I know many of you are okay with a little or a lot of Mary Beth’s writing. We aren’t having a crisis here, but I know I will be mostly not be here for the next week. I thought I would mention it in case you were wondering.
Yes, I know Anne Hutchinson doesn’t start with N – but look at that name! There are FOUR N’s in it! That has to count … also; one can definitely say she was nervy, noble, nonconformist, nonplussed, noteworthy, and inspiringly noncompliant.
“As I understand it, laws, commands, rules and edicts are for those who have not the light which makes plain the pathway.” Anne Hutchinson
So who was Anne Hutchinson? This woman was strong, smart, and fascinating!
M is for the massive freight trains that rumble through my neighborhood dozens of times per day. Our house is in the very middle of a long block. Up at the east end of this street is a wide boulevard laid out a hundred years ago, on which there still big, graceful Victorian mansions. That is the direction we go when we want to walk to Carroll University to hear a concert. Up the hill takes us to chatty old neighborhoods with gardens, leafy trees shading quiet streets, ivy on retaining walls, people walking toddlers and dogs.
At the west end of our block is the train tracks.
Last night the United States shot 60 missiles from two ships in the Mediterranean Sea to the Shayrat Airfield at Homs, Syria. This was, as you know, in retaliation for the horrendous chemical bombing earlier this week that wounded 350 people and children, killing at least 75 of them.
We are waking up this morning wondering what this means. If this is the only attack, if this cripples Bashar al-Assad’s military ability to attack his own people, maybe this is good. Dear God we hope so.
It wasn’t like I had huge plans for how I was going to accomplish March this year. Anyone who lives in a grey city in the Midwest knows better than to plan too hard or too big in March.
Do your job. Get to the places you need to get. Laugh with your friends. Maybe drink some wine. That was the plan.
Then, as I have mentioned before, my ingrown toenail in-grew further. So I pulled up my big girl pants and called a podiatrist and went to her office and she did what they do. Not unremittingly awful. What I didn’t expect was how long it would take to “get back to normal”.
Sometimes I think the reason I no longer yearn for big adventures to far-flung places – is because I had that. I worked in a jail for ten years. I saw ordinary and extraordinary things; I met amazing and awful people; I heard stories to make my hair curl and then more stories to make it go straight again.
Most of all, I met people who were smart, kind, ordinary, and precious, caught in systems of poverty and addiction.
I went to the session on Transitional Jobs for people coming out of prison. After 10 years coordinating the Employment Skills program for qualified inmates of Racine County Jail, well, you can see why I’d choose this.
Three people more or less led Transitional Jobs group. Rev. Willie Brisco is this year’s president of WISDOM. Rev. Joseph Ellwanger was one of the coordinators. Conner (sp?) Williams is a policy person in the city of Milwaukee, who works/ed with and knows a great deal about the history of and current situation of the Transitional Jobs program in Wisconsin.
Thursday Len and I spent the whole day in Madison at Bethel Lutheran Church and at the capitol - with 798 other people. The event was “WISDOM Madison Action Day/ Our State, Our Budget, Our Voice.” People from 150 churches around Wisconsin gathered for a biennial assembly to talk about what the organization is doing, learn more in break-out sessions, and then go in groups with people from our own area to talk with the state legislators from our districts.
H is for Hawaii… Some friends are beginning a vacation there. Have a swell time Tristan, Lauren, and Stevie! Remember: “Be kind or be lunch”
This is a column from 2002, slightly edited.
Heard on a radio interview: "He'd been under a lot of pressure. He might have been suffering mental strain and maybe even mental disease. The ships kept breaking. It seems likely he was harsh and exploitative of the native people.
I never needed to be a grandmother; it just wasn’t on my radar. I love my kids to the moon and back, and I want them to be happy and have love in their lives -- yet how that works out for them - well, I’m curious to watch their stories unfold.
I will mention that I was pretty excited when various kids adopted a cat and a dog and a dog. And also my son’s fiancé came with a large calm cat who utterly tickles my sensibilities.
As Lin-Manuel Miranda said, “Love is love is love.”