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Rosalie Ferrer Kramer

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Member Since: Jan, 2003

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Dancing in the Dark: Things My Mother Never Told Me
by Rosalie Ferrer Kramer   

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Publisher:  PublishAmerica ISBN-10:  1588515168 Type: 


Copyright:  Dec 30 2001

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My memoir is the story of overcoming the fatal illness of of my two sons plus family secrets and lies that could have destroyed my life. Writing was a catharsis for me, but more than that, I hope "Dancing in the Dark: Things My Mother Never Told Me" proves that life can go on, and one can smile again. That is what I wanted to convey - not that I overcame these adversities, but that most anyone can do so. In this book you will learn how how I discovered the secrets, and was able to go on and dance in the light instead of in the dark.

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Prologue to "Dancing in the Dark: Things My Mother Never Told Me"I spent most of my life dancing around my mother, Ada Leader's secrets. It was, in fact, more difficult to discover the secrets and mysteries surrounding my mother's life and my mother's family than it was to learn the Tango – and everyone knows how difficult it is to learn these steps. My Uncle Roy taught me those intricate steps when I was just a teenager wearing pleated skirts, bobby socks and saddle shoes. 

Already five-feet eight in my stocking feet, I thought myself sophisticated enough to be a perfect partner for the handsome six-footer I had cherished all my young life. I remember looking into his eyes the day he was giving me those Tango lessons, and as we danced around the floor I couldn't help wonder if I would ever find a person I could adore with the same heart-stopping emotion that swallowed me up whenever I thought about my Uncle Roy. Roy: the person who had always lived in my house; the person I had been brought up to believe was my older brother… until the day I learned the shocking truth from my mother. And the way she told me the facts, in such a casual, off-hand manner. It was like throwing a bone to a dog. Like it didn't make any difference. Like what was the big deal? My God, the brother I'd grown up with was really not my brother at all! He was not my mother's oldest child. He was actually my mother's youngest brother. And I should just accept that information like it didn't make any difference? What else didn't I know about my family? What else was there that mother had just failed to mention? My naturally inquisitive brain simply exploded with questions; questions that launched me into a probe for the truth, all of the truth, which lasted until after my mother's death.

Determinedly worming my way through narrow channels of knowledge, I finally unearthed the dark family secrets that had been kept from me for years. They turned out to be little secrets; secrets made more important mainly because they'd been hidden for so long; secrets about physical deformities that had shamed and embarrassed my mother, mental breakdowns, and illness like you'd find in any large family. There were tales of loveless marriages: of harsh abuse, punishing divorces, and a seemingly endless snarl of cover-ups and deceit. But it was not until my mother died at the age of ninety-three that I discovered her and my sister's last frantic hoax. When my sister, Marilyn, called at 2 o'clock that fateful morning to tell me mother had just died, I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face. "Oh my God," I gasped at the reflection in the mirror, my heart pounding in anticipation of that was to come. The wild-eyed creature with unkempt white hair whom I saw in the glass that morning was not me…it was my mother, and the pounding grew worse as a feeling of foreboding overcame me. It was a foreboding that proved valid just a few days later, when I discovered I'd been deceived by both my mother and my sister for more than ten years…ten years of sly pretending, of empty hugs and kisses, of phony smiles and making believe we were a loving family, when in truth, my mother – my sister too – had become masters of illusion, like spiders weaving a web of falsehoods to prevent me from guessing the depths of their duplicity.

The unfolding of the lies, and the years of cruel deception ultimately caused me to lose my mother, Ada Leader, my sister, Marilyn, and my naiveté in one traumatic week when I went home for my mother's funeral.
Life is short and sweet.
Death is final and sudden.
Our dreams are misty memories,
Of days long departed,
But not forgotten.

Marc and Danny are gone.
But around the corner,
And down the bedroom hall,
There is an echo that returns,
Again and again.

Autumn is here now, bright leaves
Fall upon the small graves.
And in their rustling I hear
Their sweet voices whispering
"We were there."

In the moving shadows
I can see those beautiful faces.
In the gleaming water their
Soft brown eyes seem to shine,
And I remember.

Yes I recall those laughing eyes
Those are my sleeping memories
That suddenly awake and make me wonder,
About life - and death.

Professional Reviews

SAN DIEGO MAG &A retired Psychiatric Social Worker plus San Diego Magazine, 2002 by Eilene Zimmerman
I Dancing in the Dark. Things My Mother Never Told Me (PublishAmerica, $19.95): Rosalie Ferrer Kramer, a San Diegan, Eileen Zimmerman, San Diego Magazine. The author starts this memoir at her mother's funeral and works backward, spinning her family yarn, one that seems loving on the surface but is tangled in deceit, falsehoods and cruel cover-ups. Kramer writes as if she's confiding in an old friend; her readers can't help but eavesdrop.

reviewers name: Eileen Dolin, Eileen Dolin. retired Social Worker,

March 15, 2003,

A REVIEW FROM A RETIRED SOCIAL WORKER I read Rosalie Kramer's Dancing in the Dark: Things My Mother Never Told Me,' which, as a retired social worker, I think would be helpful and interesting to your readers. This book certainly does not leave the reader in the dark. The author reveals enough intimate facts about her family and its different relationships among its members, enabling the reader to grasp a full understanding of the family dynamics. I'm sure that everyone can easily identify with several incidents and attitudes within their own families. Ms. Kramer's story encompasses mental illness, abuse, murder and fatal illness. Yet most every reader will find something in common with her realities and better understand that their relatives aren't the only ones acting the way they do. In addition to the readers' identifying with many roles within the author's family, much can be said about the smooth style of writing that makes you want to read on. There were many flashbacks which helped to understand her family members. Also, Ms. Kramer's insertions of her original poetry reflected her intense feelings about her sons and others in the family. This book holds the readers' interest throughout. I found that I could not put it down, and I was compelled to read the entire book in one sitting. I would highly recommend 'Dancing in the Dark' to everyone and anyone who is looking for an excellent and realistic story about a family. It encompasses humor, suspense, happiness and sadness along with Ms. Kramer's explanation of how she coped with many adversities. I found this story very helpful to me, and I feel that it is a must read for everyone because it is about relationships and how destructive secrets can be to a family. Eileen Dolin, A.C.S.W. Psychiatric Social Worker

