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Remember the Sweet Things: One List, Two Lives, and Twenty Years of Marriage Paperback – January 26, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006172761X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061727610
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,773,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After poor career choices, a failed marriage and three moves to three different states, first-time author Greene needed to establish sanity and stability for herself and her children. What she gets when she accepts a job offer she thinks will be just a nice resting place turns out to be a wonderful new life. Greene, now the grandmother of seven, recounts the transformation of her life and her 20-year marriage to Marsh, a man she met after her move when she was in her late 30s. Greene kept a running list of the funny and touching things Marsh did for her each day, and each year, on Valentine's Day, she would share the Sweet Things List with him. Weaving recollections from this list into her story, Greene opens up memorable times of their lives: the early period in their relationship, the years in China for Marsh's career, their time sailing the Pacific and searching for a new home, his illness and the surprising publication of this book. What could have been a saccharine story filled with clichés is instead a gentle and genuine reminder that the smallest things in life are the most precious. This is a heartfelt tribute to what really matters. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“REMEMBER THE SWEET THINGS is...a beautiful meditation on love and life, and an affirmation of the power of gratitude. Told in a clear and honest voice, its indelible message—that it’s all the sweet little things that add up to an extraordinary love—is a true gift to the reader.” (-- New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs)

“Ellen Greene tells us how “happily ever after” works, and she does it with such grace and candor that even the unluckiest and most cynical will take note....” (Marilyn Johnson, author of The Dead Beat)

“REMEMBER THE SWEET THINGS isn’t merely a love story. It is a manual for healthy living, told with searing honesty and profound tenderness, and poignance that touches you on virtually every page....I didn’t just savor REMEMBER THE SWEET THINGS. I am a better person for having read it.” (Wayne Coffey, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Boys of Winter)

“What could have been a saccharine story filled with clichés is instead a gentle and genuine reminder that the smallest things in life are the most precious. This is a heartfelt tribute to what really matters.” (Publishers Weekly)

More About the Author

Ellen Greene


I was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 1947. The lake in this case is Lake Winnebago, and my grandma had a house on it. Along with my two brothers and many cousins, I whiled away the summers there, spending hours in the shallow water, hopping from sandbar to sandbar. Our grandpa would grill corn and bratwurst for supper and serve them up with his recipe for German potato salad, the same potato salad he served at his tavern on Main Street, the Cozy Inn. We kids were welcome there, too, on Friday nights for the perch plate special that was a family affair and a town favorite, especially with us Catholics.

Fond du Lac, population 35,000, supported five Catholic parishes, each with its own elementary school. I went to "St. Joe's." My cousins went to St. Pat's and St. Mary's, after which we all funneled into St. Mary's Springs Academy for high school. The boys wore ties, the girls white blouses and black skirts, the hem of which had to touch the floor if a nun put you to the test of a kneel-down in the hall.

After eighteen years of Mass every Sunday and twelve years of schooling by the Sisters of St. Agnes, I went secular at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It felt radical and heady. A third of the campus came from the East Coast and spouted ideas I'd never even considered. "I'm not smart enough for college!" I wailed to my parents over the phone, within months of arriving and receiving the first "C" of my life. "I'm going to drop out and become a stewardess." Back in the 60's, being a flight attendant was all glamour and white gloves.

"Don't be ridiculous," my mother said. "They don't take girls over five-seven."

So I buckled down and got the grades, first at Madison and later at the Universidad de Costa Rica in Central America, after a summer fling turned serious during my first venture out of the United States. I married Carlos, a local, had my two children, Jennifer and Michael, and taught at a couple of bilingual schools before we came back to the States together.

First stop was Colorado Springs where I taught adult basic education classes, before divorce and a move to Albuquerque and a job in telecommunications. Then came Denver and a job in Big Oil, and finally Massachusetts where I met Marsh and you pick up my life in Remember the Sweet Things. Jennifer and Michael had lived in seven cities and gone to eight schools at that point. It was time to settle down, and I picked a nice guy to do it with.

The settling down didn't last for long, however. Once the kids finished high school, Marsh and I hit the road. We lived and worked in Shanghai, China, for three years, took a year to sail our boat across the Pacific, then another year to traverse Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Mexico, where we picked a tiny beach town as our new home base.

