Last week a fan from West Virginia, who was visiting family in the Quad Cities, stopped by to chat about my novels, which he admired. He was about seven years younger than I, and I didn’t recognize the name, Rick Briggs, till he revealed that he had grown up in my home town, Three Oaks, Michigan. He remembered overhearing me discussing books with a friend, Bill Duddleson, in the locker room at Three Oaks High School. It opened his eyes to a new and different world! A local minister, who’d started a bookstore in the old Michigan Central Depot, kept after him till he applied to college. He went to Earlham, then to medical school, wound up teaching in medical school at the University of West Virginia and, after retiring, went to Oman to help set up a medical school.
He brought some photos of my Dad and also the attached picture of the water tower that I climbed and painted, and wrote about in Blues Lessons. Several years after I climbed it, he climbed it too and painted over what I had painted with the name of his own class.