Tag Archives: homeless

sutton lee seymour

i have such admiration for this friend of mine!  prescott seymour is a drag queen living in new york who works under the stage name sutton lee seymour.  he is part of the seymour family, which is the most admirable family on earth because they share every holiday, sunday dinners, etc. with each other.  even the exes.  and their kids.  and stepkids.  and futures.

little shop of horrors is a movie/play/movie about audrey II, a carnivorous plant cared for by a florist assistant seymour who named the audrey II in honor of his true love audrey.  audrey is terrorized by the abusive boyfriend orin but finds the courage to leave--because there's "suddenly seymour" the most popular song from this show is "suddenly seymour" which i can't get out of my head right now.  karma alert:   audrey II ends up with a nice orin meal.

little shop of horrors is a movie/play/movie about audrey II, a carnivorous plant cared for by a florist assistant seymour who named the audrey II in honor of his true love audrey. audrey is terrorized by the abusive boyfriend orin but finds the courage to leave–because there’s “suddenly seymour” the most popular song from this show is “suddenly seymour” which i can’t get out of my head right now. karma alert: audrey II ends up with a nice orin meal.


meanwhile, my friend works under the name sutton lee seymour sometimes.  and he had this to write:



I have to tell this story, and please know it’s not praise I’m looking for. It’s change!

I was at my subway stop last night heading to my show, “in face” but in boy clothes. I do this for physical comfort, not from fear of being gay bashed. But last night I encountered a homeless man who decided to scream at me with hate once he saw my face (btw, I looked really pretty last night). I never really encountered this before.

I wasn’t afraid of him because he was on the Queens bound platform and I was on Manhattan bound platform. But he kept screaming, so I moved. But he wouldn’t stop.

And then something just hit me, I needed to do something. I considered going to the MTA folks in the booth but opted against that. Instead I left the subway station and went to the Dunkin Donuts and bought a cheddar, egg, sausage sandwich, a banana, a donut, and a bottle of water. Btw, nobody seemed bothered by my stunning face.

I went back up to the platforms, going to the Queens bound side this time. And I found the homeless man. And yes he did start yelling at me again. And I shut him up saying…

“This food is for you. Please eat up and remember it was a ‘faggot’ who decided to love you instead of ignore you today.”

And he didn’t do anything for a minute so I just left the food in front of him. And then he said thank you, which honestly surprised me because I was expecting more hate. And I left for my platform with no slurs coming from the man. And my train pulled up as I got back over and I saw him eating. And I headed to my show.

I realize that maybe this was risky, but there’s still so much hate out there that we can’t ignore it or fear it. And we can’t change hate with more hate. Only love. Will this change that man forever? Probably not. But I’m certain he won’t forget. At the end of the day, there are people who still need help. And hopefully, that man will think twice before he starts gay bashing. That’s my wish.


prescott, you are my hero!

prescott, you are my hero!

homeless no more, the things i will not take for granted

running water, electricity, heat, internet, a refrigerator, waking up in the same place every morning, a bed, hanging up my clothes in a closet, a medicine cabinet, leaving the shampoo in the bathtub after a shower, keys, neighbors, pillows, hand washing lingerie and hanging panties on the shower curtain rod. . . .

this past weekend i moved into an apartment with facebook friend william clark, pictured here on top of the piano i had had in storage. this morning, the bed was delivered. next week, a rug is coming. my ex maximilian says that i have been “officially without residence” for three months.


i am a very lucky homeless person:  i have a credit card, i have means, i have a car, i have friends.  the friends are the most important part of the equation.  still, i have been tired.  i have been scared.  i have been weary of being on the road.  it is good to have a place to call home  and i promise to never take for granted the things  i have been blessed with.

if you’re going to live out of your car . . .

seriously, no worries.  yes, i’m homeless for the moment but there’s just so many blessings to it. for one, i will never always look with compassion at someone who is homeless, without work, fighting addiction or depression, or just generally having a rough life —  it’s not that i am but i laughed this morning when i ran into a friend i hadn’t seen anywhere except on facebook this past summer and i said “what have you been up to?”  and he said “sleeping in my car a lot.”

laughing, but i could sympathize.  i spent two nights this week sleeping in my car.  we agreed that state parks are good, but not for a woman by herself and that wal-mart — yes, wal-mart — is the kindest to people who park.


