Thursday, June 26, 2014

G329 Book Review of The Living Memories Project: Legacies that last- Meryn Ain, Arthur M Fischman, Stewart Ain

General Information:

Name of Book: The Living Memories Project: Legacies that Last

ISBN: 978-0-988255-37-1

Publisher: Little Miami Publishing

Year it was published: 2014

For More Information

Overall theme:

"Just as we hoped to honor our mother's essential goodness, cheerfulness, and optimism by writing this book, we hope that every reader can find comfort and meaning through honoring the memory and values, and the positive, never-ending influence, of one no longer there." (6)

Author Information:

Meryl Ain holds a BA from Queens College, a MA from Columbia University Teachers College, and an Ed.D. from Hofstra University. She began her career in education as a social studies teacher before she became an administrator. She is also a freelance writer specializing in issues related to education, families, parenting, and children and has contributed to Huffington Post, Newsday, the New York Jewish Week and The New York Times. She embarked on The Living Memories Project after she lost both her father and mother within a year-and-a-half. She and her husband Stewart live on Long Island and have three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

Arthur M. Fischman holds a BA from Queens College and a JD from Temple Law School.  He is a freelance writer whose video and interactive scripts have won numerous awards, including a Telly, an ITVA Silver Award, and a New York Festivals Bronze World Medal. He co-wrote the award-winning documentary Digital Dharma and has written radio, TV, and print ads for leading consumer product manufacturers.  Arthur is a veteran speechwriter and ghostwriter, and was director of executive communications and internal communications for a Fortune 500 company. He, his wife, and their two daughters live in Philadelphia, where he also writes plays and moonlights as a jazz pianist.      

Stewart Ain is a graduate of CW Post College and holds a MA from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is an award-winning journalist with more than 40 years of experience, and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee three times. He has reported for The New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Jewish Week, Long Island Business News and Lifestyles Magazine. Stewart frequently appears on television and radio, and hosts his own weekly cable TV program, Jewish Life, and has been a regular guest on The Leon Charney Show.   Both his parents died while he was working on The Living Memories Project.

1. Death is Not Fatal

Author: Malachy McCourt 


Written in first person narrative, he shares his views on spirituality and what might possibly happen, as well as bits and pieces of what he went through in childhood.

2. Music and Social Justice

Author: Jen Chapin


She reminisces and talks about the influence her family and her father had on her, as well as they inspired her to volunteer and open up WhyHunger and Long Island Cares.

3. Construcitve Revenge

Author: Robert Meeropol


Robert is the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and he talks about a dream he had of starting the foundation to honor his parents, Rosenberg Fund for Children,  which he does as well as what his foundation does.

4. The Comfort of Memory Quilts

Author: Eileen Belmont


Eileen recounts various projects she has done for her clients when it comes to memory quilts as well as special meanings that the objects have towards people.

5. "The Funniest Woman You've Never Heard Of"

Author: Gary Toll


Gary recounts memories he has of his sister Judy Toll and how much she has meant to him.

6. Appreciating Our Troops

Author: Wolfer Family


Written in second person narrative, the family recounts how their son Stuart has passed away and how they have started a foundation named MSAWI to honor him and to help others.

7. Work, Altruism, Spirituality

Author: Liz and Steve Alderman


Liz and Steve's son Peter Alderman passed away during 9/11 and to honor him, the family set up a foundation named Peter C. Alderman which helps people who experienced terrorism get their lives back.

8. Keeping Memories Fresh and Green

Author: Nick Clooney


Nick Clooney reflects on how his two sisters, Rosemary and Betty have influenced him in life as well as how talented they were.

9. The Sock Puppet that Launched a Career

Author: Ronn Lucas


Ronn recalls how his grandfather influenced him to become a ventriloquist by using a sock puppet when he was a child.

10. "The Rock of Our Family"

Author: Jeannette Martinez


When her daughter Jessica was born with a Down Syndrome, she mourned dreams that wouldn't be materialized, but thanks to her mother G-d rest her soul, she got courage to continue on with life.

11. "Always with Us, Watching Over My Children"

Author: Maryann Stech


Maryann recalls the influence her mother, Rose McDonnell had on her as well as how she influenced the children.

12. 5:20 AM

Author: Andre De Shields


Andre recalls a lover of his, John and the significance of 5:20 AM in his life.

