I began keeping a journal—pretty much every day—in January 1997 after I retired from public-school teaching. Thank goodness. All of it appears in Word documents, so I can quickly find things—like, oh, Perkin Warbeck. In late April 1997 I was trying to find a copy of Perkin Warbeck—and was not having much luck. On April 28, I wrote: tried to order from Amazon.com a copy of Perkin Warbeck, the next novel; I may be forced to go to CPL [Cleveland Public Library] to read their non-circulating copy and take notes there—can’t find a copy at Powell’s [the Portland, Oregon, bookstore] or on Bibliofind. So I emailed Amazon.com
On April 30, I got a reply. And, from my journal: e-mail from Amazon.com: Perkin Warbeck sold only as part of a $700 set (I declined); must now order it via interlibrary loan—or go to CPL and read their reference copy.
As I look at that entry from April 30, I see something that I’ve forgotten. Well, not an event that has slipped out of memory—but the date it occurred. It was on that day that I received a call from the National Forest Service. I had emailed them about running down a bit of family history. My dad, who’d grown up in Oregon, had always told the story about how, as a young man, he’d climbed Mt. Hood (near Portland) with some friends—on a lark. He told us that at the summit they’d found a shack with a log book, which they’d all dutifully signed. Father’s Day was approaching, so I’d decided to pursue the story. Dad was seventy-four that year and was slipping a bit—some small strokes had slowed him. He was using a walker. No more Mt. Hoods for him.
Anyway, the Forest Service had found that old logbook, and, eventually, they located the specific date of his ascent—and sent me a photocopy of the relevant register page. August 9, 1937. Dad had been only twenty-four years old. I’d found an old photograph of the summit—with the cabin (which, the Forest Service told me, had long ago blown away in a storm)—framed it for Dad with the page from the register. And on February 4, 2012, I reproduced that piece in my blog. http://dawnreader.blogspot.com/2012/02/my-father-and-mt-hood-1937.html
Which all, of course, is immensely relevant to Perkin Warbeck.