Overwhelmed with Happiness

“Thank you once again for everything. I’m so glad you came today. My dad told me as he was leaving that he was overwhelmed with happiness!” 

Earlier that rainy, chilly Saturday, May 18, we had celebrated Jerry Sherman’s 80th birthday. “We” was Jerry’s two daughters and their families, Jerry’s five siblings and their families, a couple of family friends, Peggy’s dog, Tali, and me, the biographer. “Overwhelmed with happiness” was not something that Jerry would say as a matter of course. “That was pretty nice.” was a phrase that would be more natural for him.  Clearly, the birthday party meant a great deal to him and with it, the book I had written based on his memories, titled, There’s Always Something New. 

“I picked up the books, and I’m just thrilled!  I’m enjoying the stories, and I know my dad is going to love it! Thank you so much!”

Peggy had written earlier during the week. It had been a rush to make sure that everything would be done in time. After some 20 hours of interviews, processing recordings and photographs, then combining all of this in an engaging narrative that would reflect the personality of Peggy’s remarkable father; Peggy was holding the published product in her hands.

At the birthday party, it was if the characters of a book had come to life. That at least was my impression as the biographer. Of course, the reverse was true. Here at the party were the real people who populated Jerry’s stories. Through Jerry’s and my work together,  they had become characters in a book.

There’s Always Something New is a collection of stories that reflects a lifetime of experience as well as the voices and perspectives of some of the most important people in Jerry Sherman’s life. The book’s title is one of many characteristic quotes; something that Jerry would say frequently when describing both his work and his life more broadly. “There’s always something new,” he would say, and so reveal his almost instinctive attitude of curiosity, openness and generosity.