April 10, 2002


Dancing In The Dark: Things My Mother Never Told Me by Rosalie Ferrer Kramer is a deeply personal, "creative non-fiction" work of hidden secrets and lost siblings. When the narrator is not mentioned in her mother's will, despite having an ostentatiously good relationship, she searches for answers and learns about devastating heartbreak, betrayal, and death within her own family. An emotional, powerful and captivating tale from first page to last, Dancing In The Dark is very highly recommended reading.

ESTHER BLOOM, PRODUCER PACE-TV "Rosalie Kramer is a gifted storyteller. In her inspiring book, Dancing in the Dark, she advances the plot through short chapters, each a vignette of family members and the events that shaped their lives. Readers will see themselves or someone they know as she tugs at your heart's core. I laughed, I cried and was intrigued throughout by the tale she wove. Once started it was impossible to put down."

April 23, 2004


This book was haunting. Some trates of Ada were very much like my mother. My daughter will be the next to read this telling book. Then on to my hairstylest who has requested to read it next. I then asked if she would leave the book in her salon. A must read!!!!

Journal entry 2 by Champagne1958 from El Cajon, California USA on Tuesday, March 23, 2004

This book was haunting. Some traites of Ada were very much like my mother. My daughter will be the next to read this telling book. Then on to my hairstylest who has requested to read it next. I then asked if she would leave the book in her salon. A must read!!!!


Journal entry 3 by mspreta from El Cajon, California USA on Sunday, April 18, 2004

I just started the book this morning. I brought it with me on vacation to New York. If I get enough time in the next 4 days, I hope to finish it. If not, I'll take it to Pittsburgh, Pa. and then home to San Diego. So far, it's caught my interest. I love to read about real people and their lives.

Every family needs someone to be their family's historian

Every family needs someone to be their family's historian. Rosalie Ferrer Kramer is her family's historian. Her memoir, Dancing in the Dark: Things My Mother Never Told Me, chronicles the lives of her immediate and extended family over several generations. She has done it interestingly and tastefully. Ada Leader, the author's mother, was in her nineties when she died. She had been living in the suburban Detroit area where her youngest daughter, Marilyn, helped her remain independent and in her own apartment. Rochelle, the older daughter and the one telling the story, was retired and now lives in Coronado with her husband. Ada Leader was a keeper of secrets from her children, especially Rochelle. Rochelle's Uncle Roy taught her how to dance. Rochelle loved dancing with him. He made her feel grown up. For many years, she thought Roy was her brother! He was considerably younger then her mother; he lived in the same home with Rochelle and her sister; she naturally, thought he was an older brother. After all, her parents never said anything different to them, However, one day she learned the shocking truth from her mother - Roy was her uncle. Why did Ada hide this fact from her daughters? Was it such a "big deal" to keep it a secret? What did her mother think would happen if they knew he was their uncle? It would not have changed things. But Ada loved to keep secrets from her children. And once Rochelle learned this secret, and in such a cavalier fashion, she became very curious about so many other things. She became an astute listener. She eavesdropped on adult conversations. Rochelle, always inquisitive and a questioner, became even more so after her shock about Roy. Because she got little family information from her mother, she questioned her father. He honestly answered her questions and was always easier to deal with. Her aunts and uncles were also fair game for questioning. What other secrets might mother be keeping from her? Rochelle and her younger sister would stay with relatives during the summer. While both of them loved being on vacation in New York or New Jersey, Rochelle particularly enjoyed speaking and listening to one aunt, her mother's sister, and an uncle, her mother's brother. From them she learned some family secrets. Ada had another brother, Issy, one she never mentioned to her children. Why had she never spoken about him? Was he in prison? Dead? Did he marry a non-Jew? What could he have done that was so horrible that he would not be mentioned in any of her mother's conversations? Another secret concerned her mother. What could that be? Should the children know "the secret?" What if they found out from others, as they did; was that the wisest way? Did her mother have an abortion because she was pregnant before marriage? Had she been previously married? What was there to hide? Once Rochelle knew her mother kept deep secrets, she was always curious to know more about the family. Rochelle tells us what happened to the whole family over her lifetime. We learn of Rochelle's and her husband's strength and fortitude as she raises two very ill sons. She lets us enjoy the exciting exploits her grandmother and grandfather had prior to reaching the ship that would take them to America. We learn the origin of the family name Thomas. All of this could have been lost, if Rochelle had not been keen on studying history, family history. What made Ada Leader into the person she became? Obviously, this is always a difficult question to answer, especially for a daughter. You can only know your mother as an adult. That is generally too late to understand what made her into the person you know. If your mother was not a demonstrative person, why? If she played favorites, why? Rochelle learned about one of her mother's best-kept secrets. She learned this after her mother died, during the mourning period. It was a secret only from Rochelle. Why? Rosalie Ferrer Kramer has written a memoir worth reading.

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Reader Reviews for "Dancing in the Dark: Things My Mother Never Told Me"

Reviewed by Mary Grace Patterson 11/9/2006
Your story sounds intriguing. Why people go to such lenghts is a question not easily answered. Truth usually prevails in the end.I hope to read your book sometime......M

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