Friday, May 22, 2009


A few weeks ago, I published a letter from an ol' college friend, Susan, right here in this blog. Her current challenges were inspiring, because she refuses to give up, and bravely--as always-- shoulders on.I think kids, you'll find her as outrageously witty, tender, and inspiring as I did.

Just got back from a job interview at a urologist's office. Keep your fingers crossed. The lady I interviewed with seemed to like what I had to offer. It would be a $5 per hour increase from what I'm making at Walmart. You'll laugh about the following:

I was painting a the inside of a house when I got the message that she wanted to interview me today. It was 3 p.m. and she wanted to see me at 4 p.m. No time to get home to get clothes, especially with the monsoon that tore through the area right as I got the call. Lucky that the house I was painting belongs to a friend who is about my size. I cleaned up, got dressed in a reasonable outfit of elastic waisted scrub pants and a short-sleeved top. The ensemb' was finished off with a pair of white nursing oxfords I found in the back of the closet. A bright yellow poncho completed the effect I had half an hour to get there through the pouring rain and a chronically fogged windshield (A/C's out).

While walking into the building, I notice that my right leg seems taller than the other, and almost feels like . . . like, oh darn -- I look down and, sure enough, I'm wearing a pair of white nursing shoes alright, but their respective mates are back in the closet AND THE RIGHT ONE HAS A HIGHER HEEL THAN THE LEFT. "Okay," I think, "I can just bend my knee a little as I walk and maybe she won't notice." I hobble onward. As I walk, the left shoe feels more and more uncomfortable - almost like there is an insert or orthotic inside. "Great, I got one of Peg's special arch support shoes." Somehow I will overcome this. I am determined.

I get to the office and fill out the form. I go to put a slip of paper in the front pocket of the scrub pants - and the pocket is not there! It's in back! MY PANTS ARE ON BACKWARDS! It's almost time for my interview AND THERE IS NO TIME TO CHANGE!
She calls me back to the office, and I try to pull off a confident sure-footed walk while pulling the back of my shirt over the front of my pants. I then gallantly begin my job interview where I am determined to show them what an organized, forward thinking, responsible person I am.

End of story - the interview went well. She senses I may be the person she is looking for. I may be called back for a second interview with the doctor. She has a couple of more people to interview, so say a prayer, keep your fingers crossed, light a candle and burn some sage. I'll know by Monday.

Final funny. When I got home and removed the uncomfortable left shoe, I discovered my foot had been resting alongside a rather large, rather hard, plastic clothes pin.

Sigh . . .
Love ya.
will write more later.

And then, I (Lisa Allender) received this letter from Susan, just two days later, with this in the subject line:

The lady I Interviewed With, Got Fired.

The office still knows I am interested in working there. And now they are very, very short-handed. I am so disappointed - she gave every impression that I was to meet with the doctor today. She even said at the close of the interview that they would love to have me work there.

I keep looking for the golden lining in this cloud of a life, but all I find is more raindrops.

Love you,

Once again, Susan manages to detail her disappointment, but always with a sense of hope. Finally, the letter to me (Lisa),below, details her dark history, but also describes the triumphant ending which she herself is creating!Thank you, everyone, for your comments at Lisa Allender Writes. As you'll see, I'm not the only one who appreciates them!

I just read the comments on my letter in your blog. Wow! People are really supportive, and I want to thank them for their words of encouragement. Several of them pointed out something I have thought long and hard about -- my marriages. I always wanted a home, a family, the give and take of a relationship that could stand tall through the tough times and rejoice in the little triumphs. Life and all that we that know is not perfect. I mourn the fact that I may never share with a loved one the joy of growing old and more imperfect with each passing year.

My first marriage was my best. We were the best of friends. We dated and eventually lived together for years before "tying the knot." Church was the center of our lives. I converted to Catholicism and loved (and still love) the rich meaning every part of the mass held. Towards the end of the marriage he did some things that disgust me to this day. I couldn't stand the hypocrisy of his holy behavior in church and his awful behavior at home. After much soul searching and counseling, I left.

