Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Encourage Young Writers

Thank God it’s Monday, again. I personally look forward to all Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with everyone! Therefore, happy Monday to one and all.



Wednesday is, among other things, Encourage a Young Writer Day, which was something that Mom absolutely loved to do. Writing was never a hobby to Mom. She used to insist that being a writer wasn’t what she did but, rather, who she was and she happily encouraged the same in several young writers.

Beyond our mother-daughter relationship, Mom encouraged my own love for writing throughout my life. One of my favorite and youngest memories of me & Mom is when she taught me how to write the alphabet and my name – from how to hold the pencil to how to draw the letters to how to form the words by putting those wonderful letters together.

There’s an endless list of advice and tips, on the web, for how to do just about anything – but personal encouragement from someone you know (or someone “in-the-know”) has an even more lasting, positive and influential impact.

WRITING it is the easiest part. Knowing how to SELL it is the hard part!’ – Gloria Pitzer


After Dad passed away, I helped Mom rewrite and reformat her favorite, self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (May 1983, 3rd edition) for a new digital generation to enjoy. Thus, we chose a publishing company this time around. We worked closely together on it and I saw her in a whole new light, as she did me.

Our collaboration and partnership, put our mother-daughter relationship on a completely new and different plane, for which I am forever grateful. The more I delved into Mom’s various articles, newsletters, and books for this blog, the more I was inspired and encouraged in my own desires to write more. I can still feel her encouragement, even from beyond.


Recipes and restaurant reviews were not the only things about which Mom professionally wrote. She wrote about many things she thought would interest other people like herself. “Write what you know”, is an old adage (possibly from Mark Twain) that really works.

Basically, that’s how Mom began her writing career and how she continued to succeed with it, as well. Raising a brood of children and the satirical side of family life that goes along with it, balancing homemaking responsibilities and working – these were among Mom’s many article topics. Writing was more than a passion to Mom – it was also her calling.

Mom always had great accomplishments with her writing, which consistently involved food and family in some manner. In the 1950s and 1960s, Mom entered and won many essay contests – some sponsored by radio shows and others she found in newspapers and magazines. She bought her first typewriter with the prize money from a 1963 contest she won.

As a wife and mother, Mom found her family, to be the best subjects from which to draw inspiration for the columns and cartoon panels she developed and syndicated. It kept her writing and drawing and making a living from it for so many decades. She was always very resourceful, artistic and satirically funny in her interpretations of the events in our lives.


As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 83-84)


[Circa 1970s…] THE PRINCIPAL WAS NOT sorry he hired me, for the job required filling in for a teacher who would be out about six weeks due to an auto accident, in which she was injured. I took over her class and initiated a school newspaper while I was there…

That class was a difficult challenge to say the least. Perhaps, I took still another risk though, when I told the class that whatever their ancestors were, whatever their ethnic or religious persuasion was, they could not use such conditions as excuses for not at least trying to develop their individual talents and skills.

It sounded good. The tough kid in the class…[was] amused and decidedly un-interested in anything I could say. He seemed to be in charge and the rest of the students appeared to yield to his lead, so I talked directly to him, but so that the rest of the class could hear.

I told him that calling me a ‘WASP’ was not a description of what I really was. Of course, WASP meant ‘white Anglo-Saxon Protestant’ and it surprised me that he even knew enough to use that term.

He finally shut up and found himself listening to me as I then moved around the classroom telling everybody that it was okay to be sore about not getting a fair break, as long as you didn’t take it out on somebody else.

Since I had their attention, finally, I launched right into a story about my own background and how my mother’s parents were originally German, but they were also Jews, and living in Russia at the turn-of-the-century.

It was dangerous for any Jew in Russia at that time, so much like the story of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, my grandparents with two small children and my grandmother then expecting a third child, took a crowded freighter to America. They couldn’t speak a word of English and had nothing with them but what they could carry by hand.

On the way over, unfortunately, they came down with what [was] suspected to be TB. A few years following the birth of their seventh child, TB finally took my grandmother.

Having settled in Pittsburgh, my grandfather moved on to Cleveland where he hoped to find relatives who would help him with a job and a place to raise the motherless children.

