Wednesday, February 20, 2008

i lost the photo of tom robbins and me

Here are the remaining photos of the day my mother, my mother's then boyfriend but now husband, Buddy & I went to a picnic for Tom Robbins at the home of the White Pygmy Queen (I swear, i think that was her name!! I also think she died some tragic, lonely death with noone to bury her.) We brought a potato salad and some extra chairs. My mother is a button maker, listed in the phone book. The Pygmy Queen wanted to have buttons made for the picnic she was planning for her old friend coming to visit from Cal-i-forn-i-a, Tom Robbins. (You can see Tom with one of the buttons pinned to his Hawaain Shirt, middle right). My mother said I'll make the buttons if you let me and my boyfriend and my daughter come to the picnic. She drives a tough bargain, my old ma, doesn't she? The Pygmy Queen (standing with Tom Robbins in the white t-shirt on the photo to the right) said O.K. So. I was 20 and still very much enamored of Mr. Robbins as were the at least 8 other women who married him. (I don't know if it's really 8, but it's more than 3 and less than 10). I was then spending 6 weeks of my summer as a counselor at the UVA Young Writer's Workshop in Charlottesville, but arranged to take the day off to come over and meet my own personal effusive pan jitterbug freaky literary hero man. So I was wearing a brown polyester dress with flowers on it and several people there came up and asked if I was his new wife!! Ha! She wasn't much older than me, and looked like me too. Then I met Tom. He had on a LOT of skull and snake rings. I told him I was a writer. He told me that writing classes are worthless. Then I told him I was majoring in creative writing at sarah lawrence college and teaching at a young writer's workshop at UVA. He said drop out immediately and do something useful with your life like attend nursing school. I told him no freakin bleepin way, are you kidding? Actually, I don't remember what I told him, but I know it wasn't good. And them my mom gave him a photocopy of a story I'd written (OF COURSE, right??) and he told me he'd read it on the plane (YEAH RIGHT?) The story was called Star Wars and was about a girl taking a bath and dying her leg hair purple when Jesus comes in and they have this crazy conversation about Star Wars and Taco Bell and other modern pop culture stuff. Do you think my style was at all influenced by Tom Robbins? Anyway, later on in the picnic, the wicker bench Tom and his wife were sitting on fell over and me and my mom ran up and started taking photos of them lying on the ground. (See photo bottom left). Of course the really great shots are scrapbooked away somewhere and I just can't find them anywhere, so these that I've scrounged up will have to do as the visual representation of my story. And that's pretty much the end of it.


  1. What a great blog entry. Thanks for sharing your TR photos and story. The world would definately be a less joyful place without our esteemed Mr. Robbins.

  2. SHE invited ME! I was incredulous! Then I said, can I bring my boyfriend and my daughter? Yes, we were all welcome! I still have the button-- it said Fanfuli Family Reunion, July 1996. I had to drive to Charlottesville to pick you up from where you were a writing teacher/ counselor at the Miller School where you landed one day after you got home from Florence. The White Pygmy Queen's name was Mary Lou Davis.

  3. I ran across this page with a random google search of "white queen of the pygmies." In your pictures posted, I'm the girl (then 14) in the blue and white shorts with stars. Mary Lou was my grandmother. Please post more pictures of the Fanfuli Family Reunion if you come across them.