Category Archives: friends

Friends Sans Kids (Childfree vs. Childless)


I’m writing from a place of pretty intense emotion, so forgive me in advance when when some things don’t make sense. I have two major points to make: The subtlety of semantics, and the relationship between people with kids and people without.

First let me hit on the word choices: People who choose not to have kids refer to themselves as childfree, however other people (usually those with kids or those who want kids) refer to those people as childless. It’s pretty interesting, when you really stop to think about it, how we choose certain words and phrases and how much power is actually behind them. Someone who uses childfree feels that their life is complete without kids, and in fact, kids might be a burden in their life. But then the person who tells them that they’re childless, is projecting their own beliefs that life is somehow incomplete without kids involved. Until #1 came along, I was childless. My best friend, however, was childfree. And she remains that way to this day.

When we were 29 (no, I am not telling you how many years ago that was), she had to fight her doctor into tying her tubes. The doctor (a woman) gave her all kinds of push-back about how she might change her mind, she’s still young, et cetera. T knew what she wanted, and her then-husband did too (their split had nothing to do with kids, for the record), and she even faced the doctor down with the fact that a tubal ligation is reversible, although she hadn’t actually looked into it because she had no intention of reversing it. The doctor kept throwing out the term childless. T actually had to change doctors and was finally able to get the procedure when she was 30. Why do so many people have a hard time accepting that some women truly do not want kids?

So, that’s that. Childfree and childless, while on the surface mean the same thing, are actually very different. Be careful how you use them.

 

Now… during all my childbearing years, T and I were always thick as thieves. I always had time for her, and she always – ALWAYS – had time for me. When I hear women with children bitching that their ‘childless’ friends have ditched them, how they never invite them to do anything, I always wonder if it’s really the other way around. You’ve all seen the pictures that go around facebook, about how ‘My idea of fun is no longer leaving the bar at 2am, dancing all night, etc, now it’s pillow forts in the living room, snuggling at 9pm with a cartoon’ or some other holier-than-thou thing. You know what? Yeah, it’s true, there were a few years where I really wasn’t able to do much of anything other unless it involved my kids, but there comes a point when all you want to do is have a night for you, and the people that you have always depended on to remind you exactly who you are.

So when T would invite me out to catch a new band, I would leave the kids with my husband and go out. I might not have been able to stay until closing time with her, but I was able to get some face time with her. When she would organize girls night out, I was there – and for those, I sometimes made it a point to stay out late. Let hubster do the heavy lifting. Now, I know there are single mothers out there, but you know what, there are babysitters. Not all of them are expensive. If you have cousins, nieces, nephews, etc, particularly if you babysat them back in the day, put them to work. Make it a point to get to know the younger people in your neighborhood. Be a little nosy and figure out who doesn’t go out a lot, because those are the kids who are going to be available when you need them. Expose your children to them so they’re not strangers.  Befriend them early, let them know your situation, they’ll be willing to sit for less than the “going rate” if they’re not total douchebags. I’ve done it for free on occasion. If your baby sitting money cuts into your night out money, big whoop. Meet at a friend’s first and pre-game, if you’re worried about being able to afford drinking money. If your friends are truly your friends, they’ll understand that you don’t want to bar-hop, that you just want to go to one bar because that’s all you can afford.

On the flip side, a third friend, R, never accepted any invitation to do anything that began after 7 pm. Not even to go to a movie. A movie? You can’t leave your child at home for two, maybe three hours max to come and sit on your ass with us in a theater?  Every time she wanted to get together, it was always with kids in mind. She’s say, hey let’s take the kids to this place on Saturday, maybe T can bring her nieces. Yes, T adores her twin nieces, but why should she have to procure some kids to be allowed to hang out? Oh, and T always felt like this was a dig at her worthiness. You are only allowed to join us if you have kids with you, you can’t come by yourself. Sort of the opposite of an adult-only party.

The thing is, maybe your childfree friends aren’t ditching you, maybe they’re just tired of always being turned down. What’s that line about insanity? Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome? (Which isn’t the actual definition, but whatever) T stopped inviting R to anything, eventually, and then R always got pissed off that “her childless friends never ask her to do anything anymore.”

