2009-09-22: I Saw Them Ride Away

After recovering from the exhilaration of publishing Marie and Claude, it occurred to me that, with a publishing organization and process in hand, I was in a position to fulfill a long-time dream of my family: publication of the memoir of my great-grandfather, Harry Arthur Gant. He had written it in the late 1950’s, but was unwilling to allow an editor to alter his somewhat rough style. He seems to have had some contact with at least one publisher, but it didn’t go anywhere.

A pencil manuscript and a typed carbon-copy remained in possession of the family after his death in 1967.

Intending to share it with other members of the Gant family, my mother copied the typescript into her computer, and printed ten copies. She spiral-bound the copies, including several pictures that had been in Harry Gant’s possession, and sent them to his descendants, including me.

Some time later, her computer failed, and the file containing the book was lost. When I decided to pursue publication, I scanned the pages of my copy, used Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to reconstruct the text, and corrected the OCR errors. At that point, I enlisted the editing help of my relatives and fairly rapidly had a publishable version. I designed a simple cover incorporating two pictures of Gant, and used his preferred title. I Saw Them Ride Away was published on September 22, 2009, fifty years after he wrote it and five months after Marie and Claude.

The pencil manuscript was lost in a wildfire that consumed the house of my Aunt Peggy (among many others). The carbon-paper typescript is in my possession.

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