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  • We made our way up to Philadelphia yesterday to finally see the exhibit that had been put up in a room in the William Way LGBT Community Center, honoring the history of the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Coffeehouses. The exhibit was called “Something’s Brewing”.

    We made our way down Broad Street through South Philly, past our old neighborhood where we had our first apartment together -

    “It looks different, this time” –
    “It looks different, every time – it keeps getting older” -

    down into Center City.

    As we were parking our car in the lot across the street from the center, it became obvious that something was definitely brewing in the center. It seemed like an awful lot of people were coming and going, into and out of the main entrance to the center.

    Once we got parked and made our way into the main entrance, we walked into a throng of people, mostly teenagers, pretty much wall-to-wall throughout the main floor of the center, a hive of activity, as busy and buzzing as a throng of teenagers will be.
  • Of course – it was MLK Day! Kids were taking the day on, instead of taking the day off! There were numerous volunteer activities happening, all at once, as this crew was going out to sweep the streets, while that crew were putting together safe sex packets to hand out, and we were there, in the middle of it all, looking for the “Something’s Brewing” exhibit.

    Finally finding someone who seemed like they might work here, they pointed over to an assembled throng in a room off to the side on the main floor, and said “I think that’s what you’re looking for”. That was where they were putting together the safe sex packets.

    There must have been 50 people packed into the little room, with just enough room around the perimeter to slide in and look at the displays along the walls. It was perfect! To see all of that activity just warmed my heart.

    I didn’t need to have the nice little sit-down in a quiet museum like room, to look around at the display and reflect on a time, 40-some years ago, when the world was changing all around. ‘Twas better to be in the present day swirl of activity that was changing the world, a packet at a time, a “day-on” to be about positive change in the world. Dad would have loved something like this!
  • John, the fellow who had put the exhibit together, showed up, apologizing for all the activity, but I just laughed and said, “No, this is perfect. I love it!”

    I had to climb over boxes and people to get to the corner where mine and my dad’s stories were hanging on the wall, and the MP-3 and headphones of my brother’s performance were, but it was great.

    John invited us up to the archives on the 3rd floor, once I was done taking in the exhibit, to show us where they’ve stored and catalogued 40 + years of the history of the center, and of the gay community in Philadelphia.

    It was great. I mentioned “From All Walks of Life (FAWOL)”, the group that coordinated the first Philadelphia Aids Walks back in the mid-80’s that Kathy and I had been on the Board of, and he said they had FAWOL newsletters somewhere in the archives.
  • They had an old card catologue of phone and contact listings from the 80’s – you don’t see too many of these around anymore, with everything digitized.

    All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend MLK day, topped off with a stop at our favorite place to grab a roast beef sandwich and gravy fries (Nick’s Bar and Grill at 20th and Jackson) before we headed down the highway, back home, where we were treated, from the car radio, to an outstanding block of MLK-themed tuneage from our favorite D.J., Earl Bailey, now a Serius/XM deejay, but once a local WMMR Philly Rock station D.J.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby
    Can you tell me where he’s gone?

    I thought I saw him walking up over the hill
    With Abraham, Martin and John...

    Didn’t you love the things that they stood for?
    Didn’t they try to find some good in you and me?
    And we’ll be free, someday soon, we're gonna be, someday…"

    Dion, "Abraham, Martin and John"
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