I always hate it when I find out something that I wasn’t prepared for.
When compiling my list of things to do in my life, I found out that George Blackburn passed away. Most people don’t know who he is, but he was a Second World War vet who wrote a trilogy of books about the war (the books were called The Guns of Normandy, The Guns of Victory and Where the Hell Are the Guns). He wrote them for his grandkids, but the books ended up being published in 1997. In 2001, he was awarded the Order of Canada.
Blackburn lived in the Alta Vista area at the time, so I met him in person and chatted with him about his time in the war, his books and being named to the Order of Canada. I enjoyed talking to him. He led an interesting life, and knew how to tell a story. This was about a month after I had become editor of the News, and he was the first awesome interview I had done.
When the story was published, he took the time to write me a three-page letter telling me that he liked the story, the feedback he was getting because of it, and what was new in his life. It was the first really positive letter I had received (different than a letter to the editor). He gave me a signed a copy of his book, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it.
That’s why I put it on the list. I’ve always wanted to read it, but never found the chance. While publishing the list, I wanted to get the names of all three books, and found out he died in November 2006. It left me feeling sad.
I’m glad he appreciated the story I wrote, and I’m glad I had some sort of impact on his life.