Moms write about ’empty nest’ syndrome

Town Crier/Ginny Prior

WHEN YOU READ this, the Town Crier will be — crying. My daughter will have left for college and I will be moping about, wondering where the last 18 years of my life went.

I’m not alone. Parents across America are finding the nest they’ve fluffed and feathered for years is suddenly empty. Three local moms have just published a book on the subject called “Writin’ on Empty.”

Author Julie Renalds says the book was spawned from the tough times she faced when her own teen left home.

“I really struggled,” she says. “It was a rough year for me.”

Thinking it would help to talk with someone, she ran a notice in The Montclarion advertising a discussion group and got seven calls in three days.

Joan Cehn was one of those callers.

“I called Julie and we ended up talking for hours,” she remembers, saying their group of moms took solace in their meetings in each other’s homes.

Then one day, Julie told Joan she wanted to write a book on the subject. Joan knew just who to ask for help — her longtime neighbor and friend Risa Nye. With three kids already out of the house, Nye knew plenty about empty nests. She was also a seasoned writer — the perfect choice.

Their brainchild is a compilation of stories, both joyful and sorrowful, from moms and dads across the country. It’s an anthology that goes to the very heart of parenting.

For me, the timing couldn’t have been better. I’ll always miss my little girl. But this book has helped me let go.

There will be an authors’ reading and book signing of “Writin’ on Empty” at 7 p.m. on Aug. 27 at A Great Good Place for Books in Montclair Village.

NEIGHBORHOOD PATROLS: Just when you thought our city didn’t care, hills folks are being asked for feedback on fighting crime. From now through Sept. 11, the Montclair Safety and Improvement Council is polling residents on behalf of the Oakland Police Department, asking for input on where to put police patrols. Pockets of crime in the past have included the area in front of Montclair Elementary School, as well as sections of Thornhill, Colton, Mountain and Snake.

Skyline Boulevard has been a priority, too — especially for traffic cops. To see and make comments on the OPD’s patrol priorities, log onto

SPEAKING OF CRIME: Purse snatchings are nothing new, but a recent crime outside the Montclair Lucky is cause for concern. Neighbors say an 87-year-old woman was loading groceries into her car (in a handicapped space in the parking garage) when a woman emerged from an older model Honda Prelude and grabbed her purse. The suspect got back in the vehicle and the driver sped off. What makes it extra creepy is the fact that the suspects were seen trolling the parking lot before the crime occurred.

TOOTH TALK: What’s one of the biggest pitfalls of going off to college? No, it’s not the “freshman 15” (those dreaded 15 pounds one puts on freshman year), it’s tooth decay!

Montclair dentist Dr. Laurie Shepherd says college kids are coming home with more than just dirty laundry these days. They’re bringing a mouth full of cavities from all the sugary treats and flavored waters they consume. There is a solution. In your next package send rinse, floss and an electric toothbrush.


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