All posts by Teri

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter 11: Mem’s Boss at Remington Arms

CHAPTER 11

MEM’S BOSS AT REMINGTON ARMS

February 1963

Mem has been desperately trying to get off the 3-11 pm shift at Remington Arms. Mem’s boss Adam has been trying to switch her to the 7 am to 3 pm shift for over six months, but so far, he hasn’t been able to pull it off.

Both Mem and Mom are saving every penny they can, working five jobs between them so they can get us a better place to live and move Mere Germaine back in.

Mem says that Adam has been awfully good to her and gives her extra shifts whenever possible. He also taught Mem the value of money and helped her to open her first bank account many years ago.

Adam appreciates how hard Mem works, and according to Mem, he agrees with her that we need to move off White Street because it’s getting more dangerous by the day. Mem says that’s why Adam gives her so many extra shifts.  Mom says it’s because Adam has a crush on Mem.

Last month Adam called Mem and asked her to stop by his office the next day after church. Mom raised an eyebrow at that. Mem was up the whole night, tossing and turning, convinced that Adam was going to fire her. Mom was convinced Adam was going to ask her out on a date because he found out about her butcher boyfriend.

The Sunday after Adam’s call to Mem and after church services, I walked home with Mom and Mere Germaine while Mem hurried over to the factory.

Mem came home crying, which was a big deal because Mem never cries. I was praying she didn’t lose her job. Mem said that when she walked into Adam’s office, he told her he had good news and bad news.

The good news was that Adam pulled some strings and got Mem the 7 am to 3 pm shift, which was the shift she’s been wanting for years, so I wondered why she was crying.

The bad news — the horrible news — was that Adam was leaving Remington Arms. He had bad lungs, he told her – from working with all the gunpowder at the factory, and the doctor told him he didn’t have long to live.

Through her tears, Mem told us that Adam’s parents are both dead, and since he was never married, he’s all alone, and she’s worried about who is going to take care of him when things get bad. Mom told Mem that Adam shouldn’t be her concern, but Mem replied that all of God’s souls should be our concern.

Soon after Mem started working the day shift, Adam left Remington Arms. His house is on Barnum Avenue, right across the street from the factory, so with Mem’s new work schedule, she was stopping by during her lunch break to keep him company and make him something to eat.

He’s been getting weaker by the day, so in addition to going there for lunch, she’s also been going back to Adam’s house after her shift is over at 3 pm to clean his house and make dinner.

Last week, Adam insisted on paying Mem a very generous salary, even though she told him she would be happy to do it for free. Mem told me that she reminded Adam if it wasn’t for him, she would have never gotten the factory job in the first place or the extra shifts.

The salary Adam is giving her is so generous that Mem will be able to quit her waitress job at Woolworths in a few weeks. The only thing I like about Mem working at Woolworths is that she gets a discount and has been buying me the Nancy Drew mysteries — one book a week. I have 1-36, so I hope before Mem quits Woolworths, I get the 37-40 that Carolyn Keene has written so far.

The best part about the books is that I have been reading them to Mere Germaine and Mem. Mere Germaine is a lost cause and barely understands what I’m reading, but I’ve been pointing out the easy words to Mem, and she’s been trying to read them along with me. Since Mem can’t read or write English, the books are helping Mem to learn how to read, although I don’t think Mem will ever be able to write more than her name and address and maybe a few words and phrases.

Until last week, I was still hanging out at Steve’s Market with Rib and Yolanda every day after school, and it was obvious to me that Steve was not happy about Mem working for Adam.

“Adam, Adam, Adam. Your grandmother is always talking about Adam.” I wanted to remind Steve that Adam was half dead, but I decided to keep my mouth shut.

Adam is getting sicker and weaker, so now every day after school, I walk home, pick up Rib, and then walk to Adam’s house, where I meet Mem after her shift is over. Adam helps me with my homework while Mem cooks and cleans and then helps him with his bath.

Steve is very upset that I’m not coming by his store after school anymore and told Mem the same. Mem got all nerved up by Steve’s stupid behavior, and she warned him not to boss her around — or else.  I feel bad about Steve, but I also like spending time with Adam, so I don’t feel that bad. But Mem telling Steve “or else” makes me nervous because Steve means a lot to me; plus, we’ve never eaten better.

Even though Mem warned Steve, he’s still upset about Mem working for Adam, so yesterday, when Steve surprised Mem with a stereo console radio and record player, she was suspicious. I think Mem loved it, but she warned Steve if his gift had anything to do with Adam, she didn’t want any part of it.

