Uncle Donald's Castro Street
1997 G U E S T B O O K

Selections from the comments of 1997 visitors . . .

On 10/9/97 ...
Steve Woods
From: San Francisco
Comments: Well, I must tell you: you make it seem as if I was there with you. I was only in grade school back then and saw those events on the news. Growing up in Reno, NV. I witnessed a very homophobic event take place in 1985. The Gay Rodeo was cancelled and it was (I know this for a fact) due to fear of the AIDS crisis which, unfortunately, was known as a Gay disease. I even had to endure rude comments from my parents regading the issue. I was 14 and still hadn't realized I was gay. All I knew was the curious rush of excite- ment I got when I saw two handsome men holding hands near the rodeo three years before. Anyway, thanks for the trip down memory lane - I wasn't there but I was from afar...and surprise, surprise look where I ended up living!

On 8/7/97 ...
David A. Van Epps
From: Mill Valley CA
Comments: Uncle Don!!!!! thank you thank you thank you!!! I had forgotton how fun that time was! Seeing pictures of all my old friends,lovers and my youth. Bo Aries,Peter Berlin, Marty Kahn, Jimmy Segal,Walter Yazalino and many many more! your photo's have touched a part of me I thought long dead. thanks

On 7/20/97 ...
Cliff Anchor
From: Monte Rio, CA
Comments: Your site is a delight and makes one realize how far we've come as Gays , Lesbians, Bi's and Transgendered (and Hetero) people. For it is all of us working together as Family that kindles the best in Society and in Humanity. There is also a sad side, for when I look at these photos, I associate them with the many dear and loving kin I have known and who were taken from us by ignorance, prejudice and AIDS. They are missing from the pictures now. I moved to the Russian River from SF in the early 1960's and raised two (adopted) sons there. When the Great Migration to the region began, with Peter Pender's opening of Fife's Resort in the 1970's, it was like Family moving in! It was a great joy. Business prospered. The whole community took on a shine and a sparkle and glamor and festive feeling of its own, in contrast to the run-down homes which were commonplace and often abandoned. People walked six abreast on the sidewalks. If you wanted Lunch, you ALWAYS had to call and make a reservation --even at the dinkiest place. Shuttle busses ran between the resorts: From The Woods to Fife's, to River Village, to Forestville Lodge and many more places in-between. My lover, Leonard, moved here in 1980 and so did Randy Shilts who had been our friend for 16 years. Castro Street was also jammed with people. It was like two parties going on simultaneously and all of us were very optimistic about our future as Gays and Lesbians. We were, as Harvey Milk predicted, moving into the Mainstream and coming into our own. As an activist from 1960 in San Francisco, I remembered the police bar raids, and the arrests at California Hall in the New Year of 1993-4. We have definitely come a long way, and learned that it is far better to be honest and come out of the closets. Then came 1980, and a mysterious disease called GRID which reportedly only affected Gays. Gay-Related Immuno-Deficiency Disease became the rallying call of the opportunists of the Religious Reich's Fuhrers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson ad nauseum. It seems the opportunists took advantage of this opportunistic infection to imply God sanctioned their bigotry, and it was God's wrath. But, if the likes of Falwell, Robertson, D.James Kennedy, Ralph Reid, etc are "Christian", then I am proud to say that I am not. I look at all the courageous acts of our Gay and Lesbian, Bi, TG and Hetero kin whose love and integrity resulted in public edcuation and change, and I give thanks every day that I was born Gay, just to claim those wonderful people as kin. The cause of GRID was said to be caused by Amyl Nitrite "poppers". Since my lover and I did not use stimulants (outside of coffee for me!) we felt relatively safe from GRID, which later became AIDS and was shown to infect ANYONE, not just Gays. Sadly, we already were infected and in 1988, my lover died. I felt absolutely lost, until Peter Hollister at Face to Face suggested I look after other youngsters with AIDS. (My hetero son, Robert did just that. There are three youths buried on his mountaintop property here, who were rejected by their Fundamentalist parents because they were Gay. They died of AIDS) I am not a "Christian" because it is my opinion that the bible was authored by Man for political purposes. It is STILL used by the Religious Reich for political purposes. But I do believe in the spirituality of Humanity. During one of my visits to an ICU ward, a young man who was propped up in bed, tubes down his throat, lay terminally ill at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa. As I entered the room, I greeted him. He ignored me. So I sat in a nearby armchair. He suddenly began to cry. I got up and walked to his bed. "What's the matter?" I asked. "Oh, my lover died yesterday in Marin General (Hospital) 70 miles away and I wasn't there for him." I was aware of saying the following words, but not of formulating them. I told the boy "When you love someone, they become a part of you and you become a part of them. It is only the body that dies. Your lover is with you now." And it was then that I realized, as I felt great peace within myself and saw it manifest itself in the youth in the bed, that I realized the message was from my lover to me. I hope, should you lose someone dear to you, that you will always remember and derive great comfort from knowing this. Love, Cliff Anchor; sons Robert Booth, Herb Kateley, daughters: Pam, Ruel Grand-daughter Ashley, Grandsons: Matt, Mike and Richard. Great Grandson (un-named yet) All part of the greater Gay, Lesbian, Bi, TG and Hetero all-inclusive Family.

