The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.


on February 21, 2012


I once entered a sort of contest – not a contest in the sense of winning  blue ribbon – it was more of a challenge. The challenge was to write a novel in thirty days. LEAH – NOW AND THEN is the result. Leah is every kid’s idea of the perfect grandmother. She is tuned to their interests, knows each kid’s personality as well as her own and takes each of them on a trip when they reach their teen age years. She’s feisty, independent, fun loving. Here is a brief outline of the novel which can be found at free-online-novels.com.


Leah dies at 67. Her will is read and her daughter refuses to sell her mother’s house while her son insists they do so.  The children and grandchildren begin to share memories of their mother and grandmother. Each of these memories is a prelude to the following chapter in which the event occurred.

One grandchild recalls a trip toChinafor the Olympics and that flows into a time when Leah had a Chinese lover.  The heirs discover their mother was a gambler and in the next chapter the reader is taken to a Jai Alai game.  She took one grandson on a tour ofEuropeand inCopenhagenhired an older woman to spend the night with him. Another grandson is an aspiring oceanographer and in the next chapter the reader finds himself in the Galapogos Islands.

The “then” chapters include her relationship with a much younger Black man who is a professor at a local college. They share a love of antiques and cooking and collaborate on a cookbook, assisted by one of her granddaughters. Neither of them care what other people think of their relationship.

There is a wide variety of settings in this novel. In addition to the trips she took with her grandchildren there’s a vividly described antique mall, a game of bridge, kite flying off the bow of a sailboat, an antique auto show.

Rather than elaborate on the above, here is the epilogue and a list of the recipes included.


            Judith and Richard decided not to take the family toIsrael. Instead, together with Zachary and Susan, they took a two week Mediterranean cruise. Judith took half of the pots on her mother’s patio, determined to have a garden as pretty as Leah’s was.  Dinner company is served soup from an antique tureen the size of a football. She wears her mother’s diamond earrings every day.

Susan opted for a Chippendale table and an old Amish rocking chair. She is slowly refinishing them. She bought several blouses and sweaters against which Leah’s amber necklace looks magnificent.

Ben learned something about real estate management pretty quickly. He had to evict the first family to whom he rented Leah’s house. Thereafter, he was more careful about checking references. After a couple of years he owned five such houses.

Miriam rented a bedroom and the updated blue and yellow kitchen in Leah’s house. There she operates her own catering business and tries to find a little time each day to work on her third cookbook. Leah’s aprons hang on hooks by the door and a bookcase houses all of Leah’s cookbooks as well as half of her blue cobalt glass collection.

Rachel played Brahams’ Violin Concererto #3 on the stage of Orchestra Hall. Between rehearsals for her next performance, she teaches the violin to deprived children in inner-city schools. She wears one of Leah’s nightgowns every night.

Daniel became the Assistant Director of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and still dreams of finding the lost continent of Atlantis. Offshore, he keeps a sailboat and often invites bridge playing colleagues aboard for a game.

Aaron sold the London Taxi to Michael and used the funds to buy a sailboat. He completed his education in European history, eventually landing a position as professor at an Ivy League school.

Two young women completed college on grants from the NAACP, funded by Leah. One went on to become a pediatric nurse and the other a teacher of African Studies.

The red Thunderbird won five out of six races with the bright yellow Corvette.

And Michael?  Michael still searches for Leah’s clone.



Asian Dums                                                      Osso Buco

Pike with Garlic Vinegar Sauce             Short Ribs

Spanakapita                                                     Sweet and Sour Meatballs

World’s Fair Chicken                                       Beef Stragonoff

Butternut Squash Soup                         Cardamom Rolls

French Apple Tart                                            Gorgonzola Pasta

Onion Tarts                                                      Oriental Salad


Julie Rose


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