♪ It was an itsy-bitsy teeny weenie yellow polka dot bikini ♪ was blaring on the radio, and Mem kept yelling at Mom to lower the sound. But Mom ignored her and grabbed Mere Germaine and me off the couch to dance with her, so Mem let us have our fun until supper time.

Jack Kennedy is President, and while we were eating, Mem told Steve that Kennedy is a sign from God, “him being an Irish Catholic and all.”  But then Mere Germaine reminded Mem that Pere Germaine’s accident was all because of Kennedy’s bootlegging father. I wanted to ask what a bootleg was and also get the details of my great-grandfather’s accident, but the sadness in Mere’s face kept me quiet.

After supper, Steve showed Mem an ad for a GE Daylight Blue Television set. He was telling Mem how he wanted to buy her one for Christmas. Mem scolded Steve, saying, “You can’t afford no television, so don’t put crazy thoughts in the girls’ heads.”

Plus, Christmas is ten months away, and Mem says that the expensive gift Steve is promising us is because of Adam. Mem doesn’t think Adam will make it to Christmas, and once Adam is dead, she says Steve won’t have to buy us a television because that’s the way men are. Mem sure has a lot of bad things to say about men, but never Adam.

I’m going to pray to God tonight that Adam lasts way past Christmas because I don’t want him to die. I’m also going to pray that Steve isn’t like other men because I really want a television set.

Say tuned for Chapter 12: JFK’s Assassination

The Legend of Us

You and I

have history.

Are we a legend,

or did we merely

live out a

predetermined

sequence of events,

which resulted in

the sad story of us?

We’ve both had

our fair share

of slips

and

poor decisions.

Perhaps we will reunite

somewhere out there,

somewhere other than

this bitter-sweet earth.

But probably not.

When we danced

in that crummy kitchen,

it was transcendent.

Yes, transcendent

because

beautiful you

pulled me in so close.

So close, I was able to

breathe in all of you.

If I knew our

best moments

and random triumphs

were fleeting,

I would have cherished

them more than I did.

There were moments

I wish we could relive,

moments I wanted to

last forever.

And then there were others

I’ve spent a lifetime

wishing away.

I couldn’t keep quiet,

because the telling

kept me sane.

And yet the truth

did not

set me free.

Instead, it set

in motion

a roller coaster

of cruel denials.

Set in motion by not

one,

not two,

but three.

I cared not for

two and three.

Just the one.

I’m sorry,

I couldn’t change

the moments

that destroyed us.

As you know,

those moments

were in someone

else’s hands.

We crisscrossed

in and out

of each other’s lives,

a few times.

In all but one of those times,

something always told me

we would see each other again.

But not the last time.

In dance,

you chose me.

But in life, I know

you did not choose me.

What I don’t know

and what I never asked

is if you wanted me.

I imagined over the years

that you did not.

I wonder now,

If you regret me,

and I wouldn’t blame you

if you did.

Because we both

got tangled up

in all of it.

And you know what

it is.

Because it

happened to

you too.

We are more alike

than you or I

care to

admit.

So many times,

out of anger

you did not choose

your words wisely.

If it wasn’t for you…

You probably didn’t know,

but those five words stung.

The stinging was real

and as painful

as getting a tattoo,

although I never got one.

Or maybe I did.

A tattoo of us,

etched forever

on my broken heart.

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter 10: Steve the Butcher

CHAPTER 10

STEVE THE BUTCHER

July 1962

After that day in the Panik, I stayed away from the project, the lot, and my so-called friends, but not Steve’s Market. I’d walk with Rib to see Steve and Yolanda almost every day. Steve would give Rib a treat, grab some candy and sodas, and the four of us would sit out in front of his store.

Steve was from Hungary — and despite what Mem said about men, I trusted him, and so did Yolanda. Steve had some weird numbers on his left arm, and when I asked him about it, he said that the numbers were branded on him by some evil and wicked men. When I asked him if it hurt when he got branded, he said it hurt more mentally than physically.

He told Yolanda and me that he was sent to a camp in Poland with his baby brother. Yolanda asked him if his brother also got branded by the bad guys, but he sadly shook his head no. I could see that all the branding and brother talk was too much for him, so I asked Steve how he got into the meat business, which seemed to perk him up.

Two Saturdays ago, after working at Woolworths, Mem got ready to go to Steve’s Market, and I jumped at the chance to go with her — something that puzzled her since I wasn’t big on grocery shopping. But she welcomed the company, so I tagged along while Steve showed her the specials.

He went into a freezer behind the meat case and brought out a huge steak he wanted to show Mem. She was impressed but told Steve she couldn’t afford no steak and bought her usual chopped meat, liver, and hot dogs.

