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The Long Road Home: Septuagenarians Celebrate their Union

A few people wore buttons that read, “I Do Support Marriage Equality.”  But even for them, this wedding celebration (the legal proceedings took place some months ago in the enlightened state of Iowa) was a purely sentimental occasion.  An old friend, Dr. Norman Posner (wearing a green shirt in the photograph), who has lived in this region for decades, married a new friend, Graham Farrell, and on Sunday, June 20, everyone turned out to wish the couple well. 

Their story begins in Greenwich Village in 1963.  A young obstetrician/gynecologist and a young musicologist meet and fall in love.  Then two years into their relationship, youth—a wandering eye, perhaps; a graduate program in music at Yale (the particulars of the break-up remain an on-going source of banter between them)—rends them asunder. They lose touch.  Norman goes on to become head of his department at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn; Graham becomes music director at Sacred Heart Church in St. Paul.  More than four decades pass.  Graham, now retired, is scheduled for a quadruple by-pass, so he writes letters to the people who have meant most to him in his life.  Norman receives one, but the timing couldn’t be worse.  He has just put his life partner of forty years, whom he valiantly had been caring for at home, in the Alzheimer’s unit of a local nursing home.  A couple of months later, Charles Baker dies and Norman’s pain turns to full-blown grief.  Seven months pass before he can summon the interest or energy to open Graham’s letter.  Touched by its contents, he picks up the phone.

“It was the best telephone call I ever got,” Graham says.  The two decide a visit is in order.  Norman picks up Graham at the Albany airport and drives him back to his house, Hudson Bush Farm, a brick Georgian that is considered one of the finest in the Hudson Valley.  And then something magical happens, something only the human heart, even one that has been broken and another that has endured a quadruple by-pass, can achieve.  Says Norman, “Within minutes, it was 1963.”     

Dr. Norman Posner, Dr. Earl Zimmerman professor of neurology and director of the Alzheimer’s Center at Albany Medical, and Jody Zimmerman

Arlene Boehm, Jack Harrell, and Alice Timothy; Detlef Meffert, Teresa Muler, and Paul Grappell

Paul Hamann and Ellen Carey of Seed House, a fashion resource; Harriet Shur, sculptor Roger Phillips, Maria Clarke, and Tomm Eaton

Helen Faraday-Young and Robert Bohan; Ian Nitschke and Robert Clyde Anderson

Arthur Baker, Jacqueline Wilder, Graham Farrell, Martha McMaster and Sheldon Evans

James Male, Fabio Morelli and Douglas Bryce; John Cross, Maria Clarke, and Ramon Lascano

Kay Lauster and Peggy Lampman; Vince Pomilio, Dwayne Resnick, and Mark McDonald

Morag Hann and Leaf Leaf; artist Linda Cross, Hudson gallery owner Carrie Haddad, and Lisa Fox Martin, chairman of the board of the Thomas Cole house

Lisa Faith Phillips and Nick Haddad; Scott Shallo and Kelly Shallo

                              Joceline Gonzales, the prettiest girl at the party.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 06/21/10 at 05:08 AM • Permalink