in general, i find it preferable to have a large stuffed animal (or, in this case a giant heart) to rest up against.  one can leave it on the passenger seat during the day with a certain insouciance–and your car doesn’t scream “arlynn slept here!”  blankets definitely should be folded up and put in the trunk.  keeping up appearances is important.

i was surprised this week when i realized what an extraordinary thing karma can be.  i sent out a request to facebook friends asking if anybody knew where i could land.  i had a lot of offers but nothing quite worked.  and my “home” was in the shop–i traveled so much last year visiting facebook friends that my tires were balding and my brakes shot.  i felt like my life was completely out of control.  it’s never a plummet to the gutter, it’s always a series of bumps. 

and i have it easy.  two nights last week i slept in my car but two nights i spent at the marriott because i discovered i had so many reward points from traveling last year that it was free.  plus i got breakfast!

then i got a call from facebook friend mike castagna.  well, i mean, he’s my facebook friend and a friend of longstanding.  still, i hadn’t heard from him in a long time.

“if you don’t mind staying with me and matt,”  he said, referring to his son who is also oddly enough my facebook friend as well.  “we got an extra bed on the porch.  it’s screened in, you’ll need some blankets.  oh, and in order to get to the bathroom you have to go through matt’s room.  he has a snake.  stay as long as you want.”

he spoke with such enthusiasm and force that i could only believe that he meant it. 

“i’m so grateful,” i said.

“no, i’m the one who’s grateful.”

and he reminded me of a favor i had done for him and his son matt several years ago.  i felt the whooosh of karma looping around me.

“no, i’m grateful,”  i said to mike.

“no, i’m grateful.”

“no, i’m grateful.”

“just shut up,”  mike said and hung up.


even if i’m living out of my car, i like to decorate for halloween!

living with mike and matt and the snake is a temporary solution and tomorrow i drive out to meet with facebook friends indianapolis and beyond. 


mr. clark, the mascot of the facebook adventures, is happy on the summer porch and will be happy sitting on the pink heart’s lap when i get back out on the road!

the friend i met this morning who has been driving out to state parks to sleep in his car was in surprisingly good spirits.  that’s how you have to be regardless of what life gives you. 




i should be what stays in vegas

in vegas, with my facebook friend chaperones reggie and vince, we planned on meeting up with facebook friend niteen joshilkar.  i was very interested in meeting him because he has done me the most important favor in this facebook project.  when he noticed that i was receiving so many friendship requests that i was teetering on the edge of 5,000, he created a “public profile” page where people who want to keep track of my adventures can subscribe and send me messages.  i was grateful.  but also i think niteen is wonderful.

alas, niteen was in florida stuck in meetings and missed his flight.  so i had some time to kill in vegas.  i asked only one thing:

alas, we left the next day without any new shoes and with niteen having never gotten back to his home in vegas.  but with all the poker, the free champagne, the food, the dazzling showgirls, i think the most fun was going to the monet exhibit at the bellagio hotel.

at lax airport, i asked vince and reggie for their postal addresses.  i wanted to send them thank you notes for their valor and courage in being my chaperones.  because no matter how close you feel to a person you correspond with on facebook, myspace, linkedin, etc., you should allow for safety first.

easy enough to send vince p. a thank you note but reggie is being shipped out to afghanistan in two weeks. so for the moment, he doesn’t have a fixed address. . . just like me. so instead, i have to say it here: thank you reggie! i asked him what he wanted in care packages and he replied toilet paper and food. lots of food. will do, captain!


i’m terribly sad that i missed meeting niteen joshilkar.  but flight has delays, cancellations, booking problems, hassles.  and so i will wait and try again.  meanwhile,  i look forward to turning fifty two and thinking i am part of a wonderful adventure–life!

don’t call me homeless–call me “officially without residence”

deal’s on.  deal’s off.  deal’s on.  deal’s off.  deal’s on.  it’s a little hard to make life plans when you’re not sure if you have a place to stay.

my home in winnetka was on the market for a long time–in fact, the entire year i visited facebook friends i worried that it would sell and i would be out of the country or on the road. i am very happy that the new owners have a baby and two dachshunds and they will love this place and make it their home! on the other hand, i’ve been weepy.


getting approval for a mortgage is ne plus ultra difficult and the new buyers have been stretched in their patience.  without approval for a mortgage they cannot afford to purchase the house.  without knowing that they have the mortgage, i’ve dithered about buying renting or even looking for a place to live.

this past weekend, i divested/sold/gaveaway all my possessions except what i can fit in the back of my car. i still wasn’t sure the buyers were moving in, but i had to move forward as if i knew they would. i was helped by so many friends–and my son eastman who came home from college to help me. he could sell a ketchup popsicle to a lady with white gloves–he’s that good at the garage sale wheelin’ and dealin’!


several times this week i have been approached by deer.  whether in the forest preserve where i run, the streets of winnetka, or in my own backyard.  i think they were saying goodbye.

for some native americans, the deer totem is a signal that one is about to experience great change and possibly go on a journey. this deer was in my backyard. i felt sorta bad because i didn’t know her name and i didn’t have anything except beer, diet coke, and perfume in my refrigerator. such a bad hostess!


on tuesday morning, the new owners pulled into the driveway.  the missus and i hugged and i said “welcome to your home!”  i felt that teary thing coming on and then stopped myself–the moment was not about me letting go of a house, it was about a young couple starting a new life.

as eastman and i pulled out of the driveway, i called the renaissance hotel.  full.  the marriot.  full.  the super 8.  full.  wow, being homeless is a little harder than it looks.  then we called eastman’s dad, my ex-husband.  with a great generosity, he invited us to his apartment.  tomorrow, i visit the brazilian consulate to get a visa so i can visit facebook friends in brazil.  after all, i am free to roam the planet. and then i drive eastman back to college.

there is a moment in a young man’s life when his mom has to say “wow, you’re an adult, i respect you, i rely on you, and i admire you.” this past weekend was that moment. especially when he told the radnors h to the n when mr. radnor came into the house on sunday afternoon and said he would purchase the remaining pieces of furniture for twenty dollars but only if we transported all of it into his home. those pieces of furniture are now resting at the winnetka community church rummage sale storage facility. we had our limits.


this afternoon, i gave five bucks to a homeless dude sitting on the sidewalk and i asked him to pray for me.  i know we all struggle with what to do in the face of seeing someone who is homeless.  i am not in that position.  i shouldn’t use the word homeless, i should use the phrase “officially without residence”. . .

doesn’t it sound very very downton abbey british to say “officially without residence” — and now i visit facebook friends. .. . everywhere!

twenty three days before this homeless winnetka matron starts selling streetwise. . .

packing up a quarter century of my life.  my ex-husband’s life.  the lives of my sons joseph and eastman.  and my stepchildren david and elisabeth.  the sighs–oh, that’s the second grade workshop project that eastman made me!  the delights–now i know where the hell the cheese grater ended up!  and the self-reproach–really, did i need four sets of dessert plates when i’m an eat the ice cream right out of the container girl?

and what exactly were seventeen of these doing behind the speakers in eastman’s bedroom?


life follows us.  and we decide how we mold our experiences.  i can be worried and scared about being twenty three days away from the closing on the house.  i can be excited because i am being given something that not a lot of people my age have–freedom to do exactly as i please untethered by the weight of responsibility to family or real estate.  i can course up and down through the emotional double helix while packing one set of teacups for my stepdaughter elisabeth.

is there something you’re enduring that you’re not too happy with?  what if you turned it upside down and looked at it as a blessing?  i’m not asking you to change your mind about it.  just two or three moments of thinking “i’m really happy that. . . .”  i’m not convinced i’m all that good at it–and my balloons are still stuck to the telephone wires.

at least i have a facebook job! and facebook friends #318 and 319

i have been packing up a quarter century of my life, my ex-husband’s life, my two stepchildren’s lives, my own children’s lives.  it’s sometimes surprising to come across a book, a drawing, a sportsmanship award for which kid and what sport?  i have cried looking at little blobs of clay  that were once handed to me with great pride and  an “i made this for you, mommy!”  but i don’t have to worry about the next phase of my life, because at least i have my job.

well, i have a job on facebook!

i am friends with f2fb friend #318 arthur frank, the father of the delightful gal in the video.  he owns round table books and he was just as surprised to discover that i am now listed as being employed at his establishment.  oddly, he has not offered me a salary.  or a corner office.  on the other hand, i haven’t offered to show up and do actual, like, work.  one of the very odd things about being fifty one is that a lot of employment skills are difficult to implement or to prove to a potential employer without some major practice.  for instance, if i were set loose behind a starbucks espresso machine, i’m sure the company’s share price would drop as precipitously as facebook’s share price.