Steve offered her a free Hurka sausage, but she refused and said her usual about not taking charity. He insisted and said the sausage would have to be thrown out if it wasn’t cooked right away. So, Mem, who never threw food out, agreed to take it off his hands, and we had a feast of sausage and onions that night.

Every week is the same old food — hot dogs with baked beans on Monday and Tuesday and liver and onions on Wednesday and Thursday.  Mem has a rule that whatever she cooks has to last us two nights, which is tricky because there is barely enough food for one night.

On Fridays, we eat fish. No meat is allowed on Friday nights because it’s against our religion. When I asked Mem why she explained that Jesus sacrificed his flesh for us. I don’t know what His flesh has to do with fish, but every Friday night, we walk over to Joseph and Mary’s on Seaview Avenue and pick up fish and chips. And every single Saturday and Sunday night, we eat hamburger casserole, so Steve, the butcher’s sausage, was a delicious change and a special Saturday night treat.

Last Saturday, after working at Woolworths, Mem did her usual shopping at Steve’s, and I was right there beside her. Steve was helping another customer, but I could see that he was excited to see us.

When it was our turn, he asked Mem if everything was okay with the Hurka sausage.  Mem told Steve the sausage was delicious and that she fried it up with some onions. Then Mem turned to me and asked if I thought the sausage was delicious, and I nodded my head yes while wondering where all this sausage talk was going.

“And the hot dogs? How were they?” Steve asked. “Oh, they were good. We had them Monday and Tuesday,” Mem answered.  Steve smiled from ear to ear. “And the liver?” “The liver was good too; I cooked it in bacon grease,” she replied. And then Steve said, “Bacon grease gives the liver a real good flavor.”

I thought their conversation about meat and bacon grease was weird, but who cared? Because Mem was talking to a man! That was a first for me, and anyway, Steve is a good guy and knows his meat. My neck was twisting back and forth between the two of them as they yacked away about hot dogs, liver, and Hurka sausage.

“Maybe I could suggest something for tonight?” Steve asked, and Mem replied, “We always eat hamburger casserole on Saturday night.”

“I’ll tell you what,” Steve said to Mem. “I got no family — I eat alone every night. How ‘bout if I bring you over this steak tonight, and I’ll show you how to cook it?” He presented the slab of beef he pulled out of the meat case like it was gold.

My mouth hung wide open, and I whispered, “Mem, please say yes,” while tugging on her dress. Steve was nice, but that steak was something else.

I couldn’t help but notice Steve rubbing the numbers on his branded arm.  “I hate to waste a good steak on just me, and I hate eating alone.”

Mem stood there for what seemed like forever. I was still tugging on her dress when she finally said, “Well, okay, but it’s not charity, right?  Because Mon Dieu, we won’t take the charity.” Steve assured her that it wasn’t charity, and they made plans for him to come over after he closed up shop.

We hurried home, cleaned up the apartment, sprayed Raid all around the kitchen, baked some potatoes, and steamed the broccoli. Mom was working and always came home late on Saturday nights, so it was just going to be the three of us, which was fine with me because Mom would have made a whole stink about Steve, and I don’t think Mem would have ever had him over if she knew Mom would be home.

Mem didn’t say anything to me, but I could see that she was nervous. I never saw Mem with a man before, so I was happy for her. Mem kept checking herself out in the bedroom mirror and even put on lipstick and rouge! It occurred to me that she probably only had the one boyfriend, who ended up being her jerk of a husband, so I was hoping this would be a good night.

Steve came right on time, and Mem jumped up when he knocked. She straightened her hair, adjusted her false teeth, and smiled the most beautiful smile at me before opening the door.

Without his white butcher jacket with blood stains all over it, Steve fixed up pretty good. And that steak, oh boy!

Mem lit a fire in the broiler at the bottom of the stove, and the two of them talked nonstop about — you guessed it — meat.  I didn’t even know we had a broiler!

By the time we all sat down for dinner, they were like old buddies, laughing and gossiping about the local people. Steve warned us to be careful going out at night because the neighborhood was going bad.

Mem replied that the neighborhood was already bad but that we were getting out soon and that she was saving her money for a decent place with a yard. I didn’t care if we had a yard or not, just no bugs and rodents.

After we ate, Steve helped Mem clean up, and when he asked her if he could come back for supper another time, Mem said she would like that. I was wondering what Mom was going to think about all this Steve stuff.

Then he asked her what we were doing on Friday night, and Mem told him we always order fish and chips from Joseph and Mary’s. He asked if it was okay to join us — but only if he could make his famous fish and chips. He told Mem he doesn’t do anything on Friday nights, and in his humble opinion, his fish and chips are way better than Joseph and Mary’s.

