a voyage not measured in miles but in friendship

i’m the martha stewart of the road, the rachel roy of living out of the car.  it’s temporary of course.  but it’s still pretty disconcerting to remember that i was once of winnetka, the beautiful land. . .

 i am so happy for the new owners who will fill this house with love, joy, happiness! and i can’t wait for wells fargo bank to approve their mortgage!

i was excited to go to eastlake, ohio because that’s where the twentieth  president of the united states james garfield is from. . .  but also because i could meet facebook friend number #320 jeannie stanley.  and she really put out the welcome mat for me!

i was so crying when i saw jeannie’s welcome sign! and she’s right–a journey is not measured in miles but in friends. . .


and we sat down for a chat, including her neighbor shayleh–it was as if we had been best buddies for years.  jeannie has sometimes been housebound with fibromyalgia and something called palindromic arthritis.  she has been able to reconnect and keep up with friends and family with facebook, which is exactly what facebook is supposed to do for a gal.  we met on facebook and are friends but oddly,  i can’t be facebook friends with her neighbor shayleh because facebook has a rule that one is not allowed to have more than five thousand friends.  one can debate the merits of the rule all day long but shayleh keeps up with me on my “public figure” page.  i still say she’s facebook friend #321.  i love you dearly mr. zuckerberg but i am feeling a bit rebellious and i was feeling a bit rebellious when i took the gals out for a spin in my official residence.

we first went to the garfield museum.  james garfield our twentieth president was shot on july 2, 1881 and died on september 19, 1881.  he was the sort of president who could bring together a country and a congress.  he made them all see reason, not an easy task right after the civil war.  and when he was shot mourning for him brought together a country.*

on the day we visited the flag outside the visitor center was flown at half mast.  we asked why and was told rex walker, a 58-year-old maintenance worker at utah’s timpanogos cave, was killed in a fall of 500-600 feet down a steep, rocky slope while trying to help rescue some stranded park visitors.  all the national parks were flying their flags at half mast and employees were wearing a black band over their ranger pins.  “the park service is family,”  the gal at the desk told us.

it might seem like it was a somber day, and it sort of was as the three of us wandered through the garfield grounds.  both shayleh and jeannie have dealt with a lot of difficulties and i admire both of them for their grace and courage.  facebook is wonderful for friendship, but you really do have to meet your friends on a regular basis and talk with them and appreciate who they are. i was grateful and i was about to get into the official residence and drive away before i remembered that my garmin gps is broken.  mapquest time!  i sat on jeannie’s couch and she was walking back into her kitchen as i dialed up mr. internet. . . .

shayleh, jeannie, me and jeannie’s boyfriend joe. jeez, he’s such a prankster!


“OMG!!!   it’s a sure sign of the apocalypse!”  i screamed. “those mayans are right!”

“WHAT?!”  jeannie cried out.

“tom cruise and katie holmes are getting divorced!”  and all three of us screamed “NO!”

and suddenly, the most important matter at hand wasn’t our individual histories, the history of our nation, the fragility of life.  no, no, it was whether we were team kate or team tom.

*i took a facebook friendship f2fb road trip last summer and listened to the entire account of his presidency and death. it was so riveting that i sat in my garage for forty five minutes at the end of the trip just so i could finish the story.  you can get the book at http://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Republic-Madness-Medicine-President/dp/0385526261.

6 responses to “a voyage not measured in miles but in friendship

  • goinggraymama

    I envy you! I wish I could do something like this…though folks would certainly question my mental state I suppose. I have fb friends all over the globe and you know what? I’d LOVE to go see them all! I’m a mom with a younger child though, so for now…I’ll just cherish my friends even if many of them are virtual! =)

    • arlynnpresser

      you are at a wonderful stage in life! and when your child is grown, you will have that chance too. i traveled with my older son around the world. it’s an experience neither of us will ever forget!

      • goinggraymama

        I have a college age daughter as well who spent a semester in study abroad in London. She made many new friends and going back to visit next month. While she was there, she trekked….alone, to Paris, Copenhagen, Berlin and Barcelona. Maybe at some point, I’ll have my passport as well, I may need it as it’s likely she’ll spend more time abroad than here in the states. So yes….someday it will happen! I just admire your willingness to sell everything to follow your dream. Enjoy the journey!

  • Bruce Cohen and Friends

    Looks like a good post. Tom and Kate and other subjects. Good Job.

  • Don Wainwright

    Tom and Katie divorced? I thought that this was a forever relationship! I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

  • beyondmd aka Heartblaze

    Arlynn, I love the whole “friendship measure in miles” theme. I also really salute your comment that FB is great for keeping up with friends, but you still need to connect face to face. Well done!

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