Remember the Sweet Things: One List, Two Lives, and Twenty Years of Marriage [NOOK Book]

Overview

For twenty years, Ellen Greene kept a running list of the thoughtful, funny, touching things that her husband, Marsh, said and did. She wrote them down secretly, then shared them with him every Valentine’s Day when he would find pages from her “Sweet Things List” tucked inside a card.

A lovely and poignant tribute to a man and a marriage, written with grace and candor, Remember the Sweet Things captures the kindness, sharing, humor, and affection that defined the Greenes’ union ...

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Remember the Sweet Things: One List, Two Lives, and Twenty Years of Marriage

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Overview

For twenty years, Ellen Greene kept a running list of the thoughtful, funny, touching things that her husband, Marsh, said and did. She wrote them down secretly, then shared them with him every Valentine’s Day when he would find pages from her “Sweet Things List” tucked inside a card.

A lovely and poignant tribute to a man and a marriage, written with grace and candor, Remember the Sweet Things captures the kindness, sharing, humor, and affection that defined the Greenes’ union and encourages us to acknowledge the goodness in our own lives and relationships.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

After poor career choices, a failed marriage and three moves to three different states, first-time author Greene needed to establish sanity and stability for herself and her children. What she gets when she accepts a job offer she thinks will be just a "nice resting place" turns out to be a wonderful new life. Greene, now the grandmother of seven, recounts the transformation of her life and her 20-year marriage to Marsh, a man she met after her move when she was in her late 30s. Greene kept a running list of the funny and touching things Marsh did for her each day, and each year, on Valentine's Day, she would share the "Sweet Things List" with him. Weaving recollections from this list into her story, Greene opens up memorable times of their lives: the early period in their relationship, the years in China for Marsh's career, their time sailing the Pacific and searching for a new home, his illness and the surprising publication of this book. What could have been a saccharine story filled with clichés is instead a gentle and genuine reminder that the smallest things in life are the most precious. This is a heartfelt tribute to what really matters. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Instead of generating a laundry list of complaints about her husband, Greene compiled one of his attributes. (For the record, the late Marsh Greene appears to have been worthy of the praise.) In sweet, straightforward prose, she lovingly recounts the joys of their marriage and the heartbreak that accompanied his death. A debut memoir for the Oprah crowd.
—Lynne Maxwell

— New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs
“REMEMBER THE SWEET THINGS is...a beautiful meditation on love and life, and an affirmation of the power of gratitude. Told in a clear and honest voice, its indelible message—that it’s all the sweet little things that add up to an extraordinary love—is a true gift to the reader.”
Marilyn Johnson
“Ellen Greene tells us how “happily ever after” works, and she does it with such grace and candor that even the unluckiest and most cynical will take note....”
Wayne Coffey
“REMEMBER THE SWEET THINGS isn’t merely a love story. It is a manual for healthy living, told with searing honesty and profound tenderness, and poignance that touches you on virtually every page....I didn’t just savor REMEMBER THE SWEET THINGS. I am a better person for having read it.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061984785
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • File size: 329 KB

Meet the Author

Ellen Greene worked as a high school and university-level English teacher, a public sector job skills trainer, and a private sector management developer. She lives in San Jose, California, and San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico.

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Read an Excerpt


Remember the Sweet Things

One List, Two Lives, and Twenty Years of Marriage


By Ellen Greene
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009

Ellen Greene
All right reserved.



ISBN: 9780061479243


Chapter One

Meeting Marsh: 1983, 1984

I knew better than to answer a blind ad in the Help Wanteds. If the employer won't tell you who they are, chances are they're hiding something from their own people. Or so we Human Resource types often counseled others. But I was desperate, so I sent in my résumé.

