What is My Reason for Being
My Four Cosettes

The opening day of Oppenheimer was last Friday. In that essay, I mentioned my proclivity to go to opening nights in my life. While processing Oppie in the past week, I remembered attending the opening night of Les Misérables in Chicago in 1988.

My favorite play

My favorite play

Les Miz was the most outstanding play I have ever seen. I loved many of its rivals like Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita, and Edgar Allan Poe-Once Upon a Midnight. Nevertheless, Les Miz spoke to me then, thirty-five years ago. However, as I possessed Oppie, Les Miz haunted me. I thought that the play, back then. It had a political message. It did, and it was a valid message.

Les Miz’s clarion call was to join the crusade. America still needs to address issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. We have white men attempting to rewrite history. Gov. Woke DeSantis pushed the absurdity that slavery helped enslaved blacks develop skills. Really? Enslaved people were taken from Africa, where they already had skills. DeSantis’s wokeness imagines that a benefit of slavery was it taught enslaved people how to be blacksmiths. Wokeness is nonsense.

However, Les Misérables still addresses those types of stupidity. If you haven’t seen the play, movie, or read Hugo’s novel, spend some time getting up to speed. Nevertheless, in my twilight years, I am haunted by Les Miz’s storyline between Valjean and his adoption of Cosette. In my latter years, I view Valjean as a mentor. As a 21st-century version of Valjean, I met my Cosette a decade ago near Inle Lake in Myanmar. My Cosette’s name is Ti Ti. Like Valjean, I see Ti Ti as my granddaughter. I will protect and assist her on her yellow brick road of life. We are family.

However, our family includes Ti Ti’s two younger sisters, Snow and Fatty.



Our family also includes my great-granddaughter, A Ngal Lay. This photo was taken when she and I first met over three years ago.

A Ngal Lay

This is a recent photo of Ti Ti and A Ngal Lay.


Like Valjean, who assisted Cosette educationally, I want to help Ti Ti. Ti Ti wants to help her country become a better place in which to live. She went to Gusto University online due to COVID and the coup. Finally, she was able to attend classes onsite at Gusto. This is Ti Ti’s section of my website, College Days. It covers her days learning online and onsite.

Additionally, Ti Ti has been accepted at a local college near where I live in Crown Point, IN. Ti Ti wants to come to America and get a four-year degree, which would improve her academic background. In that way, she would be better able to follow in the footsteps of her mentor, Aung San Suu Kyi, often called the Lady.

Interestingly, the Lady went to the University of Delhi in India and graduated with a degree in politics. Then she went overseas to the University of Oxford and got her MA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. She then went to the University of London and was working on a Master of Philosophy. Aung San Suu Kyi is fluent in Burmese, English, French, and Japanese.

This is Ti Ti’s office in my home, awaiting her arrival. She is as driven educationally as Aung San Suu Kyi. Interestingly, Ti Ti is fluent in Burmese, English, and Japanese.


While her office awaited Ti Ti’s arrival, the US Embassy in Yangon rejected her three times. Like my mentor, Valjean, I won’t be deterred. I have contacted the embassy and sent several emails to Deb Lynn, Chargé d’Affaires, over the last year. Each time, the gatekeeper at the embassy refused to forward my emails.

Interestingly, on July 10 of this year, the day before Ti Ti went for her third interview, Susan Stevenson became the new Chargé d’Affaires at the embassy. I will email her links to various essays regarding Ti Ti and my failed attempts to get my emails forwarded to her predecessor. I’m sure the gatekeeper at the embassy won’t forward them to her. However, it will merely add to the paper trail that the State Department, ProPublica, and an NBC newscaster will receive.

I have danced with death twice. One dance was a subdural hematoma, and the other was prostate cancer that had metastasized outside the prostate. I have overcome both dances. However, my clock is ticking. I won’t fail Ti Ti. I follow in the footsteps of Valjean. He didn’t let his Cosette down.