Mort and Sheila Schwam became engaged three months after they met, wed, raised three daughters, and in their 45th year of marriage, traveled to Alaska for a vacation. While there, 59-year-old Mort, a man known in his Rockland County, N.Y., neighborhood as “Mr. Mort,” owner of a dry cleaner and a Hallmark shop, suffered a massive heart attack.
The Schwam girls flew to Alaska just in time to say goodbye and escort his body home. “I remember looking at my mother on the plane, and I didn’t recognize her,” says the youngest, Penny Burke, who lives in Jupiter. “She was lost.”
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Meet Penny Burke and Joan Pearlstein Dunn, the authors of “From Granny Panties to Thongs: The Mourning After,” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 14 at Books & Books in Coral Gables. For more information, call the store at (305) 442-4408.
WHAT ABOUT THAT TITLE?
“From Granny Panties to Thongs: The Mourning After” came from an incident when Burke’s widowed mother was visiting. Her daughter found a red thong in the laundry bin. Mom’s “undies ranged from white to off-white, covered half her torso and looked more like pillowcases,” Burke wrote. “I didn’t know whether to feel happy or mortified … but it meant only one thing … she was either having sex or thinking about it.”