An Anniversary

It was Easter the first time I escorted at the clinic.  Easter in 2009.

I went with my daughter.  She was an escort long before that, starting maybe back in the late nineties?  Or it could have been 2000, or 2001.  A long time ago in any case.   Often, she and some other young escorts would drag themselves, still half-asleep ~ if they’d slept at all ~ out of my basement on the way to the clinic.

They would come back with stories.  I would be appalled and worried, feel angry and helpless.  You already know the stories ~ they were not very different from what you read here today.  Some of the protesters were even the same.  I “knew” Mary long before the first time I went to the clinic.

In fact, Mary asks me about my daughter occasionally.  She did it again recently.  She’ll say she hasn’t seen her lately, and look concerned.  “How’s she doing?” she’ll say.  It makes me laugh now ~ she was hateful to my daughter in person, why would she be concerned about her now?

I suspect that she thinks something unpleasant has happened.   Maybe that’s just my own suspicious nature talking, but that’s how it feels.  It’s in her voice tone and the look in her eye.  I think she’s trying to see if there’s a wound she can rub salt in.

But that’s ok, cause there is no wound, my daughter is doing just fine, thank you very much, so it makes me laugh.  Of course I don’t answer;  I don’t talk to protesters.

By 2009, my daughter was an occasional escort, showing up for big days when she was around.  She had invited me before, but I’d always said no.  I’m not sure why I said yes this time.

But there we were, riding down together. I remember being surprised – 6:30 on a Saturday morning and there was a line of traffic turning right on Market Street.   That seemed surreal.

I remember being overwhelmed.  So many people, so much going on… like a carnival.  Like being in the middle of the midway.  Loud and colorful, lots of signs, people with bullhorns, so much going on…

Here’s a picture from that day:

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You can’t see the preachers in this picture, they’re on the other side of where the camera was.  And you can’t see the truck with the billboard that takes up two or three parking places, or ~ well, you can’t see lots of other things.

Here is the post rosary prayer circle from that year:

dsc01063

You can even see Donna, lined up near the building.

I knew that day that I wanted to escort.  I was not an outspoken feminist then, nor an outspoken advocate for reproductive justice.  I was a feminist, and an advocate, but not nearly as outspoken.  Back then, I was concerned about how people I knew might react to me escorting at the clinic.  Back then, I didn’t always have a good argument to make, or a support system to encourage me.

But I knew that morning that I wanted to escort, and I’ve been there most Saturdays since then.   The decision to go with my daughter that morning has changed my life, enriched it and helped me grow in so many ways.  The community of escorts is ~ collectively and often individually ~ wise and funny and thought-provoking and interesting, and I’m grateful that my life took this turn.

This year, on my four year anniversary, we had so many new folks and occasional escorts that it was amazingly lovely.   It seemed ~ to this jaded old-hand ~  like a fairly mild Saturday.  There was one protester who was unusually aggressive, but it didn’t seem “bad” to me ~ whatever that means, right?  But that’s because I forget how overwhelming it really is.

Here’s the sidewalk:

IMG_2267And here’s the post rosary prayer circle.

IMG_2278

So “bad” is just a word, and “mild” doesn’t mean a thing.

But I’ve never regretted getting involved.  If you’ve ever considered coming down, you’re invited.

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REMINDER: If you are interested in escorting, don’t forget the training on Saturday, April 13th at 9A.  Training is not required, but it’s helpful. Please see our Trainings for Escorts page or email us for additional information

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REMINDER: Our annual  fund drive Pledge-A-Picketer is NOW!

The Saturday before Mother’s Day is the biggest protester day of the year.  It also is the date  where we count protesters for donations to support the pro-choice effort and the escorts.  You can pledge a certain amount for each protester showing up that morning. If you prefer, you can also make a straight monetary donation.

Use this form to make your pledge:

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2 thoughts on “An Anniversary

  1. This made me smile. I’m glad you came out then and are still there.

    “I suspect that she thinks something unpleasant has happened. Maybe that’s just my own suspicious nature talking, but that’s how it feels. It’s in her voice tone and the look in her eye. I think she’s trying to see if there’s a wound she can rub salt in.”

    I really hope you’re wrong and just being suspicious. I hate to think that anybody is truly that morally bankrupt.

    But the good news is that you’re still out there, your daughter is well, and you and the rest of the escorts make up for the anti’s and keep hope in humanity alive. 🙂

    • Thanks, Longtail, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      As for Mary, of course I could be wrong, and yeah, I guess it’s pretty awful the way I describe it. I think she would say that she wants to express sympathy if something is wrong, so perhaps I’m maligning her. Whatever. Just keep in mind this is the same woman who literally punches escorts in the kidneys when she comes up behind them and then accuses them of assaulting her. Yeah, don’t you hate it when your kidneys jump out there and connect with someone’s fist? 🙂

      But you’re right – lots of good news here – and thank you for the kind words!

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