To Feel The Absence Of

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For a word we use and even just think so often “miss” has more to do with “failing” in the dictionary than I think most people realize. But I don’t fail when I miss people. I don’t fail in my nostalgia. I don’t fail when I reminisce.

Rather, in all of these situations I am feeling. Not failing. I submit that “missing” is “feeling the absence of someone or something or some time or some situation or some summer or some lake house or some pink bike or some Simba stuffed animal.” More like the one below in 2 (and not at all like the example two bullets above that–yamahama!)

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This week has felt very adult, to me. I’m a grown ass woman. To me, this means I am strong enough to handle my problems. I am humble enough to cry with big “gahook” sounds when I need to. I am able to speak up when I am having a hard time saying goodbye to Grandma Freida because it makes me think of five months ago when I said goodbye Gram Mary Lou. I am bold enough to speak what I think. I am real enough to call my mom and dad and my sister when they’re the only ones who get it. I am able to be a support for my husband. I can have two desserts if I want to. And I am crazy enough to pour myself out on this website every week.

But wow, there are some things I miss and will continue to miss–in the truest sense of the word. And growing up means physically letting go, even if not emotionally or mentally. This shit is real. I will “feel the absence of someone or something or some time or some situation or some summer or some lake house or some pink bike or some Simba stuffed animal,” to quote a grown ass woman writer I know.


So here’s a poem-ish thing. I can write those if I want to…because I am a grown ass woman.


To Feel The Absence Of

I already miss Grandma Freida and how she so nonchalantly beat everyone in board games with an offhanded, “I think I won.”

I’ll miss the way she said “yais” in her old fashioned Vermont accent and how she giggled with Cindy over their cute inside jokes.

I will miss her fleecy clothes and her tiny frame and how she always started sentences with “Ohhhh!”

“Ohhhh, is it good to see you!?”


It goes without saying that I miss Gram Mary Lou. I miss her fingernails and her stacks of mail.

I miss her dollar store-purchased snacks and her completed crosswords.

I miss her squishy hugs and her Cold War style food storage in the basement.

I miss the sun through her skylights and her itchy carpet where I’d sit and stretch while we’d talk.

I miss calling her and saying, “Hi, it’s me,” so that she could respond without fail, “Hi, me!”

I miss her thin ceramic plates and her ham sandwiches and her year-round Christmas-themed water glasses. I miss knowing where to find a rubberband in her drawer and how she folded her plastic bags so endearingly, like they mattered. Because she treated everything like it mattered, especially us.

I even miss her bumpy driveway and the rusty pole I always nearly scraped against and waiting for her to make it to the back door to let me in.


I miss the tile floor in our bathroom growing up. I miss those classic black and white squares and rectangles and how they gathered dirt and hair and felt so cold on your feet in the winter.

I miss the maps in the hallway with Mom and Dad’s pins and stopping to look at them for the thousandth time, like they were completely new to me.

I miss thinking the railing in the upstairs hallway was so long.

I miss silent cleaning on Good Friday while Jesus hung on the cross from 12-3.

I miss knowing the sidewalk on Kennewick Road well enough to rollerblade to the right or left at the exact right time to avoid a stray crack.

I miss making mud pies in the alley and hiding in neighbor’s bushes and feeling like summer would be always.

I even miss scraping my knee and getting glass stuck in my wound like a badass.


I miss fishing at 5 a.m. on Lake Oxbow and Dad and Uncle John teaching us how to be so silent and so still, through our yawns.

I miss the smell of gasoline mixed with sunshine and waiting your turn to go tubing because that was the crux of the day.

I miss collecting sand crabs and playing god with their tiny, crunchy lives.

I miss flush and gush in the waves and being at the beach for seven days straight.

I miss Ben and Zack’s baby giggles from the openings of their tiny matching pajamas. I’d shake ice in a tupperware container, sprawled on their kitchen floor and they thought I was a circus clown–but not the scary kind.


I miss being able to read in the car and ride the alien spaceship ride at the State Fair–the one where you got stuck to the wall and could flip upside down at will.

I miss feeding bread to the ducks in the Harbor with Aub and Mom on days off and making sure all the ducks got some, even the meek ones.

I miss picking up photos at Safeway, not even waiting until we got to the car to start looking. And how Mom always made doubles.

I even miss the ’91 Honda Civic hatchback and how it couldn’t do hills. I miss how the passenger seatbelt would move on its own when the door closed.

