You & I Will Meet Again

 

The Story Of Us

In 1992, I lost my dear friend and classmate, Fred Zulfa, at a tragically young age. We attended school together from Wayne Van Horn Elementary to Thompson Junior High to West High School to USC, where we both graduated in 1986. A few years ago, along with my friends and classmates Andrea Zander Norman, Ann Johansen Warren, and Fred’s brother, David Zulfa, we started the Fred Zulfa Memorial Scholarship at West High School.

Fred was a key member of the 1982 West High Viking State Champion Speech and Debate Team, and he received a debate scholarship from USC. After college, Fred traveled the world, eventually making a home in Amsterdam.

With the funds we raise, each year we award a WHS senior with a college scholarship. Because Fred would love it, we ask the applicants to write about their favorite movie characters and song lyrics that inspired them. We are not as concerned with GPA as we are with the whole of the person. Each year we try to pick someone who has equal amounts ambition and heart, two things that characterized Fred. We are also mindful of financial need.

In 2013, 2014, and 2015, we awarded one scholarship each year to a WHS senior. In 2016, due to the generosity of donors, we were able to award three scholarships.

 

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The Quilt Panel 

The following is the text of my speech dedicating Fred’s quilt panel as part of the AIDS Memorial Names Project Quilt on December 8, 2015 in Bakersfield, California:

Fred Zulfa is still very present in our lives, and we’ve often thought about how his short life made such a profound impact on so many people – including the three of us who worked on this panel together. We lost Fred in December 1992, when he was just shy of 29 years old. I think he’d be surprised, but happily so, that three of his childhood friends who are now over fifty were still thinking of him in 2015—and are here tonight with two of our adult children.  And more than that: wanting to make sure that other people know and think about him too. Our motive for doing this is simple. We want Fred remembered and we want him to know how much we love him.    
Andrea and I have talked a little about what Fred would think of this. We hope he’d like it, but know that there is likely a part of him that might have been embarrassed or even ashamed. He told neither of us that he was dying, and had even gone so far as to stop writing to me altogether to hide the truth. (He was living in Amsterdam and back then, writing was our only form of communication). So we present this with a little doubt, but also with great hope and faith that the love the quilt as a whole represents will continue to overshadow shame, Fred’s and all those who are suffering or have suffered from AIDS.
I want to say a little about the panel itself. Many years ago, my friend Whitney came to me with the idea of doing a quilt panel for Fred. Fred had a certain aesthetic and style and we wanted that to be reflected in his quilt panel. We knew we would need an artist to put it together in the way we envisioned. Andrea is another dear friend of Fred’s and also an artist. She agreed to the true labor of love of designing and creating a panel that would both honor and memorialize Fred.  
The photograph on the panel was taken by me at a party in college. Fred and I were at USC together in the 80s and whenever I was going to a party, he was usually going with me and vice-versa. The lyric on the panel is from the Tom Petty song, You and I Will Meet Again. Fred had an eclectic taste in music, but his favorite was always Tom Petty. We chose this song because of its beautiful lyrics and the hopeful sentiment that we don’t ever really say goodbye.
Jill Apsit Fordyce, December 8, 2015

Feature 3

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