Sunday, July 16, 2017


February 10, 1990
     With Ed Brecher's help, I had just completed 100 pages of a sort of memoir when he committed suicide.  He had been in failing health, was losing his eyesight, and believed in the right to exit life when it was no longer bearable.  It was devastating news.
     The best therapy after such a crushing loss was to change gears and immerse myself in writing a second workbook based on Mother's poems.  But in November I picked up the threads of my other book and decided to send the five chapters to Roger Donald, Ed's former Little, Brown editor in New York.
     Weeks went by. Finally I got through by phone to Mr. Donald and learned he had never heard of me or my book but said he would track it down and get back to me.
     A few days later he called and said, "I found your book and I love it." To which I replied, as who wouldn't: "My Gawd!" He said to give him a few weeks, as he wasn't sure how to go about publishing a book with such an unusual format. A week later he called and said flatly, "I'm going to publish your book."
     At sixty-eight years of age, I hung up the phone and began leaping around my condominium like a drunkenly garrulous gazelle, crying oh wow, oh gosh, I can't believe this! I called Kathie, but she was at a meeting, so I raved some more to the pictures on the wall and executed a few more dance steps. When I finally reached Kathie at home, we rejoiced together. I thought of Mom's poem about sadness and joy.
                                                       Sorrow lives behind a wall.
                                                       Alone, the heart can bear it;
                                                       But gladness cannot live at all
                                                       Unless there's one to share it.
     Rhyme Time, based on 19 of Ernestine's poems, is slated for publication in 1991. My talented friend Grace Lawrence will again be the illustrator.

     I don't know when I'll have definite news about the Little, Brown adventure but meanwhile, what pipe dreams I'm having . . . my book made into a movie . . . an appearance on Phil Donahue's show. No, that's ridiculous. I'm too much of a scaredy cat even to imagine such a foolish dream. I get all shaky and self-conscious if I have to make a short announcement at a golf club luncheon. Maybe I'll acquire some poise by the time I'm seventy five.                                                  
March 22, 1990
     I just brought the remaining chapters to Colleen Mohyde, the editor I'll be working with at Little, Brown's Boston branch on Beacon Hill. She said she loved every word of what I had previously submitted, so I'm on tenterhooks to hear her reaction to the rest.
     I never expected the twilight of my years to be so rapturous. When doubts about the reality of it all creep into my mind, I can hear Mom's voice urging me to think positively.
     I talked to my New York agent, Don Congdon, and learned he has represented authors like "Bill" Manchester, Ray Bradbury, William Styron, Lillian Hellman, and the guy who wrote Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask.  Don told me this manuscript was first submitted under the title, Beyond the Birds and the Bees. None of the editors thought it was catchy enough. They were all sitting around a table one day when the author, Dr. David Reuben, spoke up and said, “Remember when you people asked me to describe what my book was about? I wrote back and said it was everything you ever wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask.  How would that be for a title?"
     Everyone liked it except Don. "It wouldn't fit on a movie marquee," he said, being a practical, far-sighted man. "Obviously, I couldn't have been more mistaken."     
     Don has unbelievable plans for my book; talks casually about Canadian rights and excerpts for magazines and maybe a movie. When I reported this to Aliceann during my visit to Singer Island, she said: "When they make the movie, I want to play Aliceann."
     I can't think of anyone else who could.  
March 28, 1991 Weymouth
Dear Aliceann,
     Your phone call last night meant more to me than you can imagine. It was as if you were psychic and wanted to reassure me. Kathie had discussed with me the pressure you were under during my visits of the last two years. I knew and could understand your parents' negative feelings about our friendship but hadn't realized your friends felt the same way about "that woman."
     I don’t ever again want to cause you the slightest discomfort. What with a recuperating husband and a calendar crammed with activities, you have enough stress without my piling on more. If I ever visit Singer Island again, I'll stay no longer than a weekend.                                                             
     I just got your phone call.  It didn't change my mind about shortening any future visits but it was certainly comforting. Not that you ever made me feel unwelcome for a moment, bless your generous heart.
     Give my love to our favorite husband.

If any visitor wants to order a copy of this book, please do so via Kathie's blog,  You will see Amazon on the right side.  Many of the copies cost pennies.

  Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2003 
  To: Jeremy Brecher
  Cc: Kathie Malley

  Subject: Edward Brecher
  Dear Jeremy,
          Are you by any chance related to Edward Brecher?  He was the author of many books, including An Analysis of Masters and Johnson's Human Sexual Response. He was my mentor while I was writing Take My Ex-Husband, Please--But Not Too Far, published by Little Brown in 1991.  Sadly, too late, for him to see the fruits of his unstinting help.  It seems to me I remember he had a son named Jeremy.
          As a person passionately opposed to our un-elected president's drive to attack Iraq, I was impressed and hopeful when I read your description of the UN process that might possibly stop the war.  Whether you are my friend's son or not, I congratulate you for your fine article.
Barbara Malley
From: Jeremy Brecher 
Subject: RE: Edward Brecher
Date: Thursday, March 14, 2003 

Dear Barbara,
     Thanks for getting in touch.  Yes, Edward was my father.  I remember well his working on your book.  He would have been delighted to know that it finally appeared.
Best of luck,
To: Jeremy Brecher    Oh Jeremy, how I wish your father's health could have held up for one more year.  It would have been so exciting to call him with this incredible news and thank him a thousand times for his faith and his help.  I'm doubtful about the existence of a soul, but if we have one, mine is reaching out to his and saying, "Bless you, dear best of friends, dear best of editors. . . ."  

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