don’t cry for me, mark zuckerberg! mr. z. has been having some problems of his own even while he’s honeymooning in italy! because of the facebook share price plunge, his net worth has gone from an estimated $20 billion to a paltry $14 billion AND he’s been dropped from forbes magazine’s top forty wealthiest folks list!


still, he has even more of a problem–mr. z. set off an italian controversy worthy of a tempermento tantrum enorme!  he doesn’t tip.  no, not at all.  not a a euro at the coffee shop.  not a euro at the cozy sidewalk cafe.  not a euro at the little corner romantic pasta joint.  i went around the world to meet my facebook friends last year and i tipped everywhere.  i gotta ask . . .

arthur might not want to employ me, but he is the owner of a business that will help me.  help me with disposing of the many books i have acquired over the last twenty five years.  round table books takes books on consignment, sells them, and if it can’t sell them, it donates the books to charity.  go visit their website–maybe they can help you find a book you’re looking for or take care of a book you need to find a new home for!  www.roundtablebooks.com right now they have a lot of arlynn presser and vivian leiber books–i wrote under the name vivian leiber for many years.

but arthur’s not doing this alone.  he is employing my f2fb friend #319 eric c. carley who reminded me that there is a very honorable means for a femme seul to live in winnetka–for free!

erin, who i guess qualifies as my co-worker at round table books, will come to my house to take away all the books of so many years. she house sits for people in winnetka and that means she gets to live for free in some of the finest homes–if you want to housesit in your town, go to your local realtor and ask if there are homes that have been temporarily emptied of their owners. you might find yourself in a beautiful mansion!

so next time you look at my facebook page, you’ll notice that i’m employed at round table books.  i wonder if mark zuckerberg would like to give me a job. . . at least on facebook!

panic at williamsburg bridge!

mapquest said it would take me four hours and forty seven minutes.  a fourteen mile walk punctuated by a five mile ferry ride to see f2fb friend #317 michele piersiak.  i sometimes do an eight mile walk around the perimeter of winnetka, so i figured it couldn’t be that bad.

oh how wrong i was.  my theory about new yorkers is that they do fifty three terrifying things and that’s before they get to work.  i didn’t expect to be scared in quite this way.

the williamsburg bridge is the seventy-fifth longest suspension bridge in the world, which makes any american immediately say “pshaw! there are seventy four others that are much tougher!”  still, i got stuck along the 1600 span that towered over the water.  i couldn’t move forward and couldn’t move back.  this happened three times.  each time, i had a vision of me being the homeless chick who lives on the williamsburg bridge, unwilling to leave or to move.  accepting handouts and generally letting personal hygiene take a backseat.  i’d be an object of pity, scorn, and perhaps curiosity.  i’d feed pigeons.  i would have several pet rats who would be attracted by my pungent body odor.  i’d lash myself to the bridge during storms.  i’d lose my cell phone!

i had to get unstuck.  i was so scared my feet had fallen asleep and if i didn’t get moving the legs would be the next to go.  i started saying thank you.  thank you to the rain.  thank you to the shoes i was wearing.  thank you to the guy who had helped when the mapquest directions were just a bit . . . off.  thank you even to mapquest.  i said thank you to my facebook friends, pausing only briefly as i realized the reason i was going across the bridge was to meet f2fb friend #317 who had introduced herself on facebook.  i thanked american airlines for getting me to new york.  i thanked whoever built the bridge (later i learned construction on the bridge began i n1896 with henry hornsbotal as the chief architect and leffert buck as his engineer)

as i approached the end of the bridge i felt an odd exhileration.  and it wasn’t just relief.  it was a sense that i was buoyed up by all the people i had thanked, even by henry and leffert although at that point i didn’t know their names.

and i got off that bridge and found the staten island ferry . . . thanks to five different new yorkers who made me think that new yorkers are the friendliest people on earth!  i thank them too!

i didn’t expect to get choked up by the staue of liberty, so i sat on the side of the ferry that does not get the view of the statue.  but as we approached, i couldn’t help myself.  statue of liberty, dollface, i’m grateful to you!

and so i was wrong.  it could be that bad.  and yet, it also could be wonderful!

agoraphobics have their own anthem now!

i was sent this by david janis, a fellow agoraphobe.  he thought it was ironic that i am about to be a homeless agoraphobic and i thought it was ironic that there’s a new anthem for being housebound.  listen to what he’s got to say. . .


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!