The Lollipop Guild to the Writer's Guild.

Starting around age three, I would excitedly tell my folks to pause our already worn copy of The Wizard of Oz exactly one millisecond after the Lullaby League finished their ballet so I could run to the other room and don my outfit. The Lollipop Guild were about to leg-kick themselves into the picture and I was going to be right there with them. Plaid shirt, cut off shorts, striped socks, silly shoes, and my messy mop of curls made me unmistakable as a member of that elite guild. And, as the munchkins welcomed Dorothy to Munchkinland, I turned my small self from my fireplace stage toward the TV, bowed in Dorothy's direction, offered my three-year-old interpretation of what they were saying, and smiled. After all, that was what mattered: the ushering in of Dorothy Gale from Kansas to Oz. Now, that's a story.

Enter Eszter. Ester hired me to write her story. Eszter was born in 1931 and she and I shared a birthday. She was a piano player who couldn’t sing a note to save her life – as a singer myself who struggles to play the piano, she and I made a wonderful and unlikely duo. In our time together, I mentioned that my grandfather hosted a Big Band radio show after the war and she and I discussed our favourite big band music. We discovered a song both of us really enjoyed: “You Belong to Me” by Jo Stafford, recorded in 1952. For her 89th birthday that year, I told her I would sing that song for her if she would accompany me on the piano. We did just that and it was wonderful. It allowed me to mourn the loss of my grandfather, and Eszter to remember some of the good years after her family fled her war-ravaged home of Hungary in the summer of 1944. I then received a phone call I did not want. Eszter had passed away two weeks to the day after her 89th birthday. I knew it the minute I picked up the phone. Her son, Mark, called telling me Eszter had passed away but that she spoke fondly of our time together. Mark realised how important it was for his mother’s story to grow its own legs and run but he realised that he wanted to be the one to write it. I was more than happy to hand the reins over to Mark because that story wasn’t mine, it was Eszter’s. Eszter's is a story that needed to be told.

And that's what I do; I help tell stories that need to be told.