I miss playing board games at the Doran dinner table. Aubrey would never charge Mom rent in Monopoly because she loved her too much.

I miss walks across the street and the field on the other Kennewick that seemed like it was a mile long.

I miss running around like weirdos while Dad took candids.

I even miss that mockingbird that attacked our Dog Nike, because, isn’t nature amazing?


I miss Girl Scout cookie order forms and working for the stupid gifts they offered for Catholic school top fundraisers.

I miss the spaghetti dinner and the feeling of love at 12 years old.

I miss the freedom of being out of uniform for gym day and wearing my coolest Adidas tear-away pants.

I miss writing notes to my middle school friends with pre-texting abbreviations all over them. LYLAS, luv, TTYL, TTFN, wulda, cuda, shuda.

I even miss the Y after school program for kids with moms who worked and making fun of the snack and setting leaves on fire with a magnifying glass out of sight of the adults.


I miss knee high socks and chewing gum in secret.

I miss finding change under the vending machines with Sarah and then when we had enough buying a pre-packaged chocolate muffin to delicately heat in the microwave and then share.

I miss the accomplishment of finishing all of my homework before it was due.

I miss free periods and wasting them usefully by playing games and wandering the school aimlessly.

I even miss the feeling of heartbreak at 16 because I’d never felt something so strong and Ms. Cummings sent me a candy gram and I cried for my broken heart and I cried that I had an adult looking out for me in the way that I needed to be looked out for.


I feel the absence of so many people and situations and life phases and memories and days I’d go back to and even ones I wouldn’t. We all feel this, I’m sure.

And sometimes, I think we just need to be able to do more than fail to reach something or someone or some time or some experience.

We need to be able to welcome and hug and embrace feeling the absence of those things. Memories, nostalgia, and reminiscing are all kind of beautiful.

And even if life is grand or even if it isn’t, it’s nice to be able to say, “I was there.”


What’s that, stream of consciousness? You have something to say?

With another impending sad goodbye (pray for Chas’s/Our Grandma Freida–she’s a true beacon of light), random out of town trips, snow days and delays, and all kinds of other out-of-the-routine stuff, I just have a scrambly feeling. I’m totally fine and actually doing really well. But I’m scrambled. And so is my brain. So here’s a stream of my consciousness.


1a. A few years ago I was summoned for federal jury duty just a couple months after serving on a Baltimore City jury. Well, I had Dot’s wedding that weekend and big plans to make her a cutting board set so I just didn’t have the time. Aubrey helped me braid my entire head and I wore this outfit. I rode my bike and carried my helmet in with me. Let’s just say, it was a pretty targeted dismissal. This outfit kind of describes my current status. I’m great but I have Zac Hanson braids and the attire of a child just learning to express herself, who got her training wheels off last week.

