Mary Beth Writes

In June I wrote about Our Brother  HERE

Here’s an update:

Our Brother is still working at the same warehouse, full-time, $9/hr.  

Back in June the Child Support dep’t had negotiated 3 purges (purge is the term Child Support uses for the bond one pays in order to get out of or stay out of jail once warrants are listed). His three purges on his three child support cases were $350 and $500 and $500. I invited people to make contributions to his cause.

Over time people gave him $475.  Also, he now has a bank account and part of each paycheck goes to it, so with his payments and ours, he has paid off the $350 and one of the $500 purges. He no longer has warrants on those two cases.  He has $470 left to pay on the last lone.

This has been done WHILE current support payments are also withheld for his current obligations.

This, friends, is faith, courage and oomph. I have seen a lot of these situations in my life - fixing a big problem slowly and steadily like this impresses me more than just about anything.

This Friday (this week!) his toddler son is having open heart surgery. His son’s heart has some anomalies, it can be fixed but it is not simple.

This little boy lives with his mom not very far away from where Our Brother lives, He sees his son frequently, and even more lately because the mom, who is only in her 30’s, is currently fighting cancer. Our Brother’s sisters and his older daughter are all trying to help take care of the little boy during the day, so that the mom can rest.

This is a hard time. 

Our Brother and I talked (texted) last night. He would appreciate your thoughts and prayers for the health of his son and his son’s mother.

If you would like to donate a little (or a lot!) more money to Our Brother, the way to do that is at the end of the original story.  (If you are moved to donate money to Our Brother, send a check to Franc Garcia / 2038 Russet Street / Racine, WI 53405. He will take a photo of it (so we keep track) and then endorse it to Our Brother’s bank account and deposit it that day or the next.)

I thought some of you would like to know this. 


Thanks for the update. I was wondering how he was doing. This is good progress. Wishing him the best for his son's surgery.

Ditto to what Kathryn just said.

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A Long Ago (sort of) American Camelot on the Mississippi

 I finally finished reading “Empire by Collaboration” by Robert Michael Morrisey. It is a history of the Mississippi River from what is now the general St. Louis area down to its confluence with the Ohio River. This is the area Len and I traveled to see the solar eclipse in August 2017. While we were there, we visited Fort De Chartres and Kaskaskia, we saw old houses in tiny river towns, and we saw one of the oldest cemeteries I’ve seen in the US; it filled with 18th century gravestones inscribed with beautiful French names.

Where are the Movies that don't Blither and Lie?

Last night we watched last year’s “Happytime Murders” with Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph and a bunch of puppets who look like Muppets. Yes, the director is Brian Henson.

The plot? A former kids’ puppet show is making a comeback, and someone is machine-gunning down alumni puppets in order to get a bigger cut of potential franchise income. Phil Philips, puppet detective, partners with Melissa McCarthy to find the culprit. Along the way we see various episodes of puppet porn.

I laughed a lot and then the movie was over.

Went to bed. Woke up this morning irritated.

Sandhill Cranes of Kearny at Dawn

We were on vacation and now we are home:

First thing to report: we only had one fight.

Why is it so hard to keep a poor Black man who has committed NO crime out of jail?

(Our Brother’s back story is here: )


Our Brother is not in jail. This has been a challenge for him, for the people he loves, and for those of us who try to help and support him. Keeping O.B. out of jail is a modern-day Pilgrim’s Progress.

“Oh,” you ask. “Did he commit a crime?”

Love, two days later.

As some of you know it was an unromantically large number of years ago when Len gave me flowers. (The story is here.) 

The next morning, he drove me home on his way to work (read the first article if you have forgotten how why I spent the night at his house and in his bed…)

He ignored me for a day while I rested and recuperated in my apartment.


My niece Susan is a speech therapist educator in the Los Angeles public schools. She is on strike and I am proud to be in her family. Teachers are the foundation of everything else we all do. For most of the skills most of us depend on to live our lives - If no one teaches you, you don’t know.   

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