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Memoirs: Lifelong Stories

My grandmother at age 16, 1917

Everyone has a story to tell – and for that reason, Writer For Hire Pat Kramer has created the Lifelong Stories memoir writing service to capture the valuable memories our elders hold that we don’t want to lose.

Over the years, Pat has written memoirs for business professionals – about them and their businesses, families, and senior members of a family. In addition to preserving their legacies, these memoirs often bring family members together as they share in the reading of mutual memories.

Memoirs written by Writer For Hire include:

“The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son,” Izzy Eichenstein’s memoirs of growing up in a Jewish Hassidic dynasty and choosing to leave the fold,

“Born in Basra,” by Bushra Rothstein, a memoir of her early years as a Jewish child during a time of turmoil in Iraq and her subsequent journey and life in America, where she now leads her own practice as a psychotherapist.

“My Life in Retrospect,” by Los Angeles investment banking founder Lawrence Hurwitz. Raised by a father who was Austin, Texas’ first Jewish motorcycle cop, and a mother, who had the distinction of being the first woman to attend business school at Boston University, his memoir is both a tribute to his parents and a legacy of his own life.

Senior Memoirs:

Memoirs of Julia Vera Keys, Catalina Island’s first woman pioneer, as related by her granddaughter Susan Keys;

Dorothy Wing, who spent four years of her childhood in a Japanese internment camp with her family;

Shirley Friedlander, a runway model in the 1930’s and the daughter of a New Jersey bootlegger;

Janette McCormack, raised in Glasgow, Scotland in a dirt poor family, she moved to America and started a family and later, earned her teaching credential to work with Special Needs adults;

Vito D’Erasmo, born on Long Island to a working class Italian family, Vito recognized his potential, early on, earning a college degree before becoming a banking official in Los Angeles;

Virginia Walker who, as a young woman, was raised on a 40-acre farm in Indiana before marrying her late husband, who would become an oil industry executive in California. Virginia’s memoirs describe her early life on the prairie, coming to California, raising her family, her life with and loss of her first husband and finally, a second marriage and the loss of her second husband. Throughout it all, there is a message of optimism and hope.

Family Memoir:  Additionally, Pat has written the Morochnick Family Memoir – a story that remembers each of her extended family members from four generations and their connections to the world.

 Business Memoir:  Finally, Pat has written business memoirs, such as Ward Service History in Monrovia, California, depicting the evolution of its 90-year history. Ward Service is the 2nd oldest, family run auto business in California having survived economic ups and downs, changes in technology, the gasoline wars, and multiple relocations. This history was distributed to the media and to the 350+ people who attended its 90-year anniversary party in 2013.

If you want your memoir or that of someone else in your family written, please contact Writer For Hire Pat Kramer.

An Insider’s View of Indie Publishing Four Successful Authors Share Their Views

Last night, June 11, 2018, I attended a seminar held by the Publishers Association of Los Angeles featuring four successful authors with a chockfull of tips on online publishing. This was one of the most informative seminars I’ve attended – and I frequently attend these type of events so that I can update my knowledge to further help my writing and publicity clients.

The four authors included a bestselling children’s book author, a non-fiction book coach who’s authored a series of instructional books for educators, the author of a bestselling series of books for writers and wanna-be writers, and the author of a series of fiction novels. Each had their own style of writing and marketing and I enjoyed their willingness to share their experience in getting their books out to the public.

Since the focus was on online publishing and e-books (including Kindle), the seminar started with a discussion about the mechanics of online publishing, i.e., creating the interior design, designing the cover, how to acquire the ISBN, whether to publish on Kindle Direct Unlimited, and the use of QR codes that can take a potential buyer to a marketing video (he called it a “book trailer.”

Next, we heard about each author’s efforts toward getting publicity, including writing press releases as opposed to hiring a book publicist (like myself!) and different ways to market their books using social media. We also talked about holding ‘author events’ and building an email list to use when launching a new book. Everyone pretty much agreed it was a waste of money to purchase a mailing list and was ultimately best to build relationships first before trying to sell your product.

Getting book reviews was the next item of discussion: how to solicit these and how to find online reviewers who would be willing to do this for you. We also heard about the benefits of using a survey which could be sent to readers/purchasers of your book and how positive reviews on the survey could be repurposed on the back cover.

In conjunction with the effort involved with creating a press kit, which could be uploaded to your author website, we talked about using Amazon’s marketing series – a little pricey perhaps but which one author stood behind saying it doubled his sales. Facebook ads were also discussed as well as other forms of online advertising.

In conclusion, each author told us what they considered the best thing that came out of their being authors:

1. One author talked about converting his online advertising into revenue.

2. A second said he enjoyed giving presentations and meeting the public.

3. A third said she loved getting positive reviews of her books.

4. And the fourth said she liked being visible and developing camaraderie with her audience and vendors.

As always, I could have stayed way longer than the hour and a half this seminar took because it was so refreshing to connect with other writers and learn from those who have had success in related areas of business.

