SALAMANCA — A new book at the Salamanca Public Library can help children face the painful dilemma of being separated from family members and loved ones.
“Kisses by the Moon,” written by Tom Sherman and his daughter, Piper Nichols, is a “how-to book for kissing and hugging by cyberspace.” It is proof that closeness need not be dictated by proximity.
The premise for the book came from a time when Sherman took sabbatical from Winona State University and traveled to Sitka, Alaska, to teach at Sheldon Jackson College. He was alone there and missed his family, especially the grandchildren.
“They were young and I feared they would forget me,” he said. “Our daughter, Piper Nichols, worked with me to try to keep the grandchildren thinking about me by throwing kisses to the moon.
“I would go out, rain or shine, before bed each night and look for the moon to both send and receive all those hugs and kisses,” Sherman continued. “It was indeed a serious and sentimental time for me.”
Being a close family, solving the away issue was a somber challenge. The solution of missing and thinking of one another and passing hugs and kisses by the moon was challenged by the grandkids with all their what ifs.
“The plan worked and has stayed with us for many years as family members went off to college, on their own adventures of travel, work and lives around the globe,” Sherman said. “It is our hope that this celestial idea helps other families who are apart, especially separated military families. The moon can unite us.”
The illustrations are windows into the personal lives of the Sherman family, including their dogs and references to the family starting place in Salamanca.
Sherman, who turned 71 years old Dec. 20, was born in Salamanca, graduating from Salamanca High School in 1965. His father, Harry Sherman, ran the original Salamanca Pennysaver at its former location on Erie Street. Siblings include a sister, Juanita Sherman, and brother, Steve Sherman.
Sherman began a lifelong passion for skiing in Salamanca, especially at Allegany State Park, where he participated in many ski races and ski jumping competitions, winning in the 1969-70 season. At one point he tried out for the Winter Olympic games in cross country and ski jumping competitions.
He furthered his college education at Lake Placid University, St. Lawrence University and the State University of New York College at Buffalo, eventually receiving his Doctorate in Education and Psychology at the University of Colorado.
Sherman taught in public schools for 11 years before becoming a professor at the University of New Mexico and then professor of education at Winona State University in Minnesota.
He and his wife, Janice, have two children, a daughter, Piper, and a son, Wade; and four grandchildren.
Piper, who works in the publishing business, co-authored “Kisses by the Moon” along with her father.
Wade lives in a Duke's castle in Alnwick, England, near the Scottish border, the same castle featured in the last episode of the television show “Downton Abbey.”
Now retired, Tom and Janice are currently living in Ft. Myers, Fla., and still keep up the practice of sending kisses by the moon.
A limited number of signed copies of "Kisses by the Moon" are available for sale at the Salamanca Public Library.
(Contact lifestyles editor Amanda Grabowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.)