In 1992, when Sally Steele Metzger retired from the professional world, she made a promise to herself to write a book.
It was to be a family history, for one thing.
It would include stories about her grandmother’s youth in Russia, the family’s narrow escapes from Cossacks during pogroms, the tragedies the family suffered there; and about her mother, a legal stenographer in Denver, who once faced down a gun-toting, disgruntled wife of a client and lived to tell the tale.
The book would also be something of an autobiography.
She would write about her days as a writer for the Intermountain Jewish News under Max Goldberg and Bob Gamzey, about her career as a musical actress in a host of Denver productions, about her 25-year tenure at Rose Medical Center, where she became an indispensable and much-admired professional marketing guru.
Problem is, the book still hasn’t been written.
“You known what?” Metzger says in 2013, more than 21 years after first discussing the book idea. “I found it to be too confining.
“I tried to put it all into a recording machine. That didn’t work. Then I sat down and said well I’ll just write it out by hand. But I’m a people person. Everything I did — with the Jewish News, with the theater, with Rose — those were all people related.”
Sitting by herself in a room and recounting stories of the past, Metzger says, never struck her as a “people related” activity. It was too quiet, too solitary.
“I’d sit there and say to myself, ‘You shouldn’t be sitting in the house. Get out of here.’ So I’d postpone it for another week and then another week. Then I said, you know, I’m just not going to do that book.”
She backs off from that conviction just a bit, however, when she starts contemplating some of the things she’d like to see put to paper.
She recalls the plethora of things her grandmother and mother told her, about their lives in Russia and long-ago Denver.
She remembers how much she liked Goldberg and Gamzey, how much fun it was getting out into the community to do stories, how amazed she always was at how much Goldberg and his wife Miriam loved each other.