I want to thank the Publishers Association of Los Angeles (PALA) which puts on innovative and highly-formidable seminars each month for the general public. My deepest appreciation goes to moderator Robin Quinn, a fellow writer, editor and book coach, nonfiction book coach and author Carol J. Amato who is also the owner of Stargazer publishing; Christopher J. Lynch – author of the award winning “One Eyed Jack” series, Derek Doepker, author of six best-selling personal development books; and the award winning children’s book author Alva Sachs. You guys made my night and with your wise counsel, I will be better.

Pat Kramer, aka “Writer For Hire®” is a professional writing service for business professionals, providing high quality, consistently high-rated content to advertise, promote, or market companies’ services and products. Additionally, Pat Kramer provides ghostwriting and publicity services for authors and writes personal memoirs for individuals who want to have a record of their life’s experiences. For more info, please visit: https://www.writerpatkramer.com.  

 

A Pioneer on the Island of Catalina in 1900

Writing can be such a cathartic experience when looking back on your own life – or in the case of Susan Keys, remembering the life of her grandmother, Julia Vera Keys, an early pioneer on the island of Santa Catalina.

When my close friend, Susan Keys, mentioned that her grandmother was born on Catalina Island in 1900, the journalist and news writer in me instantly came out. I knew this was a story I needed to work on and create – and that’s what I did.

Susan’s grandmother, Julia, was one of four children born to Alma and Julius Splittsoesser from 1900 – 1910 when Julius was the foreman of the rock quarry operating on Catalina Island, 20 miles off the coast of Southern California. At that time, there were no other children or families living on the northeast end of the island and no schools, hospitals or stores. In fact, few people lived on the island at all during that time period. The Splittsoesser children were, most likely, born at home then homeschooled, living an isolated, subsistence lifestyle with few toys or treats and only each other for company.

As Susan recounted her early memories of her grandmother, I began asking her further questions about her family and more memories came forward. With her stories and additional research I was able to do, with the help of the Catalina Island Museum, I created a short, ten page story that led from one generation to another with a common theme throughout them all.

Everyone has a story to tell – it’s just a question of which stories you want to recall and memorialize about yourself and others who have had a profound effect on your life. While many people have interesting stories, it’s always sad when they pass on without having shared them with others.

Writing one’s memoirs doesn’t have to be a long process – it can be done over a few week’s time. It also doesn’t have to be tedious. When I write stories for others, I ask the questions and they just need to provide me with responses. They can tell me as much or as little as they want. Sometimes, what they don’t say is as important as what they do say.

Memoir writing is beneficial to the person whose telling the story as it allows them to reflect on their life and to see how rich a life they’ve led, even if they haven’t achieved all of their goals and dreams. And even if someone is writing their memoir for themselves, and not for a wider audience – it provides time for them to reflect on their accomplishments and to relive happy, loving memories. In Susan’s case, we were able to bring not only Julia to life, but Julia’s parents, sisters and children through these stories.

As for me, I was pleased to be able to write about the life of this wonderful, young woman, and recognize her as one of the early pioneers on Santa Catalina Island at the turn of the century. There weren’t many stories written about women from that time – not like we have today. Stories are ageless and so beneficial to learning where our values come from and who we are, as a result of those who came before us and many are waiting to be told.

For more information, please visit: www.writerpatkramer.com.

My Family’s History: The Morochnicks of Massachusetts

Introduction:

This is the story of my maternal grandmother, Anna Morochnick Kramer, her family – the Morochnicks of Massachusetts – and the values they taught me that stay with me to this day.

This story is the combined result of many months of research on Ancestry.com, phone calls and extensive interviews with members of my family, some who I met while on this journey. With their help, I have sorted out conflicting facts and built a series of stories about each character (yes, they were “characters!”) to resurrect our family tree. This is a multi –layered story that includes everyone’s perceptions, opinions, thoughts and maybe facts about what life was like – over 100 years ago – when the “original” Morochnicks set foot on Ellis Island. Some started their transcontinental voyage from Russia by foot, horse and buggy or train to the docks in England where they boarded a steamer to America. Others came via China, Israel, Canada and other parts. Together, they built this family and its descendants.

From what I have been able to establish, life back then was incredibly difficult and money was scarce. Yet, the family stayed closer than we do today (even with all our devices to help us do so) based on a mutual love, respect and a genuine interdependency that existed between family members living in close quarters in a strange country that was often hostile to Jews.

My story is just that – my story. It is a compilation of many remembrances of people to whom I am very grateful for their time, willingness to share information, and the desire to have our family’s history set down on paper so future generations can know from whence we came.

Chapter 1:

My grandmother’s father, Boroch (Barney) Morochnick, was born in the Ukrainian village of Shepatovka, as were five of his seven kids. Barney or “Zeide,” as he was known (1877 – July 1956), died a year before I was born. His wife, “Bubbi” or Sarah Ainbender Morochnick, gave him seven kids then died at the age of 66 (1878 – 1944).

