Muriel always says she was born to be a writer, and in fact, she was. Her father, Vincent dePaul Slavin, was a reporter for the Newark Evening News, and it wasn’t unusual for the family to be discussing the news of the day over the dinner table. Her father died when Muriel was nine years old, and her oldest brother, Vince, Jr. was 15. But both kept their father’s legacy alive by continuing in the journalism field, Vince with the Newark News and later the Elizabeth Daily Journal, Muriel, with local newspapers, including the Long Branch Daily Record, Red Bank Register, Asbury Park Press, Forbes Newspapers, Highlands Star, Monmouth Journal and many newspapers and magazines across the country when she and her husband Jimmy lived in an RV for ten years. She is most remembered for her award winning writing and editing at The Courier, the Middletown weekly newspaper when she was on staff for 22 years, first as a reporter, then as editor. It was also with The Courier that she was often ‘accused’ of being Eve Dropper in the weekly’s most popular column Heard Around the Halls. While she never admitted whether she was that the real Eve Dropper, readers always remembered the stories about what Highlands police were doing after hours, which politicians were spending too much time with other politician’s spouses, or which well known person had gotten a traffic tickets squelched because of who he was or who he knew.
A native of Union, Muriel discovered Highlands when she married the love of her life, Jimmy, in 1955, and settled in his hometown to raise their four children, get to know their neighbors, weather Hurricane Donna which convinced the family to move ‘on the hill’ from their Waterwitch home, and become involved in everything from local politics to PTA at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. With their four children grown and with families of their own, Muriel and Jimmy spent ten years traveling the United States in their RV, volunteering at national wildlife refuges, and appreciating the breadth and beauty of this great country. At Jimmy’s sudden death in 2006, Muriel knew she had to be back as close to Highlands and her family as possible, living first in Freehold, now in Atlantic Highlands, where she has grown to have the same affection for that town as Highlands.
Her formal education included four years at Mount St. Mary’s Academy in North Plainfield where enthusiastic and eloquent teachers of both English and Latin, as well as American history and French, encouraged her to learn, to write, to be open to new ideas and preserve what is important from the past. The lessons stuck, and today she is the author of five books: The NJ Alliance For Action: 25 years of Excellence, The Reporter and the Draft, I Know how to Grieve, I want to Learn how to Laugh, Hidden History of Monmouth County, and her latest, published with her son and daughter as Smith Family Publications, The ABCs of Highlands.