My fellow parents: Your friends without kids can only take being turned down so many times before they just stop bothering. But pay attention: They attend every single birthday party you throw for your kids. They might spoil your kids as if they were their own. They celebrate every milestone with you. They’re there when you want a night out. Your childfree friend’s idea of fun isn’t sitting around with an Elmo party hat on watching a bunch of short humans pin the tail on everything but the donkey, but she does it because YOU asked her to be there. She does it because it’s what YOU want. But you’re the one who passes the subtle message that your life is more important than hers when you can’t be bothered to take part in anything she’s interested in. Compromising and doing things like meeting for dinner or lunch are one thing, because that’s something both parties have a mutual interest in. But when you are only inviting her to things that involve your kids (and then getting upset at the times she declines) and then declining all of her invites that involve just being yourself, an adult who is still her own person and not just a mother, the relationship becomes one-sided.

So like I said, yes, there were a couple years when I did fall a bit off the grid. #1 and #2 were born way too close together and I got a bit overwhelmed. I turned down pretty much everything T asked me to do, mostly because every moment the girls weren’t in my sight, I promptly fell asleep. We did a lot of lunches with babies in tow, we did a lot of hanging around her apartment for an hour at a time (many of which I’m guilty of being half-asleep though), but we tried. It wasn’t until #2 was nearly three years old that I realized T’s invites were coming less and less. I did get angry at first, but then I thought about it, and I realized there would be no point to her asking. It’s like when you have a Tupperware party or something along those lines. You know who to invite and who not to waste your breath on.

Once the girls were old enough to be less of a drain on my mental health, I was able to re-establish a lot of the fun times that T and I had enjoyed over the years. As I said, I’d suck it up and get dressed up for the club, even if I had to call it a night less than two hours in. But that was more about being a responsible adult than anything else. I knew I’d have to be up at 7am, so I knew I had to get to bed by midnight. It didn’t matter that I had to be up at 7 because of the kids. I’d made similar decisions years back when I had to get up for work early.

Why would I begrudge her idea of fun. She gets to do whatever the hell she wants because she can. And if she wants me to be a part of it, then I’m going to do what I can to be there. I know she absolutely hates the whole gift-opening part of kids’ birthday parties, all the kids screaming about what they got and how cool it is, or some other kid yelling about how much he wants it too (at least she’s stopped conveniently getting a phone call right when it starts, for which she has to go outside) but she’s there with the giant garbage bag grabbing the wrapping paper, because she knows how much I hate cleaning that shit up.  She manages a band, whose music she knows I don’t particularly like, but I still go to their showcases and important events because I know how much it means to her.

I’m probably rambling, but I just saw a rant on facebook from a parent friend pissed at her single, childfree friend over this. This parent friend is also one of those moms who’s entire facebook page is all her kids. Honestly, it’s so much about the kids that one of them could probably take the account over as their own when they get older and no one would notice. This woman clearly has no idea how much she’s lost herself in her kids. When you become a mother, motherhood should enhance your womanhood, not replace it. You’re still an individual, with you own interests, your own desires. Your idea of fun isn’t really a Dora marathon; it’s simply seeing your child happy. But your child isn’t going to be happy if you’re not happy, and I don’t see how you can be happy if you don’t have some semblance of a life of your own.

Maybe that makes me sound like a sanctimommy, but at least this sanctimommy has friends that aren’t my kids. And my facebook page has pictures of me.


Support Local Business: Froyo Culture


Are you in the Buffalo, NY / WNY area? Do you make trips to Amherst, particularly on Transit between Sheridan and Maple? Then you need to mosey on into the Premier Plaza, and head off to the right, down by Chipotle. Why? Because that’s where you will find the most amazing frozen yogurt you’ve ever had in your life.

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FroYo Culture is an amazing self-serve mix-n-match frozen yogurt spot (45 cents per ounce ) that is run by an awesome family, and friend of mine. I have frequented the shop roughly about seven times already since their opening three months ago. I would probably make it a weekly trip if it wasn’t slightly out of my way, but I’m settling for once every two or three weeks.

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You can’t resist this adorable place.

The best part? Rotating flavors. You can stay up to date to know which flavors are on tap by liking FroYo Culture on Facebook, so then you know when your favorite flavors are available. If you’re not a fan of different flavors, if you like your traditional vanilla or chocolate, no worries, they are pretty much always there for you (sometimes with variations, for instance, I’ve had vanilla, French vanilla, country vanilla, and alpine vanilla), and you can then doctor it up with over fifty – 50  – toppings.

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Have you seen a downside yet? Didn’t think so.

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Today the available flavors were as follows: Original Tart, Green Tea Tart, Carrot Cake, Luscious Lemon, Very Strawberry, Kiwi Strawberry Sorbet, Peanut Butter, No Sugar Added Vanilla, Cake Batter, Chocolate Cherry Cordial, Country Vanilla, and Chocolate Classic.  I helped myself immensely to the cake batter (and it was worth every penny), the kiwi strawberry sorbet, very strawberry, and the country vanilla. I will probably head back there in the next few days for some more of that cake batter; I’d like to mix it with the very strawberry or the kiwi strawberry sorbet to create something of a strawberry shortcake taste.

Now that I’ve finished raving about the yummy part, let me hit the naysayers with the health logic:
FroYo Culture’s frozen yogurt is a good source of calcium and helps regulate digestive function and maintain a healthy digestive tract. It also has increased digestibility for lactose intolerant individuals.  It is made with milk from cows that are not treated with the rBST synthetic growth hormone, and offers no-fat and low-fat varieties as well as being low sodium and low cholesterol. The tart flavor profiles and sorbets are 100% all natural, sorbets are non-dairy, and it’s Kosher certified.

So I say again, what could possibly go wrong here? Quite frankly, there’s something wrong with you if you don’t want to make this your new dessert spot. In fact, make a lunch or dinner trip out of it. You’ve got Moe’s, Chipotle, Applebee’s, Kabob & Curry, Saigon Bangkok, and even Tim Horton’s all right there. Today, my day included an Alfredo Garcia from Moe’s followed by the aforementioned berry-vanilla-cake batter miracle I created. All in all, I’d say it was wonderful.

 


‘No Loving, No Shoving’


The very line I meant to start this off with was just expressed aloud. I’ve got Everwood playing in the background, and Dr. Jake just told Edna, “Sometimes a simple hug can break down barriers.”

Which is why, a new school rule at Earnscliffe Senior Public School is so ridiculous. The rule, meant to protect students from bullying and unwanted touching, backfires. The majority of bully is verbal, and though I have no experience in the world of bullying/being bullied, I can only imagine that the one thing (maybe the second thing) a victim wants is a hug.

Jenna El-Daly, Diana Hoyt, Lily Hopkinson, and Hana El-Daly

So, after having been punished for showing affection towards a friend,  Janna and her twin sister Hana El-Daly, 12, friends Diana Hoyt, 13, and Lily Hopkinson, 12, organized a hug-in on Wednesday at noon outside the school. More than 40 friends, family, and other supporters turned up for the event, inspired by the sit-ins of many civil rights movements. They danced to the kazoo-and-guitar tunes of Glenn Macfarlane, a local musician who had heard about the event and showed up in solidarity, bringing along a diity he wrote called “I Want a Hug.”

“Hugs are an innocent gesture. They can mean, I’m glad for you or I’m sad for you. Sometimes you just need a hug,’’ Hoyt said.

The girls organized the peaceful protest via a Facebook event page. That alone had consequences. Laila El Dsoki, mother of Janna and Hana, and April Hoyt, Diana’s mother, state that the girls were called into the principal’s office after the Facebook page was created. After a 45 minute conversation there, they were sentto the guidance counselor, where they spent the rest of the day, under orders not to talk to anyone. In short, they were silenced for wanting to show affection.

Carla Pereira, acting communications director for the school board, has a different take on things. She indicates that many parents have told the board they’re in favor of the “no loving, no shoving” rule,  and “there’s no plan to revise it.’’ She also states that there is no actual ban on hugging, but “there’s a time and a place for every interaction.’’ For istance, a hug at recess between two consenting children would be fine, she said, but inside the school building, when children are walking in single lines in the hallways, would not be the time for a hug.

