Hi, I am Anita Mallinger.  

Some several years ago I retired (voluntarily) from a therapist job I LOVED (but there were changes in the agency which I could not live with) and at the same time left my partner of 11 years (also voluntarily). Before all that, I had taught Creative Writing to writing majors at the University of Pittsburgh but decided to make the change to therapy work because the emphasis at the university was on publication, not teaching.  My therapist job was working with folks who had been sexually abused as children, and I did that for 30 years, watching my clients heal. After the losses of my beloved job, my partner, and my dear Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz who was killed in the Squirrel Hill synagogue shooting, I crashed big time for several years.  When I recovered, I found myself in my early seventies.  YEEK!I live alone and have almost no family.  I have a minor disability and require some hired help for tasks like laundry and shopping.  Luckily, most luckily, I have a circle of very close friends but they are old like me and their children are grown.

One day I saw in my e-mail a line that read "Big and Mini".  That looked intriguing. (I still have no idea how the folks there got my name.)  I realized that what I was missing in my life was contact with young people so I decided to go for it.  I wrote my little bio, including the fact that I am lesbian and am working as a volunteer for Joe Biden.  I never expected to hear from them -- no match for quirky, non-conformist me.About a week later I got an e-mail:  "You have a match!"My mini, Merrick, age 20, is a pre-med student at the University of Texas at Austin, and she is one of the lights in my life.  She is bright, sensitive, sensible, considerate, broadminded, VERY interesting, and missing some of her peers during this time of COVID.  She volunteers as a tutor to kids in math and works part-time for a pediatric practice in addition to her six virtual college courses.  She has explained to me what biochemistry means!  And though I am just ordinary -- not an actress or an artist  or a singer or a doctor or a musician, she seems to really like me!  We have connectand our meetings are definitely. one of the bright spots of my week.  She enriches my days.

So that's my blog. (I didn't even know what the word meant before this.)  Right now I am waiting nervously for the results of the election.  Is anyone out there experiencing pre-election anxiety or even post-election anxiety?  Does anyone want to tell a little about themselves and their Minis or Bigs?  Does anyone collect rocks as I do -- or something else?  And, isn't this program a great idea?

Want to share your story? Have comments? Questions? Reach out via email to contact@bigandmini.org