Grandson Shared Finding His Grandpa’s Secret Gay Love Story And It’s So Pure
Sama’an Ashrawi, music producer and host of The nostalgic bands podcast, is used to telling other people’s stories, but on Sunday he spoke about a more personal story — his grandfather’s gay love story – on Twitter.
The love story thread has been liked nearly 200,000 times.
“My grandpa Dave told me he was sure he was gay when he moved into his college freshman room and there was a boy ‘with the prettiest eyes,'” began Ashrawi. It wasn’t until his grandfather died that he learned who this boy was – and much more about his grandfather during his college days.
“His name was John Kander,” Ashrawi revealed. “After college, John, along with his partner Fred Ebb, composed two of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time. One was called Chicagoand the other was Cabaret. John wrote the music and Fred wrote the lyrics.
“They also wrote the theme song for a 1977 Scorsese film called New York, New York; originally sung by Liza Minnelli; Frank Sinatra will immortalize it a few years later,” he continued.
Ashrawi then detailed how he made an incredible discovery. “I always thought it was so cool, that Grandpa and this Kander guy were in love, but during the pandemic I noticed something on a bookshelf,” he said. It was a record with a handwritten label that read “Our Boy… Mummers ’51” and was signed by John Kander.
“My mom told me it was a song John had written for grandpa. I put the record on and listened… very moody piano solos, it sounded theatrical. I needed some ‘find out more,’ he added.
Ashrawi then took to the internet to see what he could find out, starting with whether or not John was still alive. “To my amazement, the answer was yes! 94 years old,” Ashrawi wrote.
With this, Ashrawi set out to make contact with her grandfather’s old flame. “I already knew I wouldn’t be able to find an email for John, so I contacted one of his relatives and a few days later received an email from the man himself. “, he revealed. “He told me the record we have isn’t just a song, it’s a one-act musical called ‘Our Boy’ that he wrote when he was 22; and not only that, he wanted my grandfather to be the leader. It was a play about a boxer struggling with the existential feelings of defeat.
Kander didn’t just tell Ashrawi about the record, but sent her something truly amazing. “John sent me photos of my grandfather that we had never seen before. There was my grandfather, Dave Fisher, in his shiny boxing shorts, looking young, curious and serious at the same time. How amazing,” he wrote.
The two agreed to meet in New York, where eventually the whole family (“minus one sister”) met Kander in person. “Over lunch (and an Arnold Palmer), John talked about their relationship. “We were honest with each other,” John told us. “Not in terms of not lying, but honest about who we were. and who we were becoming. [Your grandfather] was a great gift for me.’ Ashrawi wrote. “The end! (for now),” he concluded.