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I was born in Baltimore. I lived there until I was five years old, when my family moved to the nearby suburban town of Glen Burnie. My parents kept on telling me how good I had it in Glen Burnie even though the kids called me “retarded” and many of them refused to have anything to do with me from elementary school all the way to high school. My mother used to tell me that having nice things was more important than having friends while I was raised in a Roman Catholic faith that taught me that materialism was bad. (Yeah, I got some total mixed-messages here. LOL!)

I even had this bully swipe my yearbook when I was in middle school and signed some hateful stuff in it without even asking me if she could sign it. I finally got my revenge a few years ago when I uploaded both her autograph and her yearbook photo in this blog. It’s an equal punishment that fits the original crime because just as her signature in my yearbook can never be fully erased (because it was written in ink on glossy paper), my post about her can never be fully scrubbed from the Internet because there’s always the chance that someone has made a screenshot of it or it’s backed up somewhere else online. Don’t believe me? Look at what happened when Anthony Scaramucci deleted his tweets after he was hired as the White House Communications Director. (Scaramucci would be fired after serving just 10 days at his new job but that’s a different story altogether.)

My life definitely improved when I attended the University of Maryland at College Park then I permanently moved away from Glen Burnie when I got married 10 months after I finished college.

I’m a member of this Facebook group called “I remember Harundale when there was a Mall…” where people reminisce about their pasts in Glen Burnie. I tend to lurk there more than I post because I really don’t have too many positive memories about my life in Glen Burnie. I enjoy people posting about their memories of places that no longer exist, such as the Ritchie Drive-In Movie Theater and the local Italian Delight pizza parlor. Every now and then I see a negative snarky post (such as complaining about Latinos or people who qualify for Section 8 housing moving into Glen Burnie) written by someone that only serves to reinforce my desire to never move back to Glen Burnie.

Today I saw this post in that Facebook group that I hadn’t seen before from a guy who was reminiscing about a local woman. Apparently she was known as Fort Meade Annie and she was known to the locals in the 1950’s and 1960’s long before my family had even moved to Glen Burnie. I don’t recall ever seeing anyone on the streets of Glen Burnie that even matches her description so I guess she must have either moved away or died by the time my family arrived in that town.

Fort Meade Annie was frequently seen in public wearing a raincoat and scarf while carrying an umbrella, regardless of rain or sunshine. She would wear this outfit all year long in both hot weather and cold weather. Apparently she was named Fort Meade Annie because, according local legend, she was once engaged to someone who was stationed at Fort Meade but the wedding never happened because he was either killed in a war or he left her for someone else. I don’t even know how true this backstory is or if it’s something that the locals made up about her in order to make her seem even more pathetic than she really was. From the descriptions I read in that post about her, it sounds like she had some serious mental health issues at the time. In any case the local teens used to taunt her a lot.

So this guy writes about that one summer night in the early 1960’s when he and his friends decide to drive in a car looking for Fort Meade Annie so they could taunt her. They found her at the right moment when they saw her walking along the street while they were stopped at a traffic light. They began to taunt her and she responded by attacking the car with her umbrella so forcefully that the teens started to freak out and they drove away before the traffic light turned green. The car suffered minor damage to the windshield wipers and some minor scratches while one of the youths worried about getting in trouble with his father since he was driving his father’s car that night.

I was reading this story hoping that he and his friends learned a lesson from this encounter by acting more mature and compassionate towards others. But, no, here is how he ended his story.

So did we learn a lesson from this adventure? Probably not. We continued with stupid behavior. Calling out to the girls on the street. Jokes, sometime cruel jokes, at other’s expense. Starting trouble. Tormenting people. We kept doing all the same crazy stuff we always did. We just never did it to Annie again.

Oh, great, they stopped taunting Fort Meade Annie but they continued their harassment of other people and were pretty much assholes. They were only lucky that their other victims didn’t attack them or their car like Fort Meade Annie did.

What’s even worse is that he and his friends took the wrong lesson from this incident. The lesson isn’t “Don’t ever mess with Fort Meade Annie again because she can use her umbrella to defend herself.” The real lesson is that you don’t ever verbally harass strangers who are just minding their own businesses. The fact that he and his friends continued to harass other people after their unfortunate encounter with Fort Meade Annie shows them to be such total morons that I’m amazed they were even able to graduate from high school at all.

