Aimee Anderson

Jun 27, 2010

Found Him

My Uncle Mike located Tom Ward. My dad lives in Waterbury, CT, not in a nice section of town. It appears he may not even have a phone, or if he does, it's unlisted. Uncle Mike has a friend who still visits Tom from time to time, from these visits it's obvious that Tom continues to have a drinking problem. He lives paycheck to paycheck working menial jobs. Uncle Mike adds, "He seems to find a way to get arrested about twice a year."

As such, I think I'll back off from any hopes of meeting this father of mine. I liked him better as an imaginative narrative I built piece by piece from childhood collage. I want to keep him as the man who wrote on typewriters, did performance art, and took me to a jazz concert when I was a little girl. To me, he will always look like Jack Wagner.

I include a picture of my young mother holding her baby girl. In this photo you see the adventure we're about to have--some of it hard, scary, and unpredictable, but always we are a team of exciting strength.

Thank you followers--hope you will stay with me as I begin my next project...More coming soon!

Jun 6, 2010


Good evening and long time no see. I'll offer you my excuse, but what's yours? Okay, it's my blog you say, alright, moving on then. I still haven't called all those Tommy Wards. But I have several good reasons:

1. Remember that 10 pager I said I had to write? It turned out to be 22 pages and still going. Even for a graduate writing student that's verbose.

2. Summer has not yet started and I'm a teacher--huffing and puffing toward that finish line. (Insert image of cheer leaders since I teach high school)

3. I have a life, okay! A girl's got to have some fun. My mom always says, "You can never have too much fun." See Mom, I do listen. As such, I'm looking forward to a summer full of favorite way to sweat.

4. I've been working on getting published and that's time consuming. Which brings me to the image of Mia Michaels (not quite as dissonant as the image of Jane Fonda in my last post). I sent a "pitch" to Bitch magazine (like that rhythm and rhyme--don't ya) and it was accepted! Look for my small blurb about Mia's fabulous--or as some are now saying-- faboo feminist presence on So You think You can Dance. It comes out in December.

Okay--so the excuses--you might say are exhausting. Not to mention, entirely unrelated to this blog. Not so--I say. For this blog is merely an extension of my fragmented pursuits. I will dial down the list of Tommy Wards and when I do, I promise to share my findings with you.

When I'm writing I like to pretend I have this huge fan base that's reading--so I just want to say--I love you all!

May 9, 2010

A List of Tommy Wards

It's mother's day and my Sunday will be full of loving all the mothers in my life. Especially the one who brought me here to this earth, and bestowed upon me the endless material for my writing.

Ahem, let's get to the point: Right now I have a list of 20 Tommy Wards to call, the one I called previously was not my dad after all. The reason I haven't made my way through the list: time. And, well, fear. My life is a juggling act as it is: I have over 100 students to teach, mentor, and grade. I have a family at home. I have friends I try to hang with. I have Pilates class and morning miles and my 4 dogs to tend to. And then there's the mundane: cooking, cleaning, laundry. And the most dreaded of all: Going to the grocery store. Last, there's graduate school. I have a 10 pager due by the end of the month, not to mention some brilliant revisions to get at. How can I take the time to call all these Tommy Wards? And what kind of toll could it take on my emotional life--already fragile enough?

So here's to you, dear readers, I will make my way through the list and reveal the real Tommy time.

Till then, this blog will be up and running, and I hope to reach a conclusion sooner rather than later. My next blog might be about feminism and the beauty industry. Can these two ideologies coexist? I know it's a far cry from finding my father, and I like it for that very reason alone.

Happy Mother's Day, A.E.

Apr 28, 2010

Found him, or not?

I was about to call it a night when an hour ago I received a message that contained several promising leads for the Mr. Tommy Ward. There were five Tom Wards to choose from, I chose the Tommy Ward who's 56 living in Milford, CT. I knew he graduated high school in 72. So the chronology seemed to fit. Without thinking I called him at once, on the fourth ring a cheerful, deep voice said "hello" in that way that sounds like "Yellow." I asked if he were Tommy Ward; he corrected me and said Tom. I asked if he knew Nancy Anderson. He took a deep breath and then sighed, "Sort of. Why?" I said, "I'll just cut to the chase. Do you remember Amy, the little girl Nancy had?" He said, "No not really, what's this about?" Finally I thought to ask about Naugatuck High--he said hadn't gone there. His voice was soft and weak. We both trailed off and said quiet goodbyes.

So if this was my dad, we got off to a rough start. I remain optimistic. More to come. This I can assure you of.

Apr 24, 2010


Good morning! Once Uncle Mike returns from Bermuda, I'm sure I'll have more to report. Mom did offer a gem this week. Over the phone, as I navigated traffic on State Road 200, she said, "I keep meaning to tell you more about that day we all went to lunch." For new readers, she's referring to the single time I met my father. My dad took us to New Haven for lunch because he had to pick up his typewriter from a repair shop. So Mom says, "He was a writer!"