Zeide Morochnick came to the U.S. by himself at age 27 on June 11, 1904. It took six years for him to send for his wife and five kids to come to America in 1909. This included my grandmother, Anna Morochnick, who was eight when she arrived at Ellis Island with her mother and four brothers: Abe, Louie, Isaac and Murray. After settling into their first home, an apartment in the old West End of Boston by the Esplanade, they moved into their longtime home at 99 Winthrop Street in Roxbury (now an African-American neighborhood).

Although I never got to meet my great – grandfather, I often heard tales about Zeide Morochnick. We knew that he had two brothers in the U.S., Max (Mottel) and Shia, but he may also have had two sisters, and a brother who was deaf-mute, who stayed behind in Russia. Barney’s father (my great, great grandfather) was known as Yankul David (Yankul is English for Jack.) His mother’s name was Tabila (Thelma). We believe that Thelma and David never left Russia.

Chapter 2:

MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER, “BUBBI MOROCHNICK”

(Photo: Sarah Morochnick with Isaac Morochnick)

Sarah Ainbender Morochnick was born in Beresdiv, Russia. Sarah had two brothers – both named Samuel. One later became known as “Fehter” (Yiddish for uncle) Sucha, a Kosher butcher and cantor in Boston; the other brother was known as Sam Aines. (Sarah may have also had two sisters who stayed in Russia).

Sam Aines was fondly remembered by the Morochnicks as a wonderful man. He married a woman named “Goldie” and they had three sons: (Isador) Joseph Aines, Maurice Aines and (Adolph) Andrew Aines. Andrew, who married Bea and lived in North Springfield, Virginia, was said to have worked for the State Department in some high-ranking position at the Pentagon. Joseph was married to Virginia (“Ginnie”) and they lived in Sharon, Massachusetts. Maurice also lived in Sharon but no one seems to remember much about him or his family.

Samuel “Fehter Sucha” Ainbender married Zelda (Celia) Kauffman and settled in Peabody, Massachusetts where they had five kids: Sarah, Abraham, Louis, Sol, and Hyman. During my search on ancestry.com, I met my third cousin, Ellen Zirin, who was Abraham Bender’s grandchildren (after shortening his last name).

Ellen provided me with a wealth of information about her family, who we never knew.  She and I have since become friends and actually got to meet in person in 2015 on one of my trips back to Massachusetts.

Her grandfather, Abe Bender, married Frances Abrams and they had three kids – Louise, Ralph and Ann Gail. Louise and her husband, Philip Epstein, were Ellen’s parents.

Back to my Great Grandmother Sarah: By all accounts, was not a healthy woman. My 3rd cousin, Sylvia Loman, recalls that she suffered from asthma and as such, everyone was instructed not to smoke around her. My 2nd cousin, Jerry Curley, who grew up in the same house with Bubbi and Zeide, had this memory:

“My grandmother was always leaning against one of those big, black pot-bellied stoves. She would make me fried latkes in the morning and we’d sit and talk, but she was a very sick woman. She had a bad heart, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Bubbi was a very quiet, gentle woman and though full -bodied, she was weak and frail so she spent quite a bit of time in bed. When she was up, for family occasions, I always remember her wearing a housecoat.”

Chapter 3: 

SARAH’S BROTHER FEHTER (ISSACHER) SUCHA

Fehter Sucha, the Kosher butcher, was mentioned every now and then by my father, Lester Kramer, and my Uncle Arnie Kramer. They talked about him being a very traditional Eastern European Jew who was kind of scary and shouted in Yiddish when he spoke.

Ellen had similar memories of her Great Grandfather: “He died in 1963 when I was 15, so I have memories of him. He had this big, long white beard and he used to wear a black silk kippah (skull cap). He was scary. I believe he spoke English but not willingly; mostly he spoke Yiddish. When I saw him he was either in his butcher shop or praying. I remember going to their home in Peabody for different Jewish holidays. They lived in very small quarters; their dining table was basically in his bedroom and he was reclining (as you are supposed to do on Passover). I don’t believe I ever had a conversation with him but I remember that I disliked it when he kissed me, and to this day, I detest beards because of his.”

As for her grandfather, Abraham Bender, Ellen says, “He was bald and he owned a liquor store that my father worked at on Main Street in Peabody. I went in there often and when he came to visit me, he always brought Beechnut gum. He had a beautiful voice but what I remember most about him is that he refused to speak Russian because he left the country under fear of probably being conscripted and he didn’t want to recall Russia. He was here in America and he was American; that was it.”

Chapter 4:

ZEIDE’S BROTHER: MAX (MOTTEL) MOROCHNICK

After Zeide arrived in America, he sent for his brother, Mottel, who was known as “Max.”  Max eventually married Anna Behm, a Polish Jew, and they had two daughters, Mary and Sylvia. Max’s family lived at 57-55 Lucerne Street in Dorchester in a three-story building that housed six families. Sylvia, who is now 89, says her father occasionally spoke with contempt about Shepatovka, the community he was forced to flee due to pogroms, which were quite common in the early 1900’s.

