My Wedding Night

Judi Ehrlich in memory of Richie Alcock

Today I happened to find myself at Riverside Drive, just off the freeway at Laurel Canyon. I was remembering that I spent my wedding night there. Lance used to have an apartment on Riverside Drive, right there, and I met up with him and Alan there the evening of the day I got married. I remember we watched Sonny and Cher doing some reunion thing on one of the talk shows that was on TV. Arsenio Hall, maybe, or Letterman. I remember thinking, this is not how a girl should spend her wedding night, a girl should be with her husband in some romantic place. But I had to get Richie home right after our nondescript little civil ceremony at the courthouse and put him in bed. He was just recovering from another bout of pneumonia and he was still really weak. So I got him tucked away and then I went over to hang out with Lance and Alan. I think it was October.

The first time he got PCP, he ended up at the AIDS ward over at USC. this was back in 1987, and AIDS was still brand new and being treated like the Plague. I remember Richie saying it wasn’t so easy to contract AIDS, but apparently, it was easier than he thought. Those guys in that ward were cared for like lepers, and it really broke my heart for that wonderful man. We had Open Enrollment for new health insurance at work, and a lightbulb went off in my head. I wasn’t sure if it would even work, but I dragged him down to the courthouse that day thinking maybe it just might.

There’s a coffee shop on Laurel Canyon called Four and Twenty that’s still there, even though the rest of the area is somewhat changed. It was 24 years ago after all. But I remember that coffee shop and having dinner there with Alan a lot. Him asking me tens of thousands of times, how could Richie be gay? Finally, I had to just tell him to shut the hell up, I did not know, I would never know. But he had the good sense not to ask me on the night we got married again.

I remember randomly crying a lot that night. My eyes would fill up, and the tears would just run down my face, and I would just pretend that it was some kind of tear duct malfunction. Definitely not how a girl should spend her wedding night. But those guys were pretty cool. They just hung out with me and we got high . At least that’s how I remember it. I might have even slept there on the couch, because being alone on my wedding night was about the saddest thing I could imagine.

8 responses to “My Wedding Night”


    That story is so sad. To be there for someone makes everything right and the sadness and love lost is part of a package that comes with life’s gifts. So sorry that Richie and you suffered through a horrible time for so many.

    1. Thank you, Gary. This is more true than you can imagine.

  2. Elena Broslovsky Avatar
    Elena Broslovsky

    A couple of Mensches you and Ricardo, in fact all y’all. I do not recognize everyone in the picture but I have a deep fondness and respect for those that I do. Judi you are a brave and beautiful spirit and your writing is a gift. I can’t get enough of it.

    1. Thank you, Elena! In the picture are Richie, Alan H., Lance, Doug Cameron, Rachel Golombek.

  3. Thanks, Judy — for doing what you did, and for taking care of business, and for sharing. May we all be as compassionate when the call comes.

    1. Thank you. xoxo

  4. From deep, deep within tha heart of a gay man, fortunate enuf to know tha pair of you…I so LUV ur LUV Judi Erlich!!

    1. Thank you, Jeff, with much love.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: