Three of us drove over to US Representative Tom Murt's office in nearby Hatboro to pay our respects at his Annual Open House. I sat in the heated backseat of Fontaine's Lexus. Ellen sat in the front with her beautiful black curls shining under the lamplights in the night.
Each of us is on a different path. Ellen, recently diagnosed w/bipolar disorder, is learning to be a grownup having never separated from her family. I also came from an enmeshed all-controlling family but began to realize this over time. To be fair, culture plays a huge role in family closeness.
I quickly helped myself to a small bottle of water at Tom's office and then after gulping it down got another bottle. Tom's trademark snack is soft pretzels which he brings in to the pollworkers on election day. He told us he's not eating the pretzels since he and his wife are on a Nutrisystem diet and receive apparently pre-packaged food. YUK! Stop offering your editorial opinions, Ruthie. Sorry, cain't.
Fontaine who's worked for the same firm approx 30 years was recently laid off. But they began rehiring and she went back to work - as a temp! That way they don't have to pay her benefits. She loves begin back at work.
We introduced ourselves to Tom and his staff. The office was crowded with well-wishers. The staff remember everyone's names. Tom asked Ellen an amazing question which I told her later was b/c Tom can't grasp what bipolar people are like... that the vast majority of us come across as normal... "Are you on many meds?" he asked her. She was a bit flabbergasted so I said "She's on the usual amount, we're all on meds. Ellen is doing very well as you can see."
Tom learned she'd been a schoolteacher and found out what parish she belonged to. He's a great conversationalist. For everything you say, he'll reply in kind. "I'm a teacher too - at Penn State."
It was a back n forth gathering of information session. I had a couple things I wanted to bring up. His office had prepared a grant for us and I wondered if we'd get the money for our Compass mag. Forget it, said Tom. The state doesn't have enuf funds. I commended him for getting money for my library - Upper Moreland - plus the new Boileau Park. Before we visited him, I visited his website to see what his interests are.
He's definitely interested in us and presided over our last Suicide Awareness Seminar. I told him money for mental health is getting slimmer. I'd just gotten a rejection from the Douty Foundation which funded us previously saying their priorities have changed and they no longer support mental health issues.
My daughter is gonna write a couple more grants after she finishes reworking her latest novel. She writes em and I polish em off. She just sent Scott a fantastic cheese basket from Murray's Cheese Shop. When the mailman delivered it he thought they'd sent it to the wrong address. He never gets gifts in the mail. It's quite a thrill. We're gonna munch on the cheese and Carr crackers later on today when we watch my Upper Moreland library videos including Tess by Roman Polanski.
I told Tom members of New Directions, including Fontaine, whose bipolar daughter is doing very well in college, volunteered for Moms For Marines at the Upper Moreland Intermediate School. He was familiar with this.
It made me wanna volunteer to be a pen pal with a soldier, I said. Do you know anyone I can have a letter correspondence with?
He produced a sheet of paper with the name of a captain serving in Iraq. I shall write him forthwith.
Afterwards we trooped down the street in the freezing cold night and went into Ming's restaurant for a delicious dinner. Two guitar-playing singers were serenading the many pedestrians who had come out on Hatboro's First Friday nite.
When we got back into the car Fontaine said, "You want me to heat up your seat, baby?" I sure do, I said. I sure do. She had some Xmas toys in the backseat for her godsons. I told her she's got to take them to see the Valenza house on Terwood Road which is better than ever this year.
Well, then, let's drive over, she said. I ain't gotta be anywhere tonite.
The house is stunning. Valenza is a Republican commissioner and owner of the local Paratransit company. In the past, he never returned my phone calls and said he never received them. Who knows?
People get outa their cars and walk around the huge corner lot. Makes you wanna have little kids to share the glory with. Maybe Fontaine'll let me ride with her godssons. Ya think?