I received an e-mail today at work from an "Adam Bloch." I immediately thought to myself: Hmmm. I wonder what ever happened to the Adam Block I knew in San Francisco? Sadly, I found his memorial page when I googled him.
Although I lived in San Francisco only two-plus years and lost touch with most people there when I moved back to Washington, D.C., I have always remembered Adam most vividly. How could one not? He called me in April of 1987 while I was an editor at The Washington Post. He was writing a free-lance article on gays in the mainstream media. (A short article!) I was one of only two openly gay staff members at The Post at that time. When he told me he lived in San Francisco, I said: Oh, I'm moving there to work for the San Francisco Examiner. So he said he would interview me in person when I got there. Except for the job interview, I had never been to San Francisco. And I didn't know a soul there except the editor who hired me. So the very first person I had any contact with was Adam. You can just imagine what a welcome to The City that was! I had asked him how I would recognize him when we met for coffee. He said: I'm tall, long hair and will be wearing jeans and a leather jacket. How about you? I said: Well, I'm very short, wearing khakis and a Polo shirt. Need I say more?
Those images tell you all you need to know about our ensuing friendship. Talk about night and day! When Adam realized I didn't know anyone, he said: Oh, I'll get some folks together. Indeed he did. About 50 people showed up at my empty apartment (I was waiting on the delivery the next day), including Randy Shilts. Thanks to Adam, I was on my way. My time there ended up being two of the best years of my life. And though Adam and I were not daily buddies, we did see each other a fair amount. And every time I was around him, I liked him more and more, and was increasingly fascinated by him -- though always somewhat intimidated by him.
Even though we both went on with our lives after I left, he has remained one of my fondest memories. The last time I saw him was 19 years ago. Yet, when I saw his memorial page, my heart just sank into my stomach. That, as much as anything, tells you what a lasting impression he made on me. Like many lives he touched, mine is much richer for having known him.With fondest memoriesand deepest sympathy