  1. Please, Loyola Blakefield (and other people trying to be fancy), stop sending envelopes addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Eby.” I am a human person with my own name. Now Chas thinks it’s funny to call me “Mrs. Charles.” Can we leave that kind of misogynist bologna in the 20th century or at least back in 2017? We here. We woke. We women.
  2. I really love hands (not necessarily my own). I miss Gram’s hands.Fat FingerThey were delicate and long and wrinkly and loving. And my grandpop’s fingernails had the most distinct lines on them. I know everyone has lines on their fingernails but his were more pronounced. I feel like they fit him. Straight ridges, like rows of corn, leading to perfectly cut nails. You can actually tell a lot about people from their hands–really unfortunate for me. I have a fat middle finger that seems here to stay, hangnails, remnants of gel polish, signs of anxiety, and a burn per pointer–one from a curling wand, the other from a hot pan.
  3. Did anyone notice that Siri’s voice is different with one of the new iUpdates? I don’t prefer the new one.
  4. My parents used to rent a storage facility for my dad’s books and other things they couldn’t fit in their house. At some juncture (won’t get into it), they moved that stuff back into the house and gave up their…lease? But who, besides Nancy and Dick, are these people with these storage facilities? How do they continue to be built? They must be profitable. If you rent a storage facility, I would like to know more about it. What is in it? Why do you keep it? What is your longterm plan? Who are your “neighbors”? Have you met them? Do you ever visit your things? Are there rats?
  5. My dad thinks LOL stands for “lots of love.” Chas’s mom says it’s “Little Old Lady.”
  6. I have never told anyone this, so why not announce it publicly? When I was a child, I made a deal with myself about dumpsters, libraries, and longevity. If I was within two feet of a dumpster for longer than five seconds, I lost two weeks off the end of my life. The only way to add to the end of my life to counteract dumpsters was to perform a swinging motion with my arms. I had to clap in front and then clap behind my back BUT ONLY in a library. I did not keep track of the math though. I guess I figured god would do that. We’ll see…
  7. When I dream and read, I place characters in houses and settings I have visited. But I do not choose them consciously. Many books and dreams have taken place in Gram’s house, a few in Aunt Mo’s old house in Michigan, and some in the houses of childhood friends.
  8. Are computer updates serious? Does anyone hate anything (aside from like things we should actually hate) more than computer updates? I mean, do what you need to do computer, and leave me the hell alone. How many changes are necessary for Microsoft Word? Sometimes my work computer becomes possessed by the devil and won’t let me do anything until I COMPLETE THE UPDATES. It also highjacks into my email and replaces peoples’ names with weird phrases like “Welcome Attention.” That I really don’t get. For the record, I am totally fine with the current version.
  9. Do you ever stop and think about road names? When were they named? How long will a given road hold the name it has? If I wanted a house on a road with an ugly name, that would be an actual dealbreaker for me. I like mail too much (unless it’s addressed in a sexist way).
  10. Can you believe that people are still out there operating cars without using their blinkers? This might rival my anger with #1.
  11. No #1 is worse.
  12. You–the general you–receive a ton of “blast emails.” Who are the poor suckers who read these things? They must work on some people. Every once in a while, Tom’s gets me and I buy a pair of shoes on a whim. Please don’t tell Tom.
  13. There are a few things in life I try to be in control of at all times with varying levels of success: my email inbox, thank you notes, my water consumption, being kind and generous, an empty kitchen sink, and folded laundry.
  14. Do you ever feel like you’re in a version of The Truman Show? It’s a Jim Carey movie from 1998 in which Truman (Carey) is the center of the whole world he knows. He’s really on a reality TV show without his consent. Sometimes when life gets really strange, I start looking around for cameras–not speed or red light, but cameras just following me.
  15. Flo Rida’s “Low (Apple Bottom Jeans)” turns me into a literal freak. I cannot control my muscles when that song comes on. I love that Katy Buettner’s five-year-old feels the same way. #elsalvie08
  16. A couple weeks ago, I was out in public somewhere and I overheard someone say, “This is gonna sound so crazy but I just felt like such a Pieces.” Yes, she was right. She sounded like a total lunatic.
  17. I think everyone prefers the smaller double-decker shopping carts at the grocery store, right? Why are they the minority?
  18. “Whatever you are, be a good one.” The Internet credits that to Abraham Lincoln but as you guessed, the internet lied again, maybe. According to this, it wasn’t Abe. Oh well, I believe it so so whole heartedly. Why waste your time being mediocre? So whatever you are, be a good one.

Thanks for listening. This was cathartic. Stream of consciousness–OUT!

Dear Niecephew



Dear Niecephew,

I love you already. You’re a tiny alien-mushy-human-squish. I saw your little face in a photo last night. You have a nose and at least one foot. You look all cozy and curled and colorless. I mean when are sonograms gonna come in more than black and white? AmIright?

We won’t be able to have even a semblance of a conversation for at least another 18 months. I don’t know what ice cream flavor is your craving or whether or not you like sprinkles. I’m not sure what you’re favorite color will be or whether you will like your mattress firm or soft. Will you prefer spring or fall? What will be your favorite book that Mommy will have to read to you over and over again? What will you think of Piper and Joe? Will you fall asleep more easily with your bassinet on the dryer? What will your resounding giggle sound like?

I can’t wait to know the answers to these wonderings but most of all I can’t wait to know you. And the arms that receive you into this world will be the most loving ones. You’ll have Aubrey as a momma and Lochdawg as a poppa and you won’t even believe your grandparents.

We are an “I love you” family, a share everything family, a family that eats together on Sundays, and laughs at ourselves and especially at one another. We love animals and we don’t mind pet dander. We love mushiness and we don’t mind tears. We embrace weird and eschew normalcy. We love colors and books and people and Baltimore and riding bikes to free festivals and duckpin bowling and Michigan in August and reading and crammed hotel rooms and inclusion and making snow angels and cuddling reluctant cats. We like tap water and coffee pots with timers and plants in the rowhouse yard and giving snacks to the kids in the neighborhood.

