Friday Memory:

Continuing Our Season of Thanksgiving

Friday's Memory, November 30, 2018


By Elaine Buck and Beverly Mills

Not long ago we wrote about how the last twelve years has been a roller coaster of emotions from when we first started this journey. Throughout this journey we’ve faced highs and lows, such as the loss of friends who were with us at the beginning to the exciting “birth” of the Friday Memory; the genius idea of our publisher, Kim Nagy, of Wild River Publishing and Consulting.


We remember being in a brainstorming session one frosty afternoon when Kim, who is never without her PR hat, suggested we start posting memories and musings that would not be included in the book.


“These are too great not to write about, plus it will give people something to look forward to while we finish up the book,” we recall Kim saying.


So for close to two years now each week we have posted a “Friday Memory” named in honor of Friday Truehart, Beverly’s 4th great-grandfather who was a former slave in Hopewell Township.

The thought for this week is to continue giving thanks by first acknowledging two people who literally started us on our journey but, unfortunately, are no longer with us – Walter Niemeier and Al Lavery.

In Chapter One of our book, “If These Stones Could Talk,” we introduced you to two men, Walter Niemeier and Al Lavery, who were both instrumental why we have a story to tell that we now share with the public. It saddens us to report that neither of these men is no longer with us. Walter, whose health started to fail not long after his initial call to us for help, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. And Al Lavery, whom we last visited this past spring, passed away at the age of 93 on October 5th of this year after suffering a fall at his home. Walter and Al, both of whom entered our lives when we least expected, left indelible footprints in our journey’s path. And although neither man lived to see the book come to fruition, in Al’s case missing it by one month, we are thankful for the contribution of these wonderful principled men to our story.

On a brighter note, our season of thanks continues with our publisher, Kim Nagy, who next month will pass on the reins of responsibility of posting Friday Memories along to us. Admittedly we both say it feels like a mama bird gently nudging her babies over the edge of the nest so they can take flight! But there is more to this story because over the past three years our relationship with Kim has evolved from that of a strictly professional nature to regarding each other as members of our extended families.


Hopefully we were able to express our gratitude to Kim in the “Acknowledgements” of “If These Stones Could Talk” where we conveyed our gratefulness to Kim for believing in us, for being our cheerleader, for being our mentor and now, more importantly, for being our friend. Through Kim’s guidance and encouragement we have a finished product the Kirkus Review has described as a “stunningly thorough and poignant study of African-Americans,” that James McPherson touted as “an amazing amount of research written with grace and flair” and where Dr. Linda Caldwell-Epps added, “Elaine and Beverly skillfully tell the story of the New Jersey version of the African diaspora.” With Kim we made an extraordinary team.


So, readers, bear with us as your future Friday Memories will be posted by a technically-challenged Beverly and Elaine! Our purpose, however, will remain the same – to continue reaching out to you to inspire and engage you in meaningful conversation in a safe place which will hopefully promote dialogue and self-reflection concerning difficult topics in African American history. Wild River Books


{You can order “If These Stones Could Talk” by clicking on the link below:…/if-thes…/ After receipt of your request you will be contacted to make arrangements through check or credit card}

Stoutsburg Sourland

African American Museum

189 Hollow Rd.

Skillman, NJ 08558

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