About Shari Anderson
Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Chestnut Ridge (Spring Valley) New York, Shari's life's journey brought her family to Portland, Oregon, where she's lived for the past 31 years. Shari immersed herself in the Jewish community and got involved in Leadership programs and volunteer work shortly after moving there. Over the years, she received awards and recognition for her involvement from the Jewish Community. Since retiring and caring for her mother, Shari had the opportunity to start a project that touched her heart. She had always dreamed about writing a book, though this is not the direction she thought it would take her, but she was overjoyed that she was directed on this path. Shari is looking forward to more writing adventures!
A Labor Of Love
“May these beautiful poems and letters, written to an isolated ten-year-old girl eighty years ago, bring solace to those who are going through hard, isolating times today”.
In the fall of 2019, my brother and I were in the process of clearing out some storage areas for my mother. In that process we came across a beautiful wicker basket. What a surprise when we opened up the basket to find that my mother had saved all sorts of letters, cards, and other life event articles and newspaper clippings. I started reading through some of the letters, a lot of them were love letters from my father to my mother in their early courting days. But the most
fascinating letters and poems were the ones from my great aunt Sadie to my mother. I started randomly reading them, each one taking my breath away, as tears are rolling down my cheeks. I realized how precious these were and knew that this was something I needed to share with the world. My mother was more than happy to let me have them and thought my idea of writing a
book with these letters was a wonderful idea. I was so anxious to get started on this right away. Chronologically organizing the letters, I realized that there were over 100 letters and poems, one written to my mother everyday from November 1941 through the end of March 1942. I was now able to take the time to read through each one. Carefully opening up these tiny colorful pink, grey, yellow and green envelopes, each of them only 4 ½ by 3 ½ inches in size. I’m still amazed at how incredibly preserved these letters were after 78 years. Each letter bringing me closer to an aunt I never knew and to a world and time that existed only in history books. Paralyzed from the waist down, these letters walk you through the progression and process of her recovery, cheering for her when she can now roll over on her own for the first time, knowing her fear of going in the water to do her pool exercises, all part of her recovery process and learning how to walk again. Every letter brings you to a time and place in history as if you were in that room where my aunt wrote those letters
and that hospital room where my mother was recovering. Some of these letters and poems would immediately bring tears to my eyes, so beautifully written with love exuding from each one. My aunt’s letters opened up a window to the soul of who my mother was, which made each one so much more meaningful.
Time passed over the next several months only to find out that my mother had been diagnosed with lung and pancreatic cancer which had metastasized. It’s now March of 2020 and my mother is getting weaker. The Covid pandemic is now on the rise and writing the book is now on hold with other priorities taking place. I brought my mother home so that I could care for her. The thought of moving my mother to a nursing home was out of the question, she had endured enough isolation as a child that this was not something I would allow my mother to endure again. The months passed and Mom is getting weaker, the disease has certainly taken her over. On July 14th, 2020 my mother passed on to join those who had left before her. One wish I could not
fulfill for her, was to see the finished product of my book. However, I know how proud she would have been to know that I did finish it and that I had it published. Shari always dreamed of writing a book but never thought it would be this one. This was a project that touched her heart and was so pleased that she stumbled upon this wonderful collection of letters and poems that she could share with the world.