“My father was a handsome guy with black hair and blue eyes,” says Sylvia, “very typical Russian looking. He was the most gentle soul and of high integrity and moral character. Like many of the Morochnicks, he was a Union housepainter. During the winter he didn’t work much, so money was very, very scarce, but I never thought I was poor because we always had food. I do remember, however, that one year, my father told me and my sister Mary to write to Santa Claus for toys – and on Christmas morning, there were toys – this from a man who was a member of the Reform Synagogue!”

Locally, Max was a member of the Shepatovka cemetery keepers. When he died, Sylvia received a telegram from the Independent Sons of Shepatovka acknowledging his loss. Max only lived to be 69. He died of a heart attack in 1958 brought on by years of heavy smoking. Max is buried with the rest of the Morochnicks in West Roxbury beside his mother, father, and brothers: Shia and Barney.

Max’s oldest daughter, Mary, married David Berlyn and the two lived in Tarrytown, NY. Mary lived to be 83 after surviving breast cancer for twenty years. Their daughter, Debra, has two daughters, Anna and Katie, while their son Steven lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Max’s younger daughter, Sylvia, (who was my dad’s 3rd cousin) married Mel Loman and had two sons and a daughter. After 55 years of a loving marriage together (including a rededication ceremony for their 50th anniversary), he passed away in 2009. They had two sons, Harold and Lee, and a daughter, Marci. Harold is divorced with a son, Kyle, and a daughter, Taylor. Lee and his wife had two children: Sam and Carly (an Emerson graduate like me!). Their daughter, Marci, married David Cohen and had two children, Douglas and Lauren.

Chapter 5: 

SYLVIA MOROCHNICK LOMAN

 Sylvia Loman is the last remaining Morochnick of that generation. Meeting her has been one of the highlights of my research into my family roots. Sylvia is an active senior citizen who uses Skype and Facebook, as well as email, to keep in touch. We spoke about her memories of my great-grandmother, Bubbi Morochnick, in whose lap she remembers sitting when she was a little girl. She loved her aunt very much for it was she who brought her parents together:

“My grandfather – my mother’s father – was a religious Jew and just before my parents first met, he was run down in the streets of Skokie, Illinois by the KKK and killed. After this tragedy, my mother went into mourning – and it was at this time that my father first met her, all dressed in black. My father told his sister-in-law, my Auntie Sarah, that he thought my mother was very pretty but she wasn’t interested in going out with him. After about a year, Auntie Sarah told my father to go see her again. Back then there were no phones and it was proper to have someone announce your visit before you arrived. So Auntie Sarah sent her two little girls, Sophie and Jenny, to the house where my mother lived to tell her that their uncle wanted to see her. When he arrived at her house, my mother’s heart was beating so fast that it led to a romance that lasted for many years. While they didn’t have much money, they were deeply in love.”

Her mother, Anna Behm Morochnick, lived to the age of 75. After Max died, her daughter moved her to a senior development in Peabody where she lived for the last five years of her life. Although she was the only Jewish resident there, she was well-loved for her easy going personality.

Sylvia, who was 26 years younger than my Nana, was raised with my father’s generation. As a young woman, she wanted to be a cantor but her father discouraged her telling her she would never “wear the robe,” so she never pursued her knowledge of Hebrew. However, in her later years, she came back to it and at the age of 85, she completed Hebrew school and got to carry the Torah at her temple. Says Sylvia, “I sang in my temple choir for 20 years but I never learned Hebrew. Learning Hebrew and going to Israel were big turning points in my life.”

Sylvia’s sister Mary also achieved her educational aspirations later in life, enrolling in college at age 50 where she earned a teaching degree and a Master’s degree. She was working toward her Ph.D. when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but survived to live another twenty years.

Chapter 6:

SHIA, MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER’S MYSTERIOUS BROTHER

Shia, Zeide’s brother, came over last to America after his brothers paid for his passage from Israel. The story is that Shia had escaped from a work camp in Siberia. Sylvia Loman recalls Uncle Shia telling her that he had climbed over an electrified fence to escape and didn’t know why he hadn’t been electrocuted.

After making his way to Shanghai, Shia married and had a son, Alex, who was later killed during a bombing. It’s unknown what happened to his wife – whether she also died in that bombing. He later married, Sima, who he met in Israel after making his way there from China. Sima had a son, Abraham, who took on the name Morochnick. (My Cousin Ruthie says Abraham later showed up on the doorstep of Zeide’s home, years later).

After arriving in America, Shia worked with Murray Morochnick, painting and providing maintenance services for an apartment complex. Jerry “Curley” Morochnick remembers: “Shia was good friends with Murray; the two worked hand-in-hand together. They were like Laurel and Hardy but they got along well.”

