Waldron resident Susan Thistle completes mothers memoir

Submitted by She Writes Press

Susan Thistle, a resident of Waldron Island, recently finished a book for her mother, internationally bestselling author Mary MacCracken, because her mother died before completing it. Coming out in late July, “The Memory of All That (She Writes Press)” tells the story of Mary’s love affair and long marriage to her brilliant husband, Cal—and of losing him to Alzheimer’s.

In this poignant memoir, which Kirkus Reviews calls “[a] moving and frank remembrance of love and loss,” Mary and Cal are so intensely drawn to each other that they leave their spouses, marry, and with each other’s support, turn their lives around. Cal, facing bankruptcy despite initial success as an inventor, comes up with one new idea after another. Mary, losing her job teaching autistic children, returns to college for her degree and sets up her own practice. Cal is one of America’s most prolific inventors; Mary’s first book is published, continues to sell widely, and is followed by three more. Love fills their lives for each other, their work, and their families.

But Cal’s keen mind begins to fail him. He forgets things, people he should know, even the way home. Faced with his diagnosis of dementia, the two draw on the same determination and belief in each other that marked their earlier years, finding ways to maintain their loving relationship despite the disease. Always a fighter, Cal announces they’ll defeat Alzheimer’s and write a book about it. Mary focuses on devising ways to help Cal retain a sense of self-worth and dignity as his memory fades. Realizing she can’t deal with his disease alone, she also seeks advice and support from good friends, doctors, and social workers. Cal worsens, but he and Mary still enjoy sweet moments; they stay close and loving until the end.

“The Memory of All That” provides a valuable understanding of Alzheimer’s for caregivers, their families, and friends, showing them the disease is not shameful or terrifying, but manageable. A deftly told account of how love can persist and console despite life’s ordeals, it will also appeal to anyone simply seeking a good story.

Mary’s daughter, Susan, a sociologist who taught at Friday Harbor Labs for several years, says finishing her mother’s book was like making a quilt. Her mother made all the squares and laid them out in a pattern. Susan added a few more, rearranged some, and stitched them all together.

Mary wrote four earlier books about her work with autistic and learning-disabled children: “Circle of Children,” “Lovey,” “City Kid,” and “Turn-About Children.” Her books have been published in fourteen countries and the first two were made into movies for television, starring the actress Jane Alexander. Her books have recently been republished (the first and last under new titles, The Lost Children and A Safe Place for Joey) and still attract a wide readership.

Susan previously wrote a book of her own, a scholarly account of women’s lives published by an academic press called “From Marriage to the Market: The Transformation of Women’s Lives and Work.”

For more information visit https://marymaccracken.com