One of the most exciting moments in a writer’s life is when the book you’ve been devoting your life to — not only physically, but emotionally and, in this case, even spiritually — arrives in the mail as an actual physical object.
The other night, my family gathered ’round: Jim (my husband), Sarah (age 16), and John (age 11). Jim placed the box before me that had arrived in the mail from Chicago Review Press. We all stared at it like it was some strange and ancient talisman.
I recall my parents’ reminiscence of their first grandchild. My niece, Lizzie, was 6 months old and proudly displayed to the family. My brother, Jim, and his wife, Ruth, placed Lizzie on a blanket before the fireplace on a bleak, midwinter day in New Jersey. We all sat on sofas and recliners and just….gazed at the baby. In wonderment. Here was this lovely creature, otherworldly almost, now gracing our lives.
Well, it seemed like that to us other other night. This strange and magnificent gift, a bounty from my mother after her death–the diaries squirreled away in the file cabinet not opened in decades–permitting us to get to know her in her teenage years.
Jim handed me the scissors and I tear at the tape holding the box together. I lift the lid —
And the lovely face of my mom gazes out at me. The red background pops. The raised fonts tactically beckon.
And we all, in a hush, are grateful.
Susie and Sarah with Home Front Girl, just arrived from the publishers.
Susie holding the physical copy of Home Front Girl by her mother Joan Wehlen Morrison and edited by Susie–here at last!