Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

Dear Bob,

Listen, friend: We need to have a talk.

You were one of my favorite teachers in high school, and I’m thrilled we reconnected when I lived in Atlanta.

But you have scared the bejesus out of everyone with your recent emergency.

I realize that taking a group of students to the Galápagos Islands — a trip that included snorkeling — was too appealing to be denied.

However, when loads of people in the group got a stomach virus, did you HAVE to be an overachiever and get an extreme case? Of course you did.

This was your lovely wife Susan’s status update over the weekend.

Emergency surgery, scary-low oxygen levels, infection attack on numerous organs — that’s just a fraction of the issues you faced.

The good news is that you are awake and asking for sweet tea from Chick-fil-A.

So that means you are on the mend.

It’s about time.

Keep up the great work!

Love,
Beth

* Thanks, Toy Story.

Read Full Post »

Dear Neighbors,

Y’all be out here WILDIN’ (as the kids say). That is, if the Next Door app is any indication.

I live a quiet life. I mind my own business. I’m not out trying to be the stereotype of Angry White Woman (i.e., Karen or BBQ Becky).

Some of you are LIVING for the drama. And bringing it.

For example, Laurie and Claralyn woke up and chose violence.

And then there are posts like the following that have me shaking my head, for a variety of reasons.

My guilty pleasure is following the Best of Next Door on Twitter.

I mean, LOOK:

How could I resist?

But in the words of the late, great Rodney King, “Can’t we all get along?”

Despite the inauspicious start, I get along with both my next-door neighbors, and I’m close with about a dozen of you in our neighborhood. And some of you must like me a little as you voted me into a leadership role. I also took on the task of editing the neighborhood newspaper. Because of course I did.

As I have free rein with the paper, I want to start an advice column to help resolve minor conflicts. Like alley clippings. Neighbor friends Kathy and Marlane have agreed to help.

I think it could be fun. Also, it may raise everyone’s self awareness and tolerance.

But probably not. 😬😉

Anyway, I’m just trying to help. No need to get knickers in a twist over Christmas lights and weeds, when there is the VERY REAL problem of holiday creep.

My friend Jude sent me evidence of Valentine’s Day merch in a store on Dec. 27.

THAT’S a problem.

Your neighbor,
Beth

*RIP Bob McGrath.

Read Full Post »

Dear Friends and Family,

This is it: the last part of this origin story.

It’s been quite a journey (Here are parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.)

Here are the takeaways:

  1. Genetics are cool. Over the course of about two years, I have met more than 30 new people to whom I am blood related. Seeing myself in people other than the two I made is incredible. I see my eyes in my sister, my dimples in my brother, my laugh in my father, my inability to sit still in my mother, etc.
  2. Love isn’t like pie. More for some doesn’t mean less for others. I can love my adopted parents and extended family with my whole heart (and do) and also love my found family.
  3. Love is love is love. No boundaries. Some of the most wonderful messages I’ve received are from adopted cousins. Add to those messages all the heartfelt ones from friends and relations by marriage and new people tangential to the story, and you see that this has been a moving experience for more people than just myself.
  4. The human capacity for love, understanding and acceptance is astounding. Everyone in this story (except one**) has seemed to be so happy about this late-in-life connection. I have been amazed at how excited people seem to be to add me to the family. I’m still on my best behavior of course. I don’t want anyone to regret the welcome. 😉
  5. I am fortunate. Not every adoptee has a positive experience. And I have had it on both sides. One of my friends found her birth mother, and mom turned out to be … not a good person. Another friend found his, who said she didn’t want a relationship: “I gave you up for a reason.” Kathy is fond of saying that this could have been a Lifetime movie, but it turned out to be a Hallmark one.

Me: That’s why I was careful to explain in my letter that I’m a normal, stable person.

Alaina (my niece): That’s exactly what a crazy person would say.

Another takeaway? I can expel water from my face holes. (Thanks for the term, Heather!)

This kid had no idea what would happen in a few decades.

So many of you have contacted me with your own stories and messages of encouragement. Thank you. My goal in writing this series was twofold:

  1. It’s a great story. Come on: You have to give me that!
  2. I wanted to recognize and applaud all the people who opened their hearts to me.

If my story helps any other adoptees or adoptive families navigate these strange waters, then I will have done some good.

With any luck, they will get a message from a birth parent that’s as welcome and touching as this one:

Thanks for reading.

XO,
Beth

*Mission Impossible. Of course.

**I think that person just needs a little more time to process. I’m certainly not going to force it.

Read Full Post »

Dear Friends and Family,

Buckle up: Mr. Toad has nothing on Auntie Beth’s wild ride.

(Here’s Part 1, 2 and 3 to get you up to speed.)

The next logical step was to contact my birth father.

Folks, this was easier said than done.

Not that he was hard to find. As soon as I had his name, I put my reporter experience to work and tracked down his address.

It was more that I wasn’t sure how to make this connection. The problem? He didn’t know about me. At all.

For a variety of reasons (including the fact that they had broken up), Kathy didn’t tell him she was pregnant.

So.

Do I call him? Show up at his house? Contact another relative I found (à la Cousin Laura for Kathy)? Eeesh.

I decided to go with the snail-mail route. It had worked before, so maybe it would work again.

But how do I start THAT letter?

Y’all, I’m a writer, but that was THE HARDEST LETTER to write. How do you announce your existence to someone who helped make you? That’s a big deal.

Kathy was worried about me and my plan. She told me she wasn’t sure how he would react.

Yeah.

For TWO FULL YEARS, I agonized over what to say, how to write that damn letter.

My friend Tyler (who cuts my hair) told me, “Don’t come back unless you have an update.” She was kidding. I think.

That was in March 2022. I pulled myself together.

The good stationery and penmanship came out again.

I chose the “rip off the Band-Aid” method:

I've wanted to write this letter for a while, but I didn't know exactly what to say or how to begin. I'm still not sure this is the right way, but I have to start somewhere. 

You don't know me or know about me, but I'm your daughter.

I planned for it to arrive by Father’s Day. 😬😉 The tracking indicated it took FOUR DAYS to leave the St. Louis post office. I was dying.

Then on June 23, 2022, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. It showed up as Columbia, MD, but I didn’t have my glasses on. I thought it said, “Columbia, MO,” so I assumed it was a work call. I answered.

“This is Beth.”
“Hi Beth, this is David.”

My people, I cannot express just how many emotions were vying for the top spot: happiness, surprise, nervousness, etc.

Gideon and Eddie saw my face. They were curious and concerned.

I mouthed, “My father.” Their eyes nearly sprung out of their sockets.

I went into another room so I could focus.

It was, in a word, unreal.

And clearly too much to explain in this one post. Get ready for Part 5 and 6. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

XO,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Victoria,

Thanks for going with me to the Haunted Mine at our university (aka place of business).

I know we are coworkers who barely know each other, but you came through. People I knew better begged off (because haunted, because mine, because both).

Even though I’m an Explosives Technology student, I had not yet been to the experimental mine. I read all about the prep, though.

“Scaring starts at 6.”

Too bad I live 1.5 hours away and couldn’t get in some hours.

I’m glad we met up at the Tater Patch. I don’t know what any of that means.
Sporting saucy hard hats!

We got the safety briefing (“It’s a mine. The walls are made of rock. If you hurt yourself, let a scarer know immediately.”). Then it was time.

It was genuinely terrifying, especially the bit with the clown with the chainsaw.

This is the photo that one accidentally takes when running from a clown wielding a chainsaw.

NO, THANK YOU.

I had to remind myself that the scarers were not allowed to touch me. (And I was not allowed to touch them either. Consent goes both ways.)

Huddled together, we screamed/laughed our way through it.

Well, the screaming/laughing was me. You were mostly laughing. At me. For good reason.

