I wrote here three years ago about my late friend from my high school days, Vito Mastrogiovanni, who is commemorated on an AIDS quilt.
Also in Vito’s class was a very intelligent guy named Stuart. Generally, I admire intelligence. In this case though, Stuart knew he was smart, and it made him arrogant, obnoxious. I did not like this person. At all.
At this 20th reunion event, one which Vito boycotted, probably in part out of the rage he was feeling about having AIDS, Stu was there. I recognized Stuart but made no attempt at talking to him. Interestingly, Stuart made overtures to talk to me. He was – shockingly – pleasant and polite. He apologized to me for being such a prig. He said he learned a lot about himself over the years. He also revealed to me that he had AIDS.
I have no precise idea why Stu told me this, why he singled me out; he was a tool to just about everyone, I thought. Or maybe he was telling lots of people, but one at a time; I suppose a mass announcement from the microphone may not have gone well.
Unlike Vito, who made some peace with his disease before he died in July 1991, I have no idea whatever happened to Stu. His name does not appear in the 2003 school alumni directory, but that’s hardly definitive. His last name is so common that there was a guy when I went to college with exactly the same name; much nicer dude, BTW. But I am pleased he took the time to reach out to me, for whatever reason.
I have worked this event a few times in the past. I won’t have a chance this year, but I always make an effort to attend it, if only to see if Vito’s quilt has made it to Albany.
Event: NYS Department of Health AIDS Memorial Quilt Display
Description: Open to the Public
Location: Empire State Plaza Convention Hall (the Egg, Albany)
Monday, December 01, 2008 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 04, 2008 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The program was cut from five days to four due to state budget cuts.