It had been a disastrous six months since moving from Colorado to Massachusetts. An experienced job skills trainer, I couldn't find a job to even apply for, the labor market was so tight. Both of my kids detested their new schools in Springfield. And my relationship with Joe, the reason we came to the East Coast in the first place, had begun to unravel almost upon arrival. So when someone named "Mosh Green" from "Wista, Mass" called, I jumped at the chance to interview with him. It was for a training manager's job at Jamesbury Corporation, a small valve manufacturing company an hour away. I didn't know exactly what a valve was, but what difference could it make? I thought. They were looking for management development; I had written and taught management skills programs for corporate giants like GTE and Mobil. I didn't know where Wista was, either, but based on directions from Mosh and a look at amap, I figured it had to be Worcester. I pictured Mosh as a short, balding, Jewish guy.

Road conditions were bad the day of the interview, with the highway from Springfield to Worcester iced over and visibility down to 50 percent. I drove through a snowstorm for almost two hours and arrived edgy and late. "Mosh" turned out to be Marsh, short for Marshall, and he was jumpy, too.

"We have to make it fast," he said, his left leg doing a jig to a beat of its own. "I need to make a presentation to the executive committee in twenty minutes."

During the course of the next five minutes, Marsh kept glancing at his watch and eyeing the stack of note cards in front of him. He asked stock questions like "Tell me about yourself" and "What's your ideal job?" At least he was too distracted to notice that I was staring at him. Bluer eyes, a better haircut, and he could pass for Paul Newman. Even the crinkly-eyed smile was similar. And Marsh Greene was taller—all the better. Six feet, I guessed, and probably in his early fifties. And how about the Brahmin accent; how charming was that? I was almost enjoying myself.

But it's tough to sell yourself to someone barely paying attention. After ten minutes, I put him out of his misery.

"I really think I'd be a good fit for this job, and I'm not sure there's time now for me to tell you why," I said, pulling the words out of an interviewing skills course I had once taught. "Could we reschedule this interview at a time better for you?"

Marsh looked down at his shoes, grinned, and agreed that another time would be better. He apologized for my having to make two long, hazardous drives, asked if the next afternoon would work for me, and suggested splitting the driving distance by meeting at a halfway point.

"Just in case the weather doesn't break," he said.

I am not prescient. But if I had been able to see myself as the future Ellen Greene, the Sweet Things list could have begun then and there.

He suggested meeting at the Publick House in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, because he would be joining a group for dinner there later that evening. Located on the old Boston Post Road, the inn dated back to the 1700s. It was a beauty—a classic white saltbox with black shutters. I arrived half an hour early, just to play it safe, and gave myself a tour. Standing there in the middle of a scene from early American history, I felt almost reverential.

We met in the dining room and faced each other over a wide plank table. Marsh had his back to a low-burning fire and was framed by the stone fireplace. Over a late lunch, he talked at length about Jamesbury and its product line of industrial valves. Oh my God, could I have picked a more tedious product than valves, I thought. The topic and the fire were making me drowsy.

He moved on to explain more about the job I'd applied for. I'd be working with him on a performance improvement program for the company's twelve hundred employees. I'd also be training all the managers and supervisors on how to be better bosses. Great, I thought. I get to be the know-it-all newcomer telling everyone how to do their jobs.

I asked him about himself. He alluded vaguely to a career in manufacturing management. He'd set up a factory in Spain, worked for a small envelope company, and now had four years in at Jamesbury.

"Are you a native New Englander?" I asked. As if no one else in the United States could pronounce their rs either.

"Yes, my family arrived from England in 1636," he said, "but I descended from unadventurous stock. In over three hundred years, we've only made it fifty miles inland to Worcester."

My first Olde Yankee, I thought, handing me a well-rehearsed line.

But mostly I thought this job in a small manufacturing company would make a nice resting place. I was exhausted after two poor career choices, one in telecommunications, the other in Big Oil. During the last five years, my kids and I had moved three times to three different states. And now, after staying way too long in a troubled personal relationship, I was pulling the plug on it, just as I had done with my marriage to Carlos ten years before.



Continues...


Excerpted from Remember the Sweet Things by Ellen Greene Copyright © 2009 by Ellen Greene. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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