• R.I.P. Susan Mahler Singer, 81, in Jan. (author of "Kenny's Monkey")

    From Lenona@21:1/5 to All on Wed Apr 12 17:44:18 2023

    Most of it:

    Writer and long-time Squirrel Hill (PIttsburgh) resident passed away on January 13, at the age of 81. Suzy was a writer first and foremost and always. In the early 1960s, she wrote a children's book called Kenny's Monkey that was published by Scholastic
    Books and went on to sell more than 1,000,000 copies; the book sales paid for the down payment on the longtime family home on Shady Ave. in 1966. Over the next four decades, she was always writing book drafts or poetry and keeping a journal on the hearty
    IBM Selectric that sat on her desk, or later on the computer that she begrudgingly adopted. She was always ready to share a new poem she had written or to talk about a book she was reading. Suzy was devoted to her two sons, Shepherd (Roee) and Paul, and
    their families. Even as she was losing the ability to have full conversations, she would still end every phone call with "I'm so proud of all you do." Her apartment was full of photos of her two sons and their families, and she always loved getting more.
    Suzy's life was harder than she deserved. When she was a child, her family was riddled with mental illness; when her parents divorced, neither was capable of taking custody so they put her and her sister in an orphanage. When she was about 14 she was
    kicked out of school and her grandmother took her in. She married Marshall Singer when she was only 18 and he was 27; they were divorced by the time she was 35. She was in and out of psychiatric hospitals all her life and held a string of secretarial
    positions until she had to give up work in the early 1990s. In 2015 she suffered an infection and sepsis that dramatically curtailed her abilities, and she ultimately had to give up her apartment and spent the last several years moving through steadily
    rising levels of caregiving. Born and raised Jewish, she spent some time in her 40s exploring other religions, but she ultimately returned to the faith and found a loving home with Congregation Dor Hadash, where she loyally attended for many years. Her
    Judaism was a central part of her identity and her social life...


    She once said:

    "I've had the benefits of the academic life without being in it myself, and thus have had much opportunity for travel in Europe, Central America, and a two-year stay in Southeast Asia. Travel provides a new world view, new tastes, vivid memories. But the
    writer's work is done anywhere, anywhere his energies are taxed, anywhere his mind is stimulated."

    (read-aloud of "Kenny's Monkey," 5:06 minutes)

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