I’m sorry? So what you’re saying is that when your students are in the hallways at school, they are always marching in a single-file line? There’s not a moment where they’re just milling about? If a girl comes to school and tells her friends that her dog died, those friends have to wait until recess to comfort her?

Teachers, pay atention. A group a students crowded around one – that’s bullying. Two students sharing a brief hug – that’s not bullying. If your concern is for students touching another innappriately, then instead of being reactionary and just banning human contact, then get proactive and educate on what is and what is not appropriate, as well as create avenues for students to voice worries and complaints if they feel they are being manhandled.


Everyone Gets a Trophy: The Evolution


Having grown up never getting a trophy for anything, except a bumper bowling league I was in when I was seven, the awards I do win actually mean something to me. My MVP medal, though actually plastic, that I earned from a manager at work, after having only worked with him for three months, is one of few awards I received there that feels like there was some legitimate thought and feeling behind it, that it wasn’t just given to me because I was simply there. There’s a big difference between earning a trophy or award and simply getting one. One makes you work hard, the other makes you show up.

So, the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ idea was to promote self-esteem, on the sense that it would keep the lesser-performing kids from feeling like shit. But here’s the thing. Some little boys just aren’t any good at baseball. If they’re getting trophies anyway, then they’re under the mistaken impression that they’re the next Hank Aaron, and they try out for the school team. And then they get their first dose of reality, which ends up being more detrimental to their self-esteem, that thing we were all trying to protect in the first place. In the meantime, when the kid was six years old, instead of showing up and sitting on the bench for two hours after striking out in tee-ball, he could have taken that time to learn that he had an amazing aptitude for analytical thinking, and joined the chess club or something. Instead, he gets cut from the baseball team, gets all down on himself, and doesn’t bother attempting to excel at anything.

And yet… if someone does actually work to complete something, works hard and succeeds, we don’t want anyone to extend congratulations to them. When I first saw this on the news tonight, my just just dropped. In South Carolina and Ohio, students are being punished, by withholding awards that they rightfully earned their high school diplomas – because their friends and family cheered them on at graduation.

A mother in Florence, SC, was led out of her daughter’s graduation in handcuffs, for shouting “Yay! That’s my baby!” As her daughter crossed the stage. While there is always the possibility that she actually shouted more than that, I’d put money on it that she didn’t say anything out of line and that the family of the next graduating student was able to hear their kid’s name. There was tons of cheering at my high school graduation – and even my college graduation – from both parents and fellow graduates, and everyone was able to hear everyone’s name.

In Ohio, football player Anthony Cornist received cheers from family, friends, other students, other families, and even teachers. Yet, rather than receiving his diploma in the mail after graduation, he received a letter from the principal: “I will be holding your diploma in the main office due to the excessive cheering your guests displayed during the Roll Call.”  The letter also demanded that Cornist or his family members do 20 hours of community service to get his diploma, to which the family said… well, take a guess what they said.

Slightly unrelated, a group of students in Tennessee are not able to get their diplomas unless they complete community service also. What did they do? Well, they (and their families) sat quietly during graduation, but their caps were decorated. The school forbid it, but one student said, “We’re going to decorate our caps anyway because we paid for them.” And why not? Who are decorated caps hurting?

The comments on this news story sum everything up completely. Commenter Tashibelle says, “In almost every graduating class there is at least one kid graduating who doesn’t have anyone there to support or cheer for them – could be a foster kid or a kid with parents who just don’t care, etc. There is nothing wrong with feeling proud of your kid, but there is something wrong with not respecting all the kids and the other parents. Sadly, too many parents think only of themselves and their own kids, not the others, and they raise their kids to think the same way.”

Um, hold up Tashibelle. Let’s take your exact line, “There is nothing wrong with feeling proud of your kid.” Parents do not have the responsibility to bolster some other kid. At the risk of sounding harsh, that one kid who has no one to support them has probably never had someone there to cheer them on, so graduation should be no different. For some of these students, the fact that they made it to graduation is a big deal, and there is nothing wrong with feeling proud of your kid.