So basically this guy writes a post about how he was an asshole teenager who seems to be proud that he continued to be an asshole and he also seems to relish his memories of his youth when he and his friends taunted someone who obviously had mental health issues. I don’t consider this guy to be anything other than a coward. Because only cowards would stoop low enough to attack a mentally ill person who was just wandering the streets minding her own business and not harming anybody.

As J.K. Rowling once wrote in one of her Harry Potter books, “If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” I definitely got the true measure of that Facebook writer and it’s not very big or impressive at all.

What if Fort Meade Annie (or the other women who were victims of his and his friends’ drive-by harassment) had been this writer’s grandmother, mother, aunt, sister, cousin, girlfriend, wife, daughter or niece? Would he still write on Facebook about the fond memories he had when this woman was harassed?

What’s even worse is that there were people who were praising his writing skills and were urging him to write a book about his youth in Glen Burnie. I’ll admit that he is a good writer. But I can’t endorse anyone who not only acted like a total douchebag towards someone who was mentally ill but continued this douche behavior towards others and seems proud enough of those douchebag memories to write a post on Facebook bragging about it.

This post was originally written in June but the moderator of the Facebook group decided to bump it back to the top of the group because today someone else wrote a less-offensive post asking if anyone remembered Fort Meade Annie. At least the people in that thread aren’t talking about harassing her for no good reason. [UPDATE OCTOBER 31, 2017: Apparently that second thread about Fort Meade Annie turned abusive since it was deleted and a new notice from one of the moderators mentioned why it was deleted. Yet the original jerk’s post that inspired this rant remains online.]

I’m glad that this guy is older than me so I never had to endure this jerk’s behavior myself when I was growing up. (Instead I had to endure other Glen Burnie assholes who at least have the decency to not make Facebook posts about their fond memories of their youths as being douchebags.) He is one guy I would never want to even meet online, never mind even meeting him in person. I certainly as hell would never do any kind of business transaction with him.

Seriously if this guy ever writes his memoir, he should just title it Confessions of a Glen Burnie Asshole.

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As a followup to last Saturday’s fuckery in Charlottesville, some right wingers are launching a protest against Google in nine cities. It looks like my hometown of Washington, DC is on that list.

I seriously hope they call this off (or at least postpone it) because this nation doesn’t really need this shit. Of course they won’t because these alt-right pussies thrive on confrontation and, well, you know, they have to strike while the iron is still hot.

UPDATE (August 17, 2017): The organizers have decided to postpone the march for the time being after receiving numerous threats.

Last night a bunch of white supremacist jackasses marched on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Today in Charlottesville these same assholes took their vehicles and plowed through those counter-protesters who were peacefully protesting because they simply want these neo-Nazi and KKK pussies to just go away. Right now I’m seeing tweets like these and there are literally no words to describe this.

It was only last month when I happened to be back in my hometown of Glen Burnie, Maryland when I came upon a parking lot with this yellow pickup truck that had this bumper sticker.

I can imagine the owner of that pickup truck cheering whoever plowed into a group of protesters in Charlottesville today. If he has an orgasm over this, I wouldn’t be in the least bit shocked.

This is the latest in a string of incidents that has led to the rise of the white supremacist movement, which began with the election of Barack Obama (because the American people dared to elect a black man to the White House) and it has accelerated since Donald Trump was elected.

I live just a two-hour drive away from Charlottesville so, in a way, it’s like this happened in my own backyard just like the police murder of Freddie Grey in Baltimore.

All I know is this. If you whine about terrorism from ISIL or Al Qaeda yet support the Ku Klux Klan, you are inconsistent because the KKK is a terrorist organization that is just as deadly as the other terrorist groups. If you support neo-Nazis then you are spitting on the graves of those people in the U.S. military who literally gave up their lives fighting the Nazis during World War II. There are no shades of grey when it comes to supporting white supremacists.

