Two Suitcases – project, process and progress

Tom and I are getting ready to sell our house next spring or summer.

Big decision!

We’ve been in San Luis Obispo for seventeen years, longer than we lived in Trumansburg, longer than Tom ever lived anywhere and pretty close to that for me. We’re not planning to leave San Luis, just this big house, which has been feeling more and more burdensome over the last year.

Here’s a short-lived glimpse into our home: this is one of my Airbnb listings. I’m taking all three listings down after Labor Day to give us time to get the house ready to be shown and to give me time to write. (The pictures on the Airbnb site were taken a year or so ago.)

I imagine us moving to a beautiful two or three bedroom place with enough room for Tom’s piano and for my new project, the work-in-progress that my next series of blogs will follow.

I’m working on a new book, historical fiction based on my parents’ story. I call it Two Suitcases because my parents left Vienna in 1938 with two suitcases, Paris in 1940 with two suitcases, and a village in the south of France in 1942 again with only two suitcases. It’s an extraordinary escape story, a re-examination of social democracy in the Red Vienna years, and an exploration of values. How do you choose what goes into two suitcases?

Nothing I’ve done for a long time has excited me as much as doing the research for the book and beginning to write it.

The story follows a group of friends and family who work for the Social Democratic Party in Vienna during the 1930’s and remain friends for the rest of their lives.

group at McCorkels'Here they are relaxing at a cabin in the Catskills right after the Second World War.

There are four main characters.

My mother:

Trudy's passportThis is her passport picture from 1942

My father:

Fritz 1940's

in the late 1940’s

My Aunt Ida:

Ida 1940's

also in the 1940’s

And my Uncle Eric, of whom I only have a picture taken many years later, in the 1970’s:


a gracious man with an elegance still evident when he was 93.

 As I write, I’ll share snippets of the text here and reflect on my writing process. Stay in touch!

24 thoughts on “Two Suitcases – project, process and progress

  1. Fantastical on every single level! Love the house , love the new/old story, love your parents and Love your uncle Eric. Really can not wait to read your new book! XOX

  2. Thanks for keeping me on your list, Eve. Big decision, big process.  I’m looking forward to your book 🙂 Love, Carol

  3. So honoured to have been able to stay in your beautiful house Eve. Vincent and I have sold our house and in 5 weeks we move to live in Italy with 2 suitcases and 2 dogs. We have sold our furniture and let go on so many levels. I know in my heart that wherever you and Tom make home next will be an exquisite space, just as this one was. Much love and blessings on the journey. Catherine x x x

  4. Wow, how exciting. We look forward to supporting your evolution. We’re grateful that you will be remaining in SLO. The book sounds enchanting. Onward and upward!

  5. My dear Eve,

    I am SO EXCITED about this new book. I love the title too. Perfect. I remember the night that your grandchildren acted some of the story and carried the two suitcases. You have family history that is amazing.

    I can see this book winning a Stanley Taylor Award for great Jewish historical fiction.

    Sending love, love,

    Sharon (Smaller IS better if you have a studio and a place for Tom’s piano).

  6. i’m so happy for your choice to move…well, any choice is a good one when you make it consciously, but you know what I mean…:) Good luck with it all. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Wow!

    You and Tom have given yourselves big assignments, especially YOU Eve, or so it seems!!

    Love and Luck!

    Nancy Koren, ~~PS. When the time comes to start looking for a house, I have a good friend who is good at selling houses. I teach his daughter piano!

  8. Sooo exciting! Best wishes for both the move & book! Eagerly awaiting snippets❤️‼️ We are on the road in a duststorm in eastern Washington… well, safely tucked into a gas station till storm is over. love❤️Jacki & Paul

  9. Wow! What a start to a great new chapter in your life. I am so excited for you and Tom and eagerly looking forward to reading your book. I love the idea of it. You are a fabulous writer, and I am sure that it will be just as interesting as all of your blog posts have been. Here is to new starts!!!

  10. Feeling truly blessed that we stayed in your beautiful house last year, Eve. Am sure the new place will just feel as homely and lovely as your last one. I do hope we get to see you again some time, even by just driving through SLO and stopping at Mama Ganache.
    Looking forward to hearing about the book. Sounds like a very touching and mesmerising story to tell.
    All our love- Anna-Sophie and Anthony

  11. Wonderful about your new book — I gotta read it!! Tons of wonderful good luck on your new aadventures, home, and plans — Gotta see you on my next visit to SLO. Lots of love, Lynne

  12. HI Eve, Thanks for the update! A book, a new home…Changes…All good. I am so glad we have been able to stay in your lovely home… it definitely made our monthly trip so much more interesting. Meeting your friends and travelers..leading to interesting discussions from Ireland to the Bay area. Tom and your help when our car needed repair….Your chocolate making..Looking forward to reading your book and seeing photos of your new nest….
    Here’s to you and Tome!!! love, Susan Proehl

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