Mary Beth Writes

Are we feeling the relief? Relief that we can see George Floyd’s face, his profile, that awful image of him under Chauvin’s knee – and feel some accountable closure to such a brazen murder?

I guess at least now, if one is a person of color and an officer kills you, I suppose they can kill you for a minute and still expect to get away with it but nine minutes is too long. Yes, that’s a cynical thing to say. We knew cops were entitled, but it's only in the past few years – because of cellphones – we have seen this entitled violence play out before our eyes.

As is being said so many places – when you put body armor, night sticks, guns, lethal flashlights, debilitating sprays, and tasers on a person and then send them to a situation that needs control – is it logical to expect them to listen, talk, and de-escalate? How many times have we now seen an officer screaming at a person to drop their weapon and the person does and then he’s shot?

I’m glad there were not riots in Minneapolis last night.

I’m glad so many of the reporters and spokespeople are black people. Even a few years ago we would have heard most of this story through white people. The culture around us is changing. Slowly. But its different.

Say her name, too.  Without Darnella Frazier, a 17-year-old with both the courage and the presence of mind to record Derek Chauvin that day, we would not be where we are now.  


Len and I read “Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing” by Lauren Hough. A compelling read and a powerful book.

Here’s a good review:

Hough (huff) was raised in the cult known as the Children of God or The Family. Remember them? Her story is often wrenching to read and take in. The cult becomes a sex cult. Women and girls are punished if they don’t welcome assault, molestation, and sometimes rape. There is sleep deprivation, hunger, abuse, beatings, and endless work. But here’s the thing. She isn’t writing to make you feel sorry for her specific story. She’s writing because her experience, extreme as it is, echoes many of our experiences. Or at least that was Len and I kept saying to each other.

If you were raised inside fearsome ideas of what you could and couldn’t do or of who you were allowed to be, you will hear parts of your story inside her story. You will recall a kid’s internal sense of how easy it would be to become an anathema to the only people they know. Her description of scared alienation is familiar.

Nope, neither Len nor I lived her experiences. Yet she writes eloquently of coming into her adolescence knowing she is gay, trying to figure out where she belongs, trying to make friends, trying to be cool enough to believe in herself. And then, failing at this until well into her 30’s. She learns skills. She gets jobs, has affairs with women, has really tough life experiences resulting from bias, prejudice, injustice, and poverty. Nothing makes her feel at home in the world until she goes back, regards where she came from, looks at the truth and makes some peace with it. This is a book for grownups.

Also, she swears a lot. She’s brilliantly sarcastic and sometimes I laughed out loud. Like when she’s fixing the cable hookups in Dick Cheney’s house. Her supervisor tells her to be careful because of his power. “What’s he going to do, waterboard me?”

The heavy, wild snow today. 

I remember my dad saying, “My father died in an April snowstorm.”

His father was ill with mumps that had swamped his system and turned into pneumonia. My grandmother tried to get a doctor, but they lived in the country and there was an April snowstorm, and a doctor couldn’t get to their farm.

It was 1929. My grandfather was 38 and grandma was 28. My dad was 10 and my uncle was 2.  I sometimes wonder if my dad and uncle were asleep in another room, or if they were present for the drama in their house that night, winds howling outside.

History turns on what happens and who is present and how it is remembered.

The snow is already gone. But here are two photos that Len took.




I didn't grow up in a cult but damn close to one. I caught the tail end of the NPR interview. I do want to scared about what it might bring up. I'll likely read it anyway though. I've processed all of that anyway...I think. :)
Mary Beth's picture

Yes, you will like it and her story will make you respect your own story more. It's odd to look at where one came from and realize how hard one had to work to get out from the worst if it. And then give yourself credit for that.

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Waukesha's Holiday Parade & Us

This photo is of Milwaukee's 'Dancing Grannies'. Some of them were killed and hurt yesterday. 


Coming & Going


And just like that, my website is back.

Behind every website are a zillion lines of code. If you want to see what that looks like behind a page you are perusing – do this: On a computer (not on a phone) right click on any segment of a website. A box will open, click on Inspect and that will show you the code being used in that part of that website. You can’t mess with it, but you can see it.

...and we’re home …


Many of you sent emails and notes and we read every single one. Thank you! We loved the photos of where you live and what you are seeing in your world … and Neal, that fish that you caught is BIG!

A very small update on the very big upheaval In Len’s and my life


We are doing pretty well. Len has 46 staples in his head – the rehab admitting person counted them. Not sure if I wanted to know, but now I do.

His mind, brain, coordination, balance, and motor movements all seem to be exactly the way they always were. Twice he has politely helped the professional therapists who are helping him – unscramble some confusing things on their computers.  

I will be away for a while

Last Tuesday Len went for a big bike ride in the morning. He came home, did some chores, took a shower, ate lunch, laid down for a nap and when he got up he fell on his head.  His nose rivals a boxer's nose after a bad night.


What are you doing November 3-6 and/or November 11-13?

Do you

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