Our Zoey

Big announcement here….but I am new to this grandparent role.  Those of you who are already grandparents and “old hands” at this, please share what you most value or enjoy about being a grandparent…..

And now we are four.  Four generations from the ashes of a generation which should not have been.  And yet here we are surviving, thriving—a family.  With the birth of my granddaughter, Zoey Grayson, we affirm our survival with an optimistic eye toward the future.  Our roles are new today, mine as a granddaughter, my son as a father, and a new family…a new family.  Here’s to our beautiful baby, Zoey…..



Who are you, little sprout?

Trembling at the arbor’s gate,

green yet,

will you bloom




Dew-covered leaves shield the shadows

for a sprout so small to hold so many hearts.

Small enough to capture protect for but

a brief moment

only to be whisked away by

the breath of time.

Oh, stay awhile!

Fourth generation of two you are.

The first a miracle in shades beyond the black

arises beneath the sand and fire

swept by fragrant winds to a land faraway.

The second generation

Well-rooted yellow as the stars which were wishes once

in a grove no longer foreign

growing sturdy

assured unconquerable.

But then there is the third,

blooming purple,

even more majestic than the last.

And you, little sprout.

Show us your colors


in this garden where

one by one we bloom.

We stand at anticipation’s door.

–Shirley Russak Wachtel (Shoshi)

July 8, 2012

I want to thank my son, Howie, and my beautiful, courageous daughter-in-law, Jaime for naming her in Hebrew, BLIMA.  Now, my mother not only lives in my heart, but in my granddaughter as well.

Zoey, I await the joys of watching you grow from one stage to another.  So many plans I have for our time together, reading, shopping, playing with dolls.  But for now, I am content to just hold you in my arms and stare.



About shirleywachtel

Shirley Russak Wachtel is the author of The Story of Blima—A Holocaust Survivor (publ.2005), a novel which recounts the early years of her mother, Betty Weisstuch Russak. The novel s listed as a recommended novel by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education. Wachtel is the author of several children's books, including a series of interactive mysteries, Charlie Wonder, Chef-Detective (2005), which includes several recipes; Brad Sureshot, Coach-Detective (2007) which details basketball skills; and Howie Rocket, World-Traveler-Detective (2009) which has handy foreign language phrases. In The Mellow Light (2009) is her first book of poetry. She is a professor of English at Middlesex County College in New Jersey. In addition, Wachtel is the co-author of Spotlight on Reading (2011), a textbook for college-level students. A mother of three sons, she resides with her husband, Arthur, in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Initially written as a doctoral dissertation for her Doctor of Letters Degree from Drew University, My Mother's Shoes , says Wachtel, is not just the novel of her life, it is the novel of her heart.
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