Esther Buckley Sutherland immigrated to the U.S. from Scotland when she was 18, with her mom and siblings.

Her father had died of complications of the Asian flu, and her mom was seeking a new start. Sutherland was a middle child among 12 children.

"I wouldn't recommend it. I lost my family when we came here," the Linwood resident said of grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Although she and her sister found jobs quickly by walking into the Boardwalk Bank in Atlantic City and asking for work, life was tough. Having a different accent, habits and culture set her apart.

She still cannot eat American ice cream, she said, because it tastes so different from the Scottish version.

Her first marriage to an older man ended with his death after a long illness. She was widowed at 39 with an 11-year-old daughter, and started working in the kitchen at what was then Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point.

After a painful divorce from her second husband in her 50s, Sutherland took a writing class with Therese Halscheid at Atlantic Cape Community College.

"I was way too sad for too long, and had to get happy somehow," Sutherland said. "She (Halscheid) changed my life. I had no confidence. She gave it to me."

Now she has written an autobiographical book of poetry under E.B. Sutherland called "The Search for Home," and two children's books. The latest, "Tallie's in a Sea of Trouble," is about a Cairn terrier, like her own Toto, who is accidentally swept out to sea and saved by surprising friends.

Her first book, "Alfonsina and the Ostrich," is based on an experience she had while walking her friends' dog on an Argentine ranch. Mays Landing artist Georjean Maxwell illustrated Alfonsina and did the cover for "Tallie." All are available at

YMCA leaders

Vineland residents David DeBellis, the chief financial officer/vice president of Century Savings Bank; Cosmo Giovinazzi, a vice president at Capital Bank and last year's Vineland Hometown Hero; and Jim Marone, manager of his family's business, M&M Music, have joined the YMCA of Vineland board of directors.

Sabbath eve talk

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey faculty members will give free talks at Temple Emeth Shalom in Margate during Sabbath eve services at 7:30 p.m.

Speakers are: Michael Dickerman, adjunct instructor in the School of General Studies, July 19; Michael Busler, associate professor of Business Studies, July 26: Jennifer Barr, professor of Business Studies, Aug. 2; and Carol Rittner, distinguished professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Aug. 23.