The fact of the matter is, this is the “everyone gets a trophy” generation. School administration feel that some students feel left out because no one cheers for them, so they feel that the other kids shouldn’t be singled out for accomplishments. It takes a few moments for each student to make it across the stage, that gives their friends and family time to be excited. As long as no one is shouting anything innappropriate and they quiet down in time for the next student’s name to be called,  what is the problem?


The Mel & Joe Show


My bestie and I are both hilarious, triply so when we get together. I know everyone who has a million inside jokes with their BFF thinks this, but in our case, it’s true. Note I didn’t say doubly hilarious, which is what you would expect, but we amplify each other’s hilarity by 50%, therefore together we are three times as comical as we are separately. We also have ESP with each other, which often leads to the laughs.

We have decided that the world needs to have a show about us. For a short time, we were pretty convinced that Melissa Joan Hart and Joey (Joseph as he is called today) Lawrence had stolen our idea, but as that pregressed along, it was clear that they did steal, not from us, but from Martin Cohan and Blake Hunter.  Not that I’m complaining. I’d much rather look at Joey Lawrence walking around the house in a towel than Tony Danza.

The most recent upgrade to Handcent, the text customization app, included the ability to take screenshot of your text conversations (if a single one of you iphone hipsters tells me how you’ve been able to do that since day one, I will jam that phone down your throat, and call it all day long, so that you can hear that annoying iphone ringer all fucking day), and I proceeded to utilize it by going as far back as I could through my conversations with Joe (which ended up being August 2011), and sending him shots of some of our more entertaining chatter. From there, I decided that our show should feature these screenshots, similar to the Bro Code at the end of HIMYM or the ChuckLore at the end of all Lorre’s productions. Difference would be that I think the text should show right at the beginning, or after returning from the first commerical break, and be directly related to the topic/situation of the episode.

<— Joe                                                            Mel —>

The pilot will feature our awesome shared brain and should probably begin right off the bat by displaying how often we say we hate each other or call each other names. For example, the show could open with the time we made pizza and I placed two slices on my plate as I turned around, and Joe said, “Fail,” before the pizza fell off my plate and ladded topping-down on the floor. Or the mulitude of times I’ve answered a question before he even asked it. Or last Friday, when he told me to pick a song, any song (I forgot what he needed it for), which put me on the spot so my reply was, “Uhhh…” and he picked one instead, typing into his phone. After a moment I finally blurted out ‘When You Were Young,’ Joe only facepalmed, before showing me his phone, where he’d typed ‘when you w.’

Above, is just one of many exchanges where we clearly are way too tuned in to each other’s brainwaves. Had he actually texted me that he was leaving, I would have sent exactly what I said above as a reply. So apparently when he had the thought to text me that he was on his way, I heard it, and in my head it translated to having already received the text.  Another example, is from a few weeks back, when we were deciding which theater to go to to see the Avengers. We left it up to timing, planning to make the decision on the day of the show. So day of, my text: so which theater are you feeling?  His reply: Shut up, I was just texting you.

If patterns prove anything, it seems like I have the penchant of knowing what he’s about to text and replying to it before he can, but, he also has the inclination to know what I’m going to say when I reply, and then saying it before I do.

Exactly what I was going to say, complete with punctuation.

The title is still up for debate, but really, all we need is a writer (to help make this more sitcome than reality television) and we are ready to go. Seriously, who wouldn’t watch this?


First Person Shooters Are Addicting


So I’m sitting at a red light this morning, around 5:30am. I’m facing the front of a grocery store. Across the intersection and the parking lot in front of me, I can see a man exiting the store. The very first thought that popped into my head was:

Can I pick this guy off from here?

This is one of the problems associated with playing Call of Duty (any flavor) for upwards of seven hours straight. Much like the way I am all but incapable of obeying traffic laws after hours of Grand Theft Auto, after many hours of COD every single thing that I see moving, whether straight ahead or in my peripheral vision, my right index finger instinctively flexes.

