Ten years ago:

One night after work, I stopped over to play trivia with Allie at the restaurant in the mall. There was some kind of automated system, and teams registered answers on a little remote control. I answered history and sports while Allie covered pop culture topics, and we mopped up the place in short order.

This restaurant was one of the few places in Holland where I could get cider on a regular basis. I pounded cider all night, celebrating our victories over the poor trivia losers, as well as the day off I was looking forward to the next day. I was much too drunk in pretty short order, and Allie had to pour me into her car and drag my ass home.

"Do you need me to help you up the stairs?"
"No, no, no, I'll be alright."
"Good, because I couldn't really do it anyway."

It took me about ten minutes to navigate up the now-even-steeper stairs and through my front door. I managed to throw myself onto the bed and fall asleep pretty quickly, but it was the kind of drunken sleep where hours pass during a blink of an eye. The next thing I knew, it was six in the morning and I really needed to pee. I managed to convince my body to get off of the bed, and headed toward the bathroom.

The next thing I knew, my alarm clock went off. This was unexpected.

I discovered that I was laying with my face pressed into the linoleum tile of my kitchen floor. I had also developed a really intense headache, which was making the bout of disorientation even harder to work through. I was afraid that I had given up halfway to the bathroom, and curled up on my kitchen floor for some reason or another. I didn't completely understand until I reached up and touched the enormous lump on the top of my head.

In my attempt to reach the bathroom, I had neglected to duck when I went from the bedroom to the kitchen. I had hit my head on the top of the door casing, and knocked myself out cold. I was lucky that the lump was above my hairline, out of sight unless I was intentionally looking to find it. Since I wasn't dizzy or nauseous, I figured that I was probably going to be okay in the end.

I hope to never need to rub a linoleum patten off of my cheek ever again.


Notes on a life in exile: A retrospective
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Betty Lewis, born Ida Mae Hulet, died on March 3, 2010 at her new home in Los Angeles, California after a very brief illness.  She was 85 years old.


Born in New York City on July 31, 1924 to Helen Potter and Leslie Hulet, Mrs. Lewis was one of four children who grew up during the Great Depression.


Before raising her own children, Mrs. Lewis worked as a commercial darkroom assistant and also as an accounting clerk for the National Association of Mutual Savings Banks.  She also attended New York University, where she met her beloved husband Henry.


Henry and Betty Lewis were married on October 16, 1947 and lived in New York City until 1969 when they moved their family to Christopher Road in Ridgefield, Connecticut.


Mrs. Lewis was certified in the human relations courses of Parent Effectiveness Training, Effectiveness Training for Women, and Teacher Effectiveness Training.  She taught classes for over 20 years at her Effectiveness Studio, and at schools and other public venues in and around the Ridgefield community.


Henry and Betty Lewis were long-time members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury, and formerly members of the Unitarian Church of Westport, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Flushing, New York.  Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were also active for many years at the national level with the Unitarian Universalist Association.


An enthusiastic environmentalist and advocate for solar energy technology, Mrs. Lewis was an early and long-time supporter of Ralph Nader, who encouraged her to “spread the word” about environmental issues.  She was also a member of P.A.C.E. (People’s Action for Clean Energy).


From her late 60’s through age 75 Mrs. Lewis studied Karate with Master Steve Doyon at Connecticut Marshal Arts in Danbury, Connecticut.  A full-page article in the News-Times of Danbury, Connecticut spotlighted her achievements as a senior in a decidedly “non-senior” sport.


Mrs. Lewis is survived by her two sons, Paul and Philip Lewis and her adopted family, which includes Betty’s life-long friend, Cleo Wisniewski of Patchogue, New York, Mrs. Wisniewski’s son and daughter, Glenn Wisniewski and Lynn Pesselano, and their children, Mrs. Lewis’ “grand-niece and grand-nephews.”


Mrs. Lewis will be laid to rest next to her husband in the Ridgebury Cemetery, 655 Ridgebury Road, Ridgefield, Connecticut.  A graveside service will be held on Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 3:30pm.  The Public is welcome.  Donations in lieu of flowers should be made to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury, 24 Clapboard Ridge Road, Danbury, CT 06811.



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