(February 22, 2009)
It's not kosher, I know, to admit that any of the characters in your writing are based on real people. Too much drama can arise as a result! Today, however, I'm going to make an exception to that rule, because one of the people who was the real-life model for a favorite character in Dancing in the Checkered Shade died Friday night.
His name was Malvern Gray, and he was the sweetest older man I've ever known. He was 88 years old and I guess he died of complications from pneumonia (not sure about that, though). His wife told me this morning they had celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary on Thursday. My family and I sat behind the two of them at church just about every Sunday, and I always found it so touching to see the little intimacies they still showed after so many years of marriage, like holding hands during the hymns. I guess that's why, when I needed a model of a loving, life-long marriage for newlyweds Maggie and John David to learn from, I thought of Mr. and Mrs. Gray. I hope the portrayal in the book does them justice.