The city of Minneapolis this afternoon. You would never guess that it just snowed that morning.
See? Sean and I were walking in it just five hours earlier.
Today makes my 100th entry on this blog! It’s also a very special day because… well, I’ll tell you why in a minute.
Back in 2002, Sean and I went to an art exhibit in Los Angeles where different “lowbrow” artists were being featured. One of those artists was a woman named Lisa Petrucci. I really admired her painting that was included in the show. That evening, I went through her whole website, enjoying her portfolio and looking at other websites that she endorsed. One of those other websites was called This Is Blythe, and that is how I learned about the 1972 Kenner Blythe. I was very much drawn to Blythe and became a collector shortly afterwards.
TIB had a small online forum at the time, where you could create a thread on a topic and engage in conversations with other Blythe collectors. That’s where I met my online pal Alisha, who shared a lot of my interests and sensibilities. She lived in Minneapolis and I was in California, but it was as if we’d grown up together and had been childhood friends. We could have easily played with the same dolls and toys and had sleepovers and gotten along wonderfully.
As Blythe became more and more popular, the online forum grew and then was revamped to a much larger site that drew thousands and thousands more people. Eventually, Alisha and I both stopped posting there altogether and switched over to another website called LiveJournal. Then we each got busier with our own lives and lost touch for a while… until Facebook showed up and we found each other there in 2008. We have been Facebook friends since then, keeping up with each other’s lives through photos and status updates.
A few months ago, Sean said to me, “The AWP Conference is in Minneapolis this year. Want to go?”
He already knew the answer to that one.
I got in touch with Alisha to let her know that we would be flying out to Minneapolis, and she was just as excited as I was. I looked forward to our meeting. On Wednesday while I was inside the prison and walking among the inmates on the yard, I thought, In just a few days I am going to be in Minneapolis where it will be like a world away. It didn’t seem real that after all these years of being online pals, we would actually get to meet in person.
Tonight Sean and I caught the light rail to downtown Minneapolis and then walked a few blocks to Pizza Luce, where Alisha and her husband and three children were waiting outside to meet us. I couldn’t help screaming in excitement in the last few steps as we approached. It was just like meeting up with a long-time childhood friend after over a dozen years.