Mem reminded him again that “we don’t take the charity from nobody,” and he assured Mem that she was doing him a favor by getting him out of his house. They shook hands and said goodbye.

After that steak dinner, Steve became a big part of our lives, and our meals of chopped meat, hot dogs, and liver were pretty much over.

And Steve was right when he said he made the best fish and chips, so our Friday night pickup from Mary and Joseph’s was also over.

Now, all we had to do was get rid of the snapping traps and shoeboxes, move Mere Germaine back in, and our lives would be perfect.

Stay tuned for Chapter 11: Mem’s Boss at Remington Arms

Are You Reading This Poem?


If you’re

reading this poem,

then I know

you

still care for me.

Hate is

synonymous

with love,

so

thank you,

for being

out there,

somewhere,

looking me up.

I look you up too.

If you’re

reading this poem,

then you’ll know

I’m afraid

we’ll miss

our chance

at one last try.

One last try,

before we die.

If you’re

reading this poem,

you should know

that I’m here,

waiting for you.

And for those

who just happen to be

reading this poem,

seize the moment,

and reach out to

you-know-who.

What About the Sanctity of the Born?


As a child of a child, I get the impact and consequences of pro-choice vs. pro-life. My mother didn’t have a choice.

If abortion had been legal in the early 1950s when my mom found out she was pregnant with me, I don’t know what her choice would have been.

But I still believe in a woman’s right to choose what happens to her life—to her future.

A female friend from college recently posted bullet points on her Facebook page about the upside of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The image hyped how justice had been served and how the sanctity of the unborn had finally been vindicated. Her post suggested that every unborn life was cherished and chosen.

Every unborn life? Chosen by whom?

58% of U.S. women of productive age live in states hostile to their right to choose their future. That’s over 40 million women whose right to choose what happens to their lives has been taken away because they live in the wrong state.

I knew I was walking into quicksand when I responded to my friend’s post by asking, “What about rape and incest? How exactly is that cherished and chosen? What about the sanctity of the born?”

I also revealed something on my friend’s page that I had never before written in the hopes that she would feel my pain.

Well, that didn’t happen.

And then the claws of one of her friends, who I’ll call Bleep, came out like daggers.

Bleep’s words directed at me and my Facebook page were vile, crass, and, frankly, the lowest of low class.

Bleep ended her rant by questioning my intelligence. The quicksand covered me from head to toe, but I wasn’t going to let Bleep drown me in it.

I rarely use the phrase low class, because I spent a good part of my younger life poor and in a lower social class.

As a kid growing up in a tenement, I didn’t know anything about class and status, but I knew we were poor. My grandma, who raised me, taught me to be kind, when possible, but when not possible, to defend myself quickly and fiercely in whatever way or form I deemed appropriate.

I checked out Bleep’s Facebook page, and to say I wasn’t impressed, would be kind.

My grandmother was illiterate but wiser than most. I might have been raised poor, but my grandma raised me right and taught me that money can’t buy class. You either have it within you or not, and Bleep was the perfect example of the have-nots, regardless of her social standing.

My “friend” did not defend me, nor did she take Bleep’s hateful post down. So, after fuming and a few tears, I let Bleep have it—but good. My grandma would have been proud.

Then I deleted all my posts on my “friend’s” page and sent her an IM, letting her know I was unfriending her and why.

Good riddance, old “friend,” and stay tuned for November.

Oh, and one more thing before I sign off:

To the men who want to control the women in their lives, I say, “If you’re against abortion, stop renewing your Viagra prescription, use a condom, or get a vasectomy.”

My Stolen Diaries – Chapter 9: Father Panik Village

CHAPTER 9

FATHER PANIK VILLAGE

June 1962

Past the elevated train tracks near White Street is a housing project called Father Panik Village, which makes our tenement look like a palace.

Mem forbids me to cross over to the other side of the tracks. When I ask her why, she explains that “On this side, there’s still hope, but on that side, ils sont finis,” meaning they’re finished.

“Crackers who go to the Panik get shot up with a semi-automatic,” my friends would say, so I never went anywhere near the place.

There was a rumor going around that Father Panik, a Catholic priest, was shot and killed when he got caught up in a gang crossfire there, so they named the project after him. Mem doesn’t believe a word of it, but if a man of the cloth couldn’t survive in there, I certainly couldn’t. When my friends would make bets and offer money for someone to run through the Panik, I always bowed out. It was a great way to make some quick cash, but not for me.

That was until last week when Mom gave me a dollar and told me to go to Steve’s Market for cigarettes and milk. On my way to the store, I saw some friends playing marbles in the old abandoned parking lot in between the train viaduct and Father Panik. The lot is full of wrecked cars, refrigerators, and other junk, so it’s a great place to hang out and hide out.

