Monthly Archives: April 2011

kristen and i spend time with a celebrity!

kristan poggensee (f2fb #101) has one really good reason to hate me:  when we first met, i broke her ankle.  and yet, she still agreed to go with me to a katie gavin concert last night.

the concert was at space, a consciously of this moment club in evanston.  we arrived during a terrific thunderstorm and were told that the concert was sold out.  this was a bit of a relief to me because i was of two minds about the concert.  i wanted to see it because i adore katie.  and yet, i was thinking maybe i shouldn’t be going to the concert because katie is eastman’s ex-girlfriend.  it’s a little tough for a mom to know what to do when her son breaks up with a gal.  am i supposed to break up with her too?

katie and eastman used to perform together.  now eastman is studying at oberlin and katie is a bit of an internet sensation with her acoustic rendition of willow smith’s “i whip my hair”

so here we were, shut out of a katie gavin concert with two pouting teenagers who looked like they might start crying.  then, out of nowhere, lynn sido (who is not my facebook friend)  arrived.  she had four extra tickets.  one for me, one for kristen and .  . . i snatched two tickets from her to give to the two pouting katie gavin fans.

“really?”  they squealed when i gave them the tickets.

kristen knows katie as well–katie’s younger sister is best friends with kristen’s daughter.  we asked katie to give a shout out!  i felt just like i was a pap from!

while kristen went to get a drink, katie and i chatted.  katie said she’s been following my adventures with facebook and then confessed to being very nervous about the upcoming performance.  i said i was like that all the time but that both of us had to learn to enjoy the experience.  then she went onstage.  i was very proud of her!  she even remembered to give a shout out to her two young fans!

after the main act came onstage, kristen and i went to find a semi-quiet corner.  kristen is an enthusiastic gal who is working on her mba while being a single mom to three.  her daughter lizzie, btw, is my facebook friend.  she and i became close after i broke her mom’s ankle.  i was directing a show at the time and i asked the cast if anybody was willing to do a back flip onstage.  a downer like “who’s afraid of virginia woolf?” is always livened up with a random bit of acrobatics.  kristen volunteered.  and promptly broke her ankle.  i felt pretty damn responsible for the episode.  kristen’s daughter lizzie wanted to be my assistant director.  there’s probably something in there that a psychiatrist would understand but i gave her a clipboard and a walkie talkie.

kristen had this to say about this project:

i think kristen’s forgiven me.

mr. f2fb #100 tells me how to protect my assets!

today’s economic news is pretty disheartening.  all this year, i have been talking to people who have lost their jobs, who are having their hours cut back, who are worried that they’re drowning in debt.  bill seymour is seventy five years old and he’s weathered a few economic reversals.  he got an mba from harvard a few months before i was born, so he’s had some time to assess the market and he has some interesting advice–

first and foremost, if you’re going to buy a piece of real estate, do your best to pay it off in its entirety.

and second, consider this–

we went to grandpa’s for lunch.  the first time i met bill there, i was told by his son charlie (f2fb #20) that we were going to grandpa’s.  i arrived with a bromeliad.  i knew that bill’s grandfather was the famous harry horder who owned a stationer’s shop in chicago.  i was quite abashed when i discovered that grandpa’s was not a person but, rather, a restaurant on prairie street in glenview.  it is not a point of etiquette to bring a hostess gift in the circumstances.

bill seymour is married to paddy seymour and has two ex-wives, one of whom is deceased.  he has four children an outsider might regard as “his own”, two stepchildren from the second wife, two stepchildren who came with paddy, as well as a daughter of paddy’s first husband (or maybe second, i’m quite confused by this stuff).  bill takes the position that all these children:  deb, tom, charlie, prescott, cory, christie, jay, chris, and robin are all to be regarded as his children.  he is friends with his first ex-wife and with the first husband of his second wife.  he is somebody who doesn’t really need facebook because he creates he is friends and family to everyone!

i come home from tornadoes to snow!

