One of the things I like about writing my local history column for the Cumberland Times-News is that from time to time someone will read one my articles and realize that they were a part of that particular story.
It happened today. A woman called me about an article I wrote about a 1925 hospital fire. It turns out that her husband was one of the infants who had to be evacuated from the hospital during the fire. Apparently, the woman’s mother-in-law used to joke to her son that “he was such a little firecracker that he started the fire.”
I had another follow-up a couple weeks ago concerning a story about a young boy in the 1940’s who had been born missing one of the chambers of his heart. He had undergone an experimental surgery at Johns Hopkins that saved his life.
The man’s sister called me that the boy had grown into a man who married and had three kids and five grandkids. Though he had died at a relatively young age (54), he had led a full life. One interesting thing that happened as a result of his condition is that he didn’t have a pulse in his right arm. According to his sister, the man had to wear a necklace that alerted emergency personnel that if they didn’t feel a pulse it didn’t necessarily mean the man was dead.
I love getting updates to hear what happened to people after my article ended or having someone read my story who can then supply me with more information. It not only lets me know that people are reading my articles, but that they are paying attention to what I’m saying and that it is important to them.
The woman I spoke with today said she and her husband regularly read my column and that he had been delighted to see the story of the fire in print. He clipped the article and saved it in his desk.
And made my day.