Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Sam Freedman: Accomplished Writer and Loving Son

When my fellow classmates and I were first notified about the upcoming visit from Samuel G. Freedman, I was looking forward to receiving insight and inspiration for my own “Who She Was” assignment.  After reading his book, it was evident to see the love and respect he had for his mother, but hearing him talk about her was completely different.  After this class, I decided that I would write about my own father because of the love and respect I have for him, much like Freedman and his mother.  Freedman claimed that the book was used as an “act of penance” towards his mother.  He also said that he made sure everything was done correctly.  For example, clothes, language and culture of his mother’s lifetime were vital to capture the essence of his mother’s life.  This is the technique and approach I would use for my assignment.

Jotting down facts and techniques Freedman used to obtain crucial information would be crucial to my own assignment.  Freedman commented on how he interviewed various people to get information about his mother.  I would follow this excellent approach.  After hearing this tactic, I started planning the days I would use to travel to my father’s hometown and his place of work.  These were two places where I knew I could find out information I could use in my paper.
The effort and passion Freedman had when writing his book is clearly evident.  He uncovered certain aspects of her life that I don’t know if I would want to know about my own mother.  Freedman said, “Being attractive was part of her life-force.”  To be able to talk about one’s mother as a sexual being shows the extent of the relationship between Sam and his mother.  Growing up in the Great Depression, Eleanor Watkin didn’t have an easy life.  Sam rummaged through social security records, birth certificates and other primary sources of research to tell the world his mother’s life story.  One thing that especially caught my attention was that Sam “rescued his mother’s history.”  He said that if he didn’t it would have been forgotten forever.  As a loving and loyal son, he wouldn’t let this happen.  With the great success of his book, I think it is safe to say he accomplished his goal of keeping his mother’s spirit and story alive forever.