MOLLEE KRUGER: NONAGENARIAN ON A ROLL
At 93 Mollee Kruger has just dashed off A Collector’s Item, her twelfth book, and she promises there’s more coming.
The Rockville writer’s poignant novelette tackles the fragility of lifetime friendships and underscores the prickly relationship between two women, who struggle to maintain a relationship that begins during their 1940s college days. Her story is fictional and not autobiographical. The 151-page paperback also includes selected award-winning short stories by the prolific author as well as humorous essays and letters. Now an internationally recognized poet and memoirist, Kruger’s began her long writing career 70 years ago as a teenage columnist for a local Maryland newspaper.
Although an early memoir, The Cobbler’s Last, covered the life of a Jewish family in a small rural town during the Great Depression and World War ll, her first novel, The Swift Seasons, didn’t appear until 2016 when she was 87. Kosher Salt, a light verse collection, followed in 2017, and Port of Call: Memories of an Ancient Mariner in 2020.
“That book,” Kruger explains, “came out during a Covid quarantine at the retirement facility where I live. Although restrictions ended just days before my granddaughter’s outdoor wedding, there was no vaccine yet to protect folks my age. I didn’t dare go shopping for a fancy grandmother-of-the-bride dress. But I remembered reading in the Washington papers that Rose Kennedy wore a 25- year-old gown to her son’s inaugural ball, and that spurred me on. I unearthed a pastel-blue polyester suit that had graced my closet for the past 16 years, dusted it off, and scored a front row seat at the nuptials. The experience even inspired the novella’s title, A Collector’s Item, which has nothing to do with synthetic clothing and everything to do with unanswered questions left behind by the passing years.”
And yes, Mollee Kruger adds, “A sequel is in the works.”