Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jeanne's Bio


I was born in Hollywood, California in 1940, the heart of the city of dreams, and it is from the movies that my notion of romance grew.

The early death of my mother, Alice, in 1943 before my age of three, altered my life forever.

I was the granddaughter of a Heifitz and would eventually, as my father had, learn to play the violin as my paternal grandmother’s first cousin, Jasha, had (Jasha Heifitz, violin virtuoso). Jascha Jeifetz - Wikipedia

My grandmother, Marie Heifitz Simonoff raised me for a year and a half. From her I learned the language of unstuck time, coming back in on itself with no linear order. I understood that pathway of Dementia. Then my father fell in love with a rabbi and teacher’s daughter, Esther, and my life again changed.

Movies still informed me.  I would spend my childhood with heroes such as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Flash Gordon, Van Johnson, Susan Hayward, Rita Hayworth, and in my years before age 13, Rock Hudson and Marilyn Monroe.

I received a wonderful gift from my first partner, Sue, a silky terrier pup I named Abra after Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. I have had four silky terriers, the latest one named after my birth mother, Alice, and Alice B. Toklas, to honor her, because she was in the shadow of Gertrude Stein, although buried head to head, and sharing a headstone, in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France, a city I truly love.

I grew up with Latin sounds of salsa and the melancholy of klezmer and Jewish liturgical music with the minor key.

My childhood memoir, SAVING MYSELF:  A LOS ANGELES CHILDHOOD, thirteen years in the growing, started with a poem, FOR MY MOTHER WHO DIED WITHOUT WARNING, honored in my book of poems, 13.  These two books honor my matriarchs, Alice Welcher Simonoff, Miriam Heifitz Simonoff, Sophia Levetin Welcher, Miriam Grosmark Goldenberg and Esther Goldenberg Simonoff who died in 2002.  She made me promise to finish her story, ROSES, which is part of the childhood memoir, before she died.

I have three more books in the works, a second memoir, JUST NOW:  THE ALZHEIMER’S JOURNAL; VENICE BEACH DAYS, the third in the trilogy, non-linear in nature; and CENTURY, a psychological thriller waiting to be fleshed out and birthed.

After living in the City of Angels for 53 years, where for 25 years I had a counseling firm, Simonoff and Associates, I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1993.  I live in the country outside of Santa Fe in a home which I designed.  I admire the night skies which I first remember from the  interior dome of the Griffith Park Observatory in the Los Feliz hills of Los Angeles.  From there, one can imagine and sometimes see the Hollywood sign.

I invite all of you into my life.  Please enjoy the family album to put faces to the people you read about in SAVING MYSELF, the excerpt from the childhood memoir, notice of readings, workshops and other books in process. Click on for photos that will enhance the story.

Welcome to my world.