You are going to have love exploding out of your fingertips–honestly you already do. We’re going to marvel at you and love on you and just say, “Oh my god s/he is so perfect.”

As your Auntie Amandy, I promise to listen to you always. I can teach you about “second dessert” and “breakfast treat.” I’ll tell you all about your Great Grandmom and what your momma was like when she was tiny. I promise to pick you up from school and force you to tell me that school was more than just “goooooddddd.” I promise to keep your secrets and let you tell me about boys or girls. We will play Bananagrams and eat peanut M&Ms like I do with my aunts. I can make you a mish-mash of veggies like Grandpa Dick (are we calling him that?) makes and we can gush about how funny Grammom Nancy is. I promise to help you edit your English papers and to stay far away from your calculus work because even Mr. Sung couldn’t save me. I promise to teach you downward facing dog and half pigeon and tripod headstand. I promise to introduce you to books and books and books. You already love to read–I can just tell. Hopefully you’re a fast reader like your momma. I promise to listen to you when life gets hard–and it will–I can just tell. I promise to hear your kindergarten woes like they’re threats from North Korea and I will hear you and I will help you problem solve. I will give you hugs and write you notes and tell you it’s going to be okay, because 97% of the time, it will be. And I will be there for the 3% too.

I promise to listen to your concerns about your friends and about the world and about global politics. And I promise that even if we don’t agree, I will hear you out and model how to be a listener and how to be open-minded. I promise to send you snail-mail from three miles down the road. I promise to complain about your cell phone (or whatever they call them in 10 years) and to smack it out of your hand and tell you to “be present.” I promise to let you make mistakes and then walk you through how to learn from them. I promise to teach you to be responsible. You will empty the dishwasher without being asked, you’ll pick up dog poop. You will be independent, but, I will love when you depend on me. I promise to celebrate you and let you know how proud we are of you–balloons and streamers and awkward decorations.

In about 16 years, can run your first half marathon with your momma and me. We can show you the spot in Grammom and Grandpa’s foyer where we wrote all over the wall with pencils and they left it there for years. We will point out where we buried the 5-year-old goldfish Chuckie and we will tell you all about Nike and Duffy. We will go to O’s games and your dadda and your Great Uncle Michael will take you to see the Ravens.

You’re going to see the Midwest and you’re going to travel all kinds of places–for family and for fun. You will learn to appreciate syndicated Seinfeld episodes and George will probably be your favorite. And if your momma won’t explain all the references to you, your Aunt Amandy and your grammom will step right in.

I’ll make sure you know what gratitude feels like, what love feels like, what helping feels like, what “being woke” feels like. You’re going to have the best life. And the best family.

Love you so much already,

Your Aunt Amandy

PS: If Uncle Chas tries to teach you animals’ sounds, please check with someone else first. His sense of humor is weird.

Welcome to Baltimore, the Best Place in the World to Change the World

My dear, dear friend Shar is starting at LMCJ this week and obviously my heart is aflutter, so much so that I am trying to be nonchalant. That said, I will take this blog to try to convince her that she has not just made the worst mistake of her life. Also, Shar, I just ordered you a two-pack of mace–one for your car, one for your purse. 

Welcome to Baltimore, Shar. We are so glad to have you here. And because I know how much love you have to give the world, please know you’ve come to the right place. Love is all we need. Well that, and a more effective mayor, less institutional racism, additional affordable housing, more legitimate opportunities for young people, better job training, a cleaner harbor, and better allocated and well-spent funds on education.


I know, Shar. People are rolling their eyes from here to Garrett County where you grew up. Maybe this post will help you explain what the heck you’re doing here in this oft-maligned place.

This week I read The Baltimore Chop (a widely read blog) for the first time and it literally ruined my day. I couldn’t stop thinking about these people being so angry at Baltimore, enough so to give up on it (we all get angry at it). I mean look! I understand the reservations. I do. Violence, expenses, weather, grumpy people, innate danger. Dead bodies in your front yard–not okay. It’s a lot. 

But, I am a Baltimorean, an apologist, a-let’s-get-this-done-now-pusher, a #bestplaceintheworldtochangetheworld girl. I’m also pretty consistent. And according to my friend Mary, I am right 98.9% of the time. Below in gray italics is an article I wrote in Towson University’s student-run newspaper, The Towerlight, in 2007. My weekly column was called “Sunny Side Up with Amanda Doran.” My 2018 comments are in whatever-you-call-non-italics and green. 