This is bad.

On the plus side, the bestie and I set some pretty great personal records the past two nights. On Modern Warfare 3, in Survival mode, we made it to wave 30 at Resistance, wave 27 (on the 2nd or 3rd try) at Seatown, and to wave 15 at Carbon on the first try, with almost complete unfamiliarity of that map. I forgot what wave we made it to in Outpost, but it was one the 2nd try, and I believe it was also 15. I leveled up very nicely, and have finally been utilizing sentries, as well as delta and riot squads.

It took awhile to get back into the swing of things, playing with the bestie, as we are PS3. When I play with my brother, however, he’s Xbox, which meant that my aim/shoot  and  explosives/equipment  buttons are inverted. So after a week of constant CODing with my brother, when the bestie and I started up, I kept throwing grenades. Also, took a few minutes to get comfortable again with my left thumb. Damn analog stick.

Just thought of something that’s going to be pretty awesome: when the new maps come out for PS3, I’m actually going to have the advantage over the bestie, since they came out for Xbox already.

We all have our favorite maps, right? For me, Resistance and Seatown are best in Survival;   Arkaden, Interchange, Underground, Fallen, Black Box and Resistance for Domination;   and for regular Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed it’s Interchange, Fallen, Resistance, and Black Box, Seatown is iffy. Maps that I have only played once or twice, ever:  Bakaara, Bootleg, Carbon, Downturn (which I only played once and totally kicked ass at).  Maps I hate: Lockdown, Dome, Hardhat, Bootleg, Outpost. Not a fan of Carbon. Of the new maps – Liberation, Piazza, Overwatch, and Black box – I enjoy Black Box, but Overwatch and I have a love/hate relationship. Liberation and Piazza have only been played once each by me. Liberation is huge, and I’m not sure how I like it. Piazza reminds me a bit if Villa, in terms of scenery, but I haven’t yet figured it out. Overwatch is what you’d get if you take Hardhat and mix it with Black Ops’ Kowloon, in the sense that you can fall off the edges of the world.

One of these days I should actually play the campaign. I’ve played co-op campaign with the bestie in MW2 and Black Ops, kind of pissed that MW3 doesn’t include that.

Anyway, enough COD talk. My fingers are twitching just thinking about it.  What are your favorite maps, and game modes?


Searching for Sgt. Nelson


When I was seventeen and a senior in high school, one of the many groups and clubs I was involved with went on a trip to Boston, Massachusetts. It was over Memorial weekend, and I remember it being the longest drive ever to get there, and seemed like it took mere minutes to get back. We went to Salem, checked out a lot of museums and things dedicated to the witch trials; Lexington and Concord, saw Nathaniel Hawthorne’s home, as well as Louisa May Alcott’s, and the House of the Seven Gables; some other suburbs, and a colonial town (can’t remember if it was legit or a re-enactment town), and of course downtown Boston, where we went to the Aquarium and Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

But it was the people we met on this trip that outweighed the things we saw.

First off, I’d like to say that I learned on this trip first hand how teachers judge students. It was amazing to experience this. And not amazing in a good way. Apparently, because myself and two friends were outgoing, we were automatically assumed to be total sluts. Never mind that the three of us were all virgins until well after high school, the age of 20 being when the first of us three traded in that card. I digress, the point is:

‘Darcy’, ‘Riley’, and I were near the pool when we literally ran into two guys who seemed to be about our age. We were coming around one corner and they were coming around the other. We started talking, because this was 2000, when people still spoke to each other in person as there was not yet a “Add Friend” button next to their faces. Guy #2 eventually walked away, but the three of us continued to speak with the one who remained, Brian. The boys were relatively local, from about an hour and a half away, in town for a marathon in which they were participating. We hung out for maybe half an hour, if that, before exchanging addresses so we could write to each other, using this magical invention called paper on which to write thoughts with this thing of amazement called a pen. At one point, we decided to take a picture. So we came upstairs, where Darcy, Riley, and Brian continued speaking in the hallway while I got the camera from our room. We took a bunch of pictures. Brian went on his merry way.

