This rather delightful video by Canadian photographer/artist Vincent-louis Apruzzese released a couple of years ago gently tells the story of a very touching relationship of two rather charming old gentlemen. The title eludes to the fact that they were together 50 years, but as the placard they carried when participating in Boston’s Gay Pride that same year also stated ‘married one year’.
Paul McMahon was a trained ballet dancer who somehow landed a gig as Marlene Dietrich’s tour manager for some 13 years and finally ended up as freelance writer and reviewer for many Boston papers and magazines. Ralph Hodgdon is an artist who has had a successful career creating greeting cards, theatrical posters and painting paper doll illustrations for books.
In a series of interviews the two amiable men talked of how their relationship not only survived but grew stronger through the scary closeted days of the 1950’s, the free-love period of the 1960’s and 1970’s, the onslaught of the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s and the new freedoms and gradual evolving equality from the 1990’s through to the present time.
They readily admitted to rocky times and having not just a seven year itch, but a serious threat to their relationship in their 15th year together. Interestingly enough when Paul decided to ‘come out’ to his devout Catholic family four years ago he was celebrating his 46th year with Ralph whilst all his relatives were on their 3rd (and counting) marriages. Once they heard the news, they immediately stopped all communications with Paul. He made it clear that like most gay men/couples they knew that their true families are the ones from our own community who love us unfalteringly and without questionable judgements.
This is not a spectacular biography of a glamorous couple of people who found fame, or were seeking celebrity, but the simple story of two rather engaging men who through love and humility and a great deal of patience and determination, had a remarkable relationship and a true marriage in every sense of the word.
P.S. When Ralph died in 2012, the placard for their ride in Gay Pride would have read ‘Together 56 Years, Married for 7 years.’
Available on Amazon VOD