the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Mom’s Retirement from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

After my mother graduated high school, she started working at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, a publishing house in New York City.  She worked for the same company until yesterday, when she retired from her job.  It was an exciting, but emotional moment for her and for all those who worked with her over the years.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux was founded by Roger W. Straus. The firm is renowned for its international list of literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry and children’s books. Farrar, Straus and Giroux authors have won extraordinary acclaim over the years, including numerous National Book Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, and twenty-one Nobel Prizes in literature. Nobel Prize-winners include Knut Hamsun, Hermann Hesse, T. S. Eliot, Pär Lagerkvist, François Mauriac, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Salvatore Quasimodo, Nelly Sachs, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Pablo Neruda, Eugenio Montale, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Czeslaw Milosz, Elias Canetti, William Golding, Wole Soyinka, Joseph Brodsky, Camilo José Cela, Nadine Gordimer, Derek Walcott, and Seamus Heaney.

My mother  started her job wearing cool glasses. 

My mother is in back, smiling.

My mother in her newer glasses.  Check out the “typewriter.”

The late Roger Straus, the founder of the FSG, and Jonathan Gallasi, current editor-in-chief and president of FSG.

My mother’s retirement brunch at the office.   Her hip glasses are on her head.

Now, she’s on to new adventures.


  1. Chris

    Congratulations to your mother. I like that she has what appears to be a cigarette in her hand in the first photo. She looks fantastic – in all of them. Happy Retirement Neil’s Mom!

  2. Marinka

    What a great story and I love the photo essay. The early pictures are very “Mad Men”. By the way, I don’t watch that show, so if it’s some kind of S&M nonsense, I certainly don’t mean that. I just mean fashionwise.

    Congratulations to Mama Citizen of the Month.

  3. Neil

    Chris — I didn’t notice that. It is a cigarette. She smoked now and then until I was born and went to school, where the teachers brainwashed us to into thinking that smoking was the ultimate evil, and I bugged her until she stopped smoking.

  4. amy

    this was fantastic. Love the photos- you two look alike yes? She sounds like an amazing woman. They are missing her I bet. xo

  5. All Adither

    How touching that you did a post about this.

  6. psychomom

    A job well done.
    Congratulaions Mama and enjoy!

  7. Mattie

    Congratulations on your Mom’s retirement!

    What an accomplishment … to work at the same place all those years. Totally amazing and awesome.

    She looks to be a very happy and content person.

    You must be so proud of her.

  8. Anissa@Hope4Peyton

    Congrats to mom.

    I love that you see it as the beginning of new adventures, I can’t wait to hear what glorious sunrises she’s running towards!

  9. Mik

    Congrats to Mom and here’s to some great adventures.

  10. the Yearning Heart

    She seems like she’s fun. Conrats to her, and anyone else who kept the job in the same publishing firm for that length of time, and retired sane and healthy. She must be a hell of a woman.

    Well, of course she is; she raised you.

  11. margalit

    Mazel tov to you mom, who is about to start not only a new year, but a new adventure in her life. She’s a lucky woman to have such a nice handsome loving son, too!

    Shana Tova!

  12. Pumpkin

    Congratulations to you mother!

    I love how you added photos of her working through the years. It is really interesting. The photo of you together is especially nice.

  13. better safe than sorry

    congratulations Mrs. Kramer and here’s to many years of happy retirement!
    (great photos, love the early glasses)

  14. blackbird

    Congratulations Mom of the Month!
    Wonderful pictures!
    I’ll be taking your spot in the workplace on Monday…

  15. Rhea

    What a great career. Your seems like one cool chick. I hope retirement is good for her and that she isn’t one to long for her job again.

  16. TRO

    A lovely lady. Best wishes to her on her new adventures.

  17. Annika

    Oh, I love this! What an amazing career. People just don’t do that anymore, stay with one firm until retirement. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux must be pretty great (and they did, after all, publish several of Shirley Jackson’s books).

  18. Astrogirl

    Your mom looks like a ton of fun – she’d probably be a pisser to take out for some beers!

    And I love the glasses- she was/is quite the spitfire!

    Congrats to mom! (PS Nice haircut)

  19. barbetti

    Congrats to your mom. And I agree with previous comments; she does look like she’d be a lot of fun!

  20. Poppy

    Happy retirement, Neil’s mom!

    I do love her cool glasses from the first photo… and the HAIR.

