By now you’ve likely read many stories penned by great authors about their adventures with Andrew Breitbart. This one is mine. I’m no great author and I’ve been trying to write this since the day Andrew died but I’ve had writer’s block since California lost in the elections of 2010. It’s thanks to Andrew that I am once again writing, something I have always loved to do.
My husband and I were invited to attend Troopathon last year by our friend Nick Popaditch. He was one of the honored speakers at this yearly event which is sponsored by Move America Forward and is, as the name implies, a marathon to benefit the troops. I really had no expectations but was excited to be with friends, help support the troops and to see the Richard M. Nixon library. I’d never been to a presidential library before. It was to be a day of many “firsts”. We set off early in the morning which was a good thing. It was to be a whirlwind day. The date was June 20, 2011.
The day was surreal. I knew by then that when hanging out with the Popaditch’s anything can happen. We were introduced to many famous people and I finally met a lot of folks I had previously only known via twitter. My head spun with all of the activity and excitement. I wasn’t shy about introducing myself to anyone but I just couldn’t bring myself to walk up to Andrew and say “hey, I’m Teri” or some such thing. Still, I eyed him all day. A couple of times he caught my glances and I almost had the gumption but then he would roller blade off or be called back on camera or he’d be tweeting or, something would come up. My friends laughed at me. They offered to introduce me but I demurred. It was Andrew Breitbart! Yes, we followed one another on twitter and had exchanged tweets and even done battle together one night but, I just couldn’t do it!
After a long, hot day of non stop festivities, fund raising and meeting and greeting it was time for dinner. The dinner is a story of its own and I will write about it another day. Suffice to say it was incredible. At some point during or maybe after this meal I got up to grab another cocktail. I was headed back to the table when I heard someone yelling loudly: “Hippychick!” I turned around and lo and behold Andrew Breitbart was running and leaping across the lawn towards me yelling “Hi Hippychick”! (Yes running and leaping! I have witnesses). No time to be shy, I ran towards him and lept into his arms. We hugged as if we were old friends. I suspected but didn’t know until today how he came to know who I was. Actually, it’s still not entirely clear. Near as I can tell April Popaditch and Beth Hazen said to Andrew “Hey, there is someone here who wants to meet you”. Apparently he asked who it was and they answered “HipEchik”. He said “Hippychick is here? Where is she?” They pointed to me and he took off running and calling my name. I am still astounded that he wanted to meet me.
Anyway, we hugged and maybe kissed on the cheek. From then on the conversation was non-stop. I don’t even remember all of what we talked about but we chatted for a long while. It was as if we were instantly old friends. We talked about the troops, I know that. I may have mentioned some of his wild antics and the dares he took in order to bring in donations that day. We talked about California. We just talked. Finally, he had to run, or I did but I knew we were all going out afterwards to have some cocktails and I invited him along. His phone was buzzing. He said “Yes! I’d love to come with you. I have to take this but I’ll be back”. I think he missed that call because this I recall distinctly. I thanked him for all he did to help the troops. I mentioned that this was an aspect of Andrew that not many knew. How much he did to support the troops. He brushed off my compliments and then, he thanked me. Andrew Breitbart said “thank you for all you do.” I shrugged. Oh shucks, I do nothing compared to what you do. He insisted I take the compliment. “No hippychick, you do a lot and I want you to know it doesn’t go un-noticed.” I gulped back a tear, gave him another hug and a kiss and made him promise he would come back. He was walking backwards, punching a number into his phone but he promised he’d come back to join us. I never saw him again in person. He didn’t make it for the cocktails with us and I think I made the gang wait awhile for him.
I’ve long lamented my choice of twitter username “hipEchik” but after that day I knew I’d never change it. I was branded. Andrew called me “hippychick” pronouncing it as in the old SoHo club classic. To this day I am unsure as to whether he knew my name is “Teri”. I wasn’t so star struck as to say I’d never wash the cheek he kissed but the name, it stuck. This was all after I had become his online friend but the two melded together. Meeting him just sealed the deal that we had struck on twitter many times. We were friends. Andrew was a friend of mine. I am not going to quantify it or distort it. I only met him the one time but I knew long before this that I had his six, and he had mine as friends do.
