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Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis’

Dear Rep. Ann Kelley,

What — and I mean this sincerely — the f*** are you doing?

WHY would you propose a change to the Missouri House of Representatives rules that forces women to cover their arms?

And you are a woman. What the heck?!

Let me get this straight: You lost your mind over requiring people to wear masks a couple of years ago to stop the spread of COVID, but now you are forcing women to wear sleeves?

You claim it was to clarify language to be “equal” to men. (By the way, you really should hire a PR person or copy editor or SOMEONE to help you with your writing skills.)

Sure it was.

I can’t believe it was adopted 105-51. (Note that the House is made up of 116 men and 43 women. Party affiliation for reference: 111 R, 52 D.)

I can’t believe you wasted any time on this at all. Have you seen the state rankings? Just look!

30th in Education

42nd in Public Safety

42nd in Healthcare

I swear to God — you are affecting my healthcare: my mental health!

I really don’t know why I’m surprised at either of the things above. It’s so much easier to control women and what they do and wear rather than tackle big issues in all people’s lives. Right, Ann?

What an embarrassment this is for the state. You want to be in the international consciousness with this foolishness?

I’m so glad my representative didn’t vote for this nonsense. (Granted, I think he was absent that day.)

Pull yourself together, please. Focus on important issues.

Sincerely,
Beth, a Missouri resident with sense

Bare arms vs. bear arms (God forbid she wears a mask.) Photo credit here.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Dear Friends and Family,

The story continues, as promised. (If you are new here and need a recap, read Part 1 and Part 2.)

My birth mother Kathy and I started chatting weekly on the phone. And as you know, that’s a big deal for me. (Why do I hate talking on the phone so much?)

Topics? Large: I learned my birth father’s full name. Small: I learned we like our eggs the same way. (So that’s where I got it!)

She told me about all the family I had in the St. Louis area. You’ll remember I mentioned my mom Jeanne was from Missouri. Well, I spent my childhood visiting relatives all over the state: Kansas City, Jefferson City and also St. Louis. My favorite aunt and uncle lived in Hazelwood, Missouri — 25 minutes from my current home and 15 minutes from where Kathy lives.

It’s bizarre to think that I could have passed a member of my birth family in the grocery store.

Weird and wonderful, to say the least.

On one of our calls, I mentioned I had a dream that I had driven to St. Louis to see her. She said she did want to meet me. We started planning for Memorial Day weekend.

Y’all, this was … something. Talking on the phone was one thing. Actually meeting her was another.

She picked me up at the St. Louis airport. Her first words to me were these:

I haven't seen you in ___** years!

So yes, we have a similar sense of humor.

I’ve written about this part of the story before.

This is the day I met Kara and Lodell.

But here’s the important thing:

It was so easy. It felt right. I fit in. No awkwardness.

As George Bailey said, “What do you know about that?!

We all set about building relationships — relationships helped by my move to St. Louis.

It’s gone better than I had any right to want.

The next step? Contacting my birth father. You know: One step at time.

That’s the fourth and final part. Also the most recent. As in past six months.

Don’t touch that dial!

XO,
Beth

*Yes, I know I’m being silly. But I’ll do it again for Part 4.

**Listen, a lady doesn’t share her age — even for the sake of a story. 😉

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Dear Santa,

Thanks for bringing me the gift of time with new family this year. First Christmas with birth family on mom’s side. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

Added bonus for 2022: Meeting birth father, David.

Thank you for that too. It’s plenty to process (and write about), so today I’ll just be thankful.

Somehow I must have made it on the nice list.

It’s a Christmas miracle. 😉

Love you, Santa!

See you next year,
Beth

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Dear Halloween,

I love you so much. Still. As I’ve said. And this year, I feel like I’ve taken advantage of the opportunities you provide.

Decorating the house? Check.

Haunted Mine? Check.

Costumed cat? Check.

Six Flags Fright Fest? Check. With the boys, even, who had a bit they did for the occasion.

Carving pumpkins? Check.

The Darkness haunted house? Check. Although that wasn’t without risk.

I wasn’t moving fast enough, so Dominic moved me into a doorframe. On accident. So he says. 😉

Scary movies and fire pit? Check.

I’ve even seen “Halloween Ends.” (I would not say it was worth the time and money. Maybe I’m just a hipster when it comes to franchises.)

I’m looking forward to seeing if I get trick or treaters this year — my first year in my house.

Anyway, thanks for being you. I’m a fan.

Love,
Beth

*Alice, of course.

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Dear Beauty (and those with similar viewpoints),

I read your blog, posts, etc., because your beliefs are so different from mine. I’m really trying to understand. To find some common ground. It’s really hard, though.

And you clearly aren’t seeking dissenting voices. (I’ve mentioned before how you won’t approve comments that disagree with you. That’s your prerogative, of course.)

In your latest post, “The War For Young Minds” (no hyperbole there 🙄), you lament a part of “Hocus Pocus 2.”

Unpopular opinion: Your mistake was watching “Hocus Pocus 2” and not because of any drag queens. The original “Hocus Pocus” is unbearable.

But I digress.

Here’s the thing (and what I wrote in a comment that you deleted):

This doesn’t affect you. Drag queens do not impact your quality of life. A trans person living his/her/their life does not harm you in any way.

Let’s talk about the pejorative “woke.” Why is it so wrong to show people who are different from ourselves on TV and in movies? Why is representation threatening to you? Why does it bother you that a person wants you to use preferred pronouns in reference to him/her/them?

I know you are super religious, so let’s talk about a quality of God you’ve mentioned: never making mistakes.

You know what does affect children? The fear of being killed in school. There was a shooting Monday at a school three miles away from my house. That’s 40 school shootings this year, in case you are keeping track.

For someone who is so devoutly pro life, I would think you would care about that.

I have never once worried that a drag queen was going to kill me or children. In fact, drag queens have improved my life with meat prizes.

You know what else affects children? Predatory behavior.

I would think that Christian Republicans like yourself would care about that too. But no, that concern is selective, political, engineered and manifested for personal gain.

I have never once worried that a drag queen was going to molest my children.

So spare me your outrage. All I see is hypocrisy.

If you profess to care about children, you need to care about the children going to school worried about their safety. And children being preyed upon by grown men. And the ones who are LBGTQIA.

Some children may even grow up to be drag queens. If they are lucky. 😉

How do you explain to a kid why men are dressed as women? You say, “Because they want to.”

It’s as easy as that.

I mean, who cares?

Right. You do. Too much.

“Woke agenda.” Sigh. Drag is “harmful.”

Look. Listen.

Raise your children the way you want. Have the experiences you want to have. Surround yourself with likeminded people. Believe in and celebrate God. That’s your privilege. But know that it is YOUR responsibility to watch over your children, not Disney’s.

Someday, I hope your view of what’s appropriate, acceptable, “normal” and worth attention will change.

In the meantime, I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,
Beth

*Thanks, Aerosmith!

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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

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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.

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