the homeless agoraphobic

the ex-husband and i edge closer to a house sale.  we have come to an agreement with the buyers on price and they’re doing an inspection with their contractor on monday.  tentatively, we’re closing on june 28.  that’s when i become homeless, but in a very nice way.   it’s not like i’m going to be roaming the streets asking people for spare change and telling them i’m an injured war veteran with six kids to support.

nope, we’re going to rename this blog THE HOMELESS AGORAPHOBIC and figure out what to do with the rest of this life.

nonetheless, it’s difficult as someone who has regarded this as my safe place to know it’s not my safe place anymore.

until i was three years old, i lived with my parents justin and aleta. they put up for adoption and the patrick family of western springs took me in. they immediately had me baptized in the methodist faith. this picture was from that happy sunday. my older sister sandra had also adopted by the patrick family. justin and aleta divorced about a year afterwards. i wasn't reunited with them until i was twenty five.

it’s impossible to hide from a three year old that they have been adopted and that they’re sporting new parents.  my name was changed to lynn melody patrick.  i wasn’t allowed to keep anything justin and aleta may have sent with me.  i was in a new place.  and i had new people to call mom and dad.

sometimes i think agoraphobia is the outsized desire to have the world be safe, manageable and unchanging.  weirdly, the world never is.

mrs. jewell patrick was a beautiful woman who was unable to bear children because of a hysterectomy when she was seventeen. she was quite a disciplinarian, sometimes locking me up in the basement or in a closet for misdeeds. then there was the belt. . . .but i started to be cool with being locked up if i could read a book. i think this is why i'm literate, not the public school system.


i ran away from home when i was in my early teens.  i was very proud that i could pack everything i owned in a single hefty garbage back.  i still have some of the books that i took with me.  later, i was placed in different foster homes.  again, it was a good skill to be able to keep all of one’s possessions in a tight space and be able to pack at a moment’s notice.

denise was one of my foster sisters. we exchanged class pictures and i keep hers--well, all of my foster sisters and one brother who is now a sister--in my safety deposit box. denise later became a police officer!

maybe last year was a blessing:  i spent so much time in airplanes, trains, hotels, automobiles, on the road, in the air, at the terminal, standing in line at customs, standing in line at security, that i’m going to be okay about this dislocation.

holly was the most beautiful foster sister i had. when i was in the same home as she was, peter frampton had just come out with his first album. holly would sit in a rocking chair, smoking cigarettes and listening to that album over and over and over again. . . if i ever see mr. frampton, i will implore him to not sing in my presence. it was just too much frampton, too much "do you feel like i do?" oh, shoot, now i'm not going to get that song out of my head. thanks a lot, holly!


my biological mother aleta did not appreciate having me find her when i was twenty five.  this was before facebook, before the internet,  jeez, i had to hire a private detective.  she didn’t want me in her life.  not when i was three years old.  not when i was twenty five years old.  and frankly. . . not now either.

i found out several months ago that aleta has a facebook account. i sent her a friendship request and a message telling her that she has two grandsons--joseph and eastman. ixnay.


in the meantime, i hope you’re looking up 572 lincoln avenue winnetka illinois on mapquest and thinking about a new or gently used children’s book you want to bring to the face 2 facebook party on saturday night.  starts at five o’clock, courtesy of arthur frank the owner, and concludes at eight.  i’ll be unveiling the new i-book “face 2 facebook”. . . .the first three chapters are free to you!  and if you’re a blogger or a writer–this is the future of how books can be constructed — can’t wait to see you there!

17 responses to “the homeless agoraphobic

  • howardlovelyjr

    Wow Arlynn,….!!!

    This was an extremely interesting, magnetizing and intimately
    revealing post Arlynn….!!!
    Thank you for courageously sharing part of your life history….
    I look forward to learning more as you choose to share it.

    Howard Lovely, jr.

  • thehollywoodcontender

    omg Arlynn, I can def. relate about the foster homes and Peter Frampton…you have an amazing spirit..don’t ever let the world quelch it…’show me the way!

  • howardlovelyjr

    Arlynn Said:
    “sometimes i think agoraphobia is the outsized desire to have the world be safe, manageable and unchanging. weirdly, the world never is.”

    Howard Said:
    This keeps nagging at me Arlynn and I think you’re on to something here.
    Although I think the world is both “Safe” & “Unsafe”, “Manageable” & “Unmanageable”, “Changing” & Unchanging” simultaneously.
    My mind seems to get stuck on one side of the road sort-of-speak,….rather than take the middle-path as the Buddha would say.
    The idea / concept that a de-stabalized childhood in terms of emotions, safety, rejection / abandonment, physical environment,…etc.,…would potentially help to create or even initiate a stifling challenge such as Agora-Phobia is something that I have wondered about also from time to time.
    I want to know how to get back to “center” / “Balance” from the inside out…???

    We have more in common than you currently know Arlynn…..

    Howard Lovely, Jr.

  • Docile Jim Brady – Columbus OH 43209

    A quite interesting read .

    Enjoy the vis a vis party .

  • martinruffner

    Heart touching life a prayer for your Mom and you.

  • bargaindiva

    I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! You can see the post here: Congratulations! Here’s the website if you want more info on your award:

  • jhanewich

    Wow! I really enjoyed reading about your life. I also ran away, but it was when I was 10…before my teen years. It is funny in a way to think about it, because I ran away twice in one week. The first time me and my friend came back, because we were not prepared. I told my mother I had run away and she did not believe me (she thought I was making up a story). Later that same week I ran away again, that time she believed it was true and went to the police.
    My life has consisted mostly of the common abuse stories. I find myself being able to understand others who have been in abusive relationships and chose to stay there, as well as childhood abuse stories. I have been there, experienced it, and no…I do not want the t-shirt.

  • thelostkerryman

    Your life story is touching, I am honored that you have shared it with us. You really must be an amazing person to endure these trials and now relish the adventure that is next. Simply amazing. Daithi

    • arlynnpresser

      on saturday, at the round table books party (i sure hope you’re coming!) there will be the opportunity to download the first three chapters FOR FREE! this will also be made available to the entire blogging and facebooking world next week–and i hope for comments and criticisms from everyone! bestest, arlynn

  • fayemerrill

    Your tough childhood makes my tough childhood look like a walk in the park. My main problem – which my mother let me know about when I was 5 years old was that she didn’t want me; & it would be best & safest for me to stay out of her sight. She was a cruel mother in so many way, it does me no good to “go” there. But you bravely go there & here & everywhere. You are not agoraphobic anymore; you’re brave ; & you’re vision is clear. Admitting my past rips off scabs that took 60 years to grow. I’ve come to truly love & respect you.

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