Posts tagged " Pressing My Luck "

Getting the word out.

July 18th, 2013 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

I naively thought that writing and publishing my book, Pressing My Luck, would be the hardest part of the journey. As it turns out, promoting the book is just as involved if not more. The appearance on the Katie Couric Show was a lucky break and I have lots of gratitude for the opportunity. However, now I’m back to the challenging task of getting the word out on my own. As you probably know, I never shy away from a challenge and already have a few things in the works. Will keep you posted, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, check out my book (if you haven’t already done so) on iTunes, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Katie Couric Show – July 1, 2013

July 3rd, 2013 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

I’m winding down from my premiere on The Katie Couric Show. It was an invigorating experience and I’m very pleased with how it came out. Lots of positive reviews! Thank you. Now back to the grind of promoting my book Pressing My Luck.

KATIE - Lottery winners talk about how their lives have changed, on KATIE, distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Disney-ABC/ Lorenzo Bevilaqua) KATIE COURIC, SHIRLEY PRESS

KATIE – Lottery winners talk about how their lives have changed, on KATIE, distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. (Disney-ABC/ Lorenzo Bevilaqua) KATIE COURIC, SHIRLEY PRESS

Paperback version of PRESSING MY LUCK is NOW AVAILABLE

June 24th, 2013 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

My memoir, Pressing My Luck, is now available in paperback format, in addition to Kindle version. It can be purchased at Amazon (click here). Clicking on the image also will also redirect you to Amazon. The ePub version of Pressing My Luck will be available next week at iTunes and Barnes & Noble.

Pressing My Luck A Doctor's Lottery Journey by Shirley Press MD


June 21st, 2013 Posted by Uncategorized 1 comment

It’s been a grueling few weeks finalizing the publication of my memoir, Pressing My Luck. With that said, I’m happy to announce that it is finally published! It can be purchased in kindle format on Amazon – click HERE for Kindle edition. The eBook and softcover versions are forthcoming and will be available next week. Stay tuned.

Pressing My Luck by Shirley Press

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Pressing My Luck: Get Back

March 20th, 2013 Posted by Uncategorized 4 comments

Here is another excerpt from my soon-to-be published book Pressing My Luck.

Fifty years before I ever heard of Quick Pick tickets or instant jackpots, I was born in Camden, N.J., the first child of Gershon and Leah Press.
I arrived at 8:42 p.m. on June 2, 1951. There is nothing remarkable about a 6 pounds, 14 ounce baby girl, except that my very existence was a kind of miracle.

My mother had survived Auschwitz, my father, Dachau. They met after both of them came separately to America. They married in 1948. They had defied the odds and now had the never-easy job of raising a child. The next chapter describes a detailed account of their lives.

They rarely spoke of the Holocaust and chose not to burden my sister Barbara, born two-and-a-half years later, and me with the past. They reserved speaking Yiddish, their native language, for private times, of which there were few. At the time, it all seemed so normal. Yet we instinctively understood the precious legacy of survivor children. My parents’ priority was to bring up two assimilated girls in a free land and make a living the American way, yet never forgetting their Jewish heritage. It wasn’t easy.

My dad worked in the grocery store of his Aunt Rose and Uncle Morris Dworkin, who sponsored his immigration to the United States after the war. Aunt Rose was my father’s mother’s sister.My dad was a gentle, even-tempered soul. He always helped people. When he was in a position to do so, he would extend store credit to deserving customers. He would keep each family’s tally on little pieces of white paper. He created an idiosyncratic way of filing these slips, storing them alphabetically on a series of six nails hammered into the wall in the store’s backroom. At the end of each week, customers would come in and pay their tab. I remember him best in his white apron. He had a heavy accent. In addition, until the day he died, he had a full head of brown hair without a speck of gray. I inherited that trait from him. To this day, I have yet to see my first gray hair.

On only a grocer’s salary, we could barely afford our first home, a tiny two-bedroom one-bath brick row house at 1494 Kenwood Avenue in Camden’s Parkside section of town. They paid $8,000 for the house, which was on a typical city block. There was a small grocery store — not ours — on the corner, and a nearby synagogue.