Cliff was a fascinating man, an Activist's Activist! This message initiated a dialogue between Cliff and myself and we became "family". He lived at the Russian River, 80 miles north of San Francisco, with his lover Sargeant Leonard Matlovich, one of the first members of the US Armed Forces to openly challenge the ban on "Gays in the Military". Both of these noble men have succombed to AIDS. Thank you, Cliff and Leonard, for being supurb role models and leaders in the struggle for human rights.

On 7/4/97 ...
Comments: Hello. I just came across your site on the web and you said if someone has something to tell to e-mail you. So I so hope Im not bothering you by getting this off my chest. :) Back in 1992, I bought Jello Biafra's "Spoken Word" CD, "I Blow Minds For A Living". On it, he told the major San Francisco story of Dan White, George Mascone and Harvey Milk. The story completely blew me away and for some reason I became fascinated with the names "Dan White" and "Harvey Milk". I have no idea why. But for years I always wondered what they looked like and how that incident came to be. I just couldnt believe the story Jello told could be TRUE! With White getting off as he did. Now, just a few weeks ago, I was lying in bed one night watching TV when I happened to pass by, I believe, "PBS". They were just getting ready to show a documentary on Harvey Milk. It was the one that won the Academy award. "Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!! This is finally it", I thought. I finally get to see what Harvey Milk looked like and get the dirt on Dan White. Now, I am not gay. AT ALL.. But after that movie ended, I couldnt help but shed a tear and think what a truly great and cool man Harvey Milk was. I really wish I could've met him. He really seemed like a genuine, caring man. His, and that whole story, just blows me away. Such a bizarre, tragic story. Although I am not gay, I would have supported Harvey 100%. Anyways, thanx for listening to me babble. I think you have an excellent site, and its beautiful that people like you keep Harvey's name and ideals alive.
Bye JimIsRad

On 7/3/97 ...
Preston Brady III
From: Mobile, Alabama
Comments: Don, Thanks for the tour up memory lane - performed with the special touch only you could provide. I was there and I've since been back. Last week I sat with a friend of many years and watched "Lilies" at the Castro, part of the Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. I hope it won because it was the best movie I've seen in a long time. I walked past Cliff's hardware and there was Guy standing out front, just as he was in the 70's. There were still ironing boards at 18th and Castro, and when I ducked into Moby Dicks there stood Charles with drink and cig in hand, just as I left him years ago. A Different Light still shone the same light and tho many of our brothers are missing, our spirit stands strong in Castro and throughout the world. So in the magic of the Castro the aura of the 70's lives on, as here in your site for the rest of the world. Remember to keep the breath free with hopings and imaginings -- we are and we do.

On 6/17/97 ...
L. Stuart Milk
From: Fort Lauderdale
Comments: Great job on Harvey....I have some photos and letters you may want to add and will send copies to you if you are interested. Thanks again for a great site!

This is the nephew of Harvey Milk, son of Harvey's brother Robert. Through this first message, Stuart and I have become good friends. He lives in Florida and I have visited him there several times. As he promised, he has provided some Milk Family photographs for this website, and he has told me many stories about Harvey. Thank you, Stuart!

On 4/26/97 ...
Casey /
From: Richmond, CA
Comments: I really love this web site, and I am very proud to have been a part of the history of the Castro. The wild times , parties and changes in this city by the bay have been the time of my life that I will never forget. It has been a real joy to share a lot of my experiences with U.D. love, Casey.

Casey was my next door neighbor on Henry Street during the 70's. He still a close friend. There's a picture of him with a snake around his neck on the Gay Parades page.

On 4/18/97 ...
Little Sister
From: New Jersey
Comments: Well Big Bro I have to admit (grudingly) your page is wonderful. Are you going to to be a Historian when you grow up? I still really think you should write a book, but then again who has time to read when it's so much more fun to surf the web. The whole family is proud of what you have accomplished here. Then again you were always Mom's favorite, she makes tapioca pudding for you, not me. All kidding aside, you are very special to me. You've always been there for me, as teacher, protector and most of all as my friend. Keep up the good work. I love you! Marilyn

This is my sweet younger (heh!) sister who has many of the same talents I do, poor thing! She lives 3000 miles away but is always near to me. LOVE YOU, MARILYN!




This page created April 13, 1997 and modified September 16, 2001