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Betty Nikia & Lucky Tomaszek, Neighbor Spotlight February 2021

by Ellen C. Warren

If the timing had not been impeccable, our Valentine Couple would most likely never have met. In an amusing twist of fate they were each about to delete their online dating accounts, nearly simultaneously, and then this happened…
It was fall of 2015. Lucky still had kids at home, and she was working so much that online dating seemed the obvious choice, But, “It was not going well…a series of mistakes,” she called it, “over and over again.” She decided to cancel her last account. The one on Okay Cupid.
“I was in a bad mood the day we met. I was in a very bad mood. I was watching cartoons with my daughter and we were eating frozen pizza and cookie dough out of the tube, just to give you an idea of what kind of mood I was in. (Betty laughs in the background.) I went online and saw that this very interesting looking person had looked at my profile. So I read her whole profile. It was really beautifully written.” A few particular words about Canonical literature spoke loudly and humorously to her. But then she realized that Betty was in Pittsburgh! “That won’t work.,” Lucky thought. ‘Still, she’s looking for a ‘brain crush pen pal.’ I could be a pen pal.”
Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, Betty was “literally, going to delete my profile when I saw that (Lucky) had sent me a message. One day either way, maybe even one hour, and we never would have met.”
So, pen pals they became. And after a time of staying up all night emailing and losing out on sleep, they…Um, no…Lucky had an idea.
“I never would have suggested meeting halfway, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for coffee,” says Betty. Three weeks after they met, they were in Fort Wayne drinking coffee and realizing what a good match they made.
Betty was born and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with a short stint in Minnesota. Seven years ago she had found herself in a rut. Her career path was unclear, she was not involved in any commitments, and her friends were moving away from Eau Claire. A change was desired, so when she met someone who lived in Pittsburgh she relocated there. Although the new relationship evaporated before it ever started, her time there was enjoyable, exposing her to lots of wonderful people, supplying some hope and direction.
Then she met Lucky and she soon found her way back to Eau Claire for “five minutes.” A couple months later she was in Milwaukee.
Both Betty and Lucky majored in English, and Betty also in Creative Writing. These are women with a great deal of study and life experience under their belts. Lucky calls Betty’s writing, “brilliant,” and reminds me that she has the highest of standards. (Some of you may remember the Vital Source magazine for which she wrote a column called “Slightly Crunchy Parent.” The editor of the magazine, JonAnne Willow is her sister, and another excellent writer.)
Relocation was comfortable and possible for Betty due to her work. Her previous job was ending and she had signed on to an organization called Shipt. Now she was a sole proprietor in the business of delivering groceries. Not only did it make her move possible but also, she says, “It ended up being a great job for a person dating a midwife, because I’m really really flexible, like down to the hour. If something happens, if I need to do something to support her…it’s nice to be there to help her.”
Lucky, who has been a midwife for many years, with a new focus we’ll be revealing shortly, describes Betty’s support: “There’s actually a very lovely ritual that Betty has put together for when I get home from a birth, because I’m always wiped out. Even short births are draining…in the best way…you come home feeling like you’ve done something really great with your time and your energy and your love, but it’s also depleting. So to quickly get me back to my fighting stats Betty meets me at home, helps me get my disgusting scrubs off, puts them in the laundry while I shower, gets me something to eat, and she rubs my feet while we watch t.v. It’s amazing.” “
“It’s not a chore,” chimes in Betty, “it’s a privilege. I believe in the work that she does and I’m so amazed by it. A whole new world has opened up for me, too.”
About a year ago Lucky launched a practice called Transitions: Birth Services for Every Body, specifically geared toward LGBTQ+ people. Presently, she is seeing people in their homes due to COVID safety precautions.
As a sex educator (Lucky has worked at the Tool Shed for several years and travels extensively teaching and speaking) she has a working knowledge of the evolution of our society’s sexual mores and expectations. Historically, anyone queer felt shut out from the possibility of having a family. In the 1970’s queer folks started feeling like they didn’t want to live in that box anymore and began opening up and finding ways to have families, including having children, while still staying authentic to themselves.
“We’ve seen in the last fifteen years or so something we lovingly refer to as a ‘Gayby Boom,’” explains Lucky. “Queer folks are finding all kinds of ways to have children, including adoption and surrogacy and partnering with people who are open to having children.” Not every one is comfortable in the hyper -feminized obstetrics environment that feels safe for many women.
“So I wanted to take my work in sex education, and take my experiences as a queer woman, and take my skills in midwifery and really create a practice where all kinds of people could find care that included them and welcomed them, and made space for them to be their authentic selves without having to hide…I want to help them build their families in the way that works for them.” You can reach her at . Besides the midwife duties she also offers Inseminating support, Pre-conception care, and screening for STI’s.
Betty and Lucky feel very at home here. The community suits them perfectly they say. Every morning Lucky opens the curtains, exclaiming “Good Morning Riverwest!” And a small voice from the back asks, “How is Riverwest doing?”