From: (Douglas Wyman)
Subject: goodby to a friend and a son. (long)
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 1995 16:28:00 -0700 (PDT)

In 1975, a gay couple in my church told me about a young man who was
headed towards a life on the street.  They were moving to California
and were concerned about his future.  I met Patrick.  He was 14,
living with a mother who was born hydrocephalic and capable of minimal
housekeeping skills.  His father was dying of cancer.  He had three
abusive brothers who had all been in or were on their way to prison
and a sister who was 11.

Pat was in and out of school.  I worked with his parents to try to
stabilize his homelife.  Pat's mental health care consisted of a
doctor who prescribed enough tranquilizers to keep his patients happy.
We were able to wean Pat from the high dosages and get better care for
him.  Pat and I watched together as his father, Ed, faded slowly and
painfully.  When Ed was transferred to Portland's hospital, Pat and I
would journey down to visit.  Pat's father finally died when Pat
turned 16.

Pat's mom was unable to take care of the kids so Pat moved in with me
and I became for all intents his father.  I finally got him in an
alternative school and tried to guide him towards his future.  When
Pat turned 18, he got a job in Alaska at a fish packing plant.  He was
very proud as we outfitted him with the gear necessary.  After a short
time in Alaska, Pat called, begging me to rescue him and bring him

The next "great move" was when Pat decided to go to Hollywood with a
friend and look up the couple who first told me of Pat's conditions at
home.  He lived there for about a year before calling and asking for
rescue.  Somehow, it seemed that disaster always followed him and I
could tell when things were not well.  We always maintained our
father/son relationship.  He would call or come over once or twice a
week when living in Seattle and call as often when he lived in
California and Hawaii.

When he was about twenty-two, after a number of failed relationships,
he found a partner.  He went through formal "adoption" procedures to
take his partner's name.  Pat became Nathan Vetter.  
Pat was so frustrated that his mother *refused* to call him Nathan and
I just never could keep from calling him Pat.  Nathan's partner
started having bizarre episodes of violence.  They found he had a
brain tumor and went quickly mad, finally committing suicide.  For the
nth time, I again "rescued" Pat.

I remember in 1984 when AIDS began its reign of terror, Pat and his
entire household caught a strange "flu" that seemed to linger for a
few months then pass.  We all figure that is when they all became
HIV+.  One of his housemates didn't die of AIDS, he was beaten to
death and dumped down an excavation pit.  One by one, Pat and I have
watched his and my friends die, yet Pat had remained in pretty good
condition.  In fact, Pat finally got control of a number of problems
he had.  Alcohol had proved as disastrous to Pat as it had been for
his real father, yet Pat finally was able to control his drinking.  He
was finally able to gain some real independence and take charge of his
own life.  He has been proudly dragging me out to his house as he gets
each new thing.  He proudly brought me out to breakfast last week and
asked me to sit in "His" chair, a nice soft recliner that Pat
obviously loved.

Pat called on Friday, talking about his planned trip to Germany.  He
wanted to see something of the world while he was still healthy

This morning, Sunday, Pat's partner, Arvin, called.  Arvin awoke this
morning and found Pat sitting in his chair.  Pat had died in his

Pat always loved camping.  I first took him out camping when he was
16.  We helped the, then new, gay campground at Index by clearing
campsites and digging firepits.  Pat and his partner Alvin have been
going each year faithfully to Index.  Pat had a special love for "the
enchanted forest" area at Index.  Next weekend is the final weekend
for Index's gay campground as it will move to a new location.  Next
weekend, we intend to take Pat's ashes to Index and let them become
one with the enchanted forest Pat loved so much.

Nathan G. Vetter nee Patrick A. Johnson Sept.21, 1960 - Aug.27, 1995.

Douglas J. Wyman  HTTP://
Return to Gay:Stories:Gay Death
The Bibble Pages, Christian Molick,