What You Bring to John D. Fitzgerald

Have you ever thought of the gifts you bring author John D. Fitzgerald?


No author is a success without readers and fans. More than five decades, nearly half a century, since John D. Fitzgerald officially published his last book, readers, and fans like you are showering gifts of joy on John D.


A Few of Your Gifts


Teachers


Steven Mahoney wrote,

We are starting The Great Brain again as a class next week! I shared The Ghost of Silverlode during Halloween to get the class primed, they are very excited it.

Steve is not our only teacher to introduce his students to the books. Dual Immersion specialist and teacher, Sheri Lundell Wilson, said,

As I started reading "The Great Brain" to my two classes (as I teach Dual Immersion) this year, I realized that I didn't have time. So, I started to record myself reading the book and put it on my two Google Classroom sites. I just buried Abie again. I can't ever seem to read that without crying.

The list of teachers on our site alone is incalculable. A few that come to mind are John Krug, Rick Haley, and Matthew O'Neil. Each one has used the books as it suits their students. I picture John and his wife Joan smiling every time a class circles up to listen.


Book Clubs, Bloggers, and Library Junkies


Lifetime reader, fan and blogger Doug Gibson penned this post about The Great Brain.


While Sarah Reeder Lewis, took on John D's first novel, Papa Married a Mormon,

in a monthly book club.


The amount of library loans, visits, and "my librarian suggested these to me" number way into the hundreds. I even receive phone photos when someone sees a Fitzgerald book on display.



One Facebook follower and library lingerer wrote the following comment about John 's earlier work, Uncle Will and the Fitzgerald Curse.


At 12, I started reading the earlier books and my first introduction to Inter-Library loans. My copy of “Uncle Will and the Fitzgerald Curse” arrived 2 weeks later, and it was hardbound and smelly and wonderful. This is my favorite of the books, and I loved the grittiness, and also, the determination of the main character. Later in life, when I would watch the tv show *Dallas*, I would think of Uncle Will. Reading Twain- I thought of Uncle Will, any references to poker would connect me to Will. The concept of “other side of the tracks”- I learned from Uncle Will.

Or this memory from RD Lawrence.

As a kid I read the Great Brain series, or what I could find of it, along with Ruth Chew, Three Investigators, Encyclopedia Brown, Danny Dunn, Alvin Fernald, Peter Graves, etc. My sister and I were taken to the library once a week and encouraged to read as much as possible.

Hobby Historians and Pilgrims


C. Daniel Martin, avid reader, and grammarian, loves to stitch historic developments with experiences in The Great Brain. His hottest topic was insulin. Leave it to John D and a fan to plop us down inside one of man's most lifesaving discoveries.


The other set of historians are the multitude of people who pilgrimage to Price, or other towns in Southern Utah, to catch a glimpse of the town that brought Adenville to life. And hopefully absorb the dust that inspired John. They have come in groups, as students, or as individuals. In an unexpected way, I can't imagine John even considered, visiting Price, Utah as a personal mecca, yet now it is. Parker Garlitz wrote of his trip.


Had to drop a note into this group, as I am a proper adult and still totally obsessed with The Great Brain series. This weekend I had to travel with my wife to St. George, Utah for a choir performance. They were filming just outside the tiny town of Gunlock, Utah which is about 45 minutes north west of St. George. So... The road from St. George to Gunlock goes right through the Shivwits Paiute Reservation, which I didn't know was there. Made me immediately think of TGB. I checked on a map it's relationship to Leeds / Silver Reef and it's about 20 miles, or roughly one day buckboard round distance trip. i.e. not far. While I know that JDF was born in Price, and drew heavily on his experiences growing up there, I always got the feeling from the books that Adenville was located more in south-western Utah, vs. central Utah where Price is. I still feel like Leeds might be where he envisioned Adenville. I also wonder if the character of Sammy Leeds (the twitchy-eyed kid) might not be a nod to that?

With comments like that, there is little doubt how much these books mean to fans. For the students in the photo below, it was a full-year course of reading, researching, and creating their own history book, topped off with a multi-state trip to Price. Now that's a pilgrimage.


Above All


John Dennis Fitzgerald, and his wife Joan (Josephine), adore the generational tree of readers that have blossomed these past five decades. Whether it is just you who is still an avid fan, or the myriad of you who have passed it along, through reading, ice cream making, or homemade bread with toasted sugar, each of you give John a gift, you help him fulfill his fondest dream. Isn't that what we all want? To somehow fulfill our fondest dreams?


Next time you pull one of the books out to read, pat yourself on the back. You are the dream maker with that simple act. Enjoy your read.




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