During his last eight months, Borden Mace and I connected by email. He had purchased Porchscapes while on his last visit to Beaufort and became what he called "your biggest fan." (I ended up calling him "Bookie," his Beaufort nickname while growing up.)
helped him find the Mace connection to the Borden family and other family history he had not known. Almost
instantly, he began advising me on my new book, North Carolina's Historic Beaufort - A Unique Coastal Village Preserved (released June 2015).
Bookie's work in films also included work as a publisher. This experience and his love for his home town led him to a genuine interest in my book.
When Mary asked me to put on paper some of my recollections of growing up in Beaufort, I jumped at the opportunity. I had the good fortune of being born in Beaufort in 1920 and am willing to share the joy of growing up there. In her new book, Mary provides all of us an accurate history; I will limit myself to telling just a bit of what it felt like to me at the time. Others had other experiences and feelings, but before mine are lost in time, compare and enjoy. I hope I am able to add some sense of humanity and humor to Mary's remarkable account."
A Tribute to Georgia W. Neal: At the age of 17 (1937), Bookie worked with Miss Neal on a booklet she produced, The Old Topsail Inlet, A Story of Old and New Beaufort. Since she was "the first artist to recognize and sketch some of Beaufort's old homes," we decided to include a tribute in the book (written by Bookie) including Miss Neal's sketches.
At 94, Bookie's many long (typo-free) emails amazed me. Besides consulting on various things, he would often get sidetracked and speak of growing up in Beaufort and also about his many experiences as a publisher and movie producer while working for Louis de Rochemont. He would often come up with ideas for the back cover or promotional ideas, which he would take the time to print and put in the mail.
This was Borden Mace's last project. During his remaining few weeks, confined to his bed, he would often dictate to his dedicated personal assistant, Dana. I continued to send emails.
Dana: "Borden believes so strongly in you and your book. He speaks so fondly of you and is genuinely interested in your success. Working with you on your book over these many months has given him something to look forward to - a project to commit to - and it has energized him. I'll read him your email in the morning. I'm sure he'll be happy to hear from you. Your friendship means a lot to him as well and he most definitely carries you in his heart."
He dictated a response: "The nicest thing I could've heard this morning was when Dana read to me that you referred to your book as "our" book. Thanks for everything. You made an old man very happy."
Though Bookie never had the chance to hold "our" book, The connection was meant to be. Without his support and help, this book would have never been possible! - Mary