Yesterday I spent the entire day at an all-women’s retreat at my Unitarian Universalist congregation. There were organized workshops but there were also opportunities where people could work on their own things like journal writing, various types of arts and crafts, reading, etc. There was a special Quiet Room set up so participants could engage in silent activities like meditation. Originally there was supposed to be an opportunity for people to walk around outdoors in the nearby woods. Only the child care people with the young children of some of the participants took advantage of that opportunity due to this blast of cold air that permeated most of the Mid-Atlantic Region over the past few days. (Only children can be completely unfazed by cold weather. I’m sure I was like that once in my youth. LOL!)

I took part in a workshop on “Creating Your Own Mission Statement” and part of the workshop was devoted to an option of activities that one could do to express herself like writing, collage making, drawing, and talking with others. I attempted to draw but, by that point, I had taken the opportunity of most of the retreat to work on my latest art (which I’ll write more about in a later post) and I found myself a bit too tired to attempt any more drawing.

So I attempted a collage instead. The collage table not only had the usual assortment of magazines to cut pictures out of but there was also a collection of these really cool looking foam stickers resembling animals, plants, hearts, and stars. I ended up taking a piece of paper from the drawing area, color the paper in blue (for the sky) and green (for the grass) using the provided colored pencils, then moving over to the collage area where I had fun with the foam stickers. Here’s the result.

Collage-Edited-Version

When someone else at the collage table found the hedgehog foam sticker, I decided that I would let her have it. But then I found another hedgehog foam sticker and I decided to put a hedgehog in my collage after all. I guess I’m still being influenced by memories of my pet hedgehog Spike even though he passed away back in September.

I also worked on a special card for a longtime member of our congregation. Years ago this woman and her husband were among the first people to reach out to my then-fiancee and myself when we decided to visit the UU congregation. (We were checking out various churches in the area in order to find someone to marry us. The UU congregation was the first church on our list and we loved the services, the minister, and the friendly congregation so much that we didn’t visit the other churches we had on our list.) They were a few decades older than us yet they treated us very warmly. She and her husband invited us to this group called “Great Decisions” that held an 8-week discussion group every year on foreign policy issues and it was held in their home. Eventually both the “Great Decisions” discussion group, the couple who reached out to us as well as other people in the congregation inspired us to formally join the congregation just three months before the UU minister married us.

The “Great Decisions” group petered out when the husband came down with the Alzheimer’s Disease that eventually took his life but we remained friends with the wife after her husband died. She remained active in the congregation, especially in the We Care committee, which reaches out to people who needs help with their personal lives (ranging from trips to doctor’s appointments to organizing the signing of a card to send to an ailing member).

She and her husband owned a timeshare condo in Ocean City that they used to stay at during the week of the Fourth of July holiday every year with their family. After her husband died, the woman decided to put the timeshare up for bidding at the congregation’s annual fundraising auction. My husband and I took a couple of trips to Ocean City as a couple and my husband had the idea of bidding on the timeshare while inviting his sister, her then-husband, and their son to vacation with us. We submitted the highest bid.

The condo was very nice but spending a week with other family members was more stressful than I anticipated. My sister-in-law’s husband (whom she later divorced) couldn’t make it due to his job, my sister-in-law and her 12-year-old son bickered constantly, while people were constantly uptight around each other. Despite all that my husband wanted to bid on the condo again at the auction a few months later and we were outbid by another couple. My husband seemed disappointed despite the fact that the trip to Ocean City was very stressful. So there ended up not being another family vacation to Ocean City the next year but I was okay with that since the last trip was stressful.

