Murphy Dome Diaries

A journalist observes life in the far north.


A childhood friend—and I am talking about someone who I road bikes with, played Barbies with and had sleepovers with—found me through my brother, who has a Facebook account and who pointed her to this blog. She commented on the blog, I e-mailed her, we exchanged life stories and now I am humbled.

I thought I had a helluva life story. I mean, I am living in Alaska. I have poultry in my back yard. I eat moose. I traveled through Alaska’s and Canada’s backcountry while covering a 1,000-mile sled dog race. These are not things that girls from the Chicago suburbs normally do.

But my childhood friend told her story and it’s pretty juicy. She married a man with a double life involving hard drugs. And she met the guy at a church singles group. I told her to write a book.

The e-mail exchange has got me wondering what sort of crazy stories are waiting for me at my 20-year class reunion in two years. Maybe my life isn’t so unique after all. Maybe everyone’s is. I suppose I’ll have to check my smugness at the door because a lot can happen in 20 years and I am not the only one with a little life experience.

I missed the 10-year reunion. I had the money for the plane ticket but then my car broke down and I had to spend the money to fix it. I am planning to attend the 20-year reunion. I’ll put the plane ticket on my charge card, if I have to.

I’ll go even if I don’t get an invitation. I didn’t get an invitation to the 10-year reunion. My friends say it was probably an innocent oversight but I’ve always been a little suspicious about it because I’m pretty sure the main organizer doesn’t like me. She could have sent an invitation to my mother’s house. Mom’s address at the time was the same address that I had in high school. Anyway, I should drop it but I suspect I’ll have a few glasses of wine at the 20-year reunion, walk up to the organizer of the 10-year reunion and ask her point blank why I wasn’t invited. Maybe I’ll make her feel guilty by pretending I didn’t know the details and that’s why I didn’t show up.

One thing that makes me nervous about going back to my roots is that my former step siblings have spread some rumors, all lies. A friend of mine worked at the same bank as one of my former step sisters and told me a doozie. The story involves me threatening my step dad with a knife.

I think I lost all respect for my step dad the first time I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and found him naked, passed out on the toilet. I mean, how can you take an authority figure seriously after that? The day he moved into my mother’s house was the first of many times that I ran away from home. I think my mom married him out of desperation.

The vitriol between me and my step dad is legendary but there’s no way I threatened him with knife because I would have been afraid he’d overpower me, grab the knife and shank me. Sometimes I wonder from which fight the knife rumor sprung. I mean, there has to be a kernel of truth in the story somewhere, right? I hope my former step family, a large and influential family in the town where I grew up, is embellishing stories instead of making up stuff outright.


4 comments on “Reconnecting

  1. Bottle Washing Fairy
    October 18, 2008

    Oh, I’m glad to hear the rest of that story. Seems to me your story is plenty “interesting”. Sorry I didn’t wash the dishes. I needed to get home to my not-so-warm cabin, and you needed the downtime and personal time. Gosh, I miss you three.
    Much love,

  2. Amanda
    October 18, 2008

    No to worry. I think the bottles were clean. Your reputation is unblemished around here.

  3. g
    October 19, 2008

    wow … big weekend. that young lady of yours looks like she had a great birthday bash. touching comment about mom.

    talk to you soon

  4. Helena
    October 20, 2008

    The Amanda that could hold a naked metal blade against her step dad is a side of Amanda I never knew existed.

    I’m not judging whether it’s true or false.

    I am quite grateful that you’ve been in a place for years now where you can experience quite a different and lovely side to your person.

    I’m glad I know you, Amanda. As they say in Yiddish, you’re a real “mensch.”

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This entry was posted on October 18, 2008 by .
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