A “Movie Trailer” for People Who Read...
Essays Appearing in Chicago Boomer:
Conceived After Marriage: The origin story of the rivalry between Josie and her cousin Angela.
Chicken Hand: Josie nearly dies from an anxiety attack during a barbaric “exposure therapy” incident run by well meaning neighbors.
The Cottage: Summers at the family cottage on the lake are perfect, except for the fact that the cottage is located in a haunted, demon infested, tiny town in Indiana.
Drink Drank Drunk: Josie’s second grade Parents Night essay.
The Birds: Josie’s father says that Josie and her brother Benny cannot watch Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” What happens when they disobey him and then need his help in the middle of the night when something is moving under their bunk beds?
The Window in the Wall Gang: Josie organizes a shoplifting gang made up of fellow Sunday School classmates who skip out on required church services by jumping out of their classroom windows.
Elementary School: Josie started kindergarten at a suburban Catholic School and when they couldn’t handle her, Josie’s family moved to Chicago with the hope that they could do something with her.
Brighton Theater: The Legacy of the Murdered Baby Brother, The Kid With Demon Eyes and The Canaryville Invasions. Josie recounts the childhood antics of her friends during the thousands of hours they spent at the iconic Brighton Movie Theater on Archer Avenue.
Wigilia: Josie’s memories of the traditional Polish-Catholic Christmas Eve Dinner that her great-grandmother held every year...and the staging of the traditional family farce, The Christmas Runs, a one-act play about something so foul that it could only be told after the matriarch of the family was soundly asleep in her bed.
They Didn’t Even Read Me My Rights: Josie is sent by her mother to make sure her dad doesn’t kill Josie’s brother after Benny gets arrested for breaking into a train car and has to be picked up at the Police Station.
Miss Titty: Miss Titty was a legend in Brighton Park. No one knew where she lived until Josie’s family happened to move into an apartment across the street from this Dolly Parton look-a-like. Josie’s Dad, in order to prove this good fortune, throws a “viewing” party for family and friends.
Tales From a Chicago High School: Josie recaps the highlights of her high school years including getting her period for the first time, “dating” the captain of the football team, naked swim class, the epic math class brawl and being accused of murder for killing a bumble bee.
What Did You Expect? A quick ballad for the unwed teen moms of Brighton Park.
Lemon Squares and Jimmy Hoffa: Josie’s Uncle Tommy and Aunt Julia totally humiliate her cousin Jeff when he wants to know why they keep the ironing board in their bedroom.
Election Day: When her youngest son Elliott decides to be an Election Judge in Chicago, Josie tells her kids about her experiences as an Election Judge on the night she met their father.
Halloween Party: After a horrible first Halloween together, Josie takes her very uptight and naïve husband Greg to a Halloween party filled with very liberal Chicagoans that are visiting from the North Side.
Watch This: Josie is horrified when her friend Nicholas wants her to tell a new friend that she is very likely to be the most gifted manipulator he will run across outside of a state prison.
Area 51: A collection of essays about Josie’s time working in professional theatre:
The Third Floor: Josie is offered the opportunity to stay at a television star’s Hollywood home...on the condition that she never goes up to the third floor.
Pickle Juice: Josie takes a movie star to McDonalds with disastrous results.
The Apparent Price For Virginity: A Hollywood Legend offers Josie money for sex.
Snap, Crackle, Pop: A body lice breakout hits backstage on opening night.
The Dress: A Hollywood Diva insists that Josie fly to New York City overnight just to get her dress dry-cleaned.
Sex Toy Party: Josie invites ten women to a sex toy party and eighty-two women show up. Now she has to spend a $700 hostess gift certificate at the company’s flagship store...with her sexually repressed husband in tow.
Christmas Eve From Hell: Josie’s dad falls off the wagon a few hours before he hosts Christmas Eve Dinner for Josie’s prim and proper in-laws.
Dog Shit Lotto: Josie’s dad and brother mastermind a way to cheat the Illinois State Lottery out of money.
Lazarus: Josie finally gets a puppy that is not from The Ma Barker & Sons Puppy Mill in Sorry Ass, Alabama...but alas, the dog has clogged anal glands.
Jury Duty: Josie recounts her mother’s experience on a Federal Grand Jury trying to decide if charges should be brought against a mafia hit man. Twenty-five years later, Josie and her son, stuck by a train on his way to Jury Duty, barely survive what seems to be the beginning of a zombie apocalypse.
Kevlar For Christmas: Josie underestimates the “penis factor” when asking her brother to buy her an outdoor grill as a housewarming gift.
Not Really a Free Spirit: Out in public, Josie appears to be a wildly free spirit but privately she is a card carrying member of The Tightly Wound Women’s Society and also serves as the Midwest Regional Director of The Super Organized Freaks of America Club.