But my husband really wanted to do Ocean City again with his sister’s family so, a few months before the next auction, he approached the woman in our congregation about making a huge donation to the church in exchange for letting him have the condo without having it go up for auction. My husband told me that despite the stress of the first Ocean City trip, he said that it was important for him to spend time with our nephew because he was becoming a teenager and soon he’ll be off to college. So that was how we ended up going to Ocean City during the Fourth of July week every year. We got on each other’s nerves at times but I dealt with the stress by walking along the beach, driving off to a nearby store, or even go down the Boardwalk. After our nephew graduated from high school, went to college for one year then joined the U.S. Navy, we still went to Ocean City with his sister and (sometimes) one of her friends. When I had hip problems in 2008 and 2011, I wanted to stay home because my walking was adversely affected but my husband wouldn’t hear of it and he pressured me to make the trip anyway despite my health. (I enjoyed that trip far less during those two years because I was dealing with hip pain in addition to the usual stress of being on vacation with extended family members.) Even after my husband walked out on me in late 2011 he and his sister still went to Ocean City the following summer with an old friend of their parents’ from way back. When my sister-in-law stopped by my home briefly last year while she happened to be in my area, she told me that she, my husband (who became my ex-husband by that point), and my former friend-turned-Other Woman were going to Ocean City.

They were all able to carry on with going to that Ocean City timeshare without me like I didn’t exist. I wouldn’t be surprised if they returned to that timeshare this year. Oh well.

Getting back to my friend from church, this woman had been very active in our congregation, reached out to my then-fiancee and myself when we started to visit that congregation, she was one of the reasons why we formally joined, and we even rented the Ocean City timeshare from her.

Imagine my shock when I learned that something horrible happened to her. She and her late husband originally purchased and moved into their home sometime in the late 1940’s-early 1950’s where they raised their four children. They stayed in the house after the children grew up and moved out. After her husband died she lived in that same house on her own and she was one of those women who were healthy and active enough to live an independent life as she aged. Recently someone broke into her home while she was there. He wasn’t content with just robbing the place. He decided to do things to her that no 95-year-old should ever have to go through. This guy was so brave by brutally attacking a 95-year-old woman—NOT!!! (The police still haven’t found the creep as of this writing.)

At the retreat yesterday one person lead a healing circle for the woman. Another person was organizing a knitting project where people took turns knitting a shawl that will be given to the woman. There was also paper and pens available so the retreat participants could draw or write notes. I did this handmade card where I attempted fancy writing with a drawing of Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony.

Card-For-Esther-Censored-Version

I also wrote a personal letter on the inside. I hope she likes not only my card but other cards, letters, and homemade gifts from other members of the congregation.

If things hadn’t turned weird, distant, and ugly between my ex-husband and myself, I would’ve sent him a message about our friend since she had reached out to us years ago and we had been renting her Ocean City timeshare for the last few years. But I still remember when—just a few weeks after my husband abruptly left home without ever telling me that he was unhappy in our marriage—I learned that my mother was sent to the hospital (which was soon followed by a visit to the rehab center). I sent a text message to my husband informing him of this. He responded with this weird text where he wrote something to the effect of how we all have to go through struggles in life and it was written in a very emotionally-detached way. I also remember the last line he wrote because of the lousy English grammar (which was uncharacteristic of him): “No matter what happens between us she’s good people.” I was really pissed at this. He was writing this about his own mother-in-law, who had always treated him with respect, never raised her voice to him (in contrast with my own mother-in-law, who used to scream in anger at me and several other relatives over the most minor things that didn’t warrant such anger). My mother treated my husband like the son she never had and she was very upset when she learned about how he left me.

Then there were the times when I sent e-mails and texts to him with my questions and concerns about the separation only to have him ignore most of them. He only contacted me when he demanded that I conformed to this separation schedule that existed only in his head.

So, no, I haven’t told my ex-husband about what happened to our friend and I have no intention of doing so. Based on past experiences, he would either write in a similar emotionally-detached unfeeling way that borders on the offensive or he would completely ignore it, so why bother putting myself through more of my ex-husband’s passive aggressive bullshit? The hell with him! I really don’t need the additional stress because, to be honest, I don’t think he would even give a damn about what happened to our friend.

The calamnity that’s still going on in Japan started one week ago today. There were times when I felt disgusted at my fellow Americans when certain famous people started making public inappropriate comments and jokes about that ongoing tragedy. That Taiwanese animation company has even put up a special animation about these jackasses that’s totally hilarious.

The same company has created a more serious animation about the Fukushima 50, a group of nuclear plant employees who are literally risking cutting their lives short to manually cool down the damaged reactors at the affected plant in Japan. My heart literally goes out to them and their families and I hope that they are successful and they don’t suffer too much health damage.

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