i am having the most wonderful fun this year! and i’m having the most horrible time! i want to travel, i love the yearlong party, i want this facebook resolution, i’m going to hide in my house and call in a standing order to lakeside groceries so i never have to venture forth. i was completely into agoraphobiamode yesterday after i got back from north carolina and when i woke this morning there was snow–jeez, what a great day to continue the hiding!

but i had to get out there today because i was meeting up with the facebook friend i admire most, cristina persico.

i met cristina when she joined up with the cast for a benefit show i directed for the pta. she was the pick up the beat dancer, she was the fireball, she was the one who had a smile that made you think there could never be a bad day.

and yet she had ever reason to say “thank you very much world but i really don’t want to be part of things”. . . . her husband and her daughter francesca (frenchie) passed on within a short period of time of each other. i can’t imagine what courage it took to engage the world, to become a volunteer in the fight against cancer, and to show up to be in a silly musical comedy i wrote. she has the best game face.

i want that game face, i want to be like cristina. except. . . the dollface scheduled me in to be part of the classes she teaches. i had a good strategy–i pretended i had to film stuff.

can you imagine actually moving like this for an hour? and this was after she got in from the airport at one thirty in the morning.

i am grateful because cristina has embarked upon a romance. it is something she never expected. this year i see how much it means to people to connect with one person and to make this person their world. that desire doesn’t quit, doesn’t let up, is always with us. i wish her all happiness.

tomorrow f2fb friend #100–and i will ask him about silver, gold and other precious metals! or maybe i’ll just ask him about family. he’s got a rather large one. . .

tornadoes in raleigh? welcoming me? what?

i took piano lessons from miss violet who slapped my hands when i misplaced them on the keyboard. one time, i was practicing and the vibrations from the standup piano knocked a china cup display from the wall. rather than applauding my bravado with gilbert and sullivan, my adoptive mom mrs. patrick sent me to the basement. and once, in a car, i sang the flintstones theme song and a gentleman to whom i was matrimonially related told me i was the most offkey singer he had ever aurally encountered. in better terms, i’m not musical but damn i admire it!!!

my two sons have genetically inherited musical talent from a family they are not genetically related to. the eastmans are very musical and they don’t need an ipod or an mp3 player to entertain themselves. i was stunned when julie eastman (f2fb #97) and her beloved groom mike sollins (f2fb #98) forswore sheet music to play the richmond cotillion. at the end of the civil war, many secessionist (southern) households would host “hardship parties” where no food or drink would be offered but there would be music and merrimaking. when i was running in the woods i realized i was in territory that young men stood thinking i am protecting my mother, my wife, my children. the trees are that old that they once shielded those men. . . who would have danced with their sweethearts. . . . .

julie and mike met in boston. they live next to f2fb #96 susan who is julie’s twin. aren’t they sweet? there is something in us that does this connecting thing. jeez, i thought they were just going out. some years have passed. .. .

chapel hill is a wonderful paradise. they talk about aging in place which, well, i’m on it. all i need to do is move into the shack behind the two eastman sister houses (please mike could you put in electricity? and a blanket?) the eastman daughters and mike even provided me a tornado. but i have to move on. . …. .

i have heard you can’t pick your family. . .

and home is where they have to take you when you have no place else to go. i don’t think i’m unusual in sometimes getting myself locked out of home or that just like dodgeball in gym class, i’m not going to get picked until the teacher says somebody’s gotta take me.

1. biological mother aleta misel leiber clayton. put me up for adoption when i was three years old. i found her when i was twenty five. she was a part-time public defender in d.c. she hated me because i didn’t give her enough money. i have no idea where she is or whether she’s alive.
2. adoptive mother jewell houchen patrick. probably schizophrenic. decided i was a partner with satan in the destruction of the world. she had a hysterectomy when she was seventeen. i think that affected her. here she is in what was probably the early fifties. i have no idea where she is but since she’d be ninety five years old, i would suspect the odds of any sort of reconciliation are remote.

3. foster moms. well, several of them. but most notably irene patton. more about her later.

4. vivian eastman who was never an actual mom, but might as well have been. when i was twenty, she found out i had spent christmas alone, as was my custom. she said never do that again. and until the deaths of both her and her husband, i have spent my christmases with them.


