Debra Lynn Shelton is a young adult, women’s fiction, and mystery writer, and former rock princess who has written about songwriting and hosted #YALITCHAT for several years. She lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with two feline overlords and a husband, all of whom are cuddly, cute, and finicky.
When I was in the sixth grade, my mom and dad were getting ready for a charity event at our house for an institution that transformed my moms’s life by helping her recover from severe childhood…asthma.. In preparation for the event, some boys from down the street (one whose brother became Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame) came over to rehearse for their performance. The minute they walked in with their guitars, drums, and amplifiers, I felt the air shift around me. I could barely breathe. I sat on the… >> Read More
My cousin is getting married on Yom Kippur. And her dress rehearsal is on Kol Nidre. Yes, you read that right. So, what’s a good relative to do?
Apparently when she and her non-Jewish fiancé…scheduled their most special event, they had no idea the date coincided with the holiest days on the Jewish calendar. By the time they realized the conflict, it was too late. They weren’t able to change the date of their wedding at the fancy country club where it was booked. On a scale of religiousness,… >> Read More
“I want to be a Jewish leader.”
This was the answer I wrote in my sixth grade diary to the self-imposed question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Also included was a list of…possible names for my future children (Catherine, Stephen, Jacob, and Elizabeth) and how old I should be when I got married (between 19 and 26). One of those predictions was right: I was 22 when I got married. But I named my boys Adam and Ethan—and instead of being a Jewish leader, I have worked… >> Read More
When I was growing up, having my bat mitzvah was akin to wearing clean underwear or doing my homework; it was not up for negotiation. I was forced to adhere to my parents’ wishes, no matter how…twisted I found them. I despised Hebrew school. After all, wasn’t regular school enough? I yelled, kicked, screamed, and cried every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning, to no avail. My mom ignored my desperate pleas, dropping me off at temple three times a week to be taught by an ex-cantor who never smiled.… >> Read More
My maternal grandmother, Ann, was born in 1918 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and my paternal grandmother, Anna was born in Russia in 1904 before moving to the small town of Gardner, MA at the…tender age of two. They lived in an alternative universe from the one we, our daughters, nieces, and granddaughters live in today. And as much as I cherish their memories, that’s a good thing. My grandmothers lived in a male-dominated world. They played the roles passed down from their mothers and grandmothers in traditionally Jewish… >> Read More
It began on a cold Saturday night in early January. While out for a birthday dinner for my son with his girlfriend and my husband, I noticed my heart speeding up. Since I was diagnosed in high…school with Mitral Valve Prolapse (a condition that occurs in approximately 2% of the population), this was not uncommon. I often felt palpitations, but they rarely lasted more than a minute. Though the palpitations that night were also painless, this time they didn’t stop. After dinner, we headed to the ER. They examined me and… >> Read More
Mike and I got together the night John Lennon was killed. We lit candles and sang songs and cried. From the start, we were best friends and soulmates. We did everything together, went everywhere…together, talked about everything together, and eventually had two, beautiful kids together. We formed an all-original rock band named 27 Dreams in honor of our June 27th wedding anniversary. We wrote hundreds of songs together, played clubs, and recorded in numerous studios. The first time I heard one of our songs on the radio, I was… >> Read More