It was a five-block walk to school. We knew many of our neighbors. Two blocks away lived our older cousins, Andrea, who we called Andy, and Mark Dworkin. Andrea grew up to find fame as a writer and feminist. However, as kids, it was Mark we sought out. We spent countless hours entertained by his bottle cap and baseball card collections. In the summer, we would also play in the Dworkins’ inflatable swimming pool while our mothers would talk. I remember Andrea playing the piano, always reading, and talking with the adults. Later in life, we became close.

We always had enough to eat. My mother was a master at transforming hamburger into a variety of different dishes. She was also obsessed with eggs and thought giving us an egg a day would safeguard our health. Her original invention was to wait until she thought we weren’t looking and quietly stir a raw egg into our Bosco Chocolate Syrup flavored milk. We weren’t fooled, but dutifully drank the concoction to make her happy.

It was understood that I would wear hand-me-down clothes from cousins, and when I outgrew them, the cycle would continue with my younger sister. Afterwards, my mother would ship the clothes to our relatives in Israel for another rotation. We lived without air conditioning. The walls in our house were so thin that we were able to play knocking games from our respective bathtubs with our next-door neighbors, Keiran and Trevor Lynch.

My parents could not afford to buy a small black and white television set until 1956, and they purchased their first car, a green Ford Fairlane, in 1961, the year I turned 10. I had no expensive toys but will never forget Susan Serock’s fancy dollhouse in her backyard across the street. Yet, tea parties at the dollhouse were far from my favorite pastime. There were no Barbies on my Hanukkah list. I preferred toys made of rocks, wood or rope for outdoor games like stickball, hopscotch and double-Dutch jump rope or playing in groups of kids that formed spontaneously. We’d play in an alley behind our house. I was generally accompanied by Barbara, a brown-eyed, brown-haired cutie, who I had to drag with me pretty much everywhere. We shared a room and I still remember our matching plaid quilts. I never thought about whether we were rich or poor until Linda Hill, the only African-American girl on our block enlightened me. “Look at the houses on the television and then look at ours,” she said.

The early years were good years, despite money woes. Our neighbor, Jim Serchia, became quite popular for his weekly nickel-and-dime giveaways. He was the original Alex Trebek of Kenwood Avenue, always asking the kids on the block questions about current affairs and rewarding us for right answers. We still keep in touch with “Uncle” Jim; in recent years he has become a close friend to my mother. It was typical of the ’50s that we knew all our neighbors and rarely locked our doors. The only theft I was aware of was when someone stole my bicycle. It was later found up in the branches of an old oak tree. This was the extent of crime on Kenwood Avenue.

We were able to walk without fear each morning to Parkside School. Students were required to go home for lunch. While the other girls went home, I had to eat in the luncheonette section of the local five-and-ten cent store where my mother worked as a sales clerk. She was the only mother I knew who worked outside the home. The little money she made helped to make ends meet. My mother later arranged for Barb and me to eat at my classmate Ina Sirisky’s house. I still keep in touch with her and other friends from the old neighborhood.

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of my memoir “Pressing My Luck”

March 5th, 2013 Posted by Uncategorized 7 comments

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of my forthcoming book “Pressing My Luck”. Enjoy!

Chapter 1
Ticket to Ride

As a doctor I’m well aware that the unexpected doesn’t come pre-announced. A person doesn’t wake up in the morning thinking, I’m going to wind up in the emergency room today or I’m going to have a car sideswipe me as I cross the street at lunchtime. As it turns out, the same thing is true when good fortune pulls up a seat at your dinner table. Even moments before it happens, everything seems relatively the same as it has always been.

I was aware that there would be a drawing on the night of September 5, 2001 for what was at that point the largest lottery jackpot in Florida’s history. I fully intended to buy a few tickets that day, as I did nearly every week, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fit it in. I’d worked a short shift in the ER that morning, and I had to take a makeup mandatory course on blood-borne pathogens right after that, and then race back to my office to deal with the mountain of paperwork that had been collecting all day. I had already missed the first scheduled class, because my daughter, Sarah, was swimming in the regional U.S. Maccabi Games.