1. biological father justin leiber, f2fb friend #30, married at one time to aleta. put me up for adoption when i was three years old. divorced aleta a year or two later. had at least one wife before barbara foorman his present wife. he has said he is considering moving up from florida state university to live with me for a while. i’m not sure how i feel about this.

2. adoptive father donald patrick worked for the post office. he died when he was seventy and i was twenty five.

3. lots of different foster fathers, one of whom–paul patton–has died but haunts me.


1. sandra patrick, my adoptive sister, eight years older than me and gorgeous. glamorous. in ony the way that an older sister is regarded. i have no idea where she is.

2. casey leiber (f2fb #31) whom i met when i was twenty five and she was eighteen months. i believe she has been raised to regard me as a sort of acquaintance of justin’s and we had very little contact during her childhood. she is an actress in new york.

3. lots of foster sisters. some of whom didn’t make it. some of whom we pledged eternal sisterhood and then got into different placements and lost touch. then there’s gavin patton who became gwen patton. i’ll see her later in the month. she has every reason to want to tell me to fuck off.

4. clare eastman who isn’t a facebook friend. julie eastman who is on facebook–i’ll write about her and her husband tomorrow. susan eastman who is f2fb friend #96.

1. eastman leiber presser, yes, named for the eastman and leiber families, f2fb #1
2. joseph leiber presser, f2fb #61
3. elisabeth presser andrews, f2fb #13. she’s officially an ex-stepdaughter. an interesting feature of facebook is that you can request to list anybody as a family member but sometimes it’s difficult to use that feature and so we’re not connected as family members on facebook. that’s okay.
4. david presser, officially an ex-stepson. i don’t think he’s on facebook.

two biological grandparents i got to meet. alyce blum who is in a nursing home in seaford, delaware. i met her about eight years ago. she has three daughters, aleta included, and has no contact with any of them. her heart breaks. and then fritz leiber the science fiction writer, whom i met when i was twenty five and believed i was being welcomed back into the eden of family.

but i am fifty now and i have learned that when adam and eve had their eden foreclosed on, they just needed to build elsewhere.

i am way not keen on that tornado stuff!

a valentine’s day for f2fb friend #96 susan eastman

oh, wait, it’s not valentine’s day! but okay, maybe it’s valentine’s day in chapel hill!

i was surprised by the new joy in susan eastman’s life–i guess when i was nineteen i assumed that love, particularly romantic love, couldn’t come into one’s life when one was so boldly prime time as sixty years old. in fact, i thought everything became quite settled. placid. dull.

wow, am i wrong! every facebook friend i meet is the star of their own reality show and not some bit player in a family drama. susan met gene last august but didn’t go on a first date until january–and since then, well, susan, how old are you two?

there are billions of us on earth, and 700 million on facebook and sometimes it’s a little overwhelming. but also very beautiful. i don’t think there’s any galpal more beautiful than susan eastman right now!

chapel hill

i’d always like to believe i’m more competent than i am, but there are limits. i have a car with a dead battery in the knauz dealership hospital. i have a flip camera that is acting quite temperamental. i have a phone that keeps telling me that i have a sm card problem.

but here’s the thing: i made a new year’s resolution to meet and spend time with every one of my facebook friends. i am acting on that resolution every day–i am writing from chapel hill where i am with the eastman daughters julie and susan as well as julie’s husband mike.

the eastman family is very special to me. i ran away from home when i was fifteen and i ended up in some unsavory circumstances. but when i came out of that hellishness, i ended up going to north central college in naperville. i met dick eastman, who was chairman of the english department, and his wife vivian. the couple invited me into their lives as friends. it was a friendship that only ended a few years ago with their deaths. their daughters have been kind enough to open their lives to me as sisters.

i have been awake for nineteen hours. i’m tired. i feel like a failure because there’s no video to share, no pictures i can post. but i did what i was supposed to do, which is i got on the plane, i got off the plane, i made it to chapel hill. i have come very far since i made the resolution–and i have a very long way to go!

and one last time–happy birthday to my son and facebook friend eastman!