by Izz's Dad
Izz lives with me. I'm known here only as "Dad." We both look after my mom, or as Izz knows her, "Granny." Dex is Izz's cousin. They go to the local middle school. Our town is suburban. Near the coast. It could be Oregon, it could be Rhode Island: I'm not telling. Nobody is particularly well off, nor particularly poor: we're somewhere in middle-class America. One thing I can tell you: there are sea gulls in the supermarket parking lots.
Izz has an enthusiasm and bubbly attitude that people say comes from her mother's Latin roots. Those who know Izz say that it's because of her mother's "passion for the planet." Her mom is a motivated person and Izz has taken on many of these traits herself. As an environmental journalist, my wife is almost always away from home. That's pretty tough on all of us.
I often wonder if Izz secretly feels that if she could be more like her mom, her mom would somehow be around more. Maybe they would one day be a team, righting the wrongs of the world, arm in arm. Like Bernstein and Woodward. Except Izz doesn't know who they are. Hmm, like Brad and Angelina. Or like Jane Goodall if she were two people.
I can still remember the tears her mother and I cried together the day we met. Of course, pepper spray can do that to a person. She was demonstrating against a G7 Summit meeting that was rolling back pollution regulations for big business; I was buying a newspaper and a donut. A jelly donut if memory serves. A cloud of police pepper spray brought us together, the spray acting like some kind of magical fairy dust (but with a more intense burning at the back of the throat).
Izz is something of a campaigner herself. Her most recent campaign was entitled "Save Wales." "Save Wales" was, truth be told, a clerical mistake; her spell-checker failed to catch the "whales" typo before the posters went up at her school.
It turns out that Wales — with its $16.86 billion economy (2005 government figures) — didn't really need saving. Just the same, she got a very nice letter back from Mr. Griffiths at the Abergavenny Tourist Office, near Cardiff.