Since I was the director of a pediatric emergency department, many people thought I did nothing but attend meetings from nine to five, but the endlessly growing pile of documents to review, messages to read, and calls to return attested to something very different. In addition, I needed immediate documentation of my attendance so I had to take extra time after the class was over to get that from the lecturer. I really didn’t have a spot in my schedule to buy lottery tickets, but, since I played the lottery so often, it seemed ludicrous for me not to participate in such an enormous jackpot.

The sprawling Jackson Memorial Hospital complex included an arcade with a variety of shops, including a gift shop that sold the tickets. I ducked in on my way back from the lecture and sighed heavily when I saw a line of around ten people ahead of me, all waiting for the single cashier to help them out. This gift shop was never crowded, even when the hospital was very busy. It became immediately apparent that the huge lottery drawing was the reason everyone was queued up here today.

“I’m gonna get myself a gigantic house when I win,” said one woman to another while they waited.

“I’m gonna have steak every night,” the other replied dreamily.
The man in front of them turned in their direction. “I have my eyes on a Maserati. A black one with lots of chrome.”

They all grinned and continued to expand on their fantasies. I could tell from their ID tags that they were workers at the hospital. A part of me wanted to join in on their musing, but I didn’t. I was wearing a lab coat and was obviously a doctor, and they probably figured I didn’t belong on the line in the first place. Most people, even those who work closely with them, are under the impression that all doctors are wealthy. Even though that’s far from true, I felt a little bit out of place.

“I’m gonna get my kids back,” said the woman directly in front of me. Everyone turned in her direction. She told the group that she’d lost her six children due to neglect, but that once she hit it big on the lottery, the family would be together again. That sounded better to me than throwing a few hundred thousand after a car, though the mention of neglect made me wonder if any amount of money could make that family whole.

I didn’t consider what I would do with all the cash. Since I’d never won anything in my life, and the odds of winning tonight’s drawing were one-in-twenty-million, I assumed my losing streak would continue. I just liked to play. What I did think about was everything I had to do when I got back to my office, along with wondering about crises that might have emerged in my absence. The woman behind the counter was doing the best she could, but she seemed to be moving very slowly. Twice while I was waiting, I considered getting out of the line, but I stood my ground. Once I got close enough to see that the store had York Peppermint Patties in stock today – they’re my favorite candy – my resolve strengthened.

When it was finally my turn, I put a Peppermint Patty on the counter and asked for six Quick Pick tickets. I’d read somewhere that more people won the lottery by having the computer randomly spit out numbers than by choosing their own, so I always played this way. I stuck the ticket with my six sets of numbers in my lab coat pocket, opened the candy wrapper, and headed back up to work.

As anticipated there was a tremendous amount for me to attend to when I got back to my office. I soon forgot about the tickets and the drawing that was coming that night, as I dealt with a full day’s worth of administrative duties in the few hours I had left that afternoon. When I wasn’t in a meeting, I had the phone glued to my ear while I plowed through paperwork.

When I got home, a different swirl of activity awaited me. A quick family dinner. Coaxing my teenaged kids through their homework. Relaxing in front of the television for a while. Taking care of a few household chores. At some point, the drawing for the largest lottery jackpot in Florida history happened, but it was the furthest thing from my mind.

It would not stay far from my mind the next morning, though. “Dr. Press, did you hear that someone from Jackson won the lottery?” a nurse said to me as I walked into the clean utility room.

“Wow,” I said, my eyes widening. “Who is it?”

“No one knows. The winner hasn’t come forward yet. All we know is that the winning ticket came from the gift shop.”

I wondered if it could have been one of my line-mates. Maybe it was the woman with the six kids. I continued to assume it wasn’t me, because I didn’t have that kind of luck. In fact, though I’d been playing the Florida lottery for as long as I could remember, I’d never had a winning of more than nine dollars.