Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I have been throwing stuff out. Spring cleaning. Like clothes I've never worn given me by people. Or clothes I got at garage sales that I never wore. These are clothes that never did fit or that had holes and tears and missing buttons.

And old records and papers. I've gone through some of them. I found a will I made in the late 80's. I think that was when I had multiple near death experiences from some psyche drug and the stupid shrink still was pushing it on me. I should say "homicidal shrink".

I knew I was going to die. I almost did. I shredded that will tonight.

I have now petered out on the spring cleaning. Some of that stuff needed thrown out years ago. Procrastination. Sure makes life easier!

I found the old column, written by Wendy Madar, entitled "Undo This Absurd Trial" when the City of Corvallis tried me for yelling at the river barge when the river project's barge, dumping riprap, resulted in the deaths of many of my wild cat family and my wild animal and bird friends along the banks of the Willamette, where I lived too. I got arrested for yelling at the barge. That was when I first met Wendy. She'd heard about the incident and came to the trial and was appalled. She wrote that column. We became friends.

Later on, despite not telling me, the self-appointed attorney filed an appeal and the city completely expunged the case from existence, probably out of embarrassment. The attorney threatened to expose the city for all that had been done to me in my decades living there and that was a whole lot, if you're talking about diversity friendly Corvallis, that was not friendly and smoochy and civil rightsy at all. In fact, I'd gone through hell in Corvallis for a couple of decades. So had many others.

Dirty little horrors and violations of rights are best kept in the dark, in a city that fancies itself so very enlightened and progressive. So my case became a ghost case. I knew I saved the column somewhere and tonight I found it, tucked into an old journal.

Wendy has a lot of guts. She used to get nasty e-mails sometimes after her columns came out, she once told me.

I think she's the perfect writer. She's little and quiet, very observant, and she never gives up. She's very witty, too. What I liked most about Wendy was that she is very up front about things. I always knew where I stood with her. If she didn't want to talk to me, she'd say so and she'd say why. Up front like that. Just very open about anything. I never had to guess...refreshing it was, I remember. I haven't seen her for a few years now. Not since moving here to Albany. She doesn't like Albany I don't think.

Brought back the memories. I think she was the first person I'd known who stood up for me--a complete stranger! She saw something wrong and she made it right, along with that attorney who insisted on representing me. The flack the city took after her column, then with that persistent self-appointed quirky attorney stepping in to stand up for me too, well they saved me a criminal record.

I may never see or hear from Wendy Madar or Steve Black again. One's a witty quiet intelligent honest writer and the other is a quirky attorney. I'll never forget either of them. Never will.

Wendy Madar is a warrior. Her shining sword of justice is a pen.


  1. Hello Old Friend,

    Your posting popped up in my email as a result of a regular google alert that I set up to catch book reviews. What a sweet surprise on a rather gloomy Saturday morning. Thank you for the generous comments and the reminder of a time gone by in my life. As it happens, we are heading down to the Corvallis riverfront in the next hour, which is where you and I first met--when you spoke bravely at a public gathering, I believe in opposition to some parts of the riverfront park plan--but today we're going down to the farmers market rather than a protest meeting. By the way, remember all the cats that used to live on our block in Corvallis? There is only one now, a roving tabby with a new collar. I don't think anything bad happened to the others; the owners moved away and students moved in, mostly without pets.

    Your blog is very well done.


  2. Wendy Madar. It's been awhile. Have you written any books lately?

    I was going to e-mail you today, about finding the column last night. It moved me again, to find that tucked away, like a paper of utmost importance, and treasured, which it is.