Pauline "Paulie" Thomas was born Pauline Micelli. A child of the Depression, her parents raised her to obey the rules and go along to get along. She reached adulthood in the post-WWII, Eisenhower era, and those values served her well. She went to college, ostensibly for an "MRS" degree, but fought her way into the mechanical engineering program. Her career in school was satisfactory, but unremarkable. Before graduation, she met Jim Thomas. After an "accident", she postponed her graduation and had Vincent, her first child. She marries Jim, but never completely leaves school. Her graduation is delayed, but she still graduates with a degree in mechanical engineering.
A few years later, Lisa, her daughter, is born. The next era of Paulie's life is closer to the idealized nuclear family than was probably healthy. Not satisfied with merely being a home-maker, she takes time to work with the local library and garden society, and pretty much anything else to keep herself busy. She has a surplus of energy that she turns into useful activities, at least as useful as 1960's America allows for 30-something mothers.
By the late 80s, the cycle begins again. Vincent is an up-and-coming lawyer, specializing in family law. Lisa has her own children, and Paulie is a grandmother. With the commitment to her children fulfilled, Paulie rejects the Eisenhower-esque social role she had adopted for the majority of her life. She divorces her husband, takes the house, and starts trying to make a life on her own, for herself.
Paulie finds odd jobs, and uses the library and local BBS networks to start re-upping her skills in mechanical engineering. It's difficult for her to find anything more than those odd-jobs, but she keeps the property taxes paid and finds time to volunteer with various community organizations. It was her time with the local youth center that really changed her relationship with her community.
Paulie's home was in the heart of the Hill District, and that neighborhood went from blue-collar workers to low-income ghetto depressingly quickly. The teens she met through the center were in various states of trouble- with the law, with their family, with their neighborhood. Not satisfied with the restrictions that kept the center from getting too involved, Paulie started taking matters into her own hands. She confronted parents, gang leaders and cops. She took home "strays" that didn't have a safe place to spend the night. Sometimes they stole from her, but she never cared, and never let that stop her. She became known around the community as "Granny Thomas", despite her preference for being "Aunty Thomas" ("Granny" makes me sound old).
One day, when dropping off her grand-daughter at school, she encountered *JR's Character*, getting bullied. She disrupted the bullies and spent some time with the young boy. She told him that he was allowed to fight dirty if he had to, and he shouldn't take any shit from those bullies. When she learned of his technical aptitude, they started talking about BBSes and computer networks, and once again, Paulie found herself involved. Since *JR's Character* had obvious emotional problems, she scrounged up the cash to get him sent to group therapy- a session shared with her son, Vincent.
Things got a bit serious when Paulie found Sammy, an underage prostitute. Paulie brought Sammy home, and without filing much by way of paperwork, adopted Sammy as a daughter. When Sammy's pimp came looking for her, Paulie ended the conversation with a baseball bat. It was at this time that Brigid, goddess of Home and Hearth, the Forge and the Warrior Arts, took notice of Paulie. Brigid blessed Paulie with the strength to send the pimp and his friends to the hospital. Of course, the altercation also got Paulie sent to jail for the night.
TODO, connect to Eric's Character
Eventually, Paulie's need to improve the world, and her encounter with mystical forces, led her to seek employment with the VAT.
She lives in her family home, in the Hill District. Once upon a time, it was a nice neighborhood. That time is long gone, but she's committed to her neighborhood.
- Jim Thomas, her ex-husband. He doesn't like her new lifestyle and feels it reflects poorly on him. He just got laid off and has time to meddle.
- Vincent Thomas, her son. 35-yr old lawyer, secretly gay, mostly because of concerns for his career.
- Lisa Henderson, her daughter. Married, with two kids. Husband is Yuppwardly mobile, knows Jim professionally, and has pushed estrangement.
- Sammy, now 16, and with a real chance of going to college. Lives with Paulie.
- Tito, Sammy's former pimp. Still has scars from Paulie's baseball bat.
- Carl Brighton, father of one of Paulie's "strays". Politically connected, he's tried to get her informal foster home shut down. She's gone to jail over his complaints.