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Posts tagged ‘Fruitcake Lady’

Write About Your Community

May 13, 2016

Susan Marg

A few years ago I worked with Marie Rudisill on her life history. If the name sounds familiar, Marie has a couple of claims to fame. She was the aunt of Truman Capote, and she helped raise him in Monroeville Alabama, whenever his mother dropped him off on her way to New Orleans. She is also known as “The Fruitcake Lady” from her appearances on The Tonight Show in Jay Leno.

Marie’s book is labeled a memoir, but it is also a personal story, a family tale, an account of all the places Marie laid down roots after she left home.

Photo by: Daniel Mennerich

Photo by: Daniel Mennerich

Wherever Marie lived, she found a community. During the 1930s, she lived in New York City to be near her older sister Lillie Mae and her nephew Truman. Of the Big Apple she comments, it “didn’t have one of anything. My goodness, no. There was not just one square, skyscraper, movie house, art museum, science museum, park, playground, hotel, restaurant, deli, diner, dance hall, concert venue, night club, racetrack, bowling alley, outdoor market, or department store, but lots of everything to suit just about everyone.”

Marie made her home in Greenwich Village, of which she writes, “Greenwich Village, in particular, was a real melting pot of Italians, Germans, Poles, Africans, and Jews. They were mostly of an older generation who had immigrated to American through Ellis Island, but they peacefully co-existed with the painters, writers, and intellectuals of the next generation. Into the mix were young, single, working professionals who were attracted by the neighborhood’s low rents and Bohemian lifestyle. In the summertime everyone gathered on the front stoop looking for a breeze to cool off, but there wasn’t much relief from the humidity, even after the sun had set. When the weather turned cold and nasty we took refuge in the tearoom and coffee shops.”

On a personal level, Marie notes, “The best thing about the Village was its friendly atmosphere, and it attracted lots of Southerners. With my pronounced Southern accent, as strong as it ever was, I had always felt like I stuck out. In the Village I fit right in.”

When she married, she moved with her husband to the Carolinas. Of Charlotte, she writes, “Another thing about Charlotte is that the people are so damn nice. They truly are…. Neighbors know each other and talk to each other… In Charlotte, when a new family moved into the neighborhood, we welcomed them with a fresh meringue pie. That custom is still true, unless we’re talking about Northerners who haven’t learned to mind their p’s and q’s. Them we’ll ice up. Southerners can be very clannish.”

Marie saves her bon mots for Florida, where she retired to be near her son. She never really appreciated the Sunshine State, and she writes, “It is not a Southern state, not to me. It has no history, no civility, no gentility. It’s all flip flops, short shorts, and hairy legs.”

What is community? One simple definition is that it’s a social unit that shares common values, resources, and preferences. Those in a community take risks together, and they benefit from taking those risks – together.

Community can be a part of a life or family history. It says something about where you lived and when you grew up. Why not write about it?

© 2016 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

‘Tis the Season: Bake a Fruitcake

December 20, 2014

Susan Marg

Jay Leno bestowed Marie Rudisill with the name “The Fruitcake Lady,” when she appeared with him on The Tonight Show.

Having just published her latest cookbook, Fruitcake: Memories of Truman Capote and Sook, Marie was sick and tired of Leno denigrating fruitcakes. His jokes went from bad to worse.

Photo by: sarsmis

Photo by: sarsmis

Q. What do you do with a Christmas fruitcake?

A. Try eating it! Hey! It’s one way to get rid of it!

Then, there was this one:

Q. How many fruitcakes are there in the world?

A. Just one, and it keeps being passed around and around from person to person.

All fired up, like a wood-burning oven on a cold winter morning, Marie wrote Leno a letter. “You’ve got a hell of a nerve,” she lectured. “A good fruitcake is a labor of love, a work of art. You don’t have any idea how good a fruitcake can be.” Well, she caught someone’s attention, and the next thing she knew she was mixing nuts and sifting flour on the fruit in front of a live studio audience.

As funny as the Fruitcake Lady is, she’s serious about fruitcakes, calling them “true ambrosia – the queen of cakes.” In her cookbook, she includes over twenty recipes. Can’t wait to get started? Here’s one Martha Washington is said to have used.

Cream together a 1/2 pound butter and 1-1/2 pounds sugar. Gradually add six beaten egg yolks until creamy; then dissolve one teaspoon of soda in one pint of sour cream and add, alternating with 1-1/2 pounds of flour. Next, add the whites of the six eggs, beaten stiff.

For the final steps, add one pound of raisins, one pound of currants, a 1/2 pound citron dredged with a 1/4 pound of flour. Add the juice of one lemon and the rind of two lemons, one grated nutmeg, and a sprinkling of mace.

Bake in a greased ten-inch tube pan for five hours at a slow, steady heat. Cover with buttered paper while baking.

A fruitcake makes a nice addition to your Christmas table. Or you can always pass it along to a neighbor or friend who’ll pass it along to a neighbor or friend who’ll pass it along to a neighbor or friend…

If you don’t have neighbors or friends who are keen on fruitcakes (I know, it’s hard to believe, but not everyone is), they might enjoy the Fruitcake Lady’s memoir, Ask Me Anything. It’s a special treat.

