Autumn Fundraiser 2015, Day Two
Whee! Day Two of the Fall Fundraiser is here!
For a while I was concerned we wouldn’t be holding this event; real life at Schloss Bodissey kept interfering. But we soldiered on — we always do — slogging through the various smoke bombs the Karma Dude set off in the last few days. He was just testing our mettle, just trying to see if he could get a rise out of us, just playing with what is left of our minds.
The Baron tells me the first full day of this Fall Fundraiser went well; he’s the one who does the heavy lifting around here so he keeps count. According to the B. the first day’s gifts were a nice mix of both our old faithful donors and some brand new ones. That’s always a good sign. Another thing I like is the variety of places y’all came from in order to keep us going. Those points on the map are truly ‘diverse’, as the PC gnomes might say. And the first-day number of donors is one of the highest yet for a single day. All of it makes me most grateful. Frankly, “relieved” might be closer to the mark when it comes to my feelings at the end of the first day. One always worries that Gates of Vienna news is so unrelentingly bad we’ll drive people away. Obviously it hasn’t. Thank you.
In the old days I did the majority of thank-you acknowledgements to donors. However, it began to take much longer, depending on my energy level, that the B took over so people would hear from us within a reasonable time. He has the advantage of not ending up by writing thank you notes that resemble War and Peace, at least in their word count.
Anyway, my great new plan for this fundraiser is to take up some of that slack on my off-days. “Off”-days in this context are the ones in which I’m not the one writing the fundraiser essay. Thanks to some new medication I have more energy now (for the moment at least) so we’ll see how that translates into real work here. My doctor says fibromyalgia treatment is a moving target, and I agree. Vicious little bugger, it is, too.
It was my suggestion that we use “Home” as our theme this time.
There are a number of reasons, public and private, for my choice of theme for this fundraiser. I’ll start with the latter since all of us know and experience only too well the public reasons. We’re all feeling the political pressure there, and some of us are beginning to be a bit avoidant when it comes to the news…
In choosing to consider my private reasons for this theme, I want to reflect on my deep concern for the uncertainty others face right now, and the ways they reflect my own experiences of Home. Some of them haven’t been conscious for a long time, but have been exhumed as I watch what is happening in the world to others, through no fault of their own. The fate of geography is indeed fraught.
Our private meanings and connotations of Home are different for all of us, though perhaps (in the West at least) similar in their general outlines. What I’ll explain are the ways my notions of Home grew out of my own particular circumstances. In my childhood, due to my mother’s need to support us (she was told non-citizens couldn’t get child welfare benefits), and also due to the chronic lack of childcare where we lived, I was often in foster care from the age of three to five. There were a number of “placements” in those two years. When, in my adulthood, one of the jobs I had was Foster Care Supervisor for a county agency I learned again that many foster parents tire quickly of small children. They begin to cast around for some less confined form of paying work, in the process casting off their foster child. My foster “mothers” were no different.
Before foster care, my mother had tried various schemes to keep us together, including renting out the house and using the proceeds for a boarding house room. But the rent she got was never enough to make ends meet, and besides, the other boarders didn’t like children. Not even good, quiet children.
In one memorable foster care placement I lived only five blocks from my real home, from that house my mother had bought in better times, the one in which I had spent my first three years or so. She managed to hold onto the house and make the mortgage payments by working as a saleswoman in an upscale clothing store in town. In this particular foster home, the number one rule was this: I was never ever for any reason whatsoever to go near my mother’s home. I was a very obedient child but that proved to be a rule too far. It was the one thing I couldn’t obey, even as I nodded yes. Several times a week I managed to get down there unseen. From across the street and behind a tree I would look longingly at our home. I didn’t ever get any closer than that; to actually go up to the house seemed somehow a violation of my mother, not to mention a possible exposure of my rebellion. So I made do with looking at it, and managed to get back to the other place before I was missed. It wasn’t until years later, when I had children of my own, that I realized our neighbors had clearly seen me in my hiding place. Yet no one ever told on me. To this day I remain grateful for that unspoken kindness.
Evidently my career as a foster child took its toll. The doctor told Mother that the extent of my anxiety was worrying. He said I needed something permanent if I was ever to thrive. So — with whatever pain it must have cost her — I was “placed” in St. Mary’s Home. Many of the other girls — we were sixty in number — were in the same pickle I was: too young to stay home alone. I remember that day, how it began and how it ended. Even what I was wearing when we went into town on the bus to see a movie. Afterwards, we walked slowly in the heat down several blocks to visit some nuns. It was a big house with two small palm trees behind the wrought iron fence. There were high ceilings in the front room where we waited to talk to Sister Benedict. This had nothing to do with me, so I swung my legs in the chair and looked at the statues. Since Mother had to talk to Sister, I was to be entertained by being taken down a very long hall smelling of lemon oil and then out into the bright light to play with some other girls while I waited. I had no idea that this was my new home, though I do remember the first night, sobbing into Sister Isabel’s lap. That’s how they did things back then: they thought “a clean break” was kind. The theories have since changed, as have the institutions.
