Before our Bennett High reunion in Buffalo in 2015, I had not seen or spoken to Betsy Goldstein since the prom in ‘65. After the reunion, she stayed in touch with regular blog comments and emails. Unable to attend events at my Buffalo 2016 book launch because she was out of the country, she sent apologies, and her neighbors and friends. Strangers approached me at Larkin Square, Talking Leaves, and the Buffalo Public Library with one to several books, saying, “Betsy Goldstein sent me,” “I’m Betsy Goldstein’s neighbor.” And more.
A few weeks ago, she wrote that her book club would be discussing FINDING MR. RIGHTSTEIN the following night. I had a commitment that evening, but told her had she let me know, we could have Skyped. She said she didn’t want to bother me. Bother? It would have been my pleasure and privilege.
Flashback to a prepubescent August upon returning from Camp Tamakwa where I learned (sort of) how to levitate people. I immediately called Betsy and asked if I could come over with a few girls --she’d supply a few others—and we’d levitate her. She was game. I knew she would be. I can’t remember if we got her or the others off the ground (Betsy, Inez, Bette, please write me if you remember) but we laughed ourselves silly in Betsy’s living room that afternoon.
The day after her recent book club meeting, Betsy emailed me the above photo along with the group’s comments and questions. Positive comments, many about the humor and truth telling. Excellent, probing questions about mental illness, my family, dating, film/theater adaptations, and what I learned through my writing.
I’ve been mulling over their questions and hope to respond to Betsy’s people soon. My answers are complex, but a short one here: I learned much about myself, the people I love and loved, and commas.
I’m learning, too, about marketing. It’s surprising. Challenging. Disappointing. Wonderful. I’ve been pissed. Elated. And touched. My instincts were right-on at age 11 when I called Betsy Goldstein to levitate. Mildred in my book would say she's "a gem."