodies in a residential back yard, even in Texas. It was the 1980s, not the 1880s.

by Anonymousreply 24March 11, 2023 10:53 AM

R23- says who, how do u know

by Anonymousreply 25March 11, 2023 10:59 AM

R25 I should have been clearer, sorry. Zachwillmore is a popular tiktokker who is mentally ill - histrionic narcissist. Its very difficult to know what is true or not. His In any event, his TIkTok persona is hardly representative of real young people today and their attitude to HIV and HIV prevention. He has worked up a very outrageous character. Don't use it to paint a generalisation about the young.

by Anonymousreply 26March 11, 2023 11:04 AM

A killer queen I know visited an artist friend in hospital who had art materials scattered over his bed. They picked up a piece of paper and died a drawing of a spikey haired skeletal clown propped up on pillows, and hand lettered above it "PIcTUrE of JoHn DyInG In An aids WaRD."

John thought it hilarious, as did the nurses, and it was pinned above his bed. It was an exclusively gay male aids ward, and many of the staff where gay having volunteered to work there. Having a gallows humour was the only way to get through the days. A long long way from today's trigger-sensitive flowers!

by Anonymousreply 27March 11, 2023 11:06 AM

R27 Why did he do the mixed capitals and lower case lettering on his drawing?

by Anonymousreply 28March 11, 2023 11:10 AM

FoR tHe SakE oF ArT dARLing!

by Anonymousreply 29March 11, 2023 11:11 AM

R17, thanks for sharing your story. I agree with you.

by Anonymousreply 30March 11, 2023 12:11 PM

Could it be someone just stole their headstone from a cemetery and had it in their backyard?

by Anonymousreply 31March 11, 2023 12:22 PM

In March 2023 their joint tombstone was found during excavation on a property in which they had lived. Do not know the circumstances under which the gravestone was found at the house.. the owner of the property says it had been stored in the garage all this time but at least French was buried elsewhere, in Louisiana

I'd say the graves were being desecrated and vandalized because of the AIDS story written on it, so the stone was dug up by friends still living at the address and kept there. No one would have ever been buried on a suburban block like that in 1989

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by Anonymousreply 32March 11, 2023 12:35 PM

French is buried by himself in a small country graveyard. Perhaps they were buried together someplace and homophobic family members had French exhumed and buried by himself, and the joint headstone somehow ended up in the garage. Sad if they're not together.

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by Anonymousreply 33March 11, 2023 12:58 PM

R26- untill u r not certain he is lying, there is no harm in showing him some support

by Anonymousreply 34March 11, 2023 1:11 PM

[quote]Sad if they're not together.

They are together.

by Anonymousreply 35March 11, 2023 1:13 PM

R33 This happened to Robin May Thomas, who was initially buried with his lover a Navy Gunner. Both had committed suicide with in months of each other. Robin’s mother, Michael Strange (who had a tumultuous lesbian relationship with Margret Wise Brown for years) had him exhumed and moved to the family plot in the Bronx.

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by Anonymousreply 36March 11, 2023 1:51 PM

"At the corner of another street that also starts with a C"

--Crackerjack news reporter

by Anonymousreply 37March 11, 2023 2:16 PM

Thank you for sharing your memories, R10 and R17.

by Anonymousreply 38March 12, 2023 8:39 AM

Properties that are up for redevelopment where people in OP post once lived?

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by Anonymousreply 39March 12, 2023 9:43 AM

While appreciate Melissa Mims concern there is zero possibility remains of one or both men were buried in a residential neighborhood. Maybe 1789 but not in 1989.

My guess is as other poster stated; two men likely were interred (or planned to be) together but family stepped in and it didn't happen. Hence there now was a tombstone surplus to requirements.

Someone should look up or otherwise try to find copy of death certificate for James Nathan Brickley, in most if not all states information about funeral director/mortuary body was released to is contained wherein. Perhaps even interment information as well.

by Anonymousreply 40March 12, 2023 9:53 AM

I don't know who's dopier, the lez or the newsreader, no one would have been allowed to get buried in a suburban backyard in 1989.

by Anonymousreply 41March 12, 2023 10:34 AM

And I don't understand why people like r41 don't realize that people were wondering if there had been burials on the property in secret, without permission. Everyone keeps saying "but it wouldn't have been allowed" as if that somehow means it could have never, ever happened.

