Up unto now you have patiently let me explain to you about Sam’s homelife. Today I would like you to know about who Sam was as a human being. He was not only my good friend, but he was my hero. Aside from being incredibly smart Sam was a gifted seamstress. Home Economics for most of us was a filler class in highschool. This was not the case for Sam who absolutely adored two things in life Rosanna Rosanna Danna from Saturday Night Live, and designing women’s clothing. He was a genius with a sewing machine.
Outside of the classroom Sam was the embodiment of the beloved SNL character played by the late Gilda Radner. He dressed like her, spoke like her, and made us all laugh like her. Sam’s talents with the sewing machine did not go unnoticed. In fact he had a pretty good side job doing alterations, and designs for a lot of our teachers. He could never seem to make enough money to keep up with his love of wigs, and make-up. Until we were shooting pool in one of the gay bars outside of town, and a man approached Sam who was in full Rosanna drag offering him a job in one of his clubs.
This was beginning of my love for drag clubs, afterall my favorite queen was one of my closest friends. Sam was a huge hit with the other queens, and customers alike. He once told me he was finally home. Sam dropped out of school that year. He rented a trailer from the man who hired him to work in the club. Between shows, and sewing costumes for the other ladies in the show he was making a pretty decent living. The club was two hours from where we lived, but to highschool girl with no transportation it might as well had been two states away. I missed my friend, but seeing him so happy more than made up for my loss.
More, and more time passed by, and we saw Sam less, and less. I finished high-school at seventeen left home, and moved three states away. Eventually Sam and I lost touch. Sam continued to send money home to his mother. This was something I had a hard time swallowing. Sam hated the idea of her not having electricity, or food in the house. I remarked that it was too bad she never worried about whether he had those things. Sam took my arm placing his head on my shoulder, and said “We are not like them, they don’t get to change who we are.” I had not reached that kind of maturity in my life at that point. I was bitter, and full of hate. Sam just wanted to be better than before. He wanted to view everything as though it were some kind of miracle. He was the miracle.
In the summer of 1985 on June 28th (ironically Gilda Radner’s birthday) Sam passed from complications from his Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. He was surrounded by his chosen family. Sam left this world way too soon. He was a great friend. and an excellent human being. I realize now he just didn’t wear “broken goggles.” He also wore a pair of “miracle ones.” In spite of every horrible disadvantage he was able to see everything in his life as miracle. I strongly suspect that my hero was there four years later to greet his hero. 😉