Mervyn Jefferies

Died 1994, aged 43
This Panel is still to be joined to a Block of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt.

There is no physical panel for Mervyn. It only exists here on this web page.

In late 1994/early 1995, The Quilt Project received a letter from Barbara where she wrote:

I recently lost my cousin Mervyn Jefferies who grew up in Auckland. He died in Copenhagen of HIV/AIDS. He was 43 years old.

A couple of weeks later, I wrote the enclosed, my remembrance of him.
If there is anywhere suitable, you may publish it.

Here is her letter to Mervyn:

Dear Mervyn/Toni,

Somewhere in a far away country there is a place where they put your bones or ashes or some memorial to your passing. I know you aren’t still there.

I’ve got my own little stash of memories, to keep for the rest of my time.

The hippy beads are hanging on the wall, a present from you before you last flew away from here. That hilarious trip to the airport in a Merc with electric windows. Doing the ‘Royal Wave’ at pedestrians.

Parties, times at Mike’s, a few photos. “At the beach with some nieces” – Rangitoto in the background. “Outside Middleton Road”.

Remember the day we went to see Jaws and Earthquake, then rode the “Hurricane” in the square outside the CPO and Downtown. – Horror stories. We must have had strong stomachs in those days, and a good head for heights.

Going to see Skyhooks and some other group at Carlaw Park, walking home afterwards and crashing in the outside bedroom, a garden shed.

Oh, those were the days.

In the 60’s we’d played the latest 45s, danced to all the pop songs, played Postman’s Knock at teenage parties – those soggy savouries, snax biscuits with tomato.

That was before you’d ‘come out – first having to go to Sydney to be the real you and live your life.

Such waste, looking back now, when you’ll be fondly remembered.

All those bad words, “Queer” my father called you.
“He always played with dolls'” whispered the aunties, “painted his nails”.

Now some will go and see the AIDS Quilt, say, “We lost one too, went to Copenhagen to die, be with his ‘friend'”.

You will hear. You will remember.

You’re somewhere out there now.
Dancing on the stars, glitter all through your hair, spangles on your shoes.
Remembering all the men you have loved. At last proudly gay.

I hope you twinkle down on me, my little star.

Love, Barbara


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