A gay man exhaustively recaps the time shared with his life partner of 44 years.
The youngest of seven closely-knit siblings raised on a family dairy farm in New York State, Briggs begins his memoir by describing a strict upbringing, time in art school, a stint in the priesthood and, finally, life in Manhattan. Cameron, an outspoken, frequently sarcastic New England boarding school graduate, discovered his calling in New York City fashion design classes. Though both men had voracious sexual appetites for random “pursuits and conquests,” when they met in 1965, Cameron appeared pensive and reluctant, scarred from a brutal rape scenario a week prior (on Briggs’ birthday no less). Still, love blossomed quickly. Briggs takes obvious delight in recounting the next four and a half decades of what he believes to be their “predetermined future,” as the author became successful in the direct-mail advertising world—a career that would relocate them to San Francisco. A consistent globetrotter with his partner, Briggs evokes the meticulous details of their seemingly endless, sex-filled European romps—made more palatable and scandalous by the negotiated “opening” of their relationship. He also recalls startling first impressions of historic events such as the Jonestown massacre and the assassinations of Robert and John Kennedy. Internal strife, a surfeit of extramarital dalliances, a lung cancer diagnosis and crippling health maladies strained the relationship back in New York City, but also unified the pair. When Cameron became crippled with Alzheimer’s disease, a devastated but indefatigable Briggs became his caretaker until Cameron’s death in 2009. The journey both men shared is a rarity by contemporary standards—countless years brimming with adventure, promise, heartbreak, compromise and true adoration. Briggs says, “There were times we were rich. There were times we were poor; times of great struggle and times of great extravagance; times of great sadness and times of great happiness. There were times of great anguish, anger, pain, confusion, suffering and conflict. There were times of immense elation and phenomenal times of joy, but there was never a time when we experienced monotony.” And by the conclusion of this 700-plus page opus, his sentiment is made vibrantly clear.
An overstuffed but genuinely heartfelt diary of a love that stood the test of time.