Back in February, 1998 I attended an author presentation at my local library. The author was Richard White, on whom I can find very little information, and the book was Jordan Freeman Was My Friend. The author's presentation was primarily a reading. He was selling copies of the book, which had been published in '94, at a discounted price. I bought one and had it inscribed for my sons. Under their names he wrote, "With the best wishes of the old man who wrote this little book."
Neither of the Gauthier boys ever read it, nor did I. I tried the first few pages and for whatever reason decided not to go on. In fact, a few weeks ago while collecting books for that local library's book sale, I considered donating it. But it has my kids' names in it, so I thought I'd hold on to it a while longer.
Well, last weekend, an adult Gauthier son was going to meet a friend for lunch in Mystic, Connecticut. The friend needed to kill some time, so they had plans to go to Fort Griswold. I pulled Jordan Freeman Was My Friend down off the shelf, handed it to the son in question, and said, "Hey, this book involves Fort Griswold. And look at the title page." The story came out about how I came to have the book, and I left it with him.
Lo' and behold, I learned later, he read it. "It was pretty good," he said.
I'm telling this story because this is what authors dream of happening. Once they give up their fantasies of national fame, magazine covers, and awards, they just want to be read. They want to be read long into the future. In fact, I recall as a teenager wanting to be a writer because I thought it would make me immortal. After I was dead, someone would stumble upon one of my books on a shelf somewhere, and I would live again. I sincerely believe "the old man who wrote this little book" would be delighted to know it was still being read.
So, Richard White, wherever you are, whatever you're doing, a young man starting out his professional career read your book sometime in the past two weeks.
Thanks for mentioning this book! I live in Groton, and will probably be watching the fireworks from Ft Griswold next month; going to have to look for it next time I'm at the library.
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