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My mother always taught me not to expect too much out of life.

But once a year, I got to meet that one special person who allowed me to hope and dream.


Santa never told me I was a dreamer. Never reminded me about the starving children in Africa. And never told me to only ask for three things not more than twenty-five dollars each.

Santa let me ask for a pony.

And a year later, never told me I was crazy when I upped it to a horse.

Every year, when he asked if I’d been good, I not only replied that I certainly had, but pointed out the extra good deeds I’d done. I held up the Santa line at the department store detailing the Christmas Seals I’d sold for my Catholic school, my trick-or-treating for UNICEF, and the honors I’d been accorded for selling more cookies than any girl in my Brownie troop.

As Santa listened to my tale of the plaque I’d been given for possessing True Brownie Spirit at the Mother-Daughter luncheon, I could just tell by that twinkle in his eye that he was thinking one thing:


As he bounced me on his knee, he was not just entertaining a wee young lass, but secretly measuring my weight, my potential rate of growth, and my suitability for a certain black stallion he kept on reserve for just such a girl.

I could almost see the look on my parents’ faces Christmas morning as they awoke to the sound of a whinny.

Bleary-eyed, we would make our way down the garland-wrapped staircase; and there----with a big, red velvet bow around his strong, sable neck, would be my equestrian knight.


Yes. His name was Fury.

And somehow, Fury and I would suddenly live in the country. Away from the suburbs and our tiny fenced-in yard. And every day would be summer. And Fury and I would have wonderful adventures. Saving people who had fallen down wells and catching the crooked salesman who swindled Old Widow Jones.

Even then, I knew it was all about giving back.

Unfortunately, I never got a horse.

Some might say it’s depressing being a thirty-four year-old temp. But I try to look on the bright side----at least I’m not an intern.

Five months earlier, I was an intern. At a certain off-Broadway theatre, which shall remain nameless. After all, one day they might hire me for an actual job. I’m a nice person. So I try to only say nice things. Some days it’s hard. Not everyone’s nice.

Krakowski is a Polish last name. It usually signifies a person from Krakow. I suppose at some point, my ancestors lived there. But everyone in my family lives in Wisconsin with a few in Ohio on my mother’s side. None of them have ever been to Poland. At this point, they might as well change their last name to Midweski. They really don’t leave. Not even for vacations.

And Dorrie is short for Dorota, the Polish version of Dorothy.

Not that they’re into being Polish. They just seem to accidentally marry other Poles. My older brother’s name is Justin. But when I was born, Mom was on a big Discover Your Ancestry kick. There’s a picture of her at a family bar-b-que wearing a t-shirt that says, “Polish and Pregnant” with the arrow pointing up instead of down.

Get it? Because Polish people are so dumb they don’t know where the baby is…

I know. Hysterical.

And underneath the t-shirt is little fetal me. My first picture. The object of a dumb Pollack joke.

I’ve heard every dumb Pollack joke----mostly from my family. They love nothing more than a good dumb Pollack joke. Oh, they laugh and laugh.

But I love my family. They are salt of the earth people. And anything good in my character I owe entirely to them.

Nevertheless, four years ago, I did the unthinkable. I left Milwaukee and came to New York City to pursue my dream of being a great theatrical director.

I was almost thirty and realized my talents could no longer languish in Wisconsin. I had it all planned out. I would come to New York, start my own theatre company, and be a central figure in the “New Millennium Theatre”---or whatever moniker a clever, yet worshipping critic, attached to me and my brilliant peers. Fifty years from now, books would be written on our theatrical innovations and our camaraderie. Like the Beats of the Fifties or Hemingway’s Paris of the Twenties.

I had it all planned.

Easy peasy.

Needless to say, it was a bit of a comedown to find myself waiting tables and wedged into a two-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights with two college girls and a twenty-five year-old gay tattoo artist. We had nothing in common except that we each took turns buying toilet paper once a week. I watched the girls graduate from college and get their first real jobs. Then Shannon met his life partner Hajji. In the three years we lived together, I watched them move on to wonderful new stages of their lives.

Me? Same old same old.

Our lease was up and everyone was moving away.

I felt like an Empty Nest Mom---only without a nest.

Luckily there was Celia, an old friend from high school I hadn’t seen in almost fifteen years. In typical New York fashion, we just ran into each other one day on the street. She’d moved to New York right after college and started her own design firm. Office Interiors. Decorating and furnishing offices for on-the-go executives who were too busy to do the job themselves.

It was thru Celia that I found my apartment. Well, not MY apartment exactly. My sublease. My illegal sublease. Celia’s boyfriend, Alex, had lived in the apartment for years. When their relationship began to turn serious, they decided to move in together.

Despite being a Wall

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