Signing? Party? Or Support Group?

Sunday’s book launch and signing for Eldercare Is Making Me Fat at Blackstone Coffee wasn’t at all what I expected . . . and that was great. I thought people would drift in over the two-hour span, buy a book or bring a book: I would sign it and they’d take off. In the slow moments in between, I expected to chat with my editor and the book’s designer.

Vera Pastore, Maria Schultz, and Charlotte Johnson Jones at book signing for Eldercare Is Making Me Fat

Editor Vera Pastore, designer Maria Christina Schultz, and Charlotte Johnson Jones

Didn’t happen. Instead, friends and women and men who had been total strangers three minutes before came in, got a cup of coffee and maybe something to go along with it. (The quiche is especially good, I must say.) Uninvited but totally welcome, people pulled up chairs and sat around the book table jabbering like it was a family get together. When one left, another took the place.

The thing that knocked me out was how many seemed relieved to be able to tell their own stories about their elderly parents’ foibles knowing I wouldn’t judge them. I mean, let’s face it, does a woman who has literally aired her own mother’s dirty laundry for the reading public ever have a right to get holier than thou? Of course not. I would have gone crazy long ago (crazier?) if I hadn’t had a pact with a couple of friends that there was nothing about caregiving that they could say that would shock or offend me.

All this has made me think that maybe I need to do a sequel. Not of my own stories–although my husband keeps saying, “You finished the book too soon.” Every day one of The Mothers unwittingly comes up with more material. No, I’m thinking about asking people to submit their own tales of woe and hilarity. We’ll put them all together in another little book and designate a portion of the profits for a good cause. Respite care, perhaps. Or a sweepstakes for a one week all-expense vacation anywhere but in the same town with Mama.

What do you think? I welcome your opinion. Get a cup of coffee. Cut a slice of quiche. And leave a comment.

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