I have always been a Meryl Streep fan.
I have seen every one of her movies.
I used to do some acting in high school and college and had dreams of the stage, but after seeing Meryl Streep in “Sophie’s Choice” I realized that I could never be as amazingly talented as she was and so turned my focus to writing and other efforts content to live vicariously through her incredible career.
Growing up was very painful. My mother adopted dogs and later became a groomer and breeder long before the world went dog crazy. When I was fifteen she had collected more than seventeen dogs she kept in cages in our large but very crowded house.
It was hard to talk to my mother who was distant with me and my two sisters, so much so that I wonder sometimes how I made it from day to day. Although my father ran his florist shop that was connected to our sprawling five-bedroom home, he was always out delivering flower arrangements to funeral homes, hospitals or private homes. In other words, we had little interaction with our parents and even less support in our teen years when we needed it most.
My school life became my refuge during the school year and my Aunt Bonnie became my refuge in the summer. Bonnie lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, only a day’s drive from our home in Ohio, but, to me, going to her house during one month each summer was like going to Europe to stay in a palace.
Bonnie was like Meryl Streep, beautiful, strong and filled with passion, compassion and ingenuity. Every day was special and I was the center of her attention. She taught me and my two sisters how to sew, cook and, most importantly, at the time, put on makeup. Her beautiful, clean home was a haven compared to the noisy, dirty, strange home I had to live in the majority of the year.
But for one month each summer I was not the shy teen from a small Ohio town who was ashamed of her mother and home. I was a creative, strong young woman who could do anything.
I had a future. Aunt Bonnie would call us her “three little girls” and always tell us how special and important we were and always would be to her. Even today I still call my Aunt Bonnie up for support. Now Bonnie has serendipitously been blessed with a second set of “three little girls” (a set of twins and a younger granddaughter) whom she loves the same amazing way she loved us.
My life would never be the same without my amazing aunt who is a real-life Meryl Streep. What I have come to realize is that both Bonnie and Meryl are timeless people. These women stayed true to their core nature of goodness and caring for others. This is why I chose to write a book that tells a story about a woman named Sandra who is much like my Aunt Bonnie. She made a difference in my life. I hope she can make a difference in yours.