Wednesday, October 31, 2018

About 8 years ago on Hallowe'en, a little 7 year old boy dressed in a pink tutu and tiara and ballet shoes came to my door trick or treating. His father, a big man in a letterman's jacket, and his mother, watched protectively from the sidewalk.This little boy got to wear the costume he wanted, because his parents loved him that much. I told him he looked wonderful and he got this sweet smile, as did his parents. I was so touched and will never forget him or his amazing parents. f

Friday, October 5, 2018

Why Sexual Predators Hurt Us All, and I'm talking "Respectable" men When I was 27 years old and the wife of a seminary student, I rode my bike to and from a job where I counted money for a Christian radio ministry in Pasadena, CA. I worked in a room of 6 women. On my ride home, a guy pulled up next to me in his car and exposed himself and started masturbating. I was shocked, disgusted and pissed. I went home and told my husband, who thought it was hilarious, which pissed me off even more. I went in to work the next day and told my female co-workers what had happened, and 4 of the other women had also had ti happen to them, but didn't say anything. Now I'm really pissed and I called the cops and told them what happened. They visited me at work, showed me a lineup of photos and I picked him out immediately. The 4 other women came out one by one and each picked the same guy as I did and he was arrested later that day. A married guy in his thirties with a wife and little children. Earlier in life I escaped an attempted rape, was unwillingly grabbed and kissed by a coworker, and was married to an emotionally abusive, pornography using, peep show attending husband for 22 years. My "relatively unscathed life" is nothing compared to friends and students who have suffered much worse. This is why this Kavanaugh thing deeply hurts and angers all right thinking people so much.And ultimately, this is about honoring Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Dr. Anita Hill who have stood up for all of us and said, "NO!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

I must preface this list, by saying I love my dogs beyond all measure. Darby Crash is the best dog I've ever had. He was named by Jim Keck Howes after a degenerate punk rocker of the 70s. And like that punker, he has a wild side. Here's the list of things Darby has chewed, torn up or otherwise destroyed over the years. A previous dog Charley taught him how and is no longer with us (also a beloved dog): 1, 2 computer cords belonging to a former partner 2. 3 cellphones 3. approximately 38 of Ed Simpson's books 4. 5 or 6 of my boooks 5. 2 library books from Wood County Library 6. the pocket of a brand new Columbia jacket (The same sewer replaced that for me 8. 15-20 ink pens (if he can't find them on the floor, he gets them off the table) 9. a $400 Pendleton Mills blanket given me by a former partner 10. any Guideposts magazines he gets off my nightstand (approximately 15) 11. a guitar case 12. the mattress pad on my bed 13. the sleeve of my Cal State Fullerton sweatshirt 14. several Christmas ornaments 15. two brand new Spitfire skateboard wheels I'm sure I'm forgetting many things. Fortunately he doesn't ingest these things.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

20 years ago this week, i escaped a long, scary marriage and ran for my life with my 8 year old son to come to Bowling Green State. It felt like jumping off a cliff, leaving my friends of 16 years, Grand Valley State, where I had taught for 10 years and loved, colleagues, Edward's great Montessori school, his friends, a beautiful Arts and Crafts style house I loved and 38 rose bushes. It was so scary i could barely breathe and my first year in the PhD program, I felt like I was a secret impostor. Ed had the teacher from hell and we had no money. I came out as a lesbian (a good, but scary thing). During those years I went through financial ruin, major depression, 3 major surgeries, a scary divorce, a PhD program, a bunch of side jobs so we could eat, teaching at 2 colleges, living in 1 bedroom apartments for 6 years and sleeping on the couch, buying a house by the skin of my teeth, and searching through couch cushions and coat jackets to pay bills. I don't write this to glorify myself, but to say to any woman out there struggling against mighty odds or dying in a bad marriage, you DO have the strength to get out and start a new life. And I didn't do it alone..I had good therapists, a great sister and her family, met wonderful friends I now couldn't live without, students who have loved and supported me and made me proud, and a younger faculty here who love and respect me. I did a lot of praying. And jumping off that cliff was the best thing I ever did, apart from having my son.
When Ed was about 8, his goldfish George V, died. (Yes, there were 4 earlier and identical ones). He was heartbroken, and came to me saying, "We have to have a funeral for George." I asked what he wanted to do. He wanted a little soft cloth to wrap him in, a little box to put him in and to dig a hole in our garden. I went out to our little patio to dig a hole and he comes out with his trombone. I asked what what we were doing and he said, "Playing taps!" It was all I could do not to laugh, but I didn't because he was serious as a heart attack. So he played taps and we had a ceremony ending with him praying for George to go to heaven.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The teacher sees the students as "other", the students see the teacher as "other." My very first teaching job after I got my secondary teaching credential and Master's in secondary education was 60 miles north of where I lived in Grand Rapids, MI, in a very rural area, in a county that was the poorest in Michigan at the time and had the highest incidence of incest and child abuse. I taught in two different schools, parts of an alternative high school system. The first school was in Sand Lake, MI, for kids, mostly boys, who were kicked out of the regular high school for assaulting teachers and students, spray painting a teacher's car, shooting out the town's street lights, etc. There were a few girls who had gone missing from high school, one for a 100 days in a row, because they were being assaulted by boys at the school or by male stepfathers or boyfriends of their mothers. At night, I taught their mothers who were on welfare in a one stop town down the road called Howard City. In Michigan in the 80's, women who were on welfare were required to get their high school diplomas or GEDs in order to receive their welfare checks. These women struggled even to get there..once they enrolled in school their boyfriends or husbands either refused to bring them or consistently came home late with the car so they couldn't go. Several of us teachers would drive out in the country and get them, along with their 3, or 4 or 5 little children, who sat at the back of our classrooms and played, or caused a ruckus or colored. Many of these women didn't have running water and came dirty to class. These were poor white women, whose mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers had been on welfare. I wasn't shocked, because I spent 3 years living in a barrio in southwestern Colorado, but at the same time, I knew they considered me "other", a woman who wore dress suits and nylons to school. And I would be a liar if i didn't say I saw their lives as "Other". They were trapped in their situations with abusive boyfriends, had often been molested by fathers and uncles growing up, lived in an area where there only jobs in the carrot fields in the fall and Christmas trees in late November. I taught there for three years, and i think about them every day.