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Michael Cichetti

This remembrance from Norton Owen:

Among my prized possessions is a journal that Michael Cichetti kept in 1978-79, during the time we shared a loft in pre-trendy Tribeca, having already shared an apartment (my first!) on Nassau Boulevard during my senior year, after being introduced to each other as Chapman Hall roommates in 1974.

How I came to own Michael's journal is a story in itself. Michael had taken it with him when he moved to West 47th Street with boyfriend Tom Hawver in 1980. It was from that apartment's kitchen window that Michael fell to his death five years later at the age of 30. A couple of years after that, I introduced Tom to my friend Kevin and they became life partners until Tom's death in 1993. Then Kevin stayed in the same 47th Street apartment for several more years, finally selling it just a few years ago and discovering a number of Michael's effects as he prepared to move. He offered me this time capsule from my early years in New York City, and it continues to remind me of days gone by.

The journal records my 24th birthday when Michael cooked for Stefan Fitterman and me at the Tribeca loft "and we laughed and laughed — I felt the dinner was extraordinary and I really went haywire for my friend, my best friend." And Michael also wrote about his own 24th birthday a couple of months later when "I had the best gift yet from Norton Owen at 107 floors over brunch at the World Trade Center. We made a pact to meet there for each other's birthdays from now on."

A couple of weeks later, he wrote, "I woke this morning in a sweat for I thought I was getting late for a performance I was dreaming about. It was a mixture of my work at Westchester Community College, at Adelphi, at Jacob's Pillow, and my work with Viola Farber. I remember worrying about some makeup I needed. I was also worrying about warming up my voice because I had to sing. I also was going over certain unison steps in the dance that I had forgotten. It was all there — a cross section of the performance work of Michael Cichetti… It may be called a cumulative dream of real events from my life."

And now Michael lives on only in our dreams. How it comforts me to read about his dream world, recognizing it as a world that overlaps with my own. I hope he and I will always to continue to meet there on our birthdays. And I trust that those who knew Michael will continue to see him dancing in their own memories and dreams.

Michael Cichetti
 
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