As an editor for Fig Factor Media, I’ve worked with hundreds of authors on autobiographical chapters and full manuscripts. But when I took on the assignment to help a local woman named Edith Vosefski edit her autobiography, I became increasingly aware that I was working with a totally different kind of author, in a totally different time—the middle of a pandemic.

I began working with Edith in the late spring, and in the summer, she turned ninety years old. And like many of her peers, using technology was a challenge. The technical intricacies of sharing screens and files, Zoom meetings, review and comment features, and other workflow shortcuts were foreign to her. Helping people troubleshoot computer issues over the phone was foreign to me. So together, we just had to do the best we could. In another time, we would have met in-person and I could have taught her some tricks. But the pandemic made that impossible. So, she sent me the word document of each chapter and we worked from there, emailing back and forth and talking on the p­­hone. A tweak here. A tweak there. Like the Egyptians built the pyramids, laying brick by brick, creating a legacy and thing of beauty for future generations to appreciate. Our process wasn’t always the fastest way to work, but it got the job done.

Our appointments were often on Fridays. Together, Edith and I, author and editor, would sit in front of our computers, ears to the phone, reviewing the chapters of her autobiography, to be published through Fig Factor Media. The working title was “A Life Well Lived.” Then one day Edith called me with an idea for a much more dynamic title–The Nine Lives of Curious Edithplaying off one of her most distinctive personal qualities and her love of cats. She also chose the photo for her cover—a darling portrait of her in her most beloved, formal hat (rumored to once belong to a Russian princess), and a mischievous smile to beckon the reader. It was the perfect wrapping for her gift of a story within.

As I wait for my second vaccine, I still haven’t met Edith personally. However, I feel I know her well through our work together. In editing her book, Edith’s life slowly unfolded before me. It was a life that she considered “one of the great loves stories of the twenty-first century,” with her co-star being her late husband, Joe. They were married 62 years.

Unlike some other autobiographies out there, the story of Edith Vosefski is not the story of a movie star, a politician, or a world class athlete. Hers is the touching story of enduring love for her friends and family. In a day and age where people fight to influence and dazzle each other virtually on social media, it’s refreshing to read how Edith affected people’s lives in simple but intensely personal and genuine ways.

Through Edith’s lively narrative, this editor traveled into her homespun memories growing up in Downers Grove, Illinois, her days on stage as an actress, and starting as a housemother in a boy’s home after college. Images of a young Edith in vintage dresses and signature, stylish hats rolled through my mind like a classic movie as I read about her younger, carefree days of dating and travel.

However, Edith’s life was not without sadness. In her teenage years, she lost her father when he was killed by a drunk driver and suffered other losses throughout life too. She is a survivor, and her vibrant personality and lessons for us to do the same shine through the pages of her book. She’s managed to stay positive, focused, and authentic, and it’s these same qualities that have kept her “young at heart,” even as a nonagenarian.

Edith would make a fortune if she could bottle her youthful energy, but in lieu of a pharmaceutical, we must extract the formula that she has subtly embedded in her book. If I was in charge of writing the recipe, I know the top four ingredients I would include….



Because of her intellectual curiosity, Edith will never be done growing. She has tried new and different things throughout her life. It led her to open an etiquette school as an empty nester, launch a one-woman show based on the life of Bess of Hardwick, and work as a tutor in a psychiatric hospital.

While others might spend their golden years sharing their wisdom, Edith keeps acquiring more. She wrote her first book later in life, Marianna’s Little Book of Manners, and years later, began studying Native American culture. She learned to draw, and went on to write and illustrate two fiction books for children: Leo’s Out of This World Adventure, and Leo and the Spirit of Golden Boy. Her insatiable interest in new things keeps her strong in mind and spirit and most of all, it keeps her young.



I had no idea how determined Edith was until one day she let it slip that because of health complications, she had typed her entire manuscript basically with one finger! To this day, I’ve never known a greater testament to completing a project. It was that same determination that led her through her life as she refused to let unruly children at an alternative school deter her from teaching. It also helped her set out to find care options for those she loved and visit her ancestral homeland in Europe on a shoestring budget.



Edith is a woman of faith and is led through her life by it. God is an ongoing presence throughout her story, and in my opinion, the source of her positivity. In many ways, Edith and Joe’s marriage was a match made in heaven, and her description of how he left this Earth is miraculous. She praises and thanks the Creator for the good things in her life and asks for guidance in the opposite circumstances. She demonstrates how faith can fit into our lives, throughout our lives, and how it can be a source of joy in times of sorrow.



For many people, staying optimistic is a struggle, especially when things around you aren’t going as planned. Edith had the rare ability to see beyond the negative and expect the positive. In her book, she does not innumerate her health issues, nor will I do so here. But I will tell you that her attitude is to “get it fixed and get on to the next thing.” Edith always looks ahead and expects the best, whether it’s celebrating the next birthday or finishing her autobiography.


I was honored to help Edith record her life through her autobiography and thankful to Fig Factor Media for the assignment. I’m also delighted that she left us her important wisdom to embrace. Even though I’m decades younger than Edith, I can now look ahead to the future with “Edith-colored glasses.” I hope that my personal intellectual curiosity, determination, faith, and optimism will continue to flourish, even into my nineties, like Edith, should I be so lucky!  My hope is the same for her readers as well!