Sunday, October 25, 2015

Finally, Nailah Franklin gets her day in court

On Monday, Nailah Franklin's accused killer will finally find himself in front of a judge and jury. If you're interested in why it's taken so long for this SOB to be held accountable, here's a Tribune story. You won't read his name on this blog. Instead, I'm celebrating this special, much-loved girl with a post I originally published in 2013.

With the perspective that comes with age, I wonder why a girl who had absolutely everything going for her got involved with such an irredeemable creep. Then I remember myself at 28, and the man whose violent streak and cruelty I thought I could change if only I loved him enough. So there's no judgement of this young woman here.

Only the tender wish that she'd had the last eight years.

I won't forget Nailah Franklin

This beautiful young woman was killed in 2007. It will be six years ago this September! And the man arrested for her murder -- a former boyfriend who threatened to have her "erased" -- is still sitting behind bars, no trial date set. I refuse to use his name in this post, but if you want to read more about the case, click here.

I prefer instead to concentrate on Nailah. I never met her, but our lives intersected. The advertising agency she once worked for is just up the street from the one where I work, and after she went missing, her heartbroken coworkers were on the el platforms, leafletting and making sure we were all familiar with their friend's face, her car and her license plate.

The search for Nailah was big news for over a week, but then her body was found, a suspect was arrested, and life went on.

But I haven't forgotten. I have an old lover in my past who mistreated me physically, so when I read about the suspect's arrest it stirred deep feelings in me. I was also moved by how much former her coworkers loved her, how hard they worked on her search. Nailah Franklin must have been very special. And so, in tribute ...

Nailah Franklin was one of 5 daughters.

She graduated first from Homewood Flossmoor High School and then the University of Illinois.

She spent 5 years at the prestigious ad agency, Leo Burnett.

She moved to Eli Lilly in 2006 because she believed a sales job would help give her greater control over her finances and career.

She loved "all things Oprah."

She loved clothes and had a terrific sense of fashion.

Her mother told the Tribune that she wondered why Nailah "always seemed to be in such a hurry to live life. I think her spirit knew she had such a short time on this Earth and she had to cram in as much living as possible."

An older sister remembers her "little baby voice that she never grew out of, but she was bold and spirited, headstrong and beautiful."

Her father recalls "an exceptionally smart woman" and says that not a day goes by that he doesn't miss her.

A younger sister smiles when she remembers CD/DVD collection because "it was such a reflection of her -- a combination of old school songs by Luther Vandross
and Tae Bo exercise DVDs."

Her youngest sister tried to follow Nailah to Urbana but she wasn't accepte
d. She treasures Nailah's words of encouragement as she applied to other schools. "When we learned she had died, I considered quitting the nursing program. But I remembered how much she believed in me and I thought it was important to keep going."

She volunteered at the Chicago Urban League.She was eulogized as "not a star, but a superstar."

She was just 28 when she died.

Sunday Stealing

25 Fun Meme

1. If you were trapped in a room with the person who asked this for 24 hours, what would you do? The answer cannot be romantic or sexual. Canasata. I'd love to play canasta with someone new.

2. If you could learn any language instantly, what would it be?

3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Princess Bride by William Goldman. If you like the movie, get hold of the book. It's multilayered and quite wonderful.

4. Favorite song lyric?
"Pride can hurt you." The Lads from Liverpool, of course.

5. Favorite album?
The Beatles (aka The White Album). There are better albums, I'm sure, but none that are more fun.

6. Which time of day would you say is best for you work-wise?
Between 2 and 4.

7. Favorite city that you’ve visited?
There are many, but the first that comes to mind is Washington DC.

8. Favorite city that you haven’t visited?

9. If you could donate $10,000 to charity, what charity would you pick?
Toys for Tots. Every child deserves a little magic at Christmas.

10. What is one book you wish you could get all your friends to read?
Saving Graces by Elizabeth Edwards because it's searing in its honesty and wise in its conclusions.