Shia lived in the attic of Jerry’s family’s home at 99 Winthrop Street. While Shia was residing there, his wife Sima was living in Canada waiting to enter the U.S. to join him, but due to immigration restrictions, had to stay there for many years.

Cousin Sylvia remembers Sima as a nice, soft-spoken Russian woman and Shia, as somewhat of a womanizer. “He was not as good looking at my father but he had money. He liked life and he liked women. He was always good to my sister and I and would tell me stories about his servants in Shanghai.”

My own memories are few of my Great Uncle Shia. I remember meeting him at my grandfather’s funeral when I was eleven and being in awe of him after my dad told me that he had escaped from Siberia. I viewed Shia with great respect and regret that I didn’t get to know him better as he was the last of that generation. What I do remember was that one year after Shia died, Sima also died. People told me that she died of a broken heart.

Chapter 7:

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

My Dad’s mother was Anna Morochnick Kramer and her family were a huge part of my early memories of growing up in a large, extended Jewish family. My “Nana” had several brothers and sisters whose names, my brother Bob and I, used to like to memorize: There was Abie, then Louie, followed by my grandmother Annie, Isaac, Murray, Sophie, and Jenny. Everybody was lovingly referred to with an ‘ie’ at the end of their name. (This tradition continued with myself, “Patty,” and my brother “Bobby,” while my sisters Nancy and Julie naturally had the ‘right’ ending – so it didn’t need to be changed).

Friday nights were always spent bringing in the Sabbath with a large dinner at my grandmother’s house at 88 Longfellow Road in Worcester, Massachusetts. My grandmother, like many women of her generation, was a fantastic cook of Eastern European culinary delights. Dinners were several courses long and lasted for hours. They always began with matzo ball soup followed by a green salad, chopped liver and crackers, a tray of pickles and other condiments and Challah. The main course was usually roasted chicken or brisket with potatoes, carrots, onions — and my favorite – mach bones! For dessert, there was always jell with canned fruit or baked apples.

How I enjoyed those Friday night dinners when I was a kid! The men would discuss politics, business and the news, while “we” kids would stuff ourselves to the gills then search for the chocolates that my grandparents hid in their polished wooden armoire.

My other beautiful memories were of walking Reggie, their black toy poodle who I loved so much, and of cutting fresh flowers from my Nana’s vibrant and aromatic gardens. My grandmother was a very skilled gardener and her gardens were always full of beautiful flowering plants including three, tall lilac trees that rose to the second story of their home outside of my Aunt Ronnie’s bedroom windows. The lilacs were lavender, white and purple and their aroma was intoxicating to me as a child.

For Sabbat dinner, my grandfather, Harry Kramer, was always seated at the head of the table with my dad, Lester, and my Uncle Arnie seated on either side of him. My Aunt Ronnie was living in New York (and later, Los Angeles) at that time so we only got to enjoy her presence on special occasions. But I remember that she would call, long distance, all the way from wherever she was and everyone in the family would take turns speaking to her. Back then, it was very expensive to speak to someone long distance so the calls were often abbreviated to “Hello Patty. How are you? Do you like school? Okay let me speak to your Dad now.”

My “Papa,” Harry Kramer, was only in my life until I was eleven but my memories of him are large and well established in my memory. He had a great sense of humor and spoke with a Russian accent. He was kind to me, loving and protective & I loved him like I loved no one else.

Chapter 8:

FAMILY VISITS

When the entire Morochnick clan was present, my grandmother’s home really came to life. It was noisy, the men were smoking cigars or pipes, the women were sharing stories in the kitchen, and Aunt Ida was usually playing the piano and singing. Those memories of family gatherings are most precious to me.

My grandmother, Anna, was very family-oriented. Everyone who knew her always mentioned how she would keep in touch by phone and by mail with everyone, never forgetting birthdays or anniversaries. She really valued the family bonds and instilled those same values in all of us.

At any family gatherings there were always a lot of people in the house. As kids, we weren’t all that interested in talking to the adults, so we would sneak away on an exploratory trip to the attic, which was only accessible from my Uncle Arnie’s bedroom. It was dusty with creaky floorboards but contained real ‘gems’ from WW2 (his Army uniform and various weapons). It was definitely a great place to hide out and let our imagination run wild!

The other great playroom was my grandparents’ cellar which contained a large family

room with a full bar, an antique telephone that hung on the wall and high, red barstools. Often, we kids would play ‘bartender’ and pretend to be mixing drinks for each other – although I don’t think we actually opened any of the bottles.

Besides the main room (or rumpus room, as my grandmother called it), was the room that contained the furnace, which was dark and scary. I only went in there when we were playing ‘Hide and Seek’ and then only for a short period of time as I believed my brother’s tales that it contained ghosts or demons and that they were going to ‘get me’ if I went in there alone.

The final room in the basement was the laundry room, which was the ending point for a chute that started on the second floor of the house, directing dirty laundry down to the basement where it landed in a cart by the washing machine. This made for a great play-tool for my brother, sister and I. Often, one of us would run upstairs and stick our head in the chute and the others would wait down below to see if we could see them. We also would toss items down the chute on whomever was waiting below, not suspecting that the balled up toilet paper was coming their way until it hit them square in the face!

