Tag Archives: blended families

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!

i’m in beaver dam and i can’t stop crying and i don’t know why. . .

this evening, i will take f2fb friend #85 taylor jordan out to dinner. that’s not why i’m crying. then i have to drive back to madison, wisconsin to pick up eastman from his two nights of debauchery with friends. but that’s not why i’m crying.

i cried in the parking lot of beaver dam’s macdonald’s. then i moved operations to the payless where i bought a pair of espadrilles that i thought would make me feel better but that didn’t work. because i started crying in that parking lot. so i checked in early at the super 8 motel and cried in their parking lot for a while. i’m a pretty equal opportunity sobster.

i’m not even sure why i’m so upset.

last night, i was in madison, wisconsin visiting f2fb friend #84 cory russ rickerson. i met cory at her mother’s memorial service. cory’s mother was married to one of my facebook friends, was a stepmother to three of my facebook friends, and was the mother to two other facebook friends.

cory’s mother terri russ had a troubled life and wanted to end it with a bottle of tylenol. she went into liver failure and was rushed to the hospital. her children and mother were with her. terri was conscious and given the option of having a liver transplant and kidney dialysis to continue her life. but she declined.–although there’s some ambiguity about whether she understood the consequences of what she was refusing. she seemed later to change her mind–she wanted to get better. when she was told by her daughters that there was nothing more that could be done–that the window period within which to save her liver and kidney had slammed shut–she closed her eyes for several minutes before accepting her circumstances. and then she went about the business of being good to her children. she hung in–the human spirit is very strong–for several days and then died. i never met terri.

cory’s parents were divorced when cory was just a very little kid and there was a flurry of marriages and remarriages, custody arrangements and rearrangements, stepsiblings and halfsiblings. cory related to me what i can describe most delicately as “inappropriate situations” which arose from when she was ten years old until she was able to strike out on her own. i was horrified. but she has come to forgive. and there have some who have come to her for forgiveness. she is a very strong gal.

she is a teacher in the public school system in madison, wisconsin and i thought we would spend our time together at the capitol building with the protesters. instead, we talked until it was this little traveler’s time to go to bed! what a nice guest room!!!

this morning, cory went to work before i woke up–i drove to beaver dam and for some reason felt very weepy as i considered cory’s story. i’m not quite sure why it resonates so much with me but i have to get this pulled together before i pick up taylor jordan for dinner. game face, baby! that’s what it’s all about!