BlimaiconWhat did I do on my summer vacation?  Well, first of all, it wasn’t exactly a vacation since I taught a class and then began writing another novel (which, by the way, I am still working hard at).  On the other hand, I do love both teaching and writing, so perhaps these activities weren’t work, after all.  Today I would like to talk about another favorite subject, probably the best of all–family.

Va. Wachtel's

After a return trip to Washington,DC, where we revisited some memorials, saw others honoring those who fought in Korea and World War II, we proceeded to Richmond, Virginia, home to my brother-in-law, Mark, his wife Michelle, and son, Jesse and family.  It had been 21 years since we last visited, and now I wonder why we waited so long. We caught up with Mark and Michelle at a restaurant which used to be a tobacco warehouse, ate in a  family-style Italian restaurant, and visited the lovely home of Jesse and Shontea.  It was truly a pleasure to meet their young children, the beautiful Hannah and rambunctious JJ.  We could see that they are truly raising their children the right way, and that these two have bright futures ahead!  We are proud to have Jesse in our family not only because he is an Army veteran, but because he is such a nice young man.

We also visited Virginia’s Holocaust Museum, probably the best museum on the subject as it replicates camp bunkers and also the courtroom at Nuremberg.  At one point, as I emerged from a dark enclosure, I had the shivers, not even a close approximation of what those in blessed memory had to endure.

There was much more to my summer (hint–a trip to Europe!), but I will leave that for another time.  Meanwhile, look for me at The Town Book Store, 270 East Broad Street in Westfield, on Saturday, October 12, where I will be discussing My Mother’s Shoes between 2:00 and 4:00 PM.  I look forward to seeing you there!



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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