My Cousin Steve Morochnick Curley recalled: “The house at 99 Longfellow Road with curling steps that led to the attic was filled with Arnold and Lester’s comic book collections. They had tons of funny books and we could sit and read for a long time!”

He adds, “You’re grandmother was a great cook and Sunday in Worcester was a great treat for all the Mishpocha from Boston, cause we knew we would get great food and desserts.  And Uncle Harry was the best joke teller (sometimes even a little racy with spicy Russian words).”

This story continues for about another 20 pages, but because it is about living people’s personal information, I will end this story here, as this is just an example of the type of family histories I create as a writer.

ALL I WANT FOR BREAKFAST IS TOAST WITH SLICED CHEESE: A TRIBUTE TO MY DAD

As I was eating my toast with sliced cheese this morning, I had a flashback to my dad, Lester Kramer, sitting across the table from me at his home in Framingham, Massachusetts ten years ago. My dad was sick with cancer and nearing his last year of life, but I remember so well his simple contentment with a breakfast of toast and sliced cheese. I realized in that moment that I had taken on some of my dad’s habits – not only his culinary “likes” but his speech and expressions, and also his appreciation for nature, birds, and the beauty that one tends to see when we aren’t preoccupied with everything else in our busy lives.

But getting back to the toast, I started thinking about the different kinds of toast my dad loved: light rye, dark rye and pumpernickel – all reflections of his early life in Worcester, MA during the depression years. It was a very different time: loaves of bread probably sold for ten cents and sitting at the table with your family in the morning and having breakfast was a real event.

I thought about how my dad and my grandfather tried to pass on these traditions to me by taking me, as a small child, to Water Street – then, the Jewish commercial section of Worcester, where there were two bakeries (Lederman’s and Widoff’s), a produce market (Sheppie’s), and two good delis (The Broadway and Weintraub’s). I have fond memories of shopping for produce with my grandfather when I was six or seven years old.

Many years later, I got one of my earliest jobs working at Widoff’s Bakery as counter help. It didn’t last long – maybe three months – but I got to be a part of what was a very important business in my community and of course, I got to learn humility by working very hard for minimum wage!

What I know now, as an adult, is that bakers are a very unrecognized and under-appreciated profession. These are people who are up at 3 a.m. to bake fresh bread, muffins, pastries and other delicacies that we take for granted. They don’t make much money and it’s very hard work as well as very long days.

So today, I’m reflecting on the memories I still hold dear from my childhood of that time from the past when my dad and I got to share breakfast and he commented that all he really wanted for breakfast was a piece of toast with cheese (not melted) and a sliced orange – and that was enough.

Today, I’m so grateful that I can relive these memories. They are all valuable reference points to who I am as a person and the values I carry forward.

–       ###-

Pat Kramer, aka “Writer For Hire,” is a professional business writer, ghostwriter, and content & social media writer who helps individuals better express themselves and improve the visibility of their business branding campaigns. For more info, see: www.writerpatkramer.com.

Animal Lovers Pull Together for an Abused Dog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

For more info. please contact:

Pat Kramer, (818) 353-5699

Pat@writerpatkramer.com

 

Los Angeles (February 10, 2010) – “Toto,” a 7-year old Chihuahua/Schipperke mix, spent his life tied up in a locked garage before a neighbor alerted L.A. City Animal Control.  He then spent another five months sharing a kennel with three other dogs at the West Valley Animal Shelter before a concerned dog lover noticed him and initiated a massive media campaign to find this dog a home.

Writer For Hire Pat Kramer spotted the 14-pound Chihuahua mix with the ‘huge eyes’ last November while visiting the Shelter to adopt another dog.  At that time, “Toto” was on the shelter’s ‘Green List,’ one step away from being euthanized.  Due to being kept in the dark for so many years, his little eyes bulged from exposure to sunlight.  But according to the Shelter’s staff, he was one of the sweetest, most loved dogs there.

Pat recalls, “With the number of dogs needing a home, I was afraid he might get ‘put down’ before I could help him.”

When she returned to adopt him a few weeks later, Toto had kennel couch and was not expected to survive.  However, a few weeks later, he pulled through and on January 5th, Pat began fostering him at her home until a permanent home could be found.  “I was intent on seeing this through,” she says, “no matter how inconvenient it might be.”

To help her along, the local animal rescue foundation, New Leash on Life, pitched in donating a sleeping crate for Toto.  To help socialize him, Jami, a local animal trainer, began teaching him basic social skills.

Over the next few weeks, Toto’s photo and story were posted by on Facebook, Craigs List, and animal rescue sites: New Leash on Life, Second Acts Foundation and Pet Adoption Fund with  Animal Control Officer Gabi Hartel and Mae Ross of 321 Talent Showcase helping with the postings.  Through these efforts, thousands of people were acquainted with Toto’s plight and on January 26th, a local family adopted him.

