I had promised myself I was done writing about Occupy Wall Street or, for that matter, those who would “occupy” any locale that happens to look tempting to scroungers trawling for a place to share a sleeping bag with a stranger. I kept that promise until Stacey Hessler showed up on the scene. Truth is, Stacey looks more like a devout orthodox Jewish woman in a headscarf than the recalcitrant banker’s wife from Florida who skipped out on her family.
Stacey Hessler is an exuberant dreamer, a visionary, a frustrated hippie forced to live the empty, unfulfilling life of a Florida wife and mother. On her Facebook page, Stacey describes herself in the following way:
Married for 16 years, radical unschooling mom of 4, midwives assistant, roller derby queen, rockstar musician, activist, dreadlock princess, african bee keeper, organic vegan freak, and a surrogate for the second time.
It’s likely that while Mrs. Hessler’s banker husband is at work his wife has a secret life where she impacts the universe by meditating, recycling expensive wine bottles, shopping in thrift stores for well-made items that look cheap, and putting her gourmet lemon curd, caviar and truffles in recyclable cloth shopping bags.
Although it’s pure speculation on my part, I’d bet stay-at-home mom Stacey is probably spoiled, bored, and looking for a measure of fulfillment her four children and over-accommodating husband fail to provide.
Stacey Hessler is the flipside of the ‘Real Housewives‘ of New York, New Jersey and Orange County. Instead of wearing expensive jewelry and clothes, cat fighting with spray-tanned girlfriends at catered affairs, or becoming an entrepreneur like “skinny girl” Bethenny Frankel, the adventurous Mrs. Hessler has chosen to make a name for herself by ditching the cushy lifestyle down south to hunker down in a coed sleeping space with a waiter from the tony section of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
Stacey appears to be right at home stacking humongous plastic bags filled with God-knows-what on city curbs and identifying with the unwashed masses in Zuccotti Park where filth, obscenities and parasitical freeloading is how one sends a message of disapproval to the very establishment that pays the Hessler’s mortgage.
The former Long Island native said she has “no idea what the future holds” and is so committed to the ‘Occupy’ cause, she does not plan on returning to her Deland, Florida banker husband Curtis anytime soon. Instead, Stacey Hacker Hessler has chosen to cozy up “indefinitely” under a blue tarpaulin with a 30-year-old “like-minded radical” named Rami Shamir (not to be confused with Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar).
Instead of sending the kids off to school with a hot breakfast, roller derby queen/beekeeper Stacey and protest-partner Shamir greet the morning together. Complete with Bob Marley-style dreadlocks and dressed in a “Make Love Not War,” T-shirt, Curtis’ old lady splashes her armpits at Trinity Church and then avails herself of the communal protest kitchen’s free coffee and granola, which provide the energy for her to sort the laundry of hundreds of nameless, faceless people–which sure beats emptying the dishwasher.
According to Stacey, her husband, a former Bank of America financial adviser, “is perplexed” over his wife’s juvenile behavior. Curtis, whose money is now earned working in a Florida bank and likely funded Stacey’s train ticket to the Big Apple, can’t seem to keep the little woman in line. An amused Stacey shared that Curtis feels: “he’s working for ‘the Man,’ and I’m fighting against him.”
Stacey Hessler, “Peaceful War Riot,” as she likes to call herself, places leaving the kids without a mother for an undetermined period of time on the same level as soldiers leaving loved ones to defend America. The only difference is that this soldier’s feeling that she’s been called to “fight for a better world” are just that–feelings.
Hessler’s “better world” is a place where irresponsible parents abandon children aged 17, 15, 13 and 7 to pitch in sorting the dirty socks and underwear of strangers, a world where people smile while cleaning up piles of refuse left behind by a mob of ungrateful slobs beating drums and dancing around like a spaced-out troupe of Grateful Dead groupies.
Yet, despite appearances to the contrary, as it turns out, Stacey does seem to be a tad conflicted. While busy looking for an opportunity to be a hero to anyone other than those who should matter most, the former stay-at-home mom is attempting to recruit friends in Deland to staff her laundry room and check over the kids’ homework.
On her Facebook page, a desperate Stacey issued the following plea:
I need your help and support. I want to stay occupying wall st. I feel my presence is very important in the support of non-violent communication and sanitation (keeping the park clean) … I need help with getting my kids to activities and stepping up with the things I help lead, such as one small village, jr roller derby, bee-attitudes, 4H, for his glory co-op. Please respond if you are willing to help my kids so I can stay here and help this movement.
Stacey did confess that “Not everyone has supported [my] decision.” Apparently, Mrs. Hessler’s mother told her wayward daughter that by camping out on Wall Street and abandoning her duties at home, she was “being very selfish.”
Obviously, Peyton, Kennedy, Sullivan and Veda’s Grandma doesn’t know her 38-year-old daughter very well, because when on break from sorting wash and scrubbing the plaza in Zuccotti Park, selfless Stacey can be found dispensing free hugs at the “empathy table.”
In addition to kissing scraped emotional knees, meditating for a more equitable world, and assisting drowsy travelers searching for a cozy sleeping spot, the mother of four can oftentimes be found tucking in fellow protesters, a chore that fulfills the quixotic quest of a concerned mother in search of a higher calling.