One of the great joys of being an author is to hear that book clubs are studying “Izzy’s Fire.” Recently, Daphne Key, of Clayton, NC, called to say that a friend from Richmond, VA (where I live) had suggested her club read “Izzy.” A retired teacher from Northern Virginia, Daphne took the subject very seriously. She contacted me and we both came up with questions for the group, which included several other teachers. I was most impressed when I learned that these ladies, about 14 of them, actually cordoned off a 9’x12’x4′ area and sat inside that area to discuss the book. The aforementioned space was the area referred to as the “potato hole” in “Izzy’s Fire,” the area where nine Jewish adults and four little boys lived underground for weeks during the Holocaust. It is by the grace of God and a truly unselfish Catholic farm family, who risked their lives, to help ensure their survival. There are still six survivors living, after almost sixty years since their liberation, a testament to the strength that helped them overcome the perils that befell their family members during World War II.
After the book group had completed reading “Izzy,” Daphne orchestrated a road trip – 3 hours each way – to come to visit the Virginia Holocaust Museum here in Richmod. I was privileged to meet this great group of women. They treated me to a gift basket, as well as a wonderful lunch at The Jefferson Hotel following their museum tour. I have spoken to many book clubs over the last few years but have never met one quite as industrious as this one. I’m still in touch with them and hope to see them again in the not too distant future. I’d tell you their club name, but they haven’t decided on one as yet. Stay tuned.