Ten years later I married again. I had no hint of the violence of which this man was capable while dating and engaged. He was a retired executive and community leader and was well trusted by others. I realize now that his enraged attack on me and my cat may have been the first hint of a degenerative brain disease that eventually killed him 2 years ago. I put him in jail and lived in a battered woman's shelter for awhile. It was in that place, with the windows covered with foil and security camera's outside that I realized it is not enough to survive tough times, you must triumph over them. I ate my meals by dipping a knife in baby food and sliding it between my teeth. I did chores. I attended counseling sessions and talked with other bruised and saddened women, and tolerated their children who played violent-tinged games. The same hurt look was in all of our eyes. Then one day, while washing our mis-matched dishes after a wonderful dinner of chicken stew, I began to sing to myself. I hadn't done that in so long. I knew I would be alright. I got training as a CNA - took a lot of extra shifts and saved my uncashed paychecks while I house-sat for several months. The day I walked into the bank and turned my paychecks into a cashier's check for the down-payment for my little home was my day of triumph. It told him I definitely was not coming back - no matter how many dozens of roses, beautiful cards and offers of dinner he sent. When he came to the house, I would not let him in. The indentation left by his fist is still on my front door.

That's why it's so important that I save my house. It saved my life.

Good news Lisa -- today I caught up the house payments! The mortgage is current. It took almost a year and working 2 and 3 jobs, but it's done. Now to keep it that way. Now to get the other bills caught up, I pray my debtors will be patient with me.

Also, last night Walmart hired me to work overnights in their cosmetics department. It's $1.50 more per hour! I'm so thrilled!

One little step at a time, even if you have a clothespin in your shoe!

Love you Lisa. Got your voicemail. No $$$ on the phone to call you. Sounds like you and Hansoo had a wonderful time! Your description of the food had me drooling. Of course you can still use my words - if it helps to put a face on the struggle millions of Americans are experiencing now.

I saw that Oprah today will do a show on "What Class are You Now?" I hope she handles the sociological sinking of a great portion of our society with grace. Otherwise, she will rub salt into the wounds of many, many hurting people. I know because I have been, literally, a few days away from living on the street. This from a well-educated woman who has held highly responsible positions, helped found several non-profits, rubbed elbows with powerful politicians in my state and who had a pair of red Farregamo spike-healed shoes in her closet. Banquets and concerts and board meetings were my life. Nothing prepared me for what I am experiencing now. A lot of days I feel lower than dirt. When the creditors press me, I feel like a criminal. So yes Oprah, I have sunk several rungs on our social class ladder. (And I hate the use of the term social class, it does not belong in America, it does not belong before God.) But Oprah, dear Oprah, I do not want a hand out. I do not want a hand up. I just want to find a crack in this brick wall I've run up against so I can claw and scratch and climb my way out of this mess.


I hope all of you, whenever you encounter a challenge, will remember Susan, and her Herculean efforts to do better. To achieve more.

Continued success, Susan, and to all the readers here at Lisa Allender Writes.Keep the faith.

Peace, kids.


DeadMule said...

Hi Lisa, I have read these letters from Susan with amazement. What a strong spirit she had. I'll be praying that things go her way. Love, Helen

Lisa Allender said...

Helen Losse of DeadMule--Hi there! She is indeed a survivor--in so many ways--and with her sense of HUMOR intact, too! ;) I'll be updating everyone on Susan, once more, next week.

theuniversityofme said...

Good luck to you, Susan! You've got a great advocate in Lisa! PS: I've been looking for that damn clothespin for weeks!

Lisa, You have the most compassionate readership on the web: What do you and your readers think of the young Cancer victim from Minnesota who was ordered by the court to get Chemotherapy? I think this may be one issue where I side with the LESS GOV'T CAMP. How dare someone LEGISLATE that I expose my child to such a dangerous and painful procedure. I'd love to know what other folks (particularly your well-informed and vocal) followers.

Lisa Allender said...

University of me--Hi there!
"I've been looking for that damn clothespin for weeks." Very funny, Diane!
Hmmmmmmmmmm...far as Chemo goes, I dunno. I don't think kids too young to decide for themselves should be PREVENTED from getting care that will save their lives(in this case, as I understand it, the child WILL die without treatment to reduce/eradicate the small, fast-growing tumor, and in this case, the success rate WITH treatment is uh, 96%!).
But I don't have children, so I'm not able to say what should be done, if anything.