Anyway, it was great, and I appreciate you going with me. Thanks again!

Happy Halloween!
Beth

*A great Duran Duran song and a terrible pun for this post

Read Full Post »

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for the vote of confidence last night. I’m looking forward to serving as member-at-large for the next two years.

I ran for the position because I want to give back to the neighborhood I love so much. And get to know more of you.

Here’s a snippet of my neighborhood activities Tuesday:

• Took a jacket to the drycleaner.

• Changed a haircut appointment.

• Greeted wine bar owner Jessica, who has a fantastic new hairdo.

• Enjoyed wine tasting at the wine bar.

• Saw new friends Crystal and Ty. Met Ty’s girlfriend Jen.

My “gamer girls” and I didn’t get together for board games as usual after the wine tasting, but that was OK. I still had a good time. And all this happened within two blocks of my house.

Now, the neighborhood is not without issues. The Kia Boyz love this place too.

And my next-door neighbor sent this email yesterday:

Nothing in the body of the email. (This is typical Kate. Also, Kate doesn’t have a cell phone.)

Of course, my response was:

As it turns out, a deceased person was found in a car on a street that borders the park.

What’s funny is that Kate is out of town, yet knew more about what was happening nearby than I did.

That’s why she’s Block Captain. I will have to step up my game in my new role.

Soon, I’ll be in the know also.

As I’m always curious (read: a bit nosy), I’m excited.

Thanks again!

Your neighbor and board rep,
Beth

*Thanks, Mr. Rogers.

Read Full Post »

Dear Kate and Kathy,

We appear to have a symbiotic relationship. I force you to get out and “people” occasionally. You tell me about all the good stuff going on in the neighborhood.

I had no idea when I moved in that our neighborhood is such a happening place!

Naked bike rides, concerts in the park, Friday evening socials, garden tours, antiques fairs, the Moonlight Ramble, and now the Tour de Lafayette.

It’s such a big deal that it even warranted beer tents.

Not that I could partake. Beer and a 5:44 a.m. flight don’t mix.

Still, it was cool to see the racers whipping around the park.

So thanks for the intel. See you Tuesday for game night!

Your new neighbor/friend,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Jennifer,

Thanks for visiting! You gave me an excuse to go to Grant’s Farm. I had heard about it, but never gone.

The main reason to go? CLYDESDALES.

There also are elk, deer, giant rabbits, goats, zebras, donkeys, peacocks, llamas, water buffalo and camels (seriously) to admire.

And as it is the Busch Family estate, two free samples of beer.

What’s not great is the tram system. I did not realize you had to take a tram from the parking lot to the main attraction area, then wait for a tram to take you back.

This would be a fine plan if the retirees in charge filled the trams each. They did not. You and I were both annoyed by the lengthy wait times in the broiling sun.

Anyway, I’m glad we went. I’m also glad we enjoyed the many other lovely things this city has to offer:

  • And, of course, the pizza at IMO’s Pizza

We hit some major St. Louis highlights.

And we even saw a rainbow.

It was such a fun weekend, but now I’m exhausted!

Next time, I promise we will squeeze in Broadway Oyster Bar.

Safe travels, and come back soon!

Love,
Beth

*Thanks, Randy.

Read Full Post »

Dear Dominic and Gideon,

I see my friends posting about prom and honor societies and college visits and whatnot. Though part of me wishes you wanted the traditional high school milestones, most of me loves that you are doing things your own way.

For example, you eschewed the actual prom to have your own prom in a friend’s back yard. (Props to that mom: She did a great job!)

This is a fancy party! (Photo credit: Petra McKinnon)

And no one seemed to care about dates. It was one big friend group.

Girls seem to be an afterthought, which is fine by me. I’m not ready to be a grandma! I do wonder if I’m somehow a gang mom. What are those signs they are throwing? (Photo credit: Petra McKinnon)

I’m surprised there were real suits. You two had threatened to go to Actual Prom in your Spider-Man costumes.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, I guess. It’s really par for the course for you and your pals. After all, this is how you go to school:

And how you go to Target:

I don’t know how you can go shopping. You spent all your money on a Batsuit.