I had tweeted with Andrew a few times prior and a few times after we met. Not many. He started following me on twitter before I really knew who he was. He never unfollowed and always answered me if I sent him a tweet. Unlike so many of the BIG people, Andrew always responded. No ego. He was my friend. I remember New Year ’s Eve 2010; we were all online. He was talking to many people. I wanted to wish him a happy new year at midnight but did not want to butt in. Polite me, I waited. It must have been about 3:00 a.m. on New Years Day 2011 when I caught a tweet from Andrew to the effect that he was about to go to bed. I said to him “Happy New Year Andrew, thanks for all that you do”. He wished me a happy new year and I shall never forget this. He said, “You think this past year was big wait until next year!” I didn’t ask what he had in mind, knowing that he wouldn’t advertise. I couldn’t wait to see what would transpire! Of course we all now know what he accomplished in 2011 but whatever plans he had that New Year’s Day are unknown to me.
Many have said how fearless Andrew was and it’s true. I will add that his fearlessness was contagious. I am known for not liking to do battle online with leftists. I joke that “If I want to fight with a lefty I will walk outside my California home.” One night during the height of the Occupy protests I was up late tweeting. I caught a tweet of Andrew’s that had a ustream link to their coordinated efforts in Oakland and Los Angeles. I became fearless. I took on the OWS crowd and did it fearlessly. Andrew was there. I generally steer clear of people such as Keith Olbermann but he had tweeted out something to the effect that “the Marines had joined with Occupy”. As the wife of a Marine veteran I am especially protective of Marines. I didn’t want their names being used in such a manner. I retweeted Olbermann and asked “got proof of this Keith?”. He was not online at the time but I stayed up all night, with Andrew and did get to call Olbermann out when he finally responded.
I was protective of Andrew too. When the Occupy crowd saw his tweets on the #OWS tag they said “Breitbart is watching”. I tweeted Andrew “They see you Andrew”. He replied “good”. Now I was really in the mix of things and in my mind I was slaying those Occupy anarchists with my words. They took up a chant “Fuck Andrew Breitbart”. I tweeted this: “The Occupy crowd is chanting Fuck Andrew Breitbart. I didn’t realize Andrew worked on Wall Street”. Andrew caught my tweet and re-tweeted it. My tweetdeck almost exploded. I stopped counting at 76 retweets and made coffee. I was fearless. I went looking for trouble. I saw that someone had started an “Occupy Marines” twitter feed and I pulled it up and dissected their tweets. I noticed someone in Occupy had sent that account this: “FYI, the Marines say Semper Fidelis, it means Always Faithful”. The Occupy Marines feed retweeted it. I went into full attack mode. “Why would a group of Marines need to be told what Semper Fidelis means? This is learned on day one of basic training. “. I got no response. It was about this time that Olbermann woke up. He answered me. “Yes, I have proof. So and so was on my show about two weeks ago”. I said, “So, you have ONE rogue Marine”. No response. I was looking for one. I was looking for a fight. I was fearless. It was dawn and I noticed Andrew was offline. I was still throwing punches. How long had he been gone? How long had I been on my own? How long had I been fearless without Andrew? I don’t know. It didn’t matter. His presence had given me courage. The fact that I had met him a couple of months prior made us “In real Life” friends. He was proudly added to my “people I know IRL twitter list”. I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep. I was proud of myself for taking on the leftists that night. It felt good to have done battle with Andrew Breitbart. It still does.
When I awoke and logged on March 1st It was Michelle Malkin’s tweet that I caught. Andrew had died. I sobbed and sobbed. My friend had died. All the conservatives on twitter stopped fighting one another and were consoling and telling Andrew stories. The blogposts went up. The countless tributes. I read as many as I could. We turned our avatars into our pictures of and with Andrew. Sadly, I have no photos of me and Andrew. I think some were shot but I will have to track them down. I had meant to write a blogpost right after Troopathon but, as I said I’ve had writer’s block. Someone mentioned that it will take an army of thousands to replace Andrew Breitbart. We started tagging tweets with #IamAndrewBreitbart. I know that I am no Andrew Breitbart but I promise to be all that I can be. My online “thing” if you will is to help conservatives get elected. I shall be all the more diligent in those efforts. I am posting this tonight, with all of its likely grammatical errors because I once could write. I shall again. I am writing. I’d rather have Andrew back and still have writer’s block but as I finish this, a thousand other posts are running through my head. I have to start one for Nick and one for Elizabeth. I should write about my dream last night. I need to talk about how people should not give up on California. Andrew would have liked that. He never gave up on California and neither have I. We were both native Californian’s and both conservative and we were friends. It is in honor of and because of Andrew Breitbart that I post this. May you rest in Peace my friend. We will take it from here.
In Loving Memory of Andrew Breitbart
February 1st, 1969 – March 1st, 2012