I stopped to play a quick game of Shooter with them. My friend Trish let me borrow her marbles, and using her prize largest one — the Big Kahuna — I beat them all. When I got to the market, I grabbed the milk, and Steve, the butcher and owner of the place pulled me a pack of cigarettes from behind the counter and rang me up.

I dug into my pocket to pay, and to my horror, the dollar was gone. I told Steve I’d be right back and ran to the lot, my heart pounding out of my chest. We all looked for the money, but nobody found it. Or at least that’s what they all said. I was certain that Mom was going to beat me with her strap, and I started to cry.

“Okay, okay,” said Roland, a chubby kid who lived in my building. “I’ll tell you what — you run through the Panik, and when you get back, we’ll give you enough cash for cigarettes and milk.  I looked in terror at my friends. They all pulled coins out of their pockets and threw them into a pile on the hood of a burned-out Chevy.

“She’s a chicken,” Roland said, waving his hand in my direction. Then he pointed toward the Panik, so I felt like I had no choice. It was Father Panik or the strap. As I reluctantly walked under the stone viaduct, the other kids stayed at the corner watching me.

The girls were yelling for me not to do it, and the boys were making squawking chicken noises.

I stood facing the Panik, watching some black kids standing around a bus stop smoking and laughing. I wasn’t prejudiced — just scared. I wasn’t taught to hate — just not to trust.

Before I could chicken out, I raced full force across the street and into the Panik, whipping past the kids hanging at the bus stop. “You crazy girl?” this one black kid cried out as I sped past him. While running at full speed, I looked back to see if my friends were still at the corner and crashed into a black girl a couple of years older than me. She got into my face and asked, “You lost?” It was just this black girl and me, and I was lost all right.

Then she yelled to someone across the street, and a man yelled back at her. When I turned around, Steve the butcher ran over to where we were standing, put his arm around my shoulder, and led me toward his store.

He turned to the black girl and said, “Thanks, Yolanda. Stop by tomorrow for a soda and chips.” “Arright,” Yolanda answered and gave us a wave. I was too shocked even to respond.

Steve scolded me when we got to the front of his market. “Father Panik is no place for you, young lady. What the heck were you doing in there? I saw you leave my store upset, then watched you run across the street, and I knew no good would come from that. You’re lucky Yolanda was there and not someone else.”

I tearfully told Steve I didn’t want to go home so fast and about the bet and how Mom was going to give me the strap, and I couldn’t stop shaking. “Now, now,” he said.  “Stop that blubbering.”  He took me into his store and bagged up some milk and a pack of Marlboro’s. Then he placed a candy necklace around my neck and gave me a handful of Pixy Stixs and Flying Saucers. “Now go home, and don’t ever try that again. Next time you go in there, you might not be so lucky.”

On my way home, I thought about all the times I had gone into Steve’s Market with Mem and how he would always give Rib treats and offer Mem free samples to try out. She always refused, telling him that she didn’t take handouts.

Every Saturday after Woolworths, she would go to Steve’s and buy chopped meat, liver, and hot dogs. And he always gave us way more than we paid for. Even Mem agreed with me about that.

I always thought Steve liked Mem, but the one time I brought it up to her, she got all red and told me to hush. “Men can’t be trusted. They always let you down.  And they’re only after one thing. You’ll see when you get older.” I always wondered what the one thing was, but I figured it must have been bad.

Mem had a real problem with men and always had something negative to say about them. When she would tell me stories about my grandfather, she never said anything nice. She would go on and on about how he deserted and humiliated her — and Mom. The only positive thing she ever said about him was he was tall and that I got my height from him.

The next day at the lot, I told my friends how a gang had stopped me and shoved me and how I had punched one girl in the face and how she ran off crying like a baby, and then the rest of the gang ran off too. I put my right fist in Roland’s face and warned him that if he didn’t give me my money, I would do the same thing to him that I did to Tit and the Panik girl. You bet he gave me the money, and I ran right to Steve’s and spent every penny of it. Yolanda was there, and Steve treated us to Twinkies and cream soda.

Yolanda lived with her grandmother, MawMaw, and the more we talked about our lives, the more we realized how similar we were. Well, except she was black and I was white, which made all the difference in the world.

According to Yolanda, Father Stephen Panik, MawMaw’s hero and a priest for the poor, wasn’t murdered at all. After he died in 1954, the 14-year-old “Yellow Mill Village” was renamed in his honor because, without Father Panik, public housing projects in Bridgeport would never have existed.

And now I know that Father Panik Village isn’t so scary, although Yolanda agrees that at the Panik, people can get shot up with a semi-automatic.

