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Mothers and daughters… theme of my next Paris WW2 book and why I wrote it by Jina Bacarr

May 11, 2022 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, women's fiction, Writing tagged as , , , ,

On this Mother’s Day past, I was looking for a pretty graphic of flowers or chocolate or a cute puppy

to post but how to personalize it?

Hmm…

I ate all the chocolate during my marathon writing week finishing my manuscript.

I could buy red roses… or pink… I like yellow…. I couldn’t make up my mind.

And if I went puppy shopping, I’d come home with as many cute puppies as my arms could hold.

Back to square one… how to personalize Mother’s Day?

Especially since my next Boldwood Books novel is about Paris WW 2 is about mothers and daughters. How two daughters (Irish-American and German Jewish) — my heroines — and their relationships with their moms are affected by war.

A topic dear to my heart since I lost my mother many years ago. I had such a wonderful relationship with her. We were so close and, growing up, I adored her. When we lived in Kentucky, she was a model on live TV commercials and I used to race home from grade school to watch her on TV modeling fashion from a local dress shop.

I’ll never forget the day I was watching TV with my sitter and we were waiting to see my mom when we had a major thunderstorm. Powerful winds and a drenching downpour. I was around eleven when lightning struck the tall TV tower and it fell on the TV station… the television went black… pouring rain outside. Telephone lines down. Where was Mom? I panicked when she didn’t come home. My dad came rushing home from work to check on us… what, Mom isn’t here?

He grabbed me and we jammed to the TV station in our old blue Dodge, braving the pouring rain and deep puddles. When we got there, we saw….

Firetrucks… police cars… reporters.

Then someone said a woman had been killed when she was struck by falling debris.

I was a kid, but I never felt such panic cut through me, such anguish that something could happen to my beautiful mom. She was always there for me… we baked cookies together, sewed dresses together… I couldn’t grasp the idea of losing her. It pained me more than anything in my young life.

I turned to see my dad’s face so pale, his jaw clenched… he told me to wait with the police officer while he checked to see–

He left the words hanging…

It was the longest time in my life, waiting….

Then the news.

No, it wasn’t Mom. She came racing back with my father in tow, holding her tight around the waist. I ran into her arms and she hugged me tight… I could feel her trembling. She was wearing a red satin shirtwaist dress she was modeling that day and she was in the makeup room waiting for her cue when the tower fell. She was shaken up, but okay.

A woman who worked there lost her life that day and we cried and said prayers for her and her family. I never forgot it.

The pain and anguish of seeing how quickly you can lose someone so dear to you stayed with me. When I thought about what I wanted to write about for this next book. I decided to explore mothers and daughters during wartime… I begin my story back in 1934 when we meet my two heroines and their mothers and see their relationships grow over the years… the joys, frustrations… growing pains… then war is declared…

I hope you’ll come with me on my journey to publication of this unique World War 2 mothers and daughters story!

And for Mother’s Day?

I decided to post this short video of Mom and me when I was ten. Enjoy!!

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A Simple Truth by Neetu

October 26, 2021 by in category Poet's Day by Neetu Malik tagged as , , , , ,

be happy
she says, her soft arms
hold me as I lean
into them
seeking reassurance
a promise to protect

am I so old, I wonder
to need that which I gave
so freely, assuming
I was the stronger
when she was frail

am I so lucky, I ask
looking at the starry skies
as if the milky way
might hold the answer

but then I stop
look into her eyes
and know
the love of a daughter

© Neetu Malik


Some of Neetu’s Books

THE OCOTILLO REVIEW SUMMER 2018 VOL 2.2

THE POETIC BOND V

Buy now!
THE POETIC BOND V

THE POETIC BOND VI

Buy now!
THE POETIC BOND VI

THE POETIC BOND X

Buy now!
THE POETIC BOND X

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STORIES MY MOTHER TOLD ME

October 15, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,


My parents made a pact to stand on every continent in the world. When my dad passed away, my mother went to the Antarctic for both of them. That’s when I figured there was a lot I didn’t know about mom.

When she returned with a bright orange jacket that she got ‘for free’ (don’t count the cost of the cruise), she had lots of stories to tell. Yet, when the excitement of the trip wore off, we both had the sense that we were still standing on a pitching deck with no way to sail to calm seas. A big piece of the puzzle – my dad – was missing.

“Write your memoir,” I said.

“My life wasn’t interesting,” she answered.

But the idea must have taken hold. Not long after this conversation, she called. She was done with her memoir.

“Impressive,” I mused.

It takes me months to write one novel and she finished hers in a week. When I saw her manuscript, I understood why. It was five pages long and she was eighty-five years old. There had to be more.

So began a year of weekend sleep-overs as we poured over photographs for inspiration. She had twenty beautifully documented photo albums, a box filled with pictures taken when cameras were still new fangled things.

There was mom in waist-length braids and Mary Jane shoes standing in the German village she called home.

She was a teenager in the U.S. while war raged in Europe, threatening the grandmother she had lived with, cousins and friends.

Here was mom, posing in a swimsuit she bought with the dollar she found on the street.

Mom in her twenty-five dollar bridal gown perched in the back of a hay wagon beside my father, a skinny, wide-eyed farm boy who would become a doctor.

Mom with one child. Two. Three. Five. Six of us all together. Dark haired and big eyed, we were her clones dressed in beautiful, homemade clothes. I remember going to sleep to the sound of her sewing machine.

And there were words! I bribed my mother with promises of Taco Bell feasts if she gave me details. Funny, what came to her mind.

To keep body and soul together when my father was in med school, he was a professional mourner and bussed tables for a wealthy fraternity. My mom worked in a medical lab where the unchecked radiation caused her to lose her first baby. They ate lab rabbits that had given their all for pregnancy tests. They were in love and happy and didn’t know they were poor. But St. Louis was cold, she remembered, and they couldn’t afford winter coats. Still, she insisted, they weren’t poor.

She typed, I edited; I typed, she talked. My youngest brother almost died when he was 10. She didn’t cry for a long while; not until she knew he would live. The captain of the ship that took her back to Germany was kind. She dreamed of becoming a missionary doctor. In 1954, she had two toddlers (me and my brother) and another baby on the way when she and dad drove to Fairbanks, Alaska where he would serve his residency at the pleasure of the U.S. Air Force. Her favorite outfit was a suit with a white collar. She loved her long hair rolled at her neck in the forties. In the fifties she made a black dress with rhinestone straps and her hair was bobbed. In the sixties she made palazzo pants and sported a short bouffant. She looked like a movie star in her homemade clothes. I wanted to grow up to be as glamorous as she was. She still thought she wasn’t interesting.

Mom wrote the forward to her memoir herself. It began:

A great sense of loneliness fills the house as twilight approaches. In the silence, I can almost hear the voices of my grown children as they recall their childhood years, the laughter of grandchildren and the quiet conversations of friends who have gathered here in years past, echoing through the empty rooms.

You see, she really had no need of my help as a writer.

We had seven copies printed. On the cover was a beautiful picture of a sunset. She called her book In The Twilight of My Life and would not be swayed to change it. Mom thought it perfect and not the least depressing. It was, she laughed, the truth. It was her laugh that made it right. She gave my brothers and sisters a copy for Christmas. My older brother had tears in his eyes. Everyone exclaimed: “I never knew that”.

Now I have a book more treasured than any I have written. I learned a lot about my mom and I realized why I create fictional women of courage and conviction, strength and curiosity, intelligence and, most of all, spirit. It’s because, all this time, I’ve been writing about my mother.

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