Computer game programmers and movie directors often include private items of interest that go unnoticed by most viewers. These are often referred to as "Easter eggs." These page numbers refer to the first edition (blue cover, published by Trafford.) Updated versions for the second edition (Savannah) and the hard cover edition (Emerald Books) are in the works...
Front Cover -- The open-faced title font is "unfinished." Jake appears in the cover art as the Confederate cavalryman firing his pistol, left of center.
p. 2 -- Jake is named after my best friend from Hanover H.S. days, Jake Wertz. Now known as Jay, Mr.. Wertz is a noted film editor, Civil War historian, and author. Look for his outstanding book in the bibliography.
p. 2 -- Becker is the name of my ancestors, who came to America from the Rheinfalls area on the German/Swiss border in 1738. I had always felt an affinity to that place on my four visits there before I knew of the connection.
p. 2 -- The sounds of breakfast preparation: my father making scrambled eggs in an iron skillet.
p. 2 -- Myrtle is named after my niece, Myrtle Jane (MJ).
p. 2 -- Beadle's Dime novel No. 53 -- Chosen because of the name of the main characters, the theater angle, and the son being caught as a Northern spy. Here is the synopsis: A false accusation of forgery against Mr. Meredith's son, Charles, twelve years before the story opens, caused a break between father and son, and the latter became an actor. Mr. Meredith's adopted daughter is forbidden to go to the theater, but does so in Mr. Meredith's absence, where she falls in love with and marries the leading man, Charles Montgomery, actually Charles Meredith. They are cast off by the father. Charles plays in Richmond, Virginia, at the breaking out of the Civil War, and is arrested as a Northern spy. Mr. Meredith marries Mrs. Mitchell, the adopted daughter's real mother, and from old papers discovers that his cousin and not his son committed the forgery. All is forgiven.
p. 2 -- Marbled rye bread. An infamous Seinfeld episode...
p. 3 -- The road to my Uncle Ben's house followed the route the Union cavalry took through Hanover.
p. 3 -- Eliza: my wife and youngest sister are named Elizabeth.
p. 4 -- "Don't start what you can't finish." The sorcerer's last words to his apprentice in the Disney animation of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Another way of expressing a recurring theme in the book.
p. 4 -- "Sissy:" as a toddler I sometimes called my older sister, Deb, by "sister."
p. 5 -- Harvey Stremmel was my neighbor as a boy.
p. 5 -- David is named for my best friend, Dave Richards, during my years at Southwestern H.S. His family home on Westminster Rd. overlooks the field where an important event takes place later in the book.
p. 5 -- Pfeiffer: German for piper, or flautist.
p. 6 -- The oxcart: In Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" the "Bydlo" (Polish oxcart) movement is one of the few euphonium solos in the orchestral literature.
p. 14 -- My first childhood pet: a cat I named Chester (my grandfather's first name). Skipper, a black Lab, was my second.
p. 16 -- Little brown jug -- folk tune and Glenn Miller standard.
p. 29 -- My brother, Robert, lives in Dover. His wife, Dolores, is the youngest of twelve children.
p. 41 – Jumping out and scaring each other as children: taken from personal experiences with my sister, Deb, and brother, Bob.
p. 45 – Yeah, the time is a Chicago song title reference. (25 or 6 to 4)
p. 45 – As mentioned in the appendix, Deborah is my older sister’s name, and Debbie Albright was a friend from elementary school days.
p. 46 – Ed Gobrecht was our much beloved band director at Ithaca College. His father was my father’s trombone teacher, and my sister-in-law is Kay Gobrecht Meredith. The Gobrecht family has a long history in the Hanover area. They were prominent gun-makers in the early 19th-century.
p. 47 – The Stonesifer brothers were our neighbors when I was a child. Harry Stonesifer contributed to the book, “Prelude to Gettysburg: Encounter at Hanover.”
p. 49 – Taxes. The cause for the next revolution?
p. 52 – “And Can it Be?” – a favorite hymn of mine, for the reasons given in the novel.
p. 52 – Number 213: my childhood street address.
p. 70 – Robert and Daniel are my brothers’ names.
p. 78 – Hog maw is a treasured family tradition.
p. 80 – “Little Eyes of Jane” was my own childhood impression of the song’s title.
p. 81 – Both passages from Ephesians are among my favorites.
p. 90 – Josiah is my son Jonathan’s middle name, and Daniel is one of my brothers. Both are outstanding H.S. choir directors.
p. 92 –The Wirt House was the site of a hardware store when I was in high school, and the location where I first opened the door for a young lady, Dianne Dusman. Unfortunately, because she had not been expecting the gesture, the door wound up bumping her on the nose. (Let the record show that her nose is perfectly proportioned and remains so to this day.)
p. 94 & 95 – Robinson (Brooks and Frank) and Palmer (Jim) are hall-of-fame Baltimore Orioles.
p. 102 – My sons spent many happy hours playing with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Christopher is my oldest son.
p. 121 – My youngest son is named Nathan.
p. 124 – Ham and green beans, another Meredith tradition.
p. 129 – The melodeon used by my great-grandfather during his itinerant preaching ministry has been handed down through the family to my brother Dan, who has a very active music ministry.
p. 129 – I have a battered, Civil War-era tenor horn given to me by fellow musician John Boyer, who used it with a Civil War reenactment band in the 1960’s.
p. 130 – “Diseased cow:” – Composer Hector Berlioz’s take on the sound of a euphonium (next lower voice in the saxhorn family of brass instruments.) It happens to be my favorite and most proficient instrument.
p. 131 – Klinefelter: as with nearly all other local family names in the book, I went to school with some of their descendants. A disconcerting number of the young ladies I was interested in during high school were in some way related to my step-mother.
p. 132 – My step-mother was born in this hamlet of Sinsheim and later lived in Jefferson.
p. 158 -- The quote about worrying is actually from Dr. Robert A. Cook, former president of my alma mater (The King's College) and my spiritual mentor.
p. 163 -- It is with this revelation of Rose's name as "Charity Rose" that I hope astute readers will recognize the pattern of names for the Becker women: a "fruit of the Spirit" coupled with a flower.