If you've never heard the name Mimi Barash Coppersmith, then there's a better than fair chance that you're not going to read her new book "Eat First, Cry Later," a compendium of inspirational life lessons drawn directly from the experiences of — you guessed it — Mimi Barash Coppersmith. She knows this, accepts it and is presently charging $9.99 for the Kindle edition on Amazon.
Besides, if you've lived in or around State College long enough, chances are the name does ring a bell — co-founder of The Barash Group, founder of "Town & Gown" magazine, former member of the Penn State Board of Trustees — or two. Failing all of that:
"This book is lessons learned by a liberal, Jewish woman in the process of being part of the action in the community and the university," Coppersmith said.
The title was sourced from a Yiddish expression that Barash Coppersmith remembers her mother favoring when she was a girl. "Eat first, cry later" was essentially the "keep calm, carry on" of its day, with a heavier emphasis on self-care. It's also useful if you're trying to locate the thematic resonance hidden among 85 tragedy-tinged years of disparate personal history and unexpected opportunity.
Barash Coopersmith has lost three husbands — the first to cancer, the second to a heart attack and the third to divorce. She married Sy Barash in the mid-1950s, fresh out of Penn State. Together they launched an advertising business — and a family — inside a house on Homan Avenue.
Barash was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma while both ventures were still in their infancy. After he passed, Barash Coopersmith was left with two daughters that needed raising and a company to oversee, circumstances that didn't always complement one another or the social mores of the 1970s.
"My kids' friends thought I was an oddball," Barash Coppersmith said.
She has been working on different iterations of "Eat First, Cry Later" for years and joked that at this point, it would have to be a best-seller for her to turn a profit. The book is expected to go to print soon and Barash Coppersmith is eager to get it into the hands of anyone looking for a summer reading project — but in the writing stage she was mostly thinking about other women.
"I want more women to know it's OK to follow their instincts," Barash Coppersmith said.