|Siegward (Sigi) Skowronnek
Born February 1,1940
Died April 22,1992
in Mainz, Germany
I remember meeting Sigi my first night ever in a German gay bar, The Pussy Cat, on February 1st, 1974 in Wiesbaden, Germany. As our eyes met on the dance floor, a bright smile crept across his handsome face as his eyes blinked impishly. I was soon to learn they often blinked like that when he had a glass or two of Weinschorle, a mixture of white wine and carbonated mineral water. He was celebrating his 34th birthday with some friends, and he still had a childish innocence that betrayed his harsh childhood as a Polish refugee during World War II.
He was dancing crazily alone, as is common in German discos. I was dancing with an Air Force friend, and was embarrassed as I realized Sigi was edging his way over closer to us. Without a care at all, he joined us and just stared at me. Barry just laughed out loud, introduced us to each other and left us on the dance floor. I didn't know Barry knew Sigi well and also knew who Sigi was after. I was excitedly embarrassed. I had never before met such a handsome man who just proceeded to sweep me off my feet as though it was the most natural thing in the world. As the music melted into a Barry White love song, I found myself in Sigi's arms, closer than I had ever been held by anyone before. We spent the rest of that night in the bar together, but were not able to go home with each other that night for various reasons. We made plans to meet each other there again the next night.
That chance meeting of two lonely souls in a bar turned into an 18-year love affair. We were only lovers in the sexual sense for five years or so, but we were lifetime soul mates until his passing in 1992. We were inseparable in thought, even when we were separated by my military career. There was nothing we would not give to each other or endure for each other. Our soul bonding caused many a problem over the years with our outside relationships, but nothing ever separated us. Nothing ever called into question our commitment. We spent nearly 15 years of our relationship essentially living and travelling together.
He showed me, a mid-western American country bumpkin, the treasures and cultures of Europe. He taught me to savor those foreign cultures, the wines, food, music and the customs. From the elegance of the Hôtel Ritz on the Place Vendôme in Paris to the simple comfort of an Alpine bauernhaus (farmhouse), he taught me to appreciate diversity. He had a full heart for everyone but the ignorant or the intolerant. I cannot recall his ever having an enemy. Ironically, with the exception of his mother and a sister-in-law, he had been disowned by his family simply because he was gay.
I still do not know what drew us together, kept us together or what he
even saw in me, but he was a blessing I will miss forever. No one has ever
treated me with such tenderness and concern.
He also loved my simple home cooking, something I could not comprehend with the fine international cuisine available to us within walking distance. He loved me just for being me, sharing with me his joys, sorrows, hopes and dreams. He is the yardstick by which I measure myself in treating others. If I never find another, I can say I have lived that elusive dream. I still love him.