“Before geography lessons and off-island travel enlightened us, we children assumed that all people lived as we did. We thought the world was made up of islands, each having it's own merry-go-round. What a pity we were wrong.”
So begins this collection of fifteen beautiful stories, each a peephole into Susan Klein's distinctive experience growing up on Martha's Vineyard in the 1950s. The island was then a sleepy community animated by the annual Bass and Bluefish Derby with its exaggerated fishing ....
lore, full-day beach parties where family buried barrels of hot rocks, sausage, linguica, onions and seaweed in the sand to steam cook—and the nation's oldest merry-go-round, a creaking wonder of murals, glitter, and brass rings.
In one story young Susan packs coffee and sugar with her mother to send to relatives in Germany while learning about life in the old country. In another, she walks barefoot through a raging thunderstorm with eccentric Aunt Fanny. At once funny, tender, and wise, these stories transport the readers to their own metaphorical islands.
Kliatt Nola Theiss
"Susan Klein is a professional storyteller and a longtime resident of Martha's Vineyard. She uses both of these parts of her life in this collection of stories of her childhood in the 1950s on Martha's Vineyard. Since these stories are based on her life, the characters in each of the tales are often recurring, and her own growth is recorded until she is an adult. One element of her life remains the same--the collection of beach plums and the making of jam. That process becomes a metaphor for her life and provides the "ruby window" of the title, which allows her to see her own story through the translucence of the prism of the red jam sitting on the windowsill of her childhood home."