It didn’t work out as he expected, however. The relatives were not where he had last contacted them. The orphanage was overcrowded that he had been directed to, in order to leave the children and seek treatment for the TB that seem to be getting worse for him.

Having been turned away by the orphanage, he was about to leave the children all on a street corner, telling them somebody would come along to help them, but that he had to get his train to the sanatorium that the government was sending him to for help. At that point the nuns were passing by on their usual afternoon walk.

What happened that particular day was rather sketchy in details, since all of the children were then too young to clearly recall it; but apparently, as he left the orphanage and was expressing his despair in tears on the street in front of the school, two nuns were passing by on their way back to the Catholic orphanage down the street.

They stopped long enough to ask if they could be of help, and upon hearing the story from the older children who spoke English and grandpas broken English, they concluded that the children needed to be cared for.

They took the children to the Catholic orphanage, assuring my grandfather that they would see to it that they went to Temple every Saturday, even though they would be in the Catholic schools and living in the dormitories with the other children.

When there was room for them at the Jewish orphanage, they would then be transferred, and the promise was kept. There they all remained until each one turned 16 years of age, only to be dismissed into the world, like a prisoner, with nothing more than a change of clothing and bus fair to the city.

The compassion of those Catholic nuns in the care they gave the children of that Jewish immigrant, when Jews were hated as much as they ever were in this country, kept me from ever harboring feelings of prejudice toward other people due to the religious or racial background.

But there was more in the lessons I derived from my roots, since every one of those seven brothers and sisters became prosperous and famous in their own right.

One became an attorney, another a famous artist, and another manager of an apartment complex, while still another became a fine professional carpenter, and an aunt who danced as a ballerina with a New York ballet company, as well as an uncle who had his own advertising agency.

My mother met my father when she applied for a job as a typist and secretary at his real estate office. My dad was a devout Christian, so when they were married, she easily embraced his faith and was able to pass on to me.

[It was] the best of three worlds, reflecting the Catholic upbringing with Temple under Jewish Sabbath and then the Christian church where the precepts were strictly followed in my parents’ home during my own childhood. The story held the attention of the class just long enough…

By the time I had completed the story, I led directly into an assignment of bringing in an account of each students own background and heritage or family roots with much discussion on their various religious practices and ethnic customs.

It was a successful experience… Until now, I never wrote about this. Perhaps somebody will benefit from knowing about it, however.


The ‘tough kid in the class’, about whom Mom wrote (above), went on to be a writer, himself. He spoke at Mom’s memorial service, telling all of us about the positive impact she had on his life, during his promiscuous teen years and beyond.

He accredited Mom for having influenced him to be a writer (because he might otherwise had chosen a very different path – and not a constructive one). He said he was grateful for the quality time that she spent with him, voluntarily; coaching, counseling, guiding, and encouraging him in his love for writing. By the way, next week is… National Volunteer Week.


In honor of Friday, being National Colorado Day, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Wagon Wheel Lodge Hub Rolls”; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 48).


P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…


April observes, among other things… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Straw Hat Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, Stress Awareness Month, and National Records and Information Management Month.

The first full week of April (7th-13th for 2024) celebrates… National Public Health Week.

Today is also… National All is Ours Day and National Zoo Lovers Day. Plus, as the start of the second business week of April (for 2024) it’s… National Library Week.

Tomorrow is… National Cherish an Antique Day and National Chinese Almond Cookie Day. Plus, as Tuesday of the second week in April (2024), it’s also… National Library Workers Day.

April 10th is… National Cinnamon Crescent Day, National Farm Animals Day, and National Siblings Day. Plus, as the Wednesday of National Library Week (for 2024), it’s also… National Bookmobile Day.


Thursday, April 11th, is… National Cheese Fondue Day, National Pet Day, and National Submarine Day.

Friday, April 12th, is… National Big Wind Day, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, and National Licorice Day. 

Saturday, April 13th, is… National Make Lunch Count Day, National Peach Cobbler Day, and National Scrabble Day.

Sunday, April 14th, is… National Gardening Day, National Pecan Day, National Reach as High as You Can Day, and Look Up at the Sky Day. Plus, as the start of the third full week of April (for 2024), it’s also… National Volunteer Week.


…15 down, 37 more to go!

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