Tag Archives: arlynn presser

rita bowman, quiet superheroine!

my biological parents justin and aleta raised me in a typical young married fashion:  justin was in school, aleta took some work to pay the bills and they looked forward to a brilliant future. 

according to aleta, justin persuaded her that the brilliant future wasn’t going to happen if they kept me and so when i was about to turn three, they went to the children’s home and aid society of chicago.  there was a six month waiting period after i was accepted by the patricks.  sometime after that six month period, aleta and justin broke up.  they divorced about a year later.  here’s aleta in a picture taken sometime in the seventies.

i was raised by the patricks until i was fifteen and ran away from home.  when i was twenty five i found both my father justin and mother aleta.  justin was a professor at the university of houston.  aleta was a part time freelance public defender in washington, d.c.  she was a lesbian coming out of a relationship with a woman who had undergone sexual reassignment surgery.

aleta had no contact with her two sisters and her mother alyce.  she described alyce as evil.  alyce had been raised in an orphanage and was stunned when, as she turned seventeen, her mother reapeared and wanted to resume a family relationship.  alyce married very soon after, had aleta, lost custody of aleta to her mother, and then regained custody before moving on to husbands number two, three and four.  i was in contact with aleta for several years before aleta cut things off–i was paying for her health insurance and discovered that aleta wasn’t using the money for that purpose.  i have no idea whether aleta is alive or dead.  then i got a big surprise from a stranger. . . .

alyce collects dolls, and at one point had well over four thousand of them in her house.  now she lives in a manor house run by the methodists and she can only keep about two hundred.  i brought her a sparkly princess belle doll.  she likes to talk, and probably feels pretty lonely when there’s no one around to listen. . . .

so she told us about when she raised a tiger in georgia before it went crazy and killed a whole bunch of people and alyce was forced to ship him back to kenya and he cried.  she told us about being a weather girl for wgn television and how she was given a police escort when it snowed so that she could get to the studio.  she told us about her years working in the circus as a clown.  she told us about how the helicopters touch down on the roof of a nearby hospital when they bring in patients and the pilot always buzzes manor house so he can wave to her because he knows her as somebody who ran civil defense.  and some of this that she says is true and some of it is just to entertain us so we will stay.

i couldn’t have a relationship with alyce without rita and her husband bruce bowman helping me.  they are good people, the sort without which a small town can’t survive.  volunteering at the fire department, raising their daughter mandy, keeping active in their church, and helping alyce blum have a granddaughter arlynn.

okay, mike castagna, i promise!

mike castagna, facebook friend #3, has devised an ingenius map which is just the sort that indiana jones would carry in his back pocket.  it has thumb tacks and every thumb tack represents a facebook friend.  fortunately, the thumb tacks are imaginary.

and now i have  a problem that is the opposite of defriending–i’ve sworn a blood oath to mike that i won’t add on any new facebook friends, except of course for steve gondorcin my ups guy because he sends all the care packages to reggie, joseph and eastman.  and of course lorraine hara yolles who has been so sweet to invite me to her home for parties.  in winnetka, most people don’t invite single, divorced or widowed women into their homes.  it’s considered bad luck.  so if lorraine and steve are so nice to me, how can i not say yes when they want to be my friend?

my two best friends of my life are not on facebook and, in fact, are dead.  dick and vivian eastman were in their mid sixties when they met the teenager me.  they shared their family with me, which is the greatest gift of friendship.  they both passed within the last several years and i still miss them.

when the grant family says that paige can travel with me on some of my face to facebook trips, they are sharing their most important treasure.  and i’m very grateful.   if anybody else wants to travel with me on any of the legs of the journey, the sign up sheets are posted now. . . .

it had to happen–i am defriended!

poor, poor, pitiful me!  i have been defriended and facebook don’t make it easy to figure out who defriends you.  it’s like they’re a teenaged girl from the cool clique who is trying to spare your feelings but isn’t really doing such a good job.  i checked the facebook friend who had been with my husband when we first separated–no, she’s still my facebook friend.  ditto the guy i wouldn’t date whose posts are so fun and vulgar that i would despair if they didn’t pop up every once in a while–he’s still my friend.  so is that guy i went out with in college and the rapper inda loop.  and alex beh who used to babysit my kid and now dates jennifer love hewitt.   i don’t blame anybody for defriending me–i might defriend myself given a chance.

but before i defriend myself–victory!  i made it back to my cozy home and if i can do a small trip i can do every trip required by the face to facebook new years’ resolution!  i can meet every one of my remaining 331 facebook friends before december 31, 2011.  this is all said in hubris.

the trip began with kankakee where i saw heather for lunch at her job at target.  she’s not always going to work there–in fact, i think she’s “work at a museum” material.  i can’t wait to watch that develop!  then onto champaign-urbana to see john and alice lafond!  they were such fine hosts and the next morning i woke quite refreshed and ready for adventure.

and i got it!  i was lost several times while trying to find the home of andrew pearce.  andrew is a transplanted brit who worked in the railway industry for twenty years.  his passions are photography and trains so this is the result of our visit:

and p.s. the train engine was running.  my butt got really cold.  andrew makes pickled eggs and declined to give me the recipe but i smelled it and decided it could be used as a diet aid as well.  in exchange for those eggs, he gets free beer for life from the local brewery.  i’d like that deal.

then a sweeping tour of bloomington and i am having dinner with my stepdaughter elisabeth and her husband steve.  elisabeth was seven when i married her father.  her brother was eleven.  i was pregnant with joseph.  i was a wretched stepmom.  i never beat her or locked her up in the basement, but i wasn’t too keen on making school lunches five days in a row and i never celebrated her successes as much as i should have.  nonetheless, she has forgiven me.  partly that’s because of grace–being a new mom really makes one appreciate the stresses of your own mom (or stepmom) much better.  here’s some important information on how to make fishnet stocking if you’re a princess and you have to dress in rugged conditions.

i spent the night at the indiana union and got a call from chris redmond, joseph’s childhood friend.  i remember him as a loud, hyperactive, mischievous boy.  the guy who showed up the next morning to work out was a tall, gentlemanly man.  his parents have done all right by him.  he has agreed to be my necessary bodyguard for the asian leg of the face to facebook new years resolution tour and if anybody wants to apply for any other legs of the trip, sign up now!  here, he demonstrates how to train to be a bodyguard:

one thing i’ve learned is that i know some friends who have purpose and meaning in their lives, whether their purpose is trains, raising grace, Jesus Christ, or even just knowing they will have a purpose one day. i hope to find my purpose.  i hope to find my way.  with my face to facebook friends, i am learning. 331 friends, 319 to go!

a face to facebook puzzle

when i finally made it to andrew pearce’s house, i was so glad i recognized him.  i had only seen him once–as the bartender of the marriot in bloomington where i stayed just once.  but he smiles like nobody’s business and that’s how you know it’s andrew.  he invited me in for a cup of tea to brace ourselves for the afternoon’s business–a photo shoot at a trainyard.  in his kitchen i found this. . .


is andrew pearce breeding snakes?i was a little creeped out, but this is a project of adventure.  of learning new things and this was definitely something new.  if you know what it is, leave a comment.

later today, i will post the pictures from the tracks, a video of me drawing fishnets on the cutest gal in all of bloomington indiana and then . . . one more mystery facebook friend experience!