Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What do you want to know?

I've hit a bit of a writer's block on my blog. It's been 20 days since I last wrote. I'm sitting here trying to tell myself to write something, but I am drawing a blank. There's a lot I could say, but most of it, I don't think anyone else would care to spend time reading. So I want to know, if you are reading this, what do you want to know? Is there anything I should be writing more about?

I tend to write about my travels and mishaps, but honestly, I don't think anyone reads this blog without me begging them to.

So, I'd like to hear from you, what do you want to hear from me?

As a reward for reading my blog without me advertising it, you get to be in on a dirty little secret of mine.

Some friends and I decided to take part in a new sensation of dyeing armpit hair.

So for a month, we grew out our armpit hair, then dyed it hot pink. We had a blast, but not something we'd blast on the internet. But I'll let you in on the secret.

If you are just now reading this, you've reeeeeally missed out on some funny pictures, as I have now deleted them. Thanks to Jodi for being the ONE person who responded.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Accidental Safari

When I look back, the story of accidentally going on an safari adventure, will probably be one of my favorite memories made in college. A few months prior I had accomplished my life long dream of going to Africa. On our last week there we went on a safari.

Uganda was so different than the Africa I had pictured in my mind. I imagined vast flat lands made of sand with lions and leopards and giraffes. Instead I got rolling vibrant green hills with alligators, caribou and elephants. All that to say, I was very sad when I learned that my favorite animal, the giraffe, did not live in Uganda.

 Craziest thing is that, even though I had traveled through an African safari, my first time seeing a giraffe didn't come until months later, in middle of nowhere Arkansas.

I told my friends I wanted to go on an adventure. Two friends, Jessica and Melanie, stepped up and said they would go with me. When they sat in the car, Jessica announced, "Alright, where we going!"

I smiled mischievously and said, "You won't find out until we are there."

The truth was that I had no idea. I knew I wanted to drive out of state, and figured I would think something up along the way.

Two hours later we hit the Arkansas border, and as Jessica and Melanie got out at the rest stop to use the bathroom, I frantically turned on my gps. I was thinking, "Oh no, I have to find something, and quick, or we will have driven all these miles for nothing."

I selected the points of interest tab, and squealed with excitement at the first result, "Yes! Spirit of adventure, you have rewarded me once again!"

When Melania and Jessica got back in the car, they were concerned, "Okay Anna, you've taken us across state lines, how well should I have prepared for this trip? Where on earth are you taking us!"

I smiled, "We're almost there, you're gonna be so surprised."

The gps said it was only 6 miles away. We drove down a road that seemed like just another normal neighborhood drive. Until we saw the peacocks cross the road and hop the fence where a kangaroo was resting.

As we pulled into the drive, everyone in the car shouted with excitement as we read the sign out loud:

Jessica and Melanie both questioned with intense excitement, asking how on earth I had found this place. That's when I admitted to them that it was a total accident. I had no idea where we were headed when we hit the road.

We had to leave and come back when we found out the $5 entrance fee was cash only, and they did not have an atm. But once inside, we had the time of our lives.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Meeting Wanda

When I was in 5th grade, I had the joy of meeting the local weatherman, Dave Salesky. I thought it was the most memorable meeting I would ever have.

Since then, I have met famous singers, congressmen, mayors, senators, and more. But of all the people I have, and have yet to meet, I truly believe that at the end of my life I will look back and think of Wanda as one of the most noteworthy people I have ever met.

She lives in a simple house, in a simple town, and  has a simple mind. And yet meeting her is one of the most memorable encounters I've ever had.

Wanda is a woman in her mid 50's, with the i.q. of a 4 year old, who for nearly 30 years has been the prime suspect in the mind baffling abduction of her roommate's 7 month old baby.
For years people have wondered what on earth Wanda could have done with the baby.
For years people have wondered what kind of person Wanda must be.
For years, no one in the public ever heard from Wanda herself.

When I first learned of the story in 2012, there was hardly any information on the case, but there was just enough to get me very intrigued. In 25 years there had only been 3-4 news reports on the abduction. Hardly anyone had ever heard of the baby Melissa McGuinn.

Soon I found my self so badly wanting to know more, that I ended up driving to Arkansas to meet Baby Melissa's mother.

I learned more from her than I could ever imagine. The story was even more crazy, and intriguing, than I had imagined.
Previously there had only been one photo of Melissa released to the public. With her mother's help, I got nearly a dozen of Melissa's pictures on the internet.

I created a facebook page about the Mystery of Melissa McGuinn and soon over 7,000 people were following my journey across the nation, to find the truth.

I met with family, friends, detectives, and neighbors and published it all on the internet. Soon major names like ABC's 20/20 and Dr. Phil were voicing interest in the case.

I was interviewed via skype by a major east coast news station

After meeting everyone, there was still one burning question in my head, what ever happened to the suspect, Wanda Reed.
I wanted to see her, to understand her, to try to imagine what she was like.

Soon, through the power of social media, I met the TINY woman.

Wanda is very simple and very sweet. She has an adorable smile, and liked giving me hugs. When I met her, it was hard to believe this woman was at the center of such a giant mystery.

Meeting with her, I was the first person to EVER publish anything public from Wanda. Meeting with her, hearing her feelings on being arrested, and how she has missed her own son that she lost custody of, made the whole case that much more interesting to the rest of the world.

Here is parts of my interview with Wanda