ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – Author and historian Muriel J. Smith will have a book signing Saturday, Dec. 11  at Bayshore Pharmacy, Foodtown Shopping Center on Route 36  to introduce her newest and starkly different book, “Christmas Legends of the Bayshore.” Smith will be at the store between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“I wanted to do something different in the wake of Covid and all the other scares our nation has faced in the past year,” Smith said, “and I always get happiness and contentment from writing. So I went back to what I’ve been doing for more than 40 years for my family,….writing legends and whimsy.”

Smith, better known for writing hard news for area newspapers for 65 years, and now writing a blog, www.VeniVidiScripto.com   (I came I saw I write)  is also the author of four books, most about local and state history. She began writing legends when her oldest grandchild was born 40 years ago while his mother was stationed with the Marine Corps in Japan.  “I wanted to give Jason a piece of home,” she said, “so I wrote a legend about a grandson thousands of miles away and how love put him close to our hearts.”

“My four children had all always heard my stories growing up,” she continued, “and even occasionally read the news stories I wrote for papers, although admittedly, they preferred the feature stories I wrote about people they knew. So I wanted to do something different for the grandchildren.” Smith said every year after her grandson Jason was born, and the rest of the nine grandchildren came over the next 20 years or so, she wrote a legend for each of them. She and her  husband Jimmy almost always also made a tree ornament to go with each legend. “Some of these same stories are in this book,” she said.

In some stories, local residents and friends can be identified in the legends and whimsy, as are many of the locations for the stories.  Some take place at the Twin Lights, or Hartshorne Woods, other at the Highlands bridge or even in St. Agnes Church. “There are a couple in there about the squirrels I feed at the top of the 16 steps to my apartment,” Smith said. In addition, some of the stories are from outside the area, recalling happy memories and legends she wrote after trips to Germany, Russia and Greece.


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The books sell for $20 each, but Smith and Bayshore Pharmacy are offering them at $15 each before Christmas. They will continue to be available at the pharmacy and gift shop, as well as well as through Smith and her blog.

“I’m thrilled to have the book signing and introduction of the book at Bayshore,” the author said, “because it offers a one stop shopping day for everyone in the Bayshore on Dec. 11. The pharmacy has all kinds of unique Christmas items for sale as well as great toys and many other books by local authors. They have a variety of perfumes and cosmetics for women, and a section with plenty of ideas for the men on your list. Best of all, buying at Bayshore means not only do you not to wait for mail deliveries, but the staff also gifts wraps at no cost. They have all kinds of wrappings, not only for Christmas but for birthdays and other celebrations as well. Shopping locally is always a great idea, but when it come gift-wrapped, it’s makes it even more special.”


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