Many tributes have been written about the late Marilyn Glick, the Indianapolis philanthropist and civic leader, whose name, along with that of her husband Gene, graces so many buildings which bless people in our area. I’d like to speak in this blog about Marilyn Glick the writer!
As senior editor of Hawthorne Publishing, I helped Marilyn write and develop her book Once Upon a Lifetime: Marilyn’s Story. It was a pleasure to be part of the writing and publishing of the book for several reason. First, Marilyn was a good writer who knew how to tell her story instinctively from start to finish, as we put together the autobiography. She really didn’t need much direction. We had many sessions with a tape recorder, then transcribed and edited her story decade by decade.
Marilyn seemed to have enjoyed writing as a young woman and had helped put together a newsletter for Jewish young people in her youth as Marilyn Kaufman. Later, as she was active in Indianapolis clubs, she was often given the job of publicity chairman. She thought sequentially and had an innate writers’ sense of how to bring out telling detail and how to focus on main parts of a story, subordinating less important parts. She understood how to create drama in a life story because her life was truly like a play. Her mother had died when she was born in New York, her birth father had abandoned her at the hospital, and after having been placed in a Jewish orphanage, she was adopted by the Kaufman family in Detroit. Only later, after her father’s death and a move to Indianapolis, did she find happiness which she describes in chapters about Shortridge High School, early work experiences, and meeting her “prince charming,” the young Eugene Glick.
Her mind was remarkable, her memory for detail unusual. She could reconstruct scenes and conversations in summertime Detroit from the 1920s, experiences with people gone for fifty years, and tell stories of interactions with the pioneer artists of glass art and the founding of the Glick Company. It made for lively writing.
Marilyn became her own editor. Her next door neighbor has told stories of seeing lights on in the Glick home night after night as she re-wrote my own suggested paragraphing or added details which enriched the narrative. She was a fine-detail person. It was one of the most demanding jobs of editing I’ve had in doing this job for over 200 books, but is was among the very most satisfying. Going through Glick albums on a search for photographs as we sat in that artistic masterpiece of house, working with this remarkable family who all contributed their photos and memories and manuscript checking was a pleasure that bordered on being entertained at a party. That isn’t to say we didn’t come head to head about some parts of what needed to happen to get the story perfected. But not often.
Most of all, Marilyn was honest, the most honest author writing an autobiography I had seen in a long time. Her own foibles, disappointments, struggles, and points of irritation are all in this book along with triumphs, dreams and achievements. Thus the book itself is a refreshing, interesting, and meaningful read, just as its author was refreshing, interesting, and meaningful to know. Marilyn’s book was a private release. It is available in most Indianapolis area libraries.
Nancy Baxter, Senior Editor