Archive for April, 2009


Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day and there has been a lot in the media about what happened during those dark days. Even more poignient are the stories about all those people who risked their own lives to help others who would surely have died without their bravery. I think back to the masterful rendition of the hero Shindler as shown in the movie “Shindler’s List.” He managed to save scores of Jewish people by using the ploy that he needed their expertise as workers in his factory.  Then there  is the remarkable story about the zoo keepers in Warsaw who hid not only Jews, but Poles and others who were resistance workers, in and around the animal cages on their property. And how about all those others who hid a child in their basement or upstairs attic, or farmers who hid whole families out in the country. Heroes, I’d say, all heroes.

I have my own personl heroes in my life. They are my mother’s best friend in Vienna and her husband: devout Catholics who would have lost their lives right along with ours, if what they did for us would have been found out. You can read about it in my memoir, Becoming Alice. Heroes, I say.

That was yesterday, and you might have thought the world would have learned from the lessons of that era. But no! There still are so many threats agains us, and I guess there always will be. What is so hearwarming to know is that there still are heroes out there that we can hold high. Think about the sea captain who allowed himself to be taken captive by pirates in order to save his crew. And what about Captain Sulenberger, the airling captain who brought his plane down in the Hudson River, saw to it that all his passengers got outonto the plane’s wings, and then went back into the body of the plane to make sure everyone was safw. Heroes, I say. And thank God they are still among us, without our knowing who they are, until some disaster will call on them to show us their true colors.


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I got to thinking the other day about a friendof mine who is single, and has been single for a long time. I thought that she was pretty settled in that state of affairs. Then the other day she asked my husband, who is a pretty accomplished photographer, if he’d do a portrait of her. He said sure, thinking that maybe she was getting a present for her daughter or a Christmas card or whatever. He obliged with a head shot of her in her garden, leaning against the trunk of a sturdy oak tree. It was perfect. It looked just like her.

She didn’t like it! What followed was a question and answer session whereby it came out that she wanted a picture that didn’t show the bags under her eyes or the wrinkles on her face. You see, she wanted to post it on Match.com. And the picture was to show her at least 20 years younger than her actual age. Well, photographers can do magic in the dark room or in Photo Shop to fix that problem and he did. He got her what she wanted.

But all this got me thinking about what would make a person want to alter their true state to whatever they consider to be superior to that state. Obvious! A lack of self-confidence or self-esteem. We all have that problem from time to time and at different stages of our lifetimes, but then there are people who are in that state all the time. I know I was. It took me the first twenty years of my life to even have the thought that I might be as good as everyone else at some things in which young people are tested –like getting good grades, or having some success with the opposite sex.

When I finally got around to writing about my lack of self-esteem and how I began to turn the corner on that problem in my memoir, Becoming Alice, most of my friends were shocked that I was the same person as that girl in the book. My point is, you can do something about your self-esteem if it isn’t all that it should be.

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It is a beautiful day here in southern California and as is my custom on Friday mornings, I am in my garden. Even the little bit of rain along with the warmth of sun has made my plants very happy. And my plants make me very happy. So beautiful!

So while I’m digging, and trimming, and weeding, and oh yes, setting gopher traps, my mind wanders off to thinking about starting a new writing project. I’ve been so busy marketing Becoming Alice, that the only writing I have time for is this blog. I’m finding that I am a little embarrased at my various events when people ask me what I’m writing about currently, and I must answer nothing.

Well, now I can tell you that I’ve decided what to write about. At first I thought I would write about my brother’s life. So many people who have read my memoir have asked me, whatever happened to him. Then others have asked, what happened to me after the end of my book. And then I think about all those stories I’ve heard about what happened to friends of mine over their lives.

I’ve decided to write about all those stories. Not in their entirety of course, but the interesting parts of all those lives. It will be a kind of anthology of happenings. But what makes those happenings interesting to me is the same thing that people tell me make my book interesting. It is the relationships between all those characters that play out what our lives are made of. It is the relationships that we have that make our lives interesting. I’m going to write about some of those stories. Should be fun, don’t you think?

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