It seems a little hokey. And could Mom be romanticizing a fuzzy memory for the sake of her daughter's blog? Well, it's possible...Sooner or later, we'll find out who this Tommy Ward character really is.

Apr 20, 2010

More than enough

Hey readers--If you click my blog-title above, you're led 12-year-old girl's search for her father. As I sifted through her intelligent, rough prose I wondered if given the power of the Internet I might have done the same thing at the myopic age of 12.

I was 12 when I gathered the courage to ask Mom about my dad. We were eating at The Brown Derby, a Horse-inspired-steak place. As I remember, she had been fighting with her boyfriend Fred, and so we were "escaping." These one-on-one moments were rare--I devoured them, trusted in her once more, found space to talk to her again. As we settled into our meal, I said, tell me about my dad, please. She shrugged her shoulders, squinted her eyes across the vast restaurant. Servers tied up in polyester uniforms moved from table to table with purpose and cocktails and checks. What did she squint for? I realize now that whenever Mom’s about to confess, she looks around to identify witnesses or spies. Maybe because she was the proverbial “bad kid,” always telling the truth at the wrong time, to the wrong person.

She settled back into her food, slurped a spoonful of twirled noodles, wiped at the red sauce on her chin with the back of her hand. She even smiled. As if no time had passed she said: He was actually nice. A nice guy. And he loved you right away. Just like me.

I looked down at my plate. I smiled. My standard response to friends who lamented my lack of a father had always been: You can’t miss what you never had. Which is true. But finding out that there was another human being out there who had loved me was like discovering a secret stash of money in some off-shore account. It provided instant security.

She went on to tell me his name. Later I scribbled down Tommy Ward on yellow-legal pad paper, and stored his name inside an old jewelry box. I shoved further questions about his life aside, and focused on the parent I did have (she was a handful). And so I never attempted to look him up. Nor did I write letters to the newspaper asking if anyone knew his whereabouts. But had the Internet been around...who knows? But honestly, his absence rarely saddened me. With relief I can say that I never felt like the 12 year-old-girl who wrote, "He left my mother and myself when I was just a new born, and ever since then I have been burdened with this unknown present of him.". Unlike this young woman, I wasn't "burdened" by my father's absence. I never longed to escape Mom (at least not until later) so I wasn't looking for another home, another family. And I hope my blog celebrates this as much as it does anything else.

As a parting note, I recently finished "Anywhere But Here" by Mona Simpson. Her novel, if you haven't yet read it, is about a manic-single-Mom who takes her kid to Hollywood in hopes of fame and fortune. The daughter character goes to the best public school, but they share an efficiency apartment without furniture. The mom is young, charming, and searching for lucky breaks all over the place, meanwhile she drags her daughter around from one unstable home to another. The daughter's upbringing was anything but secure, yet Simpson's adolescent character says this: "Strangers always love my mother. And even if you hate her, can't stand her, even if she's ruining your life, there's something about her, some romance, some power. She's absolutely herself. No matter how hard you try, you'll never get to her. And when she dies, the world will be flat, too simple, reasonable, fair."

Best, A. E.

Apr 17, 2010

What I now Know

Good morning! I've got a feeling that sooner rather than later I will find the whereabouts of Tommy Ward. For now, let me fill you in on the latest updates. My Aunt Sue wrote me and said that the last time she saw Tommy was in 1985 at a bar in Naugatuck (they were high school classmates). At the bar they caught up and exchanged phone numbers. Later that night Tommy called her at home, at 2 AM, and they talked for several hours). I have no clue as to what they discussed, but the more I learn about Tommy, the more I realize he was troubled. Most accounts of him reveal that he drank a lot, and was depressed about his estrangement from his offspring. When I ask Mom about his financial situation, she says that she can't remember. She adds that he seemed to have steady employment, but no real career. Another issue, apparently Mom was "tricked" into identifying him as my father when she was receiving Food Stamps and other forms of government aid. According to her, she did not want to get him in any sort of trouble. But the last time they ran into each other he was upset with her, for the government had been trying to garnish his wages.

Naturally Mom wonders if he left Naugatuck to avoid legal hang-ups, but no one really knows when he left, where he went to, and where he is now. Aunt Sue promises to talk to some of her high school friends to see if are there are any leads. Uncle Mike knows his friend John Letts, and will see if he can find out more about Tommy through John. I have other relatives and friends who are ready to formally investigate where he might be (once we can gather just a bit more information).

This is my update. I'm nervous about who Tommy Ward might be now, if he's still alive. I hope he's well, happy, and ready to meet me, but I can't be sure.