Most of my research for Anne on Fire is now complete. I’ve spoken with willing relatives and friends who knew details from my burn accident years ago or who knew my parents at the time. I’ve requested as many medical records as possible, learning that there are some that simply are gone. I’ve contacted doctors who worked on my case. All in all, it’s been a fabulous and enlightening process where I’ve tried to cover the proverbial waterfront of information for clues and insight. I was going over my findings with my friend Gloria when she said, “Gallagher, have you looked in the newspapers from that time to see if anything was published? You know, a fire call, a news item.”
I hadn’t. It was a great idea and prompted my call to the Brown County library (pictured here as is the interior of the Harold Washington Library), where of course they have old editions of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. In our techno-driven age, most newspapers before the mid-1990s are not searchable online but preserved on micro-film. Another call to the Harold Washington Library to request an intra-library loan…..and a stash of micro-film is on its way to Chicago.
My gut tells me there will be nothing useful for me in these newspapers. At the same time, I can’t wait to wade through them on the micro-film machine. You never know what you might find unless you look. The process also brings about a sweet sense of closure to my search for information. It motivates me to get back to the business of writing up the story.