By Steve Sears
Joseph Mirsky has seen his Pompton Lakes business, Joseph’s Jewelry, suffer hard times. Business went slowly downhill following the recession of 2008, and COVID19 stuck a permanent pin in the balloon of his 33-year career as a bench jeweler, stone setter, and gemologist.
His shop closed on August 29.
“Good night, sweetheart, it’s time to go,” he says, echoing the words of the popular early 1950s tune.
He’s a happy guy, though, regardless. He’s got his writing, something he’s always enjoyed doing, and received compliments about. An author of books dealing with both jewelry and writing of wit and unknown information, Mirsky has now released Now and Then Again: The Way We Were and the Way We Are (Second Edition), which features short articles that were included in a newsletter titled “The Jewelry Box”, which Mirsky sent out to 1400 loyal customers from 1997 to March 2020. Sixty-eight issues of the newsletter were mailed during the twenty-three-year span. Issue number sixty-nine was never distributed due to the pandemic, but it is included in the 489-page volume.
For Mirsky, 77, who is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Air Force from February, 1965 to December, 1966 (he was both a Vietnamese linguist and a lifeguard on China Beach), departing Wanaque Avenue in Pompton Lakes is bittersweet, and he will now from his West Milford home seek to make a go of it as a full-time writer.
Per the book’s website (see below), Now and Then Again: The Way We Were and the Way We Are is “1122 articles (you can count them different ways), up from 804 in the first edition, not including 88 notes and the 76½ pithy profundities styled Deep Thought scattered through the book…” There are also 394 photos in the 1.8-pound paperback, which many readers have coined a “bathroom book” due to its short offerings. However, each entry is so relatively quick and information-filled, you’ll be encouraged to continue perusal in the other rooms of your home as well.
Mirsky, who is originally from Pennsylvania and has a Philosophy degree from that state’s university, has no writing background. “It wells up from the abyss unbidden,” he says of his topics and words. “With the first edition (of his book), I had a lot of good reviews.” He then reflects on the feeding of the book: the newsletters. “The newsletters were so popular, it was unbelievable. People would call me up to thank me for sending them the newsletter – some people who I hadn’t even seen in a while.” Basically, lots of conversation locals and customers had with Mirsky, or articles they enjoyed via his newsletter, are now in book form. He won’t be physically in your home with you, but his words will. “People would come in, and then I’d get emails that the newsletters are the best thing and are different.” He then smiles and jokingly says, “I can’t believe I’m not rich – they’re so popular. I mean, they really, really are.”
Mirsky can be contacted via his website, www.nowandthenagain.com, and Now and Then Again: The Way We Were and the Way We Are is available for purchase on Amazon. Clicking the “Book” icon on Mirsky’s website will bring you to the seller’s page at www.amazon.com.