Last week, a friend went to Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore and stayed at an inn for a few days and met the couple who was running the inn while the owners slipped away to to a Jimmy Buffett concert across theChesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach. After my friend learned the wife grew up in South Norfolk, she told her of my novel, Cooley & Rose, which begins and ends in her hometown.
The substitute innkeeper downloaded the e-book and immediately read it. What follows is a portion of the email she wrote to my friend.
“Just finished reading Cooley & Rose. I love it and imagined the place she wrote about to be places from my childhood. My sister did the same. She even mentioned a Mrs. Dowdy being “saved.” That was my maiden name, and my great grandmother was extremely religious . . .”
If you think this is a shameless plug for Cooley & Rose, you’re only half right. There’s a story here.
Because I thought the reader would be interested, I wrote her the following:
“I think that your religious great-grandmother was probably the woman that my grandmother referred to as “Sister Dowdy.” I don’t think I ever met her, but my grandmother talked about her often, and the name stayed in my mind for all of these years. I liked the sound of “Dowdy,” so I used it.”
I went on to give her some of my family background – the names of my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my great aunt and her husband who was the local pharmacist.
She replied to my email. The first line read, “I think we are related!” Then she told me why. In short, our great-grandmothers were sisters. As adults, they lived only three houses away from each other.
Now, I also have unknown cousins on my mother’s side, and only the Chesapeake Bay separates me from this one, whom I hope to meet soon.
What I haven’t told her is that about 15 years ago, my HOBL and I went to the town where she lived and looked at property, and we came across a charming old brick church that was for sale. In my mind I began envisioning it as a house, then as a home, but my HOBL nixed that idea when he learned that the town didn’t have a clay tennis court.
If it had, my new cousin and I might have discovered each other sooner.
NOTE: Goodreads.com is giving away three paperback copies of Cooley & Rose. Deadline to submit our request is Sept. 15, 2013. Paperbacks are for sale at Amazon.com, and e-books are available for all readers. Visit your favorite online store.