Dont Mince Words


Of all the gin joints 0

Posted on February 25, 2018 by Marna

On average, there are about 15-18 available guys for me in Richmond on just about any dating site. My simple criteria is 47-57, within 25 miles, bachelor’s degree, and divorced with grown kids. Those numbers go up a little on Tinder primarily due to the truckers on I-95 and the pilots at the airport. So, when someone says “I’ve got a guy I think you should meet,” my general response is “ah, are you sure?”

My neighbors, Judy and David, met a guy at a dinner party and invited him over to the Union Market anniversary party. I didn’t end up making it to Union, but the guy did and they got to know him better.

“Marna, Everett was pretty cool, you really should of come,” they said.

“Wait a second. Did you say Everett?  Was he a short, skinny, black guy with glasses? Probably told you a story about almost going to law school?”

“Yeah, why?” they asked.

“That’s my ex-husband’s best friend,” I explained.

Judy and David have lived in Richmond two years and do not quite understand the “smallness” of the city, especially when it comes to single men older than 50. David began texting Everett to confirm all this. Yes, he’s from Madison Heights. Yes, he knows Marna.

“God, I know I’ve been married for more than 20 years, but it is that bad out there, isn’t it?” Judy said.

Yes, it still is.

 

Merry what and a happy nothing 0

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Marna

Bonuses and any type of employee recognition can be tricky. I understand that. I come from the school of thought that you should make it thoughtful or make it matter… or don’t bother.

After years of working in dot com, I was used to good bonuses, and I’m not talking about the frozen turkey or the canned ham of the 1980s. Good, new wardrobe or a European vacation kind of money. When I moved to L.A., those bonuses disappeared when I became a contractor.

Flash forward to Christmas 2007 when I was back in the ad agency world. I was so excited when I heard checks were going to be handed out at the party. I opened the envelope, looked up, looked down again and said to my main gay, “what am I going to do with $200 in Los Angeles?” He said, “I know. I heard they were way better last year.” The housing crisis had started to hit then, so I cut them some slack and ordered my bonus online.

“What did you get,” asked my main gay.

“I bought a vibrator with a 12-foot cord. I’m tired of buying batteries,” I explained. Let’s face it. The purchase was very symbolic of my bonus.

Flash forward 10 years later. I checked in with my main gay and wished him a merry christmas and also let him know my bonus was still alive and well. When he asked what my employer gave me this year, I reluctantly had to admit I got the same thing I give my dog walker – a $25 gift certificate to Target.

“Are you kidding me? Why did they even bother?” he said.

I don’t know. I do know my dog walker was much happier than I was, but he doesn’t walk my dog 40 hours a week.

The secret lives of mothers 0

Posted on November 15, 2017 by Marna

My brother rarely calls me. When he has to put me on speaker so his wife can hear me react, I know it’s going to be good.

“Some lady who is researching ancestry called and believes mom had a child in 1952 in northern Virginia,” he said.

I doubled over laughing. “HAHAH. No way. Well, I guess it’s possible. It kind of explains the way she treated me and would never let me date or go out,” I replied.

Barbara did not have an awesome childhood in rural North Carolina. The summer of her junior year in high school, she went to northern Virginia to stay with her aunt and uncle. She had told me that she was malnourished because the family was so poor and they had a hard time feeding everyone. After she completed high school, she returned to northern Virginia to live with the aunt and uncle and begin a career as a secretary. Or so I thought.

Prior to this phone call, this was all we knew about her early life. Now, thanks to DNA tests and ancestry.com, people can begin to understand their past. We had a “hit” because my mother’s sister, 15 years her junior, took the DNA test. The researcher was able to connect the dots…dates/ages and determine my mother was, most likely, the grandmother of the woman looking.

I volunteered to take the DNA test to confirm the linkage. While my saliva was in the lab, I went to an event in North Carolina. My ancestry aunt said there was no way my mother had a kid. “She would of had an abortion. Even back then she would of found a way.” True. Barbara was very pro-choice. But what happened between graduating in 1950 and having a child November 1952?

My mother’s other sister, who is only four years younger than her, was at the event. I explained the situation and asked her what she knew about my mother moving to northern Virginia. She said she was up there for a bit, but then moved to Richmond, Virginia to work at a department store. “I believe it was called Thalhimer’s,” she said. This was another interesting factoid my mother never mentioned. When I moved to Richmond for grad school, she never said she’d ever lived there. Why move to Richmond where there were the same department stores in downtown D.C.?

By the time I returned home, the results were in. I had a half-niece. The researcher passed on the emails and I contacted my new niece. She said her mother never cared to know who her biological mother was. She loved her adoptive parents. However, this woman really wanted to understand the family and medical history. I gave her some medical details and personality traits of Barbara and I haven’t heard from her since.

I was ready to unravel more of this story. I contacted an archivist for one of the homes for unwed mothers. I’d found someone who could research employee records for Thalhimer’s. Then I realized it just didn’t matter.

My life with Barbara started in 1966. What she experienced as a young woman in a large metro area is the secret she took to her grave. I will remember her as the mother who took me to Planned Parenthood and continuously said (even into my 30’s) “don’t you ever get pregnant.”

I kept that promise.

  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 376 Posts, 131 Comments

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