"Ciao", he said when he sat down next to Erwin in the small cafe at the corner of West 10th Street and Waverly Place. Erwin looked up from his espresso and smiled to the old man next to him. "I’m from Amsterdam", Erwin replied. This simple introduction triggered a conversation in which Mr Dean Ostrum, now 86 years old, told Erwin his life story; about his hiding from the Germans in the Netherlands in the second worldwar, his tour to Korea, his career as an successful lawyer and his choices in life.
He mentioned that he had written a book about his turbulent life. Erwin, knowing that I have a passion for books with a story behind it, joined him to the bookstore next door, where a large pile of his book was stacked upon a table. Dean signed the cover page with a special message and trotted out the store, off to his voluntary job at a vetinarian.
Later that evening Erwin told me about his encounter and I flipped through the book, reading small pieces of text, captured by the old photographs and the unusual story of a man who has seen it all.
So, if you can, check if you can find his book. Full of old pictures and a most extraordinary story about a very special person.
I should have known – Memories a gay married man, written by Dean Gardner Ostrum