(1) STARS IN BLACK TURTLENECKS: George Hodgman. Photo by Joe Johnson for St. Louis magazine.
(2) SOME JOY: Hodgman interviewed for CBS Sunday Morning by Mo Rocca.
(3) BEFORE GOOGLE: Hodgman and his first dog Toto. He wrote:
“Dogs are one of the leitmotifs in Bettyville. This is me and my first dog, Toto, perhaps the worst-behaved animal in the history of the state of Missouri.
“Toto was a loyal but randy terrier who pursued every bitch in Monroe County. Domestic life did not come as second nature to him. Asked to perform even the most rudimentary trick, he yawned and sauntered off to lick his well-used private parts. He seemed to like my father, who had found him on the street and took care of him mostly. Me, he seemed to have reservations about. Each day, when Big George arrived home, Toto swaggered over to his station wagon, looking aggrieved and obligated to report that the boy-dog bonding thing wasn’t working out quite as he had envisioned.”
Thank you so very much for this final dose of George. I first discovered him here (on Facebook) when a mutual friend began forwarding me the posts that would eventually be stitched and seam-ripped and finally quilted into the astonishing, aching beauty that was Bettyville. I was fortunate enough to meet and have dinner with George and our mutual friend at his DC book party, which led to a subsequent visit to his home turf, where the three of us, self-dubbed Thelma and Louise and Thelma, spent the day rambling around a handful of Missouri River towns, with George as our guide. With tears and a sodden heart, I must accept your evaluation of what brought an end to George—the narrative itself. I will forever wish for another chapter.
Really enjoyed this and looking forward to reading his book. So sorry to hear of his passing.
I found George and his beautiful book just when I needed it most, when my mother was battling Alzheimer’s in a Betty-style defiance of her own. I wrote a blog about my Mom and George’s book and shared it with him. We became Facebook friends. I knew George was a well-loved and kind man when my Facebook friends list suddenly increased with new friends from Paris, Missouri. They went on to read this unknown Indie author’s books and even wrote Amazon reviews. When I attend book clubs and readings I often mention I have a following in Paris.
George and I agreed on politics and his outrage equaled mine. If I didn’t see him in my feed I’d go to his page to check in on his opinions which were always spot on. I will miss his photos of old buildings and his commentary and his humor. We never met and our friendship never advanced beyond Facebook, not for lack of trying on my part. Always the road warrior, I travel West to visit my daughters quite often and was always up for a detour through Missouri. I twice tried to meet up with George but he never took me up on it. I will miss him but he will live on in his story of Bettyville. It was a gift to all of us. It helped me during a difficult time and will be there for so many more readers to come.