11. What is one movie you wish you could get all your friends to watch?
Bonnie and Clyde. It's a wonderful study of America's love affair with capitalism and fame.

12. What do you think people assume about you from first glance?
That I'm a very straight arrow, a nice pudgy middle-aged lady.

13. If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be?

14. What is your favorite item of clothing?

15. Who was your first follower on your blog? Do they still follow you?
I don't know, because I have so many lurkers. People who linger and enjoy what I write are certainly most welcome -- I'm flattered. But I have no idea who they are.

16. If you could create one thing, what would it be?
Something that makes people happy.

17. Favorite superhero?
There can only be one for this gal.

18. If you were to write an autobiography, what would you title it? The Thing of It Is ... because I say it so often.

19. If you were to have a band, what would you call it?
Channel D. On the original Man from UNCLE, "Open Channel D, please" is what Napoleon and Ilya always said when they tried to reach HQ through their pocket radios.

20. What is your favorite card/board game?
21. What was the first IM service you used? Who was the first person you talked to on it?
AOL, and it was an ex-boyfriend named Scott. He was an ex even then. We just had a hard time letting go of each other.

22. If you could give a friendly hug to any one person, who would it be? Cannot be your romantic/sexual partner if you have one.
Joe Maddon. The Cubs new manager gave us a helluva season!

23. Have you ever won any sort of contests? What kind?
I won the Chicago Tribune movie trivia contest, authored by Gene Siskel.

24. Who was the last person you hugged? Cannot be your romantic/sexual partner if you have one.
A coworker who felt bad that I was having a bad day.

25. If you could be skilled in any one activity, what would it be? Cannot be romantic or sexual.
This made me smile, because my first answer was indeed sexual. If we're taking that off the table, I'll say I'd love to be able to sing really well.

HItchcock Homage

I'm accustomed to seeing filmmakers pay onscreen tribute to Hitchcock. Brian DePalma's Dressed to Kill and Mel Brooks' High Anxiety are the most obvious examples. What I saw last night was that The Master also, on occasion, paid tribute to his peers.

In a special Saturday night Halloween Meetup, my movie group watched The Seventh Victim. I'd never heard of the 1943 movie before and was expecting a low budget "Creature Feature" kinda flick. I was surprised by how sophisticated it was. First of all, it wasn't about the supernatural or the undead. It was about a devil worshiping cult that operated in broad daylight in Manhattan. (Very Rosemary's Baby.) And it was really well made. It had it's campy elements to be sure (the leading man was Hugh Beaumont, aka Ward Cleaver, and all the sets were cheap and on the soundstage), but producer Val Lewton clearly had respect for the medium and his audience as he built suspense.

And as I was really getting into it, I was shocked by this scene. Not only because of the content -- one of the evildoers breaks into the heroine's apartment and confronts her when she's most vulnerable -- but because I've seen it dozens of times before.

The Seventh Victim (1943)

Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock knew Val Lewton in the 1940s when they were both under contract to David O. Selznick. They frequently dined together, talking shop. Obviously Hitch admired what his fellow laborer in the cinematic salt mines did, even without the budgets studios regularly afforded Hitchcock. Since I consider Psycho a nearly perfect film, I was fascinated to see this.

Just getting to the movie was filled with drama. First my el train was delayed at the second stop as cops boarded each car and eyeballed each of us passengers. Usually I appreciate the blue presence on the el because I believe it can be preemptive. But last night, the police were clearly looking for a very specific, and most likely not very nice, someone, and it was a sobering reminder that city living is not inherently safe. Secondly, it was making me late for the movie.

Then the train was halted altogether because of track construction. We were reassured that free shuttle buses would get us to our destinations. I was already running late! So while I toyed with just saying "fuck it" and heading home, I chose to spend the $10 for a cab and I made it barely in time.

I'm glad I chose to go. I learned something about a talented filmmaker, and it's always good to talk to people who don't know me from work. Really. Every now and again it washes over me how few civilians* I know anymore.

*People not at all involved in advertising