The World of Bruce Baumwoll and Andrew Reach: A couple together for 40 years, working together, building a life together, suffering together, laughing together.
From my Baumwoll Archives Blog and videos I have reached over 1 million people. I never thought I would even reach 2000. It was all started from the thought of who would remember us and say the Kaddish Prayer for us when we were gone? There is an understanding that Jewish gay men through the years have been forgotten; many of us thrown away by our families.
Andrew, a talented and successful architect-turned prolific artist, was invited one day to a lecture by Scott Ligon, an award-winning digital artist, filmmaker, and associate professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art. He spoke about just the doing and putting it out in the world and the rewards that would come back. Scott said to me “just let it all go, Bruce, don’t worry what will come back”.
I have been in the house taking care of Andrew because of the multiple complications from the spine disease, Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, which has continued to increase the debilitating pain for him. Most of his spine is fused but the disease still wants to progress forward, creating severe narrowing in his cervical disks above the fusion and lumbar disks below the fusion. Along with assisting Andrew with the complications of his disease, I have also saved 65 animals over the years from the streets and gave them all great lives. So, after 20 years of being internal, it’s time for me to come back out into the world.
I have allowed others to tell me who I am and what I can be, but this is no longer right for me. I may be a late bloomer but it is time for me to walk out of the shadows. I’ve always said that I will not let myself be a victim. Just because you have been victimized does not mean you must live there. There is so much more to life. My friend and teacher Joseph Campbell (“The Power Of Myth”) once said to me, “you are a soul that would have survived if you had been in the concentration camps”. I still do not quite understand how he saw that in me, but I have survived, and I do know that one must always find the light.