The week before last, when I brought the day’s mail to the office, I saw an envelope embossed with the Texas State House in the corner. The return address was a state senator, Bob Deuell, from the Lone Star State. Why the heck would I be getting a letter from a Texas State legislator? I thought. Before opening it, I quickly racked my brain for an answer. I thought of my days as a college student – let’s see… did I know any girls then from Texas? Did any of them and I… well…
Then I noticed “M.D.” after his name. Oooo, I thought. A senator and a doctor. Am I being sued? I’ve never been to Texas, so I couldn’t have wrecked into his car or anything. Wait, maybe he was recently here in Pennsylvania. What could I have done?
When I opened it, inside was a letter on which the State House was again embossed at the top. The letter, dated November 9, was entirely hand-written. I hope Senator Deuell doesn’t mind, but here’s the text of the letter:
Dear Mr. Petruzzi,
My compliments on your book, One Continuous Fight.
I grew up in Martinsburg, W.V. and hunted & fished the Potomac from Williamsport & Shepardstown in the 1960’s. My mother lives in Falling Waters.
I attended medical school in Richmond (MCU) & did my Family Medicine residency in Harrisburg, Pa. Needless to say your book hit home. I have read over 100 books on the War. Yours is one of the best.
By the way, at MCU one of my attending physicians was Dr. Hunter H. McGuire.
With warmest regards,
It doesn’t get any better than that. All kidding about my college days aside, the letter really made my day once I read it. My co-authors Eric Wittenberg and Mike Nugent feel the same, and our publisher Ted Savas was very impressed. It is the appreciation for your work by your readers that keeps you going. Criticism, too – we learn from both and it makes us better researchers and writers.
I wrote Senator Deuell back on behalf of Eric and Mike, and also sent him a special bookplate signed by the three of us to place inside his copy of One Continuous Fight. And I thought it was very interesting that he had practiced with Dr. Hunter McGuire… evidently, medicine still runs in that family!