In a series of chronological stories, the author intimately describes her life as a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, "Rebbitzen," teacher, educational consultant, and finally rabbi. Using her extensive education, and experience the author not only tells stories but also offers her observations and philosophy on such subjects as Reconstructionist Judaism, education, and parenting.
For the first half of the volume, the author not only describes her own life, but tells the stories of her grandparents and their deep influence on her. She describes her childhood, delineates key events of her adulthood, and ends the first half with stories of her devastating divorce from her husband Rabbi Marshal Press, and her present marriage to Melvin Crockett.
Stories in the second half describe her mother, Clara Epstein, a self-taught intellectual; her father, Bernard Epstein, an acclaimed water color artist and potter; her son, Dan Press, a Harvard neurologist; her daughter, Naomi Amaya, a successful psychologist in private practice: and her four grandchildren, all college students or soon-to-be-college students with their potential still ahead of them. She ends with stories about hersister, Shani Alpert; nephew, Bruce Alpert; and special lifelong friends.
For those who believe that some secrets should go to the grave when a person dies, this book is not for you. The author tells the story of all of her subjects with all their attributes and vices. The chief audience for this book is the author's future great grandchildren, and their children after them. She wants future generations to know their ancestors with all of their challenges. Each generation has its own difficulties, and understanding what their ancestors went through can help them manage their lives.
Stories in this memoir include Life in a Shtetl in Europe, From Poland to America, My Bubie and Zadie in the New World, Childhood Vignettes, School in the 1940s, Worcester's East Side, Old Orchard Beach, Maine, Stern College for Women, Holocaust Denial, The Holy Land, Contributions to Jewish Education, Reconstructionist Rabbi, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, A Day on the Beach at Florida's West Coast, Warning Signs, Arrest, Downward Spiral begins, Institute of Living, Family Sculpting for Recovery, Stand by Your Man, Bi-Polar, Divorce, Reclaiming my Birth Name, Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again, When are We going to Tie the Knot?, The Cabinets Have No Handles, Mel's Melanoma, Fifty Cents a Bud—Fifty Cents a Blossom, Did You Buy the Globe Today?, and Winslow Homer. The appendix includes a story written by my mother, Clara Epstein, about her grandparents. This volume also includes a glossary of the many Hebrew and Yiddish words.