This and that

Published 8:38 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

From the mailbag (and the inbox) …

* Wilmington, N.C., author and editor Susan Taylor Block reports brisk sales since Joe Stutts’ wonderful review in our Wednesday edition of Jack Camp’s entertaining memoir, While You’re Up.

“I’ve sold a bunch of books today to folks in and around your town — and I’ve gotten some de-light-ful e-mails,” writes Block, whose oral interviews with the 89-year-old Camp were the basis for the autobiography.

The two worked together 10 hours a week for many months. Block transcribed audio tapes of the interviews and brought the transcriptions back for Camp to correct.

“The process of telling my memories brought more and more of them to mind,” Camp said.

Amazingly, “Jack never brought one written note to the table,” Block told me in a recent e-mail. “He addressed every subject from memory. He spoke the book — and spoke it in a literary voice that is young and vibrant. His words and wordings survive.”

The 44 tape recordings — covering the gamut of Camp’s fascinating life, from his boyhood on the farm and his VMI experience to his World War II service and involvement in the family businesses — will be donated to the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for posterity.

* Correspondent Pam Majumdar recently chronicled the plight of Smithfield Police Lt. Kurt Beach, who awaits a liver transplant needed to beat the Hepatitis C he contracted while trying to resuscitate an infant 20 years ago. Good news came this week from the General Assembly, where a Senate committee approved a House bill that would pay up to $250,000 of Beach’s medical expenses.

As Majumdar’s story explained, Beach’s claim for workers’ compensation was denied because his illness was discovered in 1995 — outside the state’s five-year statute of limitations on workers’-comp claims.

Faithful Isle of Wight County reader Joseph Ferguson, who unsuccessfully attempted to donate his own liver tissue to Beach, has turned his efforts to finding other donors, whether biological or financial.

Even if the state funding for Beach comes through, it won’t necessarily cover all of his treatment, which will include expensive anti-rejection drugs after the liver transplant.

“I wish there was some way we could recruit one or more local millionaires to put up the money for the drugs — or offer to pay some unemployed person to step up and be the donor,” Ferguson writes. “There are many people right now jobless who might have a great incentive to donate the liver tissue in exchange for someone to help them pay their mortgage, etc. Do you think publicizing that idea can possibly shake loose a donor and some money?”

Very possibly. Interested readers can contact me by phone or e-mail, and I will put you in touch with Joseph.

* On a lighter note, here’s a helpful hint from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous:

“Last weekend I decided to check the air pressure in the little bitty spare tires in our family’s three vehicles. It is recommended that the pressure be maintained at 60 pounds per square inch. I couldn’t remember the last time I had checked them. Well, I found that one had 33 psi in it, one had 30 psi, and the third one didn’t even register on my tire gauge. I pumped them all back up to 60 psi and returned them to their storage places in the vehicles. I was glad I had checked. It would have been embarrassing and also inconvenient to have had a flat tire somewhere away from home and put on the spare tire only to see it go flat also.”