13. Mother and Best Friend

Author: Lynda Johnson Robb


She is the daughter of Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson. She briefly recalls the things she does to keep the mother with her.

14. The Language of Music

Author: Dr. Yeou-Cheng Ma


She is the sister of Yo-yo Ma and she recalls the influence her father had on her and her brother as well as the story of her mentor while she was studying to become a doctor. She encourages people to take time when mourning as well as think about what the loved one wants.

15. "The aim of life is to live"

Author: Ellen Gould


She recalls the deaths that her siblings and her grandparents had on her as well as how it helped to be writing Bubbe Meises, and how she eventually made peace.

16. A Poem, A Daisy, a Wedding Ring

Author: Jillian Levine


In order to recall her mother and the impact she had on her, Jillian shares how she incorporated some of her mom's favorite things in her wedding.

17. Inspiring a Life in Song

Author: Tonia Tecce


Tonia recalls her parents and some memories of the time she was a child with her sister. She also, at the age of forty, decided to make some of her dreams come true. "I celebrate my parents' lives by trying to emulate the goodness that they taught us." (91)

18. A Living Memorial to Victims of Holocaust

Author: Boris Chartan


Boris recalls what happened when the Nazis came over to where he and his family lived, as well as the help his family received and his life after the arrival to America.

19. Preserving Positive Memories Through Memorial Stones

Author: Susan C. Dessel


She recalls some stones she created and how she came to create them as well as special significance they hold for her.

20. Harnessing the Power of Grief

Author: Sherri Mandell


Sherri Mandell's son was brutally murdered and she tells how she kept going on for her children as well as the camp that she created in memory of her son.

21. A Book of Memories

Author: Janine Lavery


When Janine's father passed away, in order for her daughters to have more fond memories, she makes a memory book with her family and her father in it. She also reflects on how much he influenced her and her family members.

22. Comfort Through Community

Author: Leon Charney


Leon discusses the meaning of Kaddish and community and how the two intersect with one another and their importance in life.

23. A Search for Closure

Author: Leslie Rizzo


Leslie's son has passed away due to a condition and in his honor a classmate and a friend arranged for him a scholarship. Leslie meanwhile tries to come to grips on why her son as well as deal with her grief.

24. Hard Work and Laughter

Author: Jack Klugman


Jack Klugman, who has passed away, reflects on how much Tony Randall has meant to him and what he does in Tony Randall's memory.

25. Keeping Ancestors Alive

Author: Arthur Kurzweil


Arthur is a genealogy nut who talks about how he got interested in doing genealogy as well as how it brings closure to some people.

26. "A Small Step"

Author: Stan Gadiel


Stan talks about his friend Chick who passed away from cancer. To honor his friend, he came up with benefits for golf that is best described as blue-collar.

27. A Recipe for Remembering 

Author: Florie Wachtenheim


Florie recalls her mother's influence during Jewish holidays as well as cooking and how the mother is a wonderful woman.

28. The Gift of Unconditional Love

Author: Jodi Kerper


Jodi's mother Gail has passed away and never got her dreams realized, thus later in life in her honor, she and her husband began to raise money towards Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

29. A Grandmother's Wisdom

Author: Hazel Dukes


Hazel recalls her grandmother and the values that she passed on to her and her mother as well as how she best remembers her.

30. Honoring the Founders of Jewish Savannah

Author: Marion Abrahams Levy Mandel


The author relates her personal ancestry through Savanah as well as how her husband and others influenced her to believe in its importance.

31. Reliving TV's Golden Age

Author: Leona Schwartz


Leona is the daughter of Eli Mintz who is from The Goldbergs, a TV show and she tells how her parents influenced her life as well as what he is really like.

32. Babe Ruth: "The Name is Magic"

Author: Linda Ruth Tosetti

She is Babe Ruth's granddaughter and she recalls how she learned some important family secrets as well as trying to get people to see Babe Ruth's humanitarian work and how he is really like instead of how he is portrayed.

Personal Opinion:

Most of the stories are of the wealthy and those who can afford to make grand gestures to remember their loved ones. I really liked the ordinary people stories, in particular by Jillian Levine is my favorite story. I enjoyed reading all of them as well as gaining interesting perspectives people shared on how to remember their loved ones and so forth.

The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last Tour Page:

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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