In 2008, I achieved a rare distinction. I became the only first lady in America to be legally banned from the City Hall office where her husband, the mayor, worked. But in a way, my whole life had prepared me for that moment. But in order to tell that story, I have to begin at the beginning.
I grew up in a typical screwed-up Catholic family on Long Island during the tumultuous 1960’s. I was the fourth of five children, so by the time I came along my parents were so bored from raising children that I had to raise myself.
This left me a bit neurotic, but highly adept at reading and dealing with other people – a chicken shit at heart, but burdened with an attitude and something to prove.
My husband calls me a skydiver who is afraid of heights. And him? He’s a six-foot eight-inch hick from West Virginia with two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. In 2007 he became the mayor of Kansas City, Mo., a city of just under a half million people located in the middle of America. I call him Funk, or My Big Mistake.
C’mon Funk, Move Your Ass is the first volume of a two-book memoir that is a humorous look at the inner workings of an anxious mind. Captured in one-year slice of life, the story opens on the eve of when I realized my lifelong dream of living among the locals in Europe for a summer, and closes on election night, when my husband achieved his dream of becoming mayor of Kansas City. At times, the story takes a humorous dip into my somewhat un-humorous childhood.
The prologue gives a taste of what to expect in book two, “Hiding Behind Nice.” Chapter one is set firmly in this volume, at the start of my family’s trip to Europe, where I describe what it took for this near-agoraphobic mother to step foot off her continent and onto the continent of her dreams – all without the aid of an airplane. And the timing of finally living my dream coincided with my father’s death, just two days into the trip, and only halfway across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Queen Mary II.
The story paces through our nine-weeks in Europe, and back home again. Then I explain how I became my husband’s campaign manager by default and how we won the election with one of the quirkiest political campaigns ever seen in the Heartland. It was a victory the local political operatives said would never be.
C’mon Funk, Move Your Ass is at once a travelogue, a neurotic’s guide to achieving your highest dreams (even from a fetal position on the floor), a peek at how to sustain romance in a 30-year marriage, a glimpse inside an unorthodox political campaign, and a first draft of political history.
Trust me, you won’t be bored. My detailed description of my tortured mind is what keeps my therapist in stitches most of the time.
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