Three things happened after running through the Panik that day. The first thing was that I became the Big Kahuna to my friends, and the second thing was that Steve the butcher became the Big Kahuna to me — even though Mem told me never to trust a man.

But the third thing was the best of all because Yolanda became one of my closest friends.

Stay tuned for Chapter 10: Steve the Butcher

YOU


YOU

are terrified

by what

makes

America

great.

YOU

want to regulate

my uterus,

but regulating

your gun

is too

personally

invasive.

YOU

white

Christian

Republican

nationalist

who

pathetically

brag

about

revering

Jesus

guns

and

babies

think

YOU

have

power

over

US.

YOU

right-winger,

neo-confederate,

alt-right,

skinhead,

Ku Klux Klanner,

forget that

Jesus

was a

selfless, radical

Jew

who defied

oppressors like

YOU

and protected

the rights and

dignity

of the

oppressed

like

US.

YOU

who violently marched

in Charlottesville

so

YOU

could

save America

by

uniting the

white right,

chanting

“You will not replace us,”

and

“Jew will not replace us.”

YOU

neo-nazi,

anti-semitic,

confederate flag bearer,

dare to expect

Jesus to save

YOU?

Perhaps

Jesus

should send

YOU

to “Camp Auschwitz.”

YOU

care

about

babies in the womb,

but once they’re born

YOU

care not a whit.

YOU

claim

to

love

babies

but

YOU

do nothing

as babies

are shot to death

every minute

of

every day.

YOU

patriots

who despise

Jews,

Blacks,

Democrats,

and

LGBTQ,

fantasize

about

hanging

US.

YOU

are

laughably naïve.

Because

try as

YOU

might,

YOU

are

already

being replaced

by

all

of

US.

Governors up for Reelection 2022, 2023, 2024, and 2025

United States gubernatorial elections will be held on November 8, 2022, in 36 states.

The 2022 gubernatorial elections are the first since the 2020 census and reapportionment.

All but two of the fifty Governors serve four-year terms — the governors of New Hampshire and Vermont, serve two-year terms.

Of the 36 gubernatorial seats up for re-election in 2022, twenty are Republican, and sixteen are Democrat.

Republicans are defending six governorships in states President Joe Biden (D) won in 2020: Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Democrats are defending one governorship in a state that Donald Trump won (R) in 2020: Kansas.

Below are the 36 Governors up for reelection in 2022 in alphabetical order by political party and state, as well as the listing of Governors up for reelection in 2023, 2024, and 2025.

Democrats up for reelection in 2022:

California: Gavin Newsom (Running)

Colorado: Jared Polis (Running)

Connecticut: Ned Lamont (Running)

Hawaii: David Ige (Not running due to term limits)

Illinois: J.B. Pritzker (Running)

Kansas: Laura Kelly (Running)

Maine: Janet Mills (Running)

Michigan: Gretchen Whitmer (Running)

Minnesota: Tim Walz (Running)

Nevada: Steve Sisolak (Running)

New Mexico: Michelle Lujan Grisham (Running)

New York: Kathy Hochul (Running)

Oregon: Kate Brown (Not running due to term limits)

Pennsylvania: Tom Wolf (Not running due to term limits)

Rhode Island: Daniel McKee (Running)

Wisconsin: Tony Evers (Running)

Republicans up for reelection in 2022:

Alabama: Kay Ivey (Running)

Alaska: Mike Dunleavy (Running)

Arizona: Doug Ducey (Not running due to term limits)

Arkansas: Asa Hutchinson (Not running due to term limits)

Florida: Ron DeSantis (Running)

Georgia: Brian Kemp (Running)

Idaho: Brad Little (Running)

Iowa: Kim Reynolds (Running)

Maryland: Larry Hogan (Not running due to term limits)

Massachusetts: Charles Baker (Not running)

Nebraska: Pete Ricketts (Not running due to term limits)

New Hampshire: Chris Sununu (Running)

Ohio: Mike DeWine (Running)

Oklahoma: Kevin Stitt (Running)

South Carolina: Henry McMaster (Running)

South Dakota: Kristi Noem (Running)

Tennessee: Bill Lee (Running)

Texas: Greg Abbott (Running)

Vermont: Phil Scott (Running)

Wyoming: Mark Gordon (Running)

Democrats up for reelection in 2023:

Kentucky: Andy Beshear (Running)

Louisiana: John Bel Edwards (Not running due to term limits)

Republicans up for reelection in 2023:

Mississippi: Tate Reeves (No announcement yet)

Democrats up for reelection in 2024:

Delaware: John Carney (Not running due to term limits)

North Carolina: Roy Cooper (Not running due to term limits)

Washington: Jay Inslee (Running)

Republicans up for reelection in 2024:

Indiana: Eric Holcomb (Not running due to term limits) Eric Doden is running for the Republican nomination.

