Thursday, March 18, 2021


MYRTLE SAITOWITZ – OBITUARY MARCH 2021

Myrtle Saitowitz contacted my publisher and asked if she could call me; I did not know what to expect, and yet, from that moment on, Myrtle Saitowitz became a dear and devoted friend, all because she had read 21 Aldgate.

Our conversation began with these words: "You have written my life story."  Myrtle began.

I recognized her accent immediately. She was a Londoner and probably from the East End, a hint I wasn't expecting, and why she so related to 21 Aldgate.

Myrtle continued:  Before I left. London, I worked for a Lord (I cannot recall his name) and traveled, just like Clara, from the East End to his posh residence in Belgravia. The more I immersed myself in your book, the more it brought back memories that I had long forgotten. Your descriptions, your dialogue, you hadn't made it up.  It was real; it all happened. You described in a narrative that needed to be told, and for that, I wanted to personally thank you.

After that phone call, Myrtle became my unpaid publicist – my book talk arranger. My most avid admirer and, most of all, premier 21 Aldgate promoter. She arranged a flight for myself and my agent to Beverly Hills, where we were picked up and chauffeured to a hotel.  There we met Myrtle for the first time.  But it didn't feel like that – it felt as if I had known her all my life, a genuine, unassuming caring woman. The following day, I talked on behalf of The Israel Bond Fund, at a significant donor's Hollywood mansion home. I'd given many book talks, but this one was extra special. Myrtle was in her element – I was her protégé, her collector of cockney ditties. The one who connected her to the past and she to mine. On the way back to the hotel, we sang our hearts out – what I remembered she'd forgotten – what she sang – I remembered my parents teaching me, having heard their parents—vaudeville performers in Music Halls and Pubs.

Myrtle was a rare gift, one I least expected to receive, late in my life and late in hers. We may not have been in constant contact, but she was never far from my thoughts.  I had hoped to meet up with her one more time, but it was not to be.  Covid interfered with our traveling plans. I am grateful we met. I'm sad she is gone. She will remain in the songs we shared and the book I wrote, 21 Aldgate.



1 comment: