Friday, December 12, 2008

Discovering connections

Several people have asked how Malarial Fevers came to be. Growing up I had assumed that the Bennetts were family friends. I didn't realize that we were related until after my father was in a nursing home and a letter came to him that my step-mother didn't know how to handle. This led to a reconnection with Carol Bennett Brand, my third cousin and the granddaughter of Harriet Sage Bennett. Carol knew about my writing and offered me all of her grandmother's letters, diaries and papers. She said it was her grandmother's wish to have her story told about life in Mozambique. The majority of the papers were written in pencil and proved challenging to transcribe. The collection of ticket stubs and other items were thrilling for me to work with because my doctoral dissertation began with the period when the Bennetts first arrived in Mozambique. I recognized the names of people who had written them letters so long ago as well as many of the issues that concerned them.
I sent a copy of the first draft of Malarial Fevers to Carol, but she died before the book was published.
Being the Advent season, I wish joy as you prepare for Christmas.

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