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Gerardo: My Partner, My Friend
by Jan Gardner

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When I think of my partner Gerardo, so many things come to my mind. How sweet he is, how thoughtful he is. Always willing to do something for someone else before himself. Truly a man of great integrity and selflessness. We have known each other for about three years, but started to seriously date in the summer of 2002. By Nov. 5, 2002 we were official. We had special names for each other. Baby. Sweetheart. Honey. He is Oso Lindo, and I am Osito Chulo. Beautiful Bear and Cute Cubby.

Some of our time was spent getting to know each other at work. I went to some of his special events he had for work, which included Ravinia, a picnic in the park with co-workers, we even spent a weekend at the Fontana House. He enjoyed coming to see my band perform. Once at Great America he commented on how he liked to watch me in action. Especially wearing the tuxedo I conduct in. We also went to see some drum and bugle corps contests. He enjoyed that. He even came down to Crawford County to help carry water for my band when we marched in a parade. We watched the Indiana State Marching finals, and he said to me, 'I have to drive the tractor/4-wheeler that pulls the percussion pit instruments onto the field.' That was the way he was going to be involved. We just wanted to to be involved with each other's lives. He loved what I do for kids and I know he was passionate about the work he did with kids. He always told me about his kick-ass presentations. I always told him that's because he is a good baby. And he knew his shit and I am very proud of him.

We loved to reference movie lines and have fun just saying them back and forth. Sometimes I played them over and over through the phone to him just to laugh together. We would even watch TV together and be on the phone at the same time. We wouldn't say much, but we knew we could comment at any moment as if we were actually together in the same place. We also loved to eat. He especially got me to try many different foods that I was unsure of. I even tried Ethiopian. I have a fortune from a fortune cookie when we were down in Corydon, Ind. It is actually from his cookie, 'You are the evening star in someone's romantic eye.' And he will forever be my evening star in my romantic eye.

We brought out the best in each other. And when we were together, nothing else mattered. We were truly content with each other and enjoyed making each other happy. Life with each other was so simple. We both finally found our one true love.

We spoke many times about living together, getting a house. He even offered to take care of me and let me work on composing music instead of teaching. Since I did not find a job before I moved to southern Indiana, he said to me, 'I got your back.' We thought about many ways of making sure we were together. I would drive up and he would drive down. Back and forth for a school year. We would do anything to be together. When April 2003 came around, I had decided that for sure I was going to move back to the Chicago area. I even checked into the Chicago Public Schools for a position. That was one of the last weekends we were together, in late May. We always spoke every day, and every evening, to tell each other how we felt.

Gerardo (baby, honey), my loving partner, sooner or later, we will be together again and hopefully in a place where love prevails over all. I love you with all my heart and soul and in my heart is where I will keep your soul and spirit alive. Sweetheart, I am having a difficult time without you. But I know you will help give me the strength to go on and watch over me. You are and always will be my Baby, my Honey, my Sweetheart and my Oso Lindo. I will see you again. Hugs, Kisses, Licks :), Your baby, Jan, Osito Chulo.

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