This is when we were seen by our teacher chaperone. I don’t even remember the entire lecture she gave us, but she said these words, “I know you girls are ‘friendly,’ but…” and she didn’t use the finger-quotes, but she used the tone-of-voice-quotes. I was like, did this bitch just imply that we’re slutting it up? Meanwhile, the buttoned-up nun-like girls across the hall were down in the pool getting all touchy with a group of guys, which we could see right from our own room because it overlooked the courtyard and next to the pool. They were free to have all this boy-girl fun while Darcy, Riley, and I were confined to our room for the rest of the weekend. As in, we could leave only when we traveled to the various sites as a group. The free time that we had in the evenings? The three of us had to spend it in our room, while the others could go down to the pool, the restaurant, the movie theater across the street.

We tried to lie, we claimed it was am Army Reserve friend of Darcy’s older brother (the irony and foreshadowing there is fantastic) that we ran into, small world, huh? She wasn’t having it. Oh well, fuck it. Frankly, by the time we got back to the hotel after our daily excursions, there wasn’t much else to do other than crash. Hotel pools are usually only fun once, and I certainly couldn’t afford the restaurant food.

Brian and I wrote for several months, and even spoke on the phone while he was in school in New Hampshire, and as was to be expected, it all slowly faded, what with the combination of us both being in college and being far apart and not really knowing each other that well to begin with. I didn’t think much of it, though I did always wonder whatever happened to him.

A couple years later, I get a letter from Parris Island, SC. It’s from Recruit Brian Nelson, and I was like OH MY GOD! THe very first thing he wrote in the letter was “I don’t know if you remember me…” and then identified himself as the guy who got me and my friends in trouble in Boston a few years back. He informed me that he had joined the Marines and was at boot camp. It wasn’t a very long letter, written on one page of steno pad paper, but it was awesome to receive. Unfortunately, this was during my working-full-time-in-school-full-time years, and it took me a few weeks (almost two months) to finish my letter back and get it in the mail. Since then, Brian had graduated, and so my letter was returned to me, unopened.

I called in every favor with every Marine I knew (which was only about five or six at the time, ha) to give me some kind of starting point to find out where he’d been stationed, where I could find him. Only one of them even gave me any kind of information, which was about 20 Brian Nelsons, and I was just too overwhelmed by that to even do anything. I wasn’t about to write to 20 people and be like, are you the right person? So the search sort of ended there.

Over the next several years, I searched social networks, hoping to find him. A few times, I thought I was on the right track, but then I’d find something to ‘disprove’ it (like the fact that the guy was 40, or 14, or went to college in Michigan or something). So again, I gave up.

The other morning, something made want to look again. I don’t even know what it was, but I was sitting here, pulling an all-nighter (my sleep schedule was messed up and I was trying to reset it) and around 5 a.m. I was hit with this desire to look for him one more time. First I tried Facebook… no luck. Then I said, you know what, let’s go basic. I searched for Brian Nelson, Marines, New Hampshire.

First two results were from his college alumni newsletter, and a site that basically amounts to the military’s PR team. The first one I chose to read was from the newsletter: A Marine in Afghanistan and when I saw the picture, I burst into tears. Then I laughed at myself for being so pathetic. Get a grip, Melissa, it’s not like you’re seeing him for real. Plus, while this tells me where he is/was, it doesn’t give me an address to write to him.

The second link brought me here:  Marines turn to alternatives to fuel coalition efforts, and a subsequent Search on the site led to videos.

So, at least I had a starting point here. I know that about a year ago he was at Camp Leatherneck. Problem is, article indicated that he’d be re-deployed in the fall, so we’re probably six, seven months into a new tour now. This does not help me. However, I searched my ass off that entire morning, and found a lot of potential contacts who might be able to help me. One of the guys runs a site for service members who don’t get many letters, Operation Mail From Home, and many of them are at Leatherneck. I’m currently debating just writing to them to find out if any of them know him. The gentleman who runs the site also suggested writing to the center manager at Leatherneck. and I also joined a message board through a few military sites to ask if anyone knows him.

Everyone please keep your fingers crossed that I can find him! I’ll keep you posted on any updates.


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