“Stop bashing my charming city”

“Stop bashing Baltimore!” a bumper sticker yelled at me last week. “I don’t! I wouldn’t! I’ve never!” I mentally yelled back at the adhesive piece of paper.

“Adhesive piece of paper?” Ick! Come to think of it, I haven’t really seen these bumper stickers around since then. I do like the version 11 years later that reads: “Baltimore, actually I like it!” which I mentioned in my Locals’ Guide to Baltimore. 11 years pass and I’m still hung up on emotional bumper stickers. 

That sticker was right. I have always called Baltimore City home, living in the same row house my entire life until moving into a downtown Baltimore apartment. I’ve seen this city through 4 mayors, a plethora of changes, and miles upon miles of gentrification. Growing up, all of my friends lived in Baltimore County and I always occupied the role of that annoying person forever defending the ‘hood.

How many mayors has it been now? 6? Now I have my own rowhouse with Chas. We’re not in the “hood” but it’s a great little life. The gentrification has continued and no lies, we live in its midst. It feels like some of the divides we had 11 years ago are even deeper cuts.

I drive Homeland Ave. to Woodbourne Ave. every morning to work. From Charles St. I turn right on Homeland. I pass Notre Dame University of Maryland on the right and homes straight out of Southern Living on the left–I’m talking potted ferns, all of the original shutters in place, and purposefully be-speckled paint. I drive about a half mile and Homeland becomes Woodbourne Ave. After a veer right and a sign that reads “Homeland” (which I always say in a British accent, to myself), I enter the York Rd. corridor. At this point there is litter like there is pavement and there is air. There are at least two people doing the “heroin lean” and there’s a legless man in a wheelchair who approaches my car at least twice a week. On the southeast corner of this intersection I have seen numerous drug deals. I’m talking I see the cash, the goods change hands, all of it. There’s constant roadwork, seemingly because it’s started and just never completed. My entire first year at LMCJ there were wooden planks just sticking out of the ground in a circle. It was as if an avant-garde artist with ADD had begun and abandoned yet another one of his ideas, but on a corner, at a bus stop, within walking distance of several schools.


This shows where I come from the west and drive east from Homeland Ave. to Woodbourne. I circled York Rd. which was/is the redline.

Why the abrupt change from Homeland to Woodbourne? Redlining. The map below, which you can download and zoom in on all you want here, shows the four “grades” of land in Baltimore in 1937–see the legend. In ’37, the area I’m talking about was just third grade, but probably slipped into fourth grade by the time of the Baltimore Riots of 1968. 

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The City has a huge stigma around it because, newsflash: crime occurs here! The points I always come back to is that crime occurs everywhere and can you really have a city without crime? A high concentration of people has always led to criminal activity. I say we stop dwelling on Baltimore’s shortcomings. When we’re there maybe we should live cautiously but we should celebrate the awesome things about Maryland’s (and the east coast’s, in my opinion) greatest city. After all, if you hate it, why do you go there? And if you don’t go there and you hate it, how can you hate it?

With our highest per capita murder rate ever in 2017, I feel a little silly reading the paragraph above. It’s more than “a high concentration of people,” obviously, you naive 20-year-old Amandy. Back then I had no idea what was coming: Freddie Gray, the Uprising, and the imbalance in crimes and arrests that have followed April 2015.

Here’s an interesting news story about going to Baltimore or choosing not to go to Baltimore. Carroll County Public Schools are no longer permitted to take field trips to Baltimore City. Ya know, because ignorance and avoidance have always been the answer to progress, right? Dan Rodricks’ response to this is pretty beautiful.

In my old neighborhood, there was indeed a resident gang called the “Tivoly TA.” Were we frightened when its members spray-painted their name everywhere? Maybe a little, but then we realized that their name meant the Tivoly Avenue, Tivoly Avenue. We figured, how well orchestrated could their crime be if they couldn’t even create an intimidating and less redundant name? We put clubs on the cars at night and carry pepper spray in our purses should the Tivoly Avenue, Tivoly Avenue strike, strike.