Yes, I have lots of stories about St. Mary’s. I stayed there from the time I was five-almost-six until the age of ten. Ten was the magic age when I could be at home alone after school. I remember saying to my mother, “four more years”, “three more years”… I was good at waiting, although sometimes I would be playing on the swings and suddenly the unreality of my life would fall from the clear blue sky right into my heart. I often thought it was my mother who belonged in St. Mary’s — her parents were dead; she was the orphan, not I.
Going home was what I’d dreamed of, and when I was ten years old, as promised, I went there. I could read and write — oh could I read! — but I didn’t know how to use a phone or to ride the bus by myself. Later on they’d call my status “latchkey kid”. Back then, though, in my fifth grade class at the school in our parish, I was a rara avis. Everyone else had a mother waiting at home when they returned from school. But this never seemed unfortunate to me. I was simply glad — and scared — to be home, finally at home. Home!
There’s an old adage, from where I don’t know, that says “it takes a heap o’ livin’ to make a home”. Over the years in our home, the one that has somehow morphed into Schloss Bodissey on Gates of Vienna, this adage has definitely been the case. We have had births and deaths, joys and sorrows. It took me a long time to learn to live a rural life. At heart I’m a city girl, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn the slower rhythms of the country. I’m still learning.
Now we have this project, our Gates of Vienna. Or, rather, the Baron and his team have it while I, of necessity, have reduced my role to assistant kibitzer. My health makes me undependable, but I still listen closely to everything, and when there isn’t any evidence of gore I read the blog we began together more than a decade ago. On my good days I leave comments.
We had no idea what we’d ignited when we started out, but both of us are so glad we were standing here when the Counterjihad began to form. We got in not on the ground floor, but in the basement. The Baron went to the meeting that would set the plans for the first conference in Europe. Subsequently he attended all of them.
We are all of us caught in the flow of events. I hope it’s clear now, dear reader, why the news from Europe shakes my soul. The ‘public’ dissolution of borders echoes deeply within me. The global chaos being orchestrated by world leaders is deeply evil. We ask repeatedly: “Cui bono?” and a whole list of nefarious individuals come to mind; precious few countries are willing and able to stand their ground against the maelstrom. Yes, Angela Merkel heads the list as the most well-known of those power-brokers who profit from others’ misery. Try as I might to find some charitable rationale for her behavior, it becomes ever more difficult.
It is no better here; it may be worse. As we see Hillary Clinton get away with malfeasance, her family openly enriching themselves at the public trough, we wonder if our own land is in even worse condition. She could well end up in the Oval Office.
Meanwhile the State Department and sub-agencies within the Department of Homeland Security have been working for years to establish pockets of opportunity for immigrants, often with little or no warning to the communities they are breaching. And there are so-called “Sanctuary Cities” — formed in violation of our Constitution — that harbor illegal Hispanics, felons released many times, who in turn rob and kill innocent Americans.
However there is hope. Some communities are saying “enough!” and are beginning to form pockets of resistance.
The advantage for America is its sheer size. While our current politicians and bureaucrats attempt to overwhelm us with regulations, people are beginning a slow pushback. We have only lately begun to realize that while our president has a very different vision for us than most Americans have for themselves, and that he may impoverish us even more before his term runs out, there in a slow rumble beginning. It is led at the moment by Donald Trump. Like him or not, he is saying out loud what many people are thinking.
Is he an opportunist? Who among our politicians is not?
For the effete on the far Left, Trump is the quintessential Ugly American. For those on the right, and even more for those who consider themselves the far Right, he is the solution for a sticky problem. So far he is the only candidate in either party to push against further immigration at the southwestern border. But if he were elected, how could he stop the many federal agencies which would be set to undermine him and continue to bring in “Syrians”? In America, “Syrians” seems to be code for Muslims the same way that in Britain “Asians” are code-speak for Pakistanis.
The permanent bureaucracy loves Hillary. She is everything they admire and want to emulate. The permanent bureaucracy, combined with the unions, forms a huge voting bloc, a dedicated voting bloc. It remains to be seen who will prevail.
As I mentioned earlier, the Baron says that the first day’s contributions were outstanding. I hope this post spurs others to give to the cause, to celebrate their own sense of home and to help us bring attention to those who are in such danger of losing theirs…
Donors came from near and far yesterday:
Stateside: Alaska, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey,Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming
Near Abroad: Canada
Far Abroad: Australia, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, India, New Zealand, and the UK
You’ll see the Baron tomorrow, God willing and the Creek don’t rise.
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