Doors Opened, Records Revealed

In friendly conversation the other day, someone asked me: “So how do you like your Charles Ramsey now?”

I was like “huh?”

Then he told me one of the Seymour St. heroes has a drug and domestic abuse record.  He had served time, repeated offenses, gradually got back to “okay” terms with his ex-wife, and helped save four people from a domestic abuser/abductor whose depravity is another category of torture that prosecutors, media, moms all struggle to label. Anyway, the details of those earlier years are not Hallmark Hall-of-Fame film material. At all.

I mumbled something about, how, well, you know, nothing he did before devalues the five to ten minutes of neighborliness he and Angel Cordero displayed on Seymour Street Monday night. My convo partner couldn’t disagree, but I nonetheless felt caught in this “gotcha” game where people who rush in to praise – especially to praise the heroes who don’t look like the heroes we think we’ve been waiting for – are punished as the dust settles and background checks come back. Messy.

I still think the guy is a hero, just as I still think the police work left boulder-sized stones unturned, no matter how badly many law-enforcement officials wanted to find Gina De Jesus and Amanda Berry. No matter how hard they worked, no matter how hard police work is. Allegations that neighbors called – cops say they didn’t – will be fully reviewed, I hope.  One story noted that someone close to the abductor’s battered ex-wife, now deceased, encouraged police to investigate Ariel Castro in the girls’ disappearance. It’s another chapter in this tangled and sad and stunning case that begs the question “how?” I really hope that’s not true. And if it is…

…none of it undoes the nice things that anyone writes this week about Mr. Charles Ramsey. I am a mom with a blog, and my credentials begin and end here.

I, for one, will soon get back to writing more about Indian food. And I will test (aka background check) all my recipes. But when I don’t write about cooking, I won’t make it a standard practice to background check someone who clearly did something good before I praise them for doing that good thing. Folks who want to read from the experts, maintain some emotional distance, think more deeply and more critically than me — they have lots of other reading outlets to choose from.

We Don’t Need Another (guy) Hero?

Yet some things about my writing of this last week have troubled me.  Among them, why am I so into this male-hero angle? What about the three women in that house? Delivering and reviving a baby in the dead of night, seeing no sun for years, having the courage to continue to test their captor and his aluminum front door at great, gruesome risk to their lives?

I write less about them, I think, because I want to know as little of their ordeal as possible. After telling her family members not to ask about her captivity, Gina De Jesus must see some of the darkest details of her life splashed on every front page. We still have not seen a photo of Michele Knight, whose physical and emotional losses sound the most devastating, and that’s fine with me. Not being an expert, I nonetheless speculate that healing is easier when people are on a need-to-know basis about your medical, psychological, reproductive trauma.

The mayor of Cleveland has asked the media not to “leak info.” Agreed.

Let’s keep some things between the women and girl who are finding their way home, and their families and counselors. Let’s agree they are heroes, and contribute to the Cleveland Courage Fund if we want to and if we can.

Thanks, Mom


Life happens at the corner mailbox.

Those who can’t send money, or choose not to, well keeping your eyes and ears open is free and it can really work. Here I think of mom, who stopped a domestic abduction at the mailbox on my sleepy suburban corner decades ago. She heard it, she saw it, she asked me to watch the car from the safety of our yard while she dialed 911. The authorities came, the child was separated from the parent, another relative was called in.

Until Tuesday, I had forgotten all about that. Happy Mother’s Day, mom, and thanks.


sweet valley high in a nerd-shell

Brew Beat

Covering Brewers greats from Hank Aaron to Eddie Zosky with beat writer Adam McCalvy.

Vampire Cupcakes

Bite it before it bites you.

the other fork in the road

navigating life via acute corners, wrong turns and dead ends.

The Rants of a Stay-at-Home Dad

Designed for experimentation, not expertise.

Frat House Fridays

Writing, Teaching and Tearing Down the House with a Toddler

Just A Small Town Girl...

Just your average 27 year old diagnosed with E.W.S. at birth... AKA Excessive Writing Syndrome :)


four states in four years


1 woman's journey through cancer treatment

The Creative Trust Milwaukee

fostering life-long learning through the arts

Chutney Challenged

Designed for experimentation, not expertise.


Designed for experimentation, not expertise.

still in sirsasana

Designed for experimentation, not expertise.

Farm to Table Wisconsin

– Reviving the bond between community and farmer

Everything Everywhere All of the Time

New and improved obsolete irrelevance.

Namita's Kitchen


Crappy Pictures

Designed for experimentation, not expertise.

Foodie Brooklyn Mom

My obsession with food, living in Brooklyn, and being a mom