Gus was born at around 9:00 or 10:00 am on a raw rainy day at in Allentown, in the hospital at the corner of 17th and Chew streets. The hospital window—on the fourth floor--overlooked the Farmers Market fairgrounds. I had gone there in the middle of the night—Halloween night. He always liked Halloween because it was the perfect lead up to his birthday. Every kid loves Halloween—the holiday that lets kids dress up and get free candy!
The first real Halloween Gus enjoyed was in his birthplace—Allentown. He had me paint his face to be Spiderman, and he went with his brother, Oskar—the pirate. Gus was on the verge of his fourth birthday. (Spiderman Gus, pirate Oskar)
The next year he chose a Batman costume at Party City, which he enjoyed dressing up in. That year we had moved to Long Beach, NY. Halloween happened that year just weeks after September 11th—THE September 11th—so the mood in the New York area was somber. Long Beach was pretty quiet that Halloween, but Halloween is sacred in our family, so we went out and trick or treated. The Batman costume remained in our house for dress up fun for several years.
Halloween remained Gus’s favorite holiday until he died.
The last night I saw Gus alive was on Halloween. He was tired, and didn’t really feel like getting his face painted, but he did it anyway. We talked and hung out for a while, everyone in the green room. A young man in a pink wig walked up the stairs and Gus was very glad to see him, “Travis” he cried out. I took Gus’s picture with Travis because I could tell Gus liked Travis. Then people began to go on stage, and Gus was quiet and listened to each performance. So I was quiet and just sat next to him. Then it was his turn to go on stage, and as he walked down the stairs from the green room to the stage, I said I would see him in two weeks. I got to watch Gus perform his new GAS songs, and I got to watch the 700 fans sing Happy Birthday to him. He was very bashful—honestly surprised and humbled by the spontaneous outpouring of love. He said “that’s the most people that’s ever sung Happy Birthday to me.”
I went to the hospital on Halloween night to give birth to Gus. And Halloween night was the last time I would see him.