Today, as a result of many people working together, Toto is now a ‘pet’ for the first time in his life.  No longer tied up or left alone, he has a family to love.

Says Pat, “In the process of helping this little guy, I became aware of the many wonderful people out there who give of their time to rescue unwanted pets.  These people are real ‘saints’ for what they do!”

She adds, “For those who can adopt, please do so now. It’s so critical that these animals get some help.  The love you get back will more than compensate for your costs — and as we know– no act of kindness goes unpaid, especially as it relates to animals.”

Addendum: In April 2017, Pat learned that Toto passed away recently from a heart condition. But during the six years that he lived with his “forever family,” Toto was one of the most loved pets, ever. He grew to love his “little sister,” a Chihuahua, and had a fenced yard to play in and a bed to sleep on inside his family’s San Fernando home.

–       ###-

Pat Kramer, a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, is the founder of Writer For Hire® and a proponent of animal rescue work and charities supporting humane treatment of animals.

Writer For Hire® Pat Kramer to Share Life Journey with Los Angeles’ Inner – City High Schoolers

Media Inquiries:  For more information, please contact: Pat Kramer

818 353-5699 pat@writerpatkramer.com

Los Angeles, CA (March 23, 2016) – Writer For Hire Pat Kramer, a veteran business copywriter and ghostwriter, today announced that she will share highlights of her 30 year career journey with inner city high school students at Oscar de la Hoya High School on Wednesday, April 20 and at Animo Inglewood High School on May 18th.  The two, one hour presentations are in partnership with the Youth Business Alliance (YBA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on bringing critical 21st century business skills and perspectives into the classroom. Pat will be presenting tips on how she went from a “wanna-be writer” in high school to a professional journalist and corporate copywriter in Los Angeles.

The Youth Business Alliance invited Ms. Kramer to share her experiences and achievements over the time she has built her career in an effort to provide high school students with a broader perspective of what it takes to be successful. The YBA was formed in 2012 with one disadvantaged school and has since grown to include 14 high schools serving roughly 350 disadvantaged students each year through its year-long after school course “Introduction to Business & Careers.”

Pat started her career as a radio news broadcaster and journalist working for radio stations in New England. To get her foot in the door of this incredibly limited and competitive industry, Pat had to work every shift around the clock, including all-night at one radio station in Newport, Rhode Island and then a split-shift at the next where she covered both “morning drive time” and “afternoon drive time.”

“I have never worked as hard in my life as I did at the start of my career,” says Pat, who notes that hard work and determination are the winning formula for anyone starting out in the job market. “Most people in their early ‘20s opt out when the going gets tough, but I stuck with it and advanced in my career to the point where I eventually got to call the shots.”

Looking back on her career of 30+ years as a news writer, ghostwriter, and marketing and public relations consultant, Pat believes the challenges she faced led to a tenacity that has helped her succeed in business when other writers have closed down their shops. “I believe all the challenges I have had to face ultimately gave me a wealth of experience in life and now, I’m giving back by helping the youth of today get started on their own career path.”

Speaking before the public is not new to Pat. Over the years, she has presented workshops and seminars for business leaders in a wide variety of industries on how to better communicate their branding messages by using news-oriented press releases, professionally-written articles for trade publications, and blogs on the social media. Pat is a recognized business leader and an active member of her business community in Sunland-Tujunga. She is also an advocate for humane treatment of animals and the ghostwriter of several books and memoirs.

For more information, please visit: www.writerpatkramer.com

About Writer For Hire 

Writer For Hire® Pat Kramer specializes in developing informational, editorial, promotional and ghostwritten content for companies and individuals all over the world. Her press releases have helped first-time authors reach “best seller” status on Amazon.com, while her media outreach campaigns have elevated formerly unknown business professionals to “thought leaders” in their industries. Known as Writer For Hire® since 1990, Pat has written more than 1,000 articles for local, national and well respected industry publications.

 

 

A January Day in Ventura

I had an early morning planned – I had to meet three others in Ventura that morning at 7:30 which required a brutally early wake u12552564_10208379091104706_7858708128725881016_np call for the 65 mile drive. Knowing that I had to get up before the crack of dawn, I slept fitfully. I was awake and up at the time I needed to leave to avoid the throng of rush hour commuters between the east San Fernando Valley and Ventura.

As the sun rose in the east behind me, I glanced up at my rear view mirror and admired the perfection of the new day. Driving along, I serenely watched the scenery change from the clusters of houses in suburbia to the wide open green, agricultural landscape.

Ventura is the essence of a writer’s dream: There’s the sound of the waves crashing, the soft cushiony steps of sneakers in the sand, and the greenery of flowers, citrus and other plants fed12439500_10208379090704696_3101421248981961290_n by the constant moisture in the air. This magical setting with its restful beauty in all directions inspires me to write. There’s more natural light here, it smells good, it’s free from a lot of the noise in the city, and time seems to tick by slower here. Well known as a dog-friendly county and a surfer’s paradise, Ventura also provides a laid-back business climate, and that’s what I was here to pursue.