© 2014 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

Award for Ask Me Anything

November 20, 2014

Susan Marg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Linda F. Radke, Five Star Publications, Inc.;

Email: info@FiveStarPublications.com

Susan Marg, Cowgirl Jane Press; Email: suemarg@san.rr.com

ASK ME ANYTHING Wins Coveted Royal Dragonfly Book Award

CHANDLER, AZ (November, 2014) – The judges of the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards contest, which recognizes excellence in literature, have spoken, and ASK ME ANYTHING by Susan Marg and Marie Rudisill placed in the Biography/Memoir category.

“Winning any place in the Royal Dragonfly Contest is a huge honor because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score is required before a First or Second place or Honorable Mention will be awarded to the entrant – even if it is the sole entry in a category,” explains Linda Radke, president of Five Star Publications, the sponsor of the Dragonfly Book Awards. “Competition is steep, too, because there is no publication date limit as long as the book is still in print.”

For a complete list of winners including all first and second place and honorable mention recipients, visit http://www.FiveStarBookAwards.com and click on “Winners.”

To learn more about Five Star Publications, celebrating 29 years of doing business in Chandler, Ariz., access http://www.FiveStarPublications.com, email info@FiveStarPublications.com or call 480-940-8182.

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Marie Cover 5 EAsk Me Anything is the story of the amazing life of Marie Rudisill, also known as the Fruitcake Lady from her appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.   Well into her nineties, she became a television celebrity, going mouth-to-mouth with anyone who asked her a question or sought help with a problem. Susan says, “It was great working with Marie, a lot of fun. She always had an answer on the tip of her tongue.”

Ask Me Anything, ISBN 978-0-578-14318-7, is a 188-page paperback book consisting of nine chapters. Topics cover Marie’s early life in Monroeville, AL, her days in the Big Apple, her careers as a caterer and antique collector, and her experience working with Mr. Leno and his staff. It lists for $14.95. An ebook is also available.

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Susan Marg is the author of other award-winning books, including Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete Chapel Guide, published by HarperCollins, and Hollywood or Bust: Movie Stars Dish on Following Their Dreams, Making It Big, and Surviving in Tinseltown. She is now working as a personal historian.

For more information, please visit YourBiography2.com or contact Susan per above.

Ask Me Anything Wins Award

November 4, 2014

Susan Marg

Cowgirl Jane Press

Contact: Susan Marg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Phone #: 858 792-6860

DATE: November 4, 2014

Email: SusanMargBlog@gmail.com

 

ASK ME ANYTHING WINS AWARD.

Southern California Book Festival Recognizes Excellence.

 

Marie Cover 5 EThe 2014 Southern California Book Festival, organized by JM Northern Media LLC, announced the winners of its annual contest celebrating the best books of the fall on November 3.

A panel of experts judged the books in several categories, including fiction, non-fiction, history and business, for general excellence and the potential to reach a wider audience. Ask Me Anything: A Memoir received Honorable Mention in the Biography/Autobiography category.

Susan Marg co-wrote Ask Me Anything with Marie Rudisill, also known as the Fruitcake Lady from her appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.   Well into her nineties, she became a television celebrity, going mouth-to-mouth with anyone who asked her a question or sought help with a problem. Susan says, “It was great working with Marie, a lot of fun. She always had an answer on the tip of her tongue.”

Ask Me Anything, ISBN 978-0-578-14318-7, is a 188-page paperback book consisting of nine chapters. Topics cover Marie’s early life in Monroeville, AL, her days in the Big Apple, her careers as a caterer and antique collector, and her experience working with Mr. Leno and his staff. It lists for $14.95. An ebook is also available.

###

Susan Marg is the author of other award-winning books, including Las Vegas Weddings: A Brief History, Celebrity Gossip, Everything Elvis, and the Complete Chapel Guide, published by HarperCollins, and Hollywood or Bust: Movie Stars Dish on Following Their Dreams, Making It Big, and Surviving in Tinseltown. She is now working as a personal historian.

For more information, please visit YourBiography2.com or contact Susan per above.

Kindle Countdown for “Ask Me Anything”

September 13, 2014

Susan Marg

Marie Cover 5 EAsk Me Anything, the memoir I wrote with Marie Rudisill, is available as an ebook. A Kindle Countdown is underway, starting at $.99 today. Then the price goes up each day. On Wednesday, it will be $8.99, its list price.

Why wait? See what Marie has to say – about her upbringing in the deep South, her nephew Truman Capote,  taking on the Big Apple, giving the Big Orange a squeeze when she appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Well into her nineties she became a television celebrity, going mouth to mouth with anyone who asked her a question or sought help with a problem. She always had an answer on the tip of her tongue.

Here are a few of Marie’s many bon mots about the places she’s been and the people she’s met:

“I was certainly never one to play it safe. If I had wanted to play it safe, I would have stayed in Alabama.”

“In New York City where are the flowers? Where are the trees? If you open the window to get some fresh air, your apartment is filled with soot. You think you don’t have soot? Well, just run your finger over the windowsill and see what happens. That grimy, black stuff is soot.”

“I have met the most wonderful people in the world in the [publishing] business. Some of them have even lived in New York City.”

“I never got to experience the traffic for which Los Angeles is so famous. It was just as well, as I have a feeling that the stop and go pace would have driven me right up the wall.”

“Celebrities are people, too. They might live in big houses by the ocean and have more money than God, but they don’t deserve special attention in my book.”

“Florida is not a Southern state, not to me. It has no history, no civility, no gentility. It’s all flip flops, short shorts, and hairy legs.”

Ask “The Fruitcake Lady,” and get ready. You never know what she’ll say next.

© 2014 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved