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Back in the home office

By Tom Murlowski

Well, it appears I've re-enlisted with Nora, Chuck and The November Coalition.

Some of you might remember me from several years ago, when I moved from Southern California to Colville to be Associate Director of TNC. I was highly motivated, having just witnessed a dear friend named Suzan sent to federal prison on drug conspiracy charges. Even though the Coalition's mission was so serious, and sometimes unbearably heart-breaking, those years were just about the most exciting and rewarding time of my life. I worked harder than I ever had, met many wonderful people in the activist community, and even learned to chop wood to stay warm in the winter. The only drawback was that I missed my family and friends in California.

Two-and-a-half years ago my brother John asked me to help out his family. John is a feature film director in Hollywood, and had committed just about all of his time and resources to a film he co-wrote, co-produced and directed: Black Cadillac, starring Randy Quaid. John had stretched himself pretty thin, and he and his wife Dâna (a full-time substance-abuse therapist) needed someone to watch over Mariah and Sophia, their twin baby girls. In short, they needed -- a nanny.

It was a tough decision for me, complicated by the fact that as a life-long bachelor, I had zero experience with small children. I'd never changed a diaper in my life! After much deliberation, I seized the opportunity to be with my family. Turns out I was pretty a good nanny; at least my nieces seem to think so.

After spending every day with them, watching them take their first steps and say their first words, I've grown to love those girls as much as if they were my own. They're four-and-a-half now, and in their first year of full-time pre-school. They no longer require a full-time nanny. I needed a new direction in my life-or maybe an old one?

As Nora, Chuck and the Coalition were planning their Journey for Justice, circumstances arose that dramatically reduced the TNC home office staff. Contributing editor Mark Harrison became very ill and unable to assist, and Tina Cummings, his companion and TNC's office manager, had to drive him 600 miles roundtrip each week for chemotherapy. I had kept in close touch with TNC and stayed involved in drug policy reform while I was gone, and jumped at the chance to work for the Coalition again.

I have a new motivation now to end the insanity of the war on drugs. I don't want those little girls growing up in a country capable of such cruelty and injustice. It was so tough telling them why I had to leave; I tried to explain that there were a lot of people in trouble, and they needed my help. That's when Mariah and Sophia came to a sort of understanding, probably due to our shared affection for comic book heroes.

"Like Superman?" they asked, almost in unison.

Well, not quite, but thanks for the vote of confidence, my sweet little nieces. I miss you.

Visit the Journey for Justice archive!

The Razor Wire is a publication of The November Coalition, a nonprofit organization that advocates drug law reform. Contact information:
795 South Cedar - Colville, Washington 99114 - (509) 684-1550


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