Missouri: Mike Parson (Not running due to term limits) Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe is running for the Republican nomination.

Montana: Greg Gianforte (No announcement yet)

New Hampshire: TBD (Chris Sununu is running for reelection to a fourth term in 2022. Because New Hampshire does not have gubernatorial term limits in its Constitution, he will be eligible to run for re-election for a fifth term, should he win a fourth term in 2022.)

North Dakota: Doug Burgum (Running)

Utah: Spencer Cox (Running)

Vermont: TBD (Phil Scott is running for reelection to a fourth term in 2022. Because Vermont does not have gubernatorial term limits in its Constitution, he will be eligible to run for re-election for a fifth term, should he win a fourth term in 2022.

West Virginia: Jim Justice (Not running due to term limits) Chris Miller is running for the Republican nomination.

Democrats up for reelection in 2025:

New Jersey: Phil Murphy (No announcement yet)

Virginia: Ralph Northam (No announcement yet)

There are no Republicans up for re-election in 2025.

Lionhearted

I was recently asked: What is the best word to describe yourself?

The first word that instantly hit my brain was lionhearted, although I don’t know why it did because I had never thought of myself like that before.

On December 31, 2021, I came upon an article attorney and columnist Ms. Flowers wrote for theeagle.com: Get Rid of Christine Blasey Ford Time.

Since she provided her email in the column, I thought about responding directly to her, but I changed my mind and decided to write a blog post instead. I’ll probably forward this post to Ms. Flowers, although I doubt she’ll be able to relate to it or feel the debilitating anguish her words caused me.

I worked on this post for almost five months, mostly because I struggled with how to structure it so that it would make the most sense. My post might seem to the reader to meander and jump around because it does. But then again, so do my everyday thoughts.

It all started in 1967. Or at least that’s as far back as my brain has allowed me to remember.

Back in 1967, when my fourteen-year-old world was crashing in on me, Ms. Flowers was around five.

Lionhearted is often associated with warriors who exhibit courage, determination, and bravery in war. Back in the late 60s, I was fighting my own kind of war. Since lions are the least afraid of anything of all the predators, I often wish I had been more lionlike, even though I was the prey.

My nightmares are often about lions stalking me, and in my dream state, I’m always scared sh**less, yet in my awake state, they’re my spirit animal — after unicorns.

I have yet to remember a night terror where the lion has ever caught me, though. Maybe it’s because I wake up before he has had a chance, or maybe my dream perception is off, and he’s protecting, not hunting me. Or maybe he backs off because he senses my strength — and he doubts if he can take me on.

In the 1980s, I named my daughter Ariel, meaning Lion of God in Hebrew. My daughter was born before The Little Mermaid movie came out, so the name was fairly unknown. When I named her, I only knew of one other Ariel — Shakespeare’s male spirit in his play The Tempest.

In the late 1990s, as I left my SoHo office on my way home one night, there was a man selling angel statues on Broadway. Smack in the middle of the table was a lion. One lone lion surrounded by angels. I took it as a sign and bought him. He was too big for a bag, so I nestled him in my arms.

I lugged him home via the E World Trade Center Subway, followed by the Long Island Railroad, and then placed him in the corner of my backyard.

Twenty-five-plus years later, he’s still there.

And I know this sounds insane, but he needs to be in just the proper position because, for whatever reason, he’s my back-of-the-house focal point. When the gardener moves him, I place him right back to his corner spot.

Now, let’s talk about my front-of-the-house focal point — the parking spot directly in front of my house.

A certain couple on my block thinks I’m a mean old crazy lady because I have asked them nicely — five times — to please refrain from parking in that spot.

I’m not mean or crazy. There’s plenty of parking on my street and more than ample parking spaces in front of their own house, so there’s zero need for my neighbors to regularly and purposefully park directly in front of mine.

The fifth time I spoke to my neighbor, I had no choice but to tell him that I had been assaulted as a young person and shared my fear that a man might be lurking behind his parked car. I was emphatic that the space had to be empty because I needed a clear view of the street directly in front of my house; otherwise, I couldn’t go outside to empty the garbage or for any other reason.

From the look on his face, I know he was thinking “cray-cray,” but he never parked in front of my house again, which I wholeheartedly appreciate because I no longer need to worry about a car-lurking man.

And yet, sometimes — despite the carless space in front of my house — I get to thinking that maybe this man is hiding on the side of my house, or behind the tree in front of my house, or maybe even in the back of my house.

