Ray Hall was a year ahead of me in school. I can't remember if I met him in Jr or Sr high school, but he was the best kind of friend to have: caring, empathetic, funny, and warm. He was the person who, with his hugs, started me on the path of not being afraid of being touched. He was my first crush, which was ironic since he was openly gay; in fact, that may have been why I was so comfortable around him. Or maybe it was just that he was a comfortable guy to be around. He is also one of the reasons I am so vocally a BGLQT activist; my wish for him (and for all my other friends in the community) is/was that they/he be safe and have all the same rights as I do.
Ray was somewhat of a dilettante, dabbling in many things. Over the time I knew him after high school he was, in no particular order, a drama major at a four-year college, a student at a two-year college (this came after he dropped out of the four-year college), in the military, a truck-driver-in-training, a liason for a local LGB club or two, and a night auditor at a hotel. I spent many a night during college breaks visiting with him as he audited, just talking or watching strange movies on the lobby TV. He is also the main reason I became a liason between SUNY Oswego's GALA and the LGB clubs at Syracuse University and Mohawk Valley Community College. It was through Ray that I met blackgryphon and, indirectly, the group which I fondly call "The Utica Crowd".
One of my most cherished college memories has to do with Ray; one day he called me out of the blue and noted that since the hotel chain he worked for had an employee discount, he was thinking of taking a weekend trip to Canada (where the chain was headquartered), and might I be interested in going along. I certainly was, and it was that weekend when I got to know
Ray and I lost and got back in touch intermittently after I dropped out of school. He was almost an attendant at Andy's and my wedding, but he ended up being unable to make it due to relationship troubles. He caught up with me on Facebook a little over a year ago. A little less than a year ago, some friends and I discovered, indirectly via a death notice in a local paper (local to Rome, NY, where we grew up,) that he had died in June. His niece, via Facebook, filled us in on what few details they had. The autopsy and toxicology tests were inconclusive. This explains my answer to the writer's block question a few days ago -- we all want to know what happened.
My biggest regret is that Andy and Ray never met one another. They would have been fast friends.
Today's song a day entry was "A song which reminds you of someone". In high school, Ray introduced me to the group 10,000 Maniacs by way of the song "Trouble Me". It was also a pointed message at a difficult time in my life. That song will always remind me of him.
- day 01 – your favorite song: "Shades of Gray" as performed by The Monkees.
- day 02 – your least favorite song: "(She Was A) Hotel Detective" by TMBG.
- day 03 - a song that makes you happy: Beethoven's 6th, 1st movement.
- day 04 - a song that makes you sad: "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton.
- day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone: "Trouble Me" by 10,000 Maniacs. (Ray Hall)