Elaine Goycoolea


At eighteen, I met my uncle Denis (Quentin) when I went to England to meet my grandmother who had captivated me through the years with her witty and entertaining letters.

My father’s letters to Quentin headed, "Dear sir or madam . . . cross out which does not apply" and stories he told such as, that while walking along a London street, a girlfriend on his arm upon sighting Quentin exclaimed, "Did you see that?" and his answer, "Yes, I’ve seen it before," did not come close to preparing me for him.

My aunt said, "Well, if you are coming on the 11:45 train, you will probably be traveling with Denis (his real name). I asked, "But how will I know him?" She replied, "Don’t worry, dear, you certainly can’t miss him." How right she was. There was Quentin, dyed blue hair, barefooted, rings on his toes, and a scarf twirling in the wind. Stunning!

As I write these lines from Chile, the moon is eclipsing and I can’t help thinking that, just as the moon will disappear for a while to return again, so will he. He left his tired old body, but his extraordinary spirit will shine forever.

How we will miss you, Quentin.

Copyright © 2000 by Elaine Goycoolea and Estate of Quentin Crisp. All rights reserved.
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