Friday, February 10, 2012

Safe Haven

Dear Readers:
Sorry about lack of posts recently. I've been spending most of my "quality time" furiously working at an exciting web building project.  Hope to be back to normal writing, soon, but I'd like to help publicize this worthy event coming up Friday Feb 17, 2012. And you gotta admire their taste in piano players!  (me)

My critters and I have always had a good life for ourselves. Some, however are not so lucky.  Picture a household where domestic abuse is the order of the day.  Imagine being afraid to step away even for a moment from a life of domestic abuse because you're worried about what might happen to your cat or dog.  There are situations where the prospect of neglect, abuse or worse can be the deciding factor in the life of a woman trying to do something about her own domestic abuse issues.

Come if you can - talk it up among your friends if you can't.

official press release info

Fundraising Event for Safe Haven Program

Friday Feb 17:  6:30-9:00 pm

Companion Art Gallery 
In the Joyce Skylight Court
2680 South Kinnickinnic Avenue
Milwaukee, WI

The Wisconsin Humane Society and Sojourner Family Peace Center have partnered to provide the Safe Haven Program, which offers up to 60 days of shelter for animals of domestic violence victims.  Many victims are hesitant to leave a dangerous situation because they fear for their animal’s safety.  This program makes it possible for victims to leave a dangerous situation without losing their companion animal.  Animals provide companionship, comfort, and unconditional love to families affected by domestic violence, and preserving the bond between families and their animals is vitally important.

Companion Art Gallery will donate 20% of sales during the event, and will sponsor a Silent Auction and Raffle on behalf of the Safe Haven Program.

Bay View Bean Company, Le Botique So Chic, and Oscillations Art and Music Eclectic will also offer art and gift items for sale and will donate a portion of proceeds to the Safe Haven Program.  

Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages provided

Friday Feb 17:  6:30-9:00 pm

Music by Gary Alan

Remarks by Jill Cline of Wisconsin Humane Society Education and Advocacy Manager, 7:00 p.m.

Admission is free

Donations to the Safe Haven Program appreciated!

For more information or to RSVP  

Contact Sandy Sykora at 414-486-1891
Or visit Companion Art Gallery on Facebook, and click on “event” to RSVP

Friday, February 3, 2012

I Saw Her

I saw her last week.  A lady customer over at the retail parts counter of the place where I work in Milwaukee, getting a cartridge for her home humidifier.  She looked somehow familiar.  A rather large woman, but not embarrassingly obese.  Comfortable and confident, she had a strong clear voice and a melodic laugh I could hear back in my office.  Exchanging humorous comments with the counter clerk, talking about her cats  while her order was filled and rung up.  She was laughing.  I couldn't place her - but the face looked familiar.

She left. (I do not walk up to parts customers and harass them with 'Hey, sweetie, haven't I seen you somewhere before?')  Later, when I processed the sales slip and payment, I saw that had been Lena White!  (not her name - if classmates are reading this, please do not mention Lena's real name in comments).  And I realized why it was that I hadn't recognized her.  It was because it was the first time I had seen Lena happy.

Lena was in my Watertown WI grade-school class from the second grade through the end of high school.  And she lived right down the street from my house.  But I'm sure she wouldn't want to see me now, because I was part of another life she had transcended, gotten over, and left behind.

Lena was the one who was at the bottom of the pecking order in grade school.  She was very nervous and self-conscious, partly because her parents kept her so insulated from social contact.  She had no close friends, and if invited to participate in playground games, would usually turn down the offer. Lena was a bit clumsy from lack of practice, and would usually invite ridicule in playground sports.  Lena's style of dress was of another era - possibly hand-me-downs from her mother.  Her mother was very domineering and sheltered Lena from everything.  When she wasn't at school, her mother never allowed Lena to leave her yard, and the house always had all the drape drawn and windows closed, even in summer.   Her father was a high-profile eccentric, and once ran for mayor of Watertown, getting six votes. Lena had reason to be embarrassed about her parents, but never spoke against them.  Because she hardly spoke to any of us.

And we were mean to Lena.  Grade-school kids are the cruelest of them all. Nobody, I include myself, stuck up for Lena when the students would pass her "germs" around.  No physical abuse, Lena was simply ignored and excluded most of the time.  Personally I don't remember going out of my way to be mean to her, but neither did I defend her, and that's just as bad.

In high school, thankfully, things didn't get worse for Lena.  High school was a much larger social community, because all the various parochial and public grade schools consolidated into one high school class.  And, all the Lena Whites  from Watertown's other schools all found one another.  And they had a little group from which they drew strength - safety in numbers.

In the ensuing years, Lena's parents died, her house in Watertown was settled and sold.  Free of the no doubt detrimental parental influence, Lena made another beginning.  And now she owns a home in West Allis, a blue-collar Milwaukee suburb.  She has a job, she has cats, and she was laughing.    God Bless you, Lena White!

Thanks for listening and contributing. I'd love to hear from you.