I was out of work, using credit cards for necessities and, yes, theatre tickets, eating out---how could I not go see "Naked Boys Singing"? On May 1 I signed a new lease for another year on 23rd Street knowing it was too expensive and not sure if I would even be able to pay the following month's rent. Things were going crazy such as my getting a letter from Social Security that I owed them $1,395 . It's not like I was getting such a big monthly check from them but it seems I messed up between working and not getting a 'full' check from them.
On June 16 I got a call from subsidized housing that I could move in the following week. I went to see the apartment at The Gateway apartments which was very small, a studio, and asked if they had anything else available and I was shown a small bedroom apartment which was in a corner and very dark. The lady said I could refuse 2 apartments but if I didn't take the third I would go back to the bottom of the list. The last apartment she showed me was in the center of a row where it got a lot of light and overlooked grass, trees, yachts, the canal and the million+ homes across the way. I immediately said, "Yes!" I was told to come back on Friday to sign all the rent papers and then I could start moving in. I was in a quandary because I had just signed the new lease at my old place and here I was going to break it. I didn't know if the landlord would pursue me for the other 11 months but I had to take the Gateway place plus I wanted to. June 25 I signed the lease and, with Gino's help, started moving in that day, a Friday. Without a job, no income, and the rent based on what you made I really got a good deal. (Now 13 years later I still have a good deal!) By the end of the month I was moved in. I did have to leave some things behind like 2 of the 3 seven foot couches that were made to order for me in Memphis as this living room could only handle one. Hanging up book shelves were out of the question so they were left behind though I did take the books, VHS tapes and CDs that stayed in boxes for a long time. Nancy and Doug were in town and, aside from Gino, they were the first ones to see my new place. We went out to Macaroni's Grill to celebrate.
The month of July was spent buying things, like new drapes, for my new apartment and I, also, bought a new computer. It was the first time Gino got a full size door for me to use as a computer table and not only do I still have that door which I now keep plants on but I also have another door as my current table! Gino did most of the hanging up of pictures while I did the 'hard work' of donating a load of books to the library they had on the premises. Along with the library they had a beauty/barber shop, laundry rooms, a huge pool, a community room where they held special events and had continuous activities not to mention the breezeway where they held barque's plus a place for people to sit around and throw the bull---and old people can do that!--plus have some appetizers and a few drinks at sunset.
I knew one gay guy who lived in the complex and he told me that out of 300 residents he knew of at least 40 were gay which made me feel comfortable. One of the first couples I met were two guys who at that point were together 56 years. At about the same time my ex Bill called to tell me that he and his lover, Richard, were coming into town and we agreed that he would call me and we would get together for lunch. A lot was going on that month with the move because it meant calling AT&T to get phone installed which is never fun, plus getting my driver's license changed, putting in forms at the post office, all the many annoying things that moving entails but I was getting it done a little at a time.
Bill, Richard and I went to lunch at Mango's(open) on Los Olas--from my diary on Monday, July 26, 1999, "Richard surprised me in that he was a lot younger than Bill--or me!--but was a very nice guy. Bill paid the tab and I left the tip--I wasn't uncomfortable and except for our past I didn't feel anything for Bill anymore--I don't know if I will ever be seeing him again but it felt like a closure in my life." Also in my diary for that week is the following, "Fred who I met on line came over--he remembered me from 32 years ago and being at my place on West 75th Street in New York! He, Gino, Manny and I went to see "Edge of 17", then to Lone Star Steakhouse (closed) for dinner."
In addition to my other notes I have a statement about going up to Boca Raton for a reading of my play which didn't go over too well which didn't surprise me. Once again I wrote "I have to get a job!" but because my rent was so low I didn't have to panic but that would happen soon. Meanwhile I lived in a great new place and I still had credit cards!