People break local zoning laws all the time, I'm afraid.

by Anonymousreply 42March 12, 2023 11:13 AM

My guess is that the couple had planned to be buried together (or, as r33 noted, WERE originally buried together) but one or both families put the kibosh on that, and the now-unused gravestone was kept in a garage.

Some genealogists are going to have to find Brickey's family to try to find out where he is. Probably not on the property, but time will tell.

by Anonymousreply 43March 12, 2023 11:17 AM

I volunteered in the St Vincent’s AIDS ward in the early 90’s. It’s seared into my soul. Often they’d be at nursing home-like places and the home would drop them off just as they were dying.

By the 90’s we all knew how one got HIV so weren’t afraid to touch or hug anyone. There were both gay and straight people on the ward. Some families were great. They’d visit daily. Others had no family visitors because they had been rejected. The skeletal look of dying AID victims is something that will never leave me. Often, a family would put up a picture of what the man or woman looked like on their prime so everyone would remember them that way instead of the skeleton dying on the hospital bed.

The victims were from all walks of life: doctors, priests, janitors, models, politicians, bus drivers, store clerks—all cut down by this shitty disease that made people hate them even more and make them die pariahs.

In 1995, the anti-virals came out and miraculously everyone started getting better. The AIDS ward closed in a year. I am so thankful I got to see that first hand. I think about the people who just missed the new medicines. It was a horrid, horrid death. I still sometime cry about that time.

by Anonymousreply 44March 12, 2023 1:24 PM

Thank you for sharing, R44. Yes as I'm entering my 60s I'll never forget those scenes from my 20s.

by Anonymousreply 45March 12, 2023 1:27 PM

[quote]I think about the people who just missed the new medicines.

My friend Carl missed it by about two months.

by Anonymousreply 46March 12, 2023 1:32 PM

It truly was a plague and they were made pariahs like plague victims are

by Anonymousreply 47March 12, 2023 1:32 PM

Obituary of Kenneth French

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by Anonymousreply 48March 12, 2023 1:47 PM

Their ashes could be buried there. Not necessarily a coffin.

French’s obituary mentioned his parents and siblings. Some obituaries didn’t even have that, because the family refused if the cause of death and partner was mentioned.

by Anonymousreply 49March 12, 2023 4:08 PM


God Bless St. Vincent's in Manhattan along with rest of Catholic hospitals (Mother Cabrini, St. Clare's...) back 1980's and 1990's. Despite what many may have thought or think it was the Catholic hospitals who rose to the occasion when it was clear HIV/AIDS was unfolding into a major epidemic.

Nursing and medical staff at St. Vincent's developed treatment models and other innovations that became and still are standard of care for HIV/AIDS patients worldwide today.

Other hospitals would dump HIV/AIDs patients at St. Vincent's ER (no anti patient dumping laws then), but the staff simply took everyone in they could and tried to manage.

Often rooms were full so patients were in hallways on stretchers or beds. Nursing staff marked out area around bed with tape and created a "room" for charting and other purposes.

True to their mission the Sisters took on everyone who came to St. Vincent's for care regardless of ability to pay. This ran gamut from gay men, IV drug users, women (often pregnant who delivered HIV infected infants) on down the line.

Did everyone rise to occasion 100% Sadly no; there were nurses and others who couldn't (or wouldn't) hide their disgust at gay men feeling they got what they deserved for putting their dicks where they shouldn't. In more than a few instances such dragons gave voice to their feelings while caring for a patient. You'd see some poor soul; a once healthy young man now no more than skin and bones weeping as this so called "Angel of Mercy" provided care in most passive aggressive way possible.

For all St. Vincent's hospital did for gay community all the new money in West and Greenwich Village largely couldn't be bothered with the place. They felt it was "dirty" and a "charity hospital", someplace they and theirs wouldn't set foot in under any circumstances. Hence they were happy or at least indifferent when St. Vincent's filed for final bankruptcy and closed.

Ghosts of Saint Vincent's now haunt Greenwich and West Village along with all those poor souls who died from HIV/AIDS from area.

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by Anonymousreply 50March 17, 2023 6:05 AM


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by Anonymousreply 51March 17, 2023 6:07 AM

People chose to ignore the obvious and believe that the disease was casually transmitted because they were unwilling to accept that their son or uncle had bottomed.

by Anonymousreply 52March 18, 2023 3:01 AM
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