I love doing research. It’s really fun. It’s like a treasure hunt.

In doing the research for Dreams in the Golden Country, what treasures did I uncover?

The one treasure that shines through like a blazing jewel was the Yiddish theater. I had known a little bit about the Yiddish theater but not that much. I couldn't stop reading about it — its roots in the Rumanian wine bars around the middle of the nineteenth century; its great stars like Ida Kaminsky and Jacob Adler; their plays; their adaptations of Shakespeare; the life on the road; the romances and rivalries and jealousies amongst the actors. I got side tracked for a good month just reading stuff about the Yiddish theater.

I'd rather be Zippy than Remember Patience Whipple. Life was a lot more exciting. Remember had to worry about starvation and possible Indian attacks and dying of the general sickness. Zippy was relieved of all those worries, and she had a lot more personal freedom. Zippy was arriving in the midst of a richly thriving, burgeoning immigrant culture in the middle of a great American city. No wonder one day she wants to be Madame Curie, the next Wilbur Wright, and the next a star of the Yiddish theater. This was America where you really could dream. Oh, and I forgot one important thing: Zippy didn't speak English. Remember did. Zippy had to figure out a new culture. Remember just had to hang on to what she came with. The challenges were different for these girls but still equally complex, I think.

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