Happy birthday, Sala of Sala’s Gift, Sala of Letters to Sala, and real Sala, my mom.

Dylan meets Bubbe

Sala meets Dylan Alexander Stine, her eighth greatgrandchild

For those who know her as a character in a book or play, my mother is an idea and an inspiration. For my family and me, she’s our real SALA and our beloved mother and grandmother and greatgrandmother.

All those Salas come together in notes from strangers who feel like family. In the photo below, students are holding red book copies of Arlene Hutton’s Beth Lincks play Letters to Sala.  And click here for one cast who sang to Sala for her birthday.  IMG_4071


I received this one today from one of the directors:

“I am a Theatre teacher/director at a small high school in Texas. We have a theatre competition each year and for our competition play this year, we are producing Letters to Sala. I personally fell in love with the story when I read the play. I have also read your book and the NYPL book as well as numerous websites.  My students and I feel like we know you and your family personally from all of the background work.

Cast members holding Arlene Hutton's play, LETTERS TO SALA.

Cast members holding Arlene Hutton’s play, LETTERS TO SALA.

We also feel a responsibility in this show as we know, just like your mother felt about the letters, that we are keeping these people alive when we share their stories on stage. Each of the letter writers (characters) has become a friend to us that we absolutely must share with the audiences so that their stories, their lives, were not in vain. I had to share this with you so that you would know that the family conflict that you went through to get these letters out to the public and get the story told was worth it. Now thousands of people will know about all of these people who existed, and were important human souls.

They were beautiful lights that were darkened, but can now shine again!

I have 2 daughters of my own and understand your story well. My oldest is 15 and is playing Young Sala. I wanted you to know a little about us so that I can share with you that the students asked me if we could contact your mother to tell her Happy Birthday today! They have all watched YouTube videos of you and her and love her like she is their own grandmother. So, please pass that on to her and let her know that her story is a blessing to us and that we will do our best to share her life and her story with as many audiences as we can.”


  1. Dear Dean Kirschner,

    I just ordered Sala’s Gift and look forward to reading it and sharing my experience with you. We met last year when Marianne introduced me to you at Macaulay Home. I am a very strong supporter of Macaulay Honors and my student,, Max Kulchinsky, who has been admitted to Macaulay Lehman, will be a true gift to your program. I know he will shine and find many outlets for his passions, especially his writing, at Macaulay. My other wonderful student, Alana Herrnson, was offered either Macaulay or Roosevelt Honors at Hunter. I showed her your bio and blog and you thoughts on reading. Both of you have so much in common. These wonderful students inspire all of us.

    I will certainly be in touch after I read your book.

    All my best,
    Mark Kowalsky
    Schechter School of Long Island

  2. Jena Oberg says:

    Dear Ann,

    My name is Jena Oberg and I have had the honor of directing our current production of Letters to Sala at Little Lake Theatre in Canonsburg, PA. For three months my cast and I have research and studied the story of your amazing mother. We have all been changed immeasurably by your family’s story. The letters represent such love and the lives of so many amazing people. May they be remembered always.

    On this, the 75th anniversary, of Sala sacrificing her own freedom for her sister, everyone involved in our production wanted you and your family to know that we are thinking about and honoring your mother and you today.

    Thank you for sharing this story. Thank you Sala for being so brave!

    Much love,
    Jena, Lynne, Ponny, Lily, Julia, Katy, Ashley, Elizabeth, Renee, Leah, Jill, Lindy, Jake, Kent, Tyson, Carly, Alyssa, Pam, Emily, Emily, Jarrod, Phil and all the staff at Little Lake Theatre.