I still have a home in San Pancho, Nayarit. But now I spend more time in San Jose, California, with my daughter and granddaughters, and visit kids and grandkids in Austin, Texas. It's a modified version of what Marsh liked to call "our lovely little life."

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Story of my life - LOVED IT!
Sandra
Congratulations and thanks for your terrific book, Ellen.
Scdiver
I made my husband read it too---it's an inpsiring read.
Beth Jarvis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Fowler HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It was the simple touch of a hand that touched her heart and her life. Ellen hadn't had it easy in the love department. She married young, a marriage that produced two lovely children, but little else save heartbreak. Another long-term relationship after a disastrous marriage only served to fuel her lack of self-esteem. In her heart felt memoir she remembers how Marsh's affectionate gesture changed her life forever.

Ellen was a Midwestern gal, from simple unpretentious stock, while Marsh actually had a "pedigree." Her descent from bootleggers made no difference to Marshall Whitney Greene. The courtship he began would last a lifetime. "I'm a simple guy," he said, "with not too many moving parts. I just want a shot at happiness, and that means being with you."

Relationships are made. They do not come for the asking, nor as some folks think, emanate from 'matches made in heaven.' It takes work. Ellen's patience sometimes ran thin, but she decided to dwell on the positive aspects of the relationship and began to write down the endearing things Marsh did and present them to him with affection. Long after the negative experiences disappeared from memory, Ellen Greene's legacy to Marsh took the form of a book in an extremely touching narrative, Remember the Sweet Things: One List, Two Lives, and Twenty Years of Marriage. A blended family, a stint in China, an aborted sail around the world, the throes of Parkinson's Disease . . . it was their life and love.

This book is a surreptitious manual for a successful and loving marriage. Ellen Greene loved her husband Marsh deeply, yet was forthright with the reader admitting her own fallibility. This is a real life love story that would surpass any Jude Deveraux novel. Very highly recommended book!

Deb Fowler - Roundtable Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Herzoff on February 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ellen Greene's book is charming and touching and flows smoothly. It is a comfortable read, like having a real conversation with someone that you know and like. And what you glean from it in the end is how to have a truly wonderful marriage the second time around. There is a lot to be learned here about the proper care and feeding of a loving relationship.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Adele Teichman on February 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ellen's book touched me in so many ways. Being married for 50 years, I wish I had started a list. This book is what marriage should be about. Growing and loving, sharing, etc. I have already shared it with my near and dear. Thank you Ellen.

Adele Teichman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sheila A. Mcpharlin on April 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ellen Greene's book is an honest and positive view of the ups and downs of this complex relationship over the course of its 20 years. a "quick read" and yet, the understandings and insights remain to be considered long after the reading is concluded.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judi MacGregor Levens on February 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved Ellen Greene's "Remember the Sweet Things" and I've recommended it to all of my friends. It's a gentle story, very well told, about a delightfully lived marriage that both people treasured. It reminds us that we make our lives beautiful by living them well and appreciating them always. I cried with Ellen in the early stages before things came together for her and Marsh, and I treasured so many of the special moments that she shared. This is a great gift book for a friend, and one to hold onto.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beth Jarvis on February 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to believe this is Ellen Greene's first published book. She is a phenomenal writer whose tale of love, marriage and adventurous travels is both captivating and romantic. This is the perfect Valentine's Day gift for a significant other. This book made me laugh, cry and want to work harder on my own marriage! I made my husband read it too---it's an inpsiring read.
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By Victoria on December 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hallmark magazine first hilighted her story after family and friends heard her tribute to her husband. It's a warm story of two professionals who had an admiration for each other and fell in love. He was carasmatic and vivacious, she was willing and adventerous. They married and together co-parented her two boys. Their life took them on travels and adventures with an interesting turn of events. Ellen's love lists were a grounding and beautiful tradition that will always be part of their legacy. I found the book on Amazon becase of the tags of their time in Mexico. I read the book in two evenings. It was an easy, breezy read.. a happy, sad, feel good story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very different view of recording and nurturing a relationship.

Adventurous life we may think about, but few of us have the nerve and discipline to do.

Life is full of happiness and tragedy.

In midlife there is still hope for romance and fun.

Diverse culture can be divisive and bonding.

Transparent look into bonding romance and the challenges.

Adventure is around the corner if you let it take into its arms.
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