Thomas Jesse Taylor – b. 8 Sept. 1943 and Jerome Goldstein b. 5 April 1941 have been partners in life since 1973. After a trip around the world in 1983 they prepared to succumb to the HIV epidemic. With their continuing survival, Tom and Jerry have made a concerted effort to share tangible evidence of the gift of life and of the joy of living and their gratitude for their extended lives by creating and sharing the Tom and Jerry Christmas Tree.
Tom, born in Oakland, CA, lived in Richmond, CA until age 18 and left home to make a life for himself with a multifaceted career including hair styling and all aspects of mechanization of the adult entertainment business in San Francisco and all aspects of property management including repair and construction. Jerry was born in Niagara Falls, NY and, like Tom, left home at age 18 to attend college and medical school. Tom survived the toxicity of oil refineries adjacent to his Richmond home and Jerry survived the equally devastating toxicity of the Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY.
It seems almost impossible that two such different persons in background, education and life styles would meet and bond to make a 41 year relationship work. They attribute some of the success to the sexual freedom of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s and even the lack of restrictions of marriage to their continuing commitment to one another.
At the core of their relationship is a freedom to create, think and envision outside the box of the expected and the norm of behavior. The Tom and Jerry Christmas Tree is an expression of two men, one a cultural Jew and one with no religious affiliation whatever, to create and grow with a transplanted Norfolk Island Pine indoor plant from a local nursery serendipitously to a widely-acclaimed destination at Christmastime in SF.
Tom’s mechanical, creative, and proportional skills have embraced the now 65 foot tree to appear as it would in any living room in America. Jerry’s input is with the insistence on movement for children of all ages to enjoy with trains, moving stuffed animals, and a mini amusement park. Families, neighbors, friends, and curious passers by numbering in the 10 - 20,000 range visit the tree annually and happily most neighbors have tolerated the visitors and the joy the tree display brings to so many from all walks of life. The presence of Santa Claus offering candy canes (12,000) for all to place under the pillow & make a wish at bedtime has added a warmth and sense of hope that the season hopefully projects.
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