Sarah's Dream Book Research Fund

$2,830 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 17 people in 27 months
My name is Sarah. For over five years I have been working on a project in my spare time that has evolved from a hobby to a blog and writing a book. My project starts with a box of old letters that I found while helping clean out my Grandmother's apartment. She and my Opa (German for Grandfather) had a beautiful love story full of mystery. Opa was born and raised in Berlin, Germany and was able to escape to the United States at 19 years old. Grandmother was a farmer's daughter, born and raised on her family's homestead in Kansas. The most unlikely and improbable thing happened to my grandparents: they met. Love and marriage followed and only later in my adult life did I learn that there was more to the story. 

When my husband and I found these letters, we immediately started sorting through them and realized we had more than just postcards and anniversary cards. There were letters in French, German, and English- spanning the time of 1939-1950s. These letters had been mailed across the Atlantic during war time and after, and then were saved and carted to every house my grandparents had ever lived in. And no one in the family knew they existed. Inside were clues to the journey that really brought my grandparents together. Inside was heartbreak and scandal.  Inside was a glimpse into what it meant to be a Jewish refugee from Germany. Inside was insight into what it meant to be a Jewish woman hiding in Berlin. Inside was the story of a Jewish girl hiding in France. And an older couple, the wife Jewish, hiding in Amsterdam. Inside was a new strand of DNA that I didn't know existed in my family. Inside that box- was an awakening. Inside was my dream come true: a real story about real people doing life one courageous (and yet not feeling courageous) day at a time.

My research has brought me to family I never knew existed, friends I never knew I needed, and stories that were at risk of being buried and forgotten. 

This project has been simmering on the back burner all these years. I have been a stay at home mom, a hospice chaplain, and a caregiver for my Grandmother all in this time. My family recently moved for my husband's job (he's a pastor), and I quit my job as a chaplain. I looked for work in my new home, and found a job that was exactly what I was looking for. Except... The book. When faced with the very real possibility that I may never finish this project if I take a full time, emotionally demanding job- I decided this is it. This is my year to follow the dream. This is my year to finish what I started. So as of September 6th, the first day of my children's school will be the first day of my new work as a writer.

I want your help. This year I will be writing full-time. I will work part time on my blog: www.tomandmarjorie.com. And part time on the book- A Book About Love- which will be my telling of this love story - with characters that are/were real- and have shaped who I am today in infiite positive ways. 

Here's where your money will go: First and perhaps all of the funds will go towards travel. I have a handful of key people I still need to interview- people who are still alive who knew my Opa and are survivors of World War 2. I have family that I have reconnected to that I need to sit and interview, see their pictures and documents, see their box of letters. Here are the following locations I would like to visit: Washington (state), California, Australia, England, Amsterdam, Germany, and France. I'll start small and see what I can do.

If the fund goes further, I will use the money to revamp my website/blog, then to market myself and create this book.

If you feel compelled to support me and my project- to support a dream and support a story that needs to be told- please consider contributing to my travel and writing fund. Thank you so much.
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It's been a while since I've updated from here- but I want to let everyone know how much your donations have meant to me! You have so kindly donated $2,805 in total. I used $670 to fund my airline ticket to see family in San Francisco and Seattle (one I had never met) and that trip was immensely helpful for my research! Now I am flying to Berlin this summer, and have paid $1,461.94 for the privilege of interviewing some folks (including a family member I've only met once), and visiting a couple of important spots in and around Berlin where my Opa grew up. That brings my total airline purchase amount to $2,131.94. The remaining funds I will use toward room and board while I'm overseas. I hope to get to England and Amsterdam in the fall for another leg of research. Your donations have made these dreams possible- I can't thank you enough!

If you have not donated and would like to contribute towards my England/Amsterdam trip, I would be so grateful. Otherwise- I'm just excited to be doing this!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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Hello everyone!

It's Giving Tuesday so I thought I would send a little update on my progress. Thanks to YOU giving- I am headed to the West Coast this coming week!! I am spending a few days with a relative that I have not seen in years, who has more stories about my Opa's family than even she realizes. Then, I fly from San Francisco up to Seattle to visit a relative I didn't know EXISTED until I did research for this book. Her grandmother was my great-grandmother's sister. She has all the letters that her grandparents wrote to her mother (who was Opa's cousin, and immigrated to the United States around the same time he did). We've never met - but over email and on Facebook I feel such a connection. Thanks to your generosity- I am able to meet her for the first time! I've never been to either of these locations, so it is wonder upon wonder!

I feel more strongly than ever, now is the time for a story of Refugees, Immigrants, and overwhelming Love. My hope is that I can go to Europe (Germany, England, Amsterdam, and Czech Republic) next spring. If you haven't donated and would like to support my dream of writing my Grandparent's story- I would be so grateful!!

Thank you for your support- financial, prayers, and every encouraging word. I am surrounded by wonderful people!
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Hello everyone! Thank you for all your support- I've even gotten encouraging notes in the mail (and who doesn't love getting actual mail). I am narrowing down the dates and thanks to you all I may be flying out west this December! Next trip if I can make it- Amsterdam/England/France/Germany. I'm hoping to get a chance to visit some of the graves of family members that I wouldn't otherwise be able to visit. As well as interview some family and friends who are still around to tell the tale! Thanks again for your support- it means so much to me to have such fabulous people surrounding me!!
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Happy First Day of School from my family. On the first day of school, I drop my children at the bus and then start my job: writing! I am so excited to sit at my table and follow my dreams. Thanks to the amazing support from my friends and family- I have enough money to buy my first plane ticket! I'm hoping to go out West sometime this fall. I will let you know! Next dream: England, Amsterdam and Germany. I'm hoping to consolidate my trips as much as I can to get more out of the big plane tickets! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. Today- I get to create. That's pretty awesome- and your support inspires me.
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$2,830 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 17 people in 27 months
Created August 30, 2016
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$25
Anonymous
17 months ago
$100
Anonymous
25 months ago
$25
Anonymous
26 months ago
$1,000
Anonymous
26 months ago
$250
Anonymous
26 months ago
$100
Suzanne Lyons
26 months ago

Exciting Sarah!!

$200
Anonymous
26 months ago
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