When I get to thinking like that, my routine is to go back and forth from the front window of my house to the back window of my house, peering out, looking for this man.

Front to back, back to front, while always plotting my escape. It’s exhausting, and I wouldn’t wish my modus operandi on anyone.

The reason my lion is so ideally situated is that I not only see him through my back window but his image is perfectly reflected on my glass back door. So, I can see him without actually seeing him.

Okay, now back to the Flowers article.

In her piece, Ms. Flowers wrote this about Dr. Blasey Ford: “…if you live in the United States, where we have a female vice president, a female speaker of the House, thousands of female judges at the state and federal level, it’s a little harder to understand why a woman who says she’s been attacked would wait years or even decades before making her accusations.”

First off, fifty-five years ago, there was no female VP, no female SOH, and few female judges, so why is it so hard for Ms. Flowers to imagine that a woman or child back then might be afraid to accuse?

It took me decades to accuse as well. But now don’t ask, because I’ll tell.

Hell, I’ll tell even if you don’t ask because I can’t control myself. The ripple effect of trauma is a curious phenomenon.

I suppose I kept my mouth shut and my words in for so long that they just flow out of me now. I’m a human coping machine, and time does not heal all wounds.

Speaking of time, Flowers calls it CBFT, short for “Christine Blasey Ford Time.”

CBFT. How clever. How maddening. How painful.

Flowers’ hurtful and thoughtless words made me ask myself: Does she have daughters?

In 2020 I was diagnosed with PTSD. The diagnosis was a relief, but there’s no cure for what ails me. My trauma is like a shadow that follows me wherever I go. Me and that miserable shadow.

In September 2018, both Dr. Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh testified before the U.S. Senate committee.

First up, Ms. Ford testified about being sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh as his friend watched, their uproarious laughter encoded into her brain, his hand over her mouth, his forceful and frightening groping, her panic that she might suffocate, her two front doors, the science of traumatic memory.

Her testimony was riveting, and I never doubted one word of it because, like so many of us, I have lived her pain.

Next up, Brett Kavanaugh testified about liking beer. I never doubted his intense love of beer because Kavanaugh mentioned his fondness for it over 30 times. His entire testimony centered around his love of beer, and in his own words, he fully embraced it. Personally, I would never think to define the word embrace with a brewski, but Brett Kavanaugh did. His testimony was cringeworthy. And please — stop with the gaslighting — the man sexually assaulted Dr. Blasey Ford.

How do I know?

I learned the hard way that a boy or a man who loves his liquor is in danger of drinking too much of it, eventually resulting in bad choices. I know because I was an innocent victim of the life-altering consequences of someone’s drunken behavior — my younger self destroyed by a man who loved and embraced his booze.

In her column Ms. Flowers went on to say: “…even forgettable cads have a right not to have their reputations trashed by women who emerge from the shadows like avenging handmaids, wanting to tell their stories of woe to strangers.”  

Woeful stories? A story is an account of events told for entertainment. Unless you’re a weirdo, there’s zero entertainment in the sexual assault of a child. And back then, I did tell someone: my OGBFF.

She knows who she is, and she knows who he is.

And yes, it was horrifyingly woeful. More woe than any 14-year-old should ever have to feel or bear. My woe, Ms. Flowers, is never-ending.

Christine Flowers ended her column with: Men who rape and sexually assault women need to be held accountable. The way to do that is to actually hold them accountable when they commit the acts, not years later when they won’t be prosecuted.”

I have two replies for you, Ms. Flowers: Firstly, you are incredibly naïve, and I know beyond a reasonable doubt that you were never sexually assaulted as a child. And secondly, I would have done everything and anything to save myself from that drunken monster, but back in 1967, children like me were rarely seen and never heard.

And to the people out there who question my sanity?

I’m not crazy. Just traumatized.

The Hourglass

On this day

carved out

for mothers,

motherhood

begets maternal

bonds.

Push,

push,

push

the hourglass

away.

The sand,

the mother,

the child,

all

flowing

down,

down,

down.

And the sand

is boulder heavy,

from brunches that

never happen,

to non-existent flowers

and sentimental

cards that are

never sent

and never

received.

Like an hourglass,

I measure the

intervals of time.

Time left,

the end of time,

the passage of time.

Two fragile bulbs

of glass,

and

free-flowing

sand.

A reminder of

the thing

to come.

This time

shall pass.

Time heals

all wounds,

you’ll see.

But I don’t see

the healing,

just the passing.

And then

a phone call

from the

littlest ones

singing happy

birthday

even though

it’s

Mother’s Day.

There is

nothing,

nothing,

nothing,

that

compares.

As they sing,

the hourglass

fades and

melts away.