See? You do need to live cautiously. And honestly, gangs are no joke. Especially not in Baltimore. HBO’s documentary Baltimore Rising covers many of the decades-long or centuries-long causes that have led to situations such as the gangs in Baltimore. In addition, a few gang members make appearances. So while it might have seemed “funny” to chuckle about the Tivoly Avenue TA, the causes and manifestations of years of inequality are anything but. 

Every day when I skip down the sidewalk to my perfectly parallel-parked car (okay, not so perfectly parallel-parked), I am tempted to belt out, “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray. Seeing the centuries-old architecture and the phenomenal, eclectic mix of people just out my front door is enough to try out for the role of Nikki Blonsky.

Last week, that great song was in my head for my entire 90-minute run (preparing for none other than the Baltimore Half Marathon) that connected Baltimore’s major neighborhoods. As I pranced through Mount Vernon, Federal Hill, Locust Point, Canton, and Fells, I thought the entire time about the wonderfulness of my hometown, and Sisqo’s hometown, and Christian Siriano’s, and John Waters’, and Babe Ruth’s, and Tupac’s, and even Nixon’s VP, Spiro Agnew’s hometown. I may not be able to lay down tracks like ‘Pac, go by only one name like Sisqo, or sew skirts like Christian but this city is a harbor (pun intended) for greatness. There is an amazing art scene, a ton of museums, delicious restaurants, thirst-quenching bars, a slew of things to do, and marvelous sidewalks for fascinating jogging sessions.

The previous two paragraphs are basically the foundation of my yoga playlist next week. That’s right. Who wouldn’t be motivated to do crunches to “Good Morning, Baltimore.” 

On a great run last year, I both ran through the set of the movie, Step Up 2 and ended up chasing down a stranger’s runaway dog for an entire mile. I wasn’t able to meet the actors and the dog whose name was actually “Tootsie” got away from my fleeting feet but I can’t think of a place where more random things could happen on a quick 3-miler.

Mary was with me for the above run. Still remember it like it was yesterday. Obviously the weirdness persists. For the first time in years, I was in Baltimore for New Years Eve. We attended the Hampden Ball Drop and successfully found Baby New Year, a grown man double-fisting, wearing an adult diaper, white sneakers, and a baby bonnet. Here’s his midnight salute on 34th St.


Sarah taught me how to use this mark-up tool and now I can’t stop. You may have been able to find him without the green circle.

Our mayor, Sheila Dixon, can’t always formulate complete sentences (but hey, it works for the President). And our saying, “Get in on it,” leaves a lot to be desired and probably could be construed as a sexual joke. But it certainly improves when you say it in a Bawlmer accent. Try, “Git in oin it.”

The above actually refers to George W. Bush! Can you even imagine what 20 year old Amanda would have thought had she known about POTUS DJT so many years ago? “Get in on it” still sounds pretty bad though. 

So I’m sick of people bashing Baltimore. You’re bringing us down and if you’re that opposed to this bodacious place, stay out. And if anyone knows where to find one of those sweet stickers, let me know, my bumper’s looking pretty bland.

So moving on from the redlining, let’s find the silver lining.

Why do I even still care? (Thank you, Brendan Fruin, for pointing out this glaring omission.) As a commenter stated, we only live once. So why choose to live somewhere you might be taking risks by even living? Is that foolish? Maybe for some.

Essentially, Baltimore matters to me because in addition to its history, it’s landmarks, its institutions, and free festivals, there are people here. There are people who were born here, who live here, who will never leave here, and they deserve our efforts. Sure, I live here and I don’t plan on permanently leaving here but I do have the financial means to leave if I want and I know I could get a job somewhere else. But if it never occurred to me, if I didn’t have money for a plane ticket, if I couldn’t uproot my life and find another place to work somewhere far away, I would be “stuck.” Or maybe I wouldn’t even know I am stuck because no one ever said it was even possible to live somewhere else and live in some other way. That’s why I work in a Baltimore school. That’s why we stay. That’s why we lift up the things that make Baltimore so weird and fun. It’s the people that make Baltimore. And it’s just not its time to die.

Last week I posted Let There B More Love on NextDoor for Hampden and the surrounding areas. Not only have I had my biggest week ever in terms of readership, I have received five messages about volunteering at Lillie May, 17 replies, and 35 thanks (whatever that means). And that’s why you belong here, Shar. We may be imperfect and messy and a little loopy and still figuring things out 400 years into our existence, but we try. That’s also why The Baltimore Chop can take their negativity elsewhere. We do not have time for it. We have work to do. And Baltimore needs our success.