  21. patois

    It must be very hard for her to leave now, regardless of how excited she is to tackle new adventures. You better be nice to your mama, Neil!

  22. Lady Fi

    How come she doesn’t need glasses anymore? or has she made the switch to contact lenses?

  23. Lady Fi

    Oh… I see them there nestled in her hair… small, modern glasses these days. And I thought her first pair was wonderful…

  24. Nat

    I love her first glasses. Love them.

    Doesn’t it make you feel just a little bit old to have retired parents? (My mom just retired. Seems she’s just too young to be doing that.. you know?)

  25. TorontoPearl

    Your mother should be happy and healthy and enjoy her retirement years.
    Tell us, if you’re willing to share, what does such a longtime, dedicated employee get as a retirement gift from such a company? (aside from shares in the company) Do they give her a lifetime supply of books?

  26. Elisabeth

    I cannot begin to imagine what retiring must feel like. Congratulations to you, Neil’s mom! May you enjoy many many very fruitful and productive retirement years.

  27. Danny

    Mazel tov, Mrs. Kramer! Great post–I can’t wait to hear about her further adventures. Was she thrilled to retire or was it also bittersweet?

  28. churlita

    Happy retirement to your mom. At least she had an interesting job to look back on during her bigger and better things.

  29. SciFi Dad

    Congratulations, Ms. Neil’s Mom.

    May your retirement be filled with pinochle or 4pm dinners, or whatever those crazy retired kids are into these days.

  30. anymommy

    Congratulations to mom! I loved the photos as well.

  31. Christine

    Happy Retirement to you, Neil’s Mom!

    As a fellow Mom (my son is 10, my daughter 4), I only hope that when they are adults, my relationship with my children is as wonderful as yours is with Neil.

    I’d love a guest post from you, revealing your secrets on parenting.

  32. teahouseblossom

    Great photos! All of those books!

    Yes, you have your mom’s smile. I’m glad she had such a great career at this place.

  33. Diane Mandy

    I remember when my father retired from his restaurant business after 25 years. It *was* an emotional time. But your mother sounds like the type who will definitely make the most of her new life. Congrats to her!

  34. wendy

    Congrats! really a rarity now to have worked at one place for such a great run!

    I know you hate to hear this, but she does look like Sophia in that first pic..right through her cheek bones..maybe face shape too.

  35. kris

    How lovely. When my father retired after 38 years with the same company, I wondered if he felt like he was losing a part of himself, or another family, in a way. I wish I had these kinds of pictures of him through the years . . . just lovely. Congratulations to your mother on this great new chapter.

  36. Jane

    I can’t imagine working for the same place for five years, let alone 35. It must feel so odd , and at the same time exhilarating to start another phase of life.

    Shana Tov, Mrs. Kramer! I hope you have wonderful new adventures, including the one where you go through every trick in your considerable book to get your middle-aged son off the couch. 🙂 Now that you’re a free lady, maybe you can even nag him to write a novel, since we all know that’s where the best screenplays come from!

  37. maggie, dammit

    I love everything about this post. Onward and upward, Neil’s mom. Congratulations.

  38. piglet

    this is a great “montage” of her work life, it’s remarkable that she remained in the same company for so many years.

    and what else? your mom is pretty hot for a newly retired woman.

    to be surrounded by all of those books would almost be unbearable for me, mainly out of my desire to read every single book, driving myself mad in the process.

    i like the last photo, with those fishes.

  39. stepping over the junk

    Well. You certainly don’t look related. Are you adopted? Congrats to your mum!

  40. Andrea Kohn Goldstein

    I worked with your mom at FSG in the early ’80s’s (I think it was). She is a very remarkable person–very warm, wise, and kind (and I probably was not the easiest person to be warm, wise, and kind to). And she spoke of you often. She meant a lot to me. You’re lucky she’s your mom.

    –Andy Kohn

  41. LVGurl

    That is commitment and loyalty that people just don’t have today. Best wishes to your mom in her new adventure!

    Love the glasses! 🙂

  42. Di

    Your mum is beautiful. I would love to photograph her!

    Neruda, Hesse and Montale on the list.
    What a fabulous job!

    Happy retirement to your mum.

  43. Omyword! Did I Say That?

    I love this post. I looked at all the pictures multiple times and smiled like a goon. Congratulations to your mom and I hope she has many exciting adventures now.

    Did they give her a gold watch? Just askin’.

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