Moving through each of my meetings that day, I stopped to appreciate the circumstances that brought me here. Somehow, it’s easier to be more open and optimistic when you feel good – and Ventura County, with its beaches, mountains, and quaint settings always revitalizes my spirit.12512318_10208379089584668_8418675197377193760_n

After my work was done, I joined a friend at her beachside abode and we took a stroll down several narrow alleyways where hidden gardens greeted us with magical bursts of color and scent. Along the beach, the blazing yellow winter sun was getting ready to set into the ocean as I watched a parasailer soar overhead. Looking down, I spotted a perfectly-formed, heart-shaped rock , which to me was saying, “Life is for those who choose to live.”  I bent down and put it in my pocket to help me remember what it CAN be like when I need a break from the hum-drum rhythms of life.

 

 

My Holiday Story: Bobs Watson, Child Actor Remembered

BobsAs a writer, my job is to tell stories and I’ve told thousands of them over my 30+ year career. But one of the most memorable ones was that of Bobs Watson, a former Hollywood child actor -turned – minister, who I got to interview in 1997 for a feature piece in the Los Angeles Times.

Bobs was an endearing character and had led a very interesting life, having appeared in over 125 films before the age of 10. His most memorable role was in the 1938 MGM classic, “Boys Town,” playing “Pee Wee” opposite Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. That role led to an ongoing friendship with the Academy Award – winning Tracy and a later career choice to enter the ministry where he served for 30 years.

When I met him, he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was reflective about his life’s choices. From that interview, a friendship ensued between us until his death two years later. I have two outstanding memories of Bobs during that time.

The first was when I invited him to a Holiday party that my boyfriend and I were giving at the Pasadena Doubletree Hotel the week of Christmas. The hotel was all decked out with holiday lights and a beautiful lighted tree with ornaments emblazoned the lobby. Bobs arrived late wearing a long Santa Claus beard from a role he was playing in a local play. Our guests all surrounded him for the rest of the evening to listen to him tell story after story about what it was like to be part of the Golden Age of Hollywood during his celebrated movie career. Bobs entertained our guests, as only an actor can, and I could tell he reveled in the attention he received as the most celebrated person at our party!

About six months later, when the cancer began affecting his state of mind, I convinced Bobs to come over to my house for a paper-making session. I had started making my own handmade paper with dried flowers, pine needles, and small shells embedded in the fabric of the paper. Bobs was fascinated with this process and we worked together for hours making new sheets.

About two weeks later, he returned to my home bearing a beautiful personal gift. In an ornate, wooden – framed picture holder, he had enclosed a sheet of the paper he had made with the following inscription:

“From nothingness I came — yet my spirit blossomed into an intangible bouquet because of you!!” That gift meant more to me than anything I could ever express. Bobs struggled the last year of his life, choosing not to get medical treatment to extend his life, but rather, to go the natural route with hospice. It was hard to watch that process take place. I wanted him to fight for his life but I had to respect my friend’s wishes. On June 27, 1999 at the age of 68, Bobs met his Maker.

For the past 16 years, I have kept that framed gift on my desk where I can look at it each day and remember the kind soul that Bobs Watson was and the value of the friendships we make. Despite any age, cultural, or other disparate barriers we perceive, connecting with others and sharing our love and support, whenever possible, is what I believe gives life its meaning.

To read the Los Angeles Times story I wrote about Bobs Watson in 1997, please go to:

http://articles.latimes.com/print/1997-06-01/entertainment/ca-64393_1_boys-town

Inspiring the Generation of Tomorrow

Pat teachingOn December 14, 2015, I was invited to speak to a class of high schoolers at the Alliance Susan & Eric Smidt Tech High School in Los Angeles on what it took for me to build my career as a writer. The students numbered about 20 and each had questions about my work, my clients, my pay scale and the different jobs I had to take before I “made it” as a professional business writer and ghostwriter. It was interesting to listen to their questions and to watch their reactions as I talked about “paying my dues” over the course of my 30+ year career.

The presentation I gave was set up by a non profit called the Youth Business Alliance, which organizes guest speakers for high schools in low income areas of Los Angeles. The students are all high achievers who are interested in pursuing careers with or without a college degree. From meeting them, I was able to see that these kids were intelligent and motivated but may be financially challenged.

I shared with them my journey from my first job as a 3rd shift radio news announcer/news writer at a small radio station in Newport, Rhode Island to writing for top business publications like  Variety and the Los Angeles Business Journal, and being hired by a travel company to take an all expense paid trip to Italy for 12 days in 2007.

What I hope I imparted to these students is that hard work really does pay off and to go for their dreams, even if others challenge them or try to talk them out of succeeding.

To volunteer to be a speaker for high school students in L.A., please go to: www.youthbizalliance.com. I think you’ll find it a great way to give back.