My son, The Batman

It’s movie quality. It should be for the amount of money the two of you spent. (I still can’t believe you chipped in, Gideon.)

But you know what? You AREN’T spending money on drugs.

Your habits are nerdy and wholesome. I’m a fan.

And Dominic, you’ve been a Bat fan for your whole life, so I’m not surprised.

Uh oh. You spotted the Joker!

I love you both very much. And I love that you are individuals.

Stay Gold,
Mama

*Thanks and apologies to Frank.

Read Full Post »

When Vladimir Putin isn’t being an international jerk, he’s at Market Tavern singing “Sweet Caroline.”

Dear Hanley Market Tavern Regulars:

You sure know how to make a girl feel special. A little bit too special in a zoo exhibit kind of way.

When my friend Nick told me there was a “rough” pub in town that featured karaoke on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, I was agog.

Afternoon karaoke at a “rough” pub?

Yes, please.

Jesse’s Divide was opening for Nashville Pussy in Hanley, so I decided to go.

As they were playing on a Wednesday, I made a little trip to Market Tavern before I met my friend Hannah at the show.

I walked in to someone warbling a song I didn’t recognize. Then I realized it was supposed to be “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” That’s a bad AND good sign. It’s a good sign of bad karaoke.

Perfect.

I got a drink and chose a seat at the back of the bar where I could sit alone and not draw attention. Smart move.

It was in front of the men’s room. Not a smart move.

My first gentleman caller was a man with a fully tattooed face. Think knockoff version of The Enigma.

He asked me if was going to sing.

At least, I think that’s what he asked me.

He could have asked me if he could dismember me in the Gents, and I wouldn’t have known.

He was 102 and drunk with a very thick Stokie accent that was hard for these American ears to understand.

My view from the hostess stand for the men’s room.

My next new friend was a man with four teeth and four iron cross tattoos. Delightful! He also sported a Confederate flag wristband.

He wanted to know if I had a boyfriend.

I toyed with the idea of saying, “Yes. He’s a Jewish man of color from Poland.” I think I could have made him explode “Raiders of the Lost Ark” style.

An older woman at the next table came over.

Her: Are you alright on your own there?

Me: Oh, yes. I’m fine, thank you.

Her: You’re American!

Me: Yes. What am I doing in the middle of Hanley, right?

Her: Well, yes.

She went to the loo, and I checked my phone for word from Hannah. I suddenly felt hands touching my shoulders. I yelped and turned around.

Creepy George: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.

Me: Well, you did. Please do not touch me.

Didn’t mean to startle me? Someone who doesn’t know you and has her back to you? What did he expect? “Hi handsome! Please come back to my temporary accommodation for stranger boning.”

When I went to the bathroom, I took my drink. Women know why.

Meanwhile, the show went on. It was definitely a crying-in-your-beer kind of vibe.

I Recall a Gypsy Woman” by Don Williams (!) was about the peppiest thing.

I knew it was time for me to leave when I heard what sounded like Fozzy Bear singing “Love on the Rocks.”

Leaving was cemented as a plan when my last gentleman caller insisted on a conversation:

Him: You’re an American.

Me: Yes.

Him: You’re drinking Guinness.

Me: Yes.

Him: I’m going to get you one, and I’m going to talk to you.

Me: (checks watch) I’m leaving in three minutes.

Him: Then I’ll take three minutes of your time.

My lady friend heard this exchange. “It’s because you’re new in here,” she said.

Yes. It was like Fisher Price: My First American.

I waved goodbye to her and the insistent fellow getting our drinks and headed out the side door.

Thank you all for giving me fodder for this blog.

I’ll be back.

Your new American friend,
Beth

* No one sang anything by The Carpenters, sadly.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »