Harriet Beecher Stowe
 
From: kbachand@juno.com
 
I would like to second what Jimmy Shirley said about the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 
 
I majored in history back in the ’50s at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.  That’s just west of Daytona Beach and, of course, south of Mandarin, where Stowe "wintered" after the war.
 
My focus was on the History of the Old South, and my professor–Dr. John E. Johns, late president of Furman University–said that Stowe spent her later years "basking on the shores of the St. Johns River near Green Cove Springs.”   That’s just across the river from Mandarin, so perhaps she spent time at both places.
 
Another thing he said, as I recall, was that at the time she wrote her famous novel, she had been only as far south as Cincinnati, Ohio, where she got the impetus for her story from interviews with runaway slaves.  Of course runaways often had good reason to run, so if what Dr. Johns said is true, then we can understand why the story runs as it does.
 
And I also  agree with what Jimmy said about checking what we write when we’re trying to correct our detractors.  Some of them are educated enough to be offended by sloppy, careless writing and unfairly judge the content and the sender by the condition of the package.
 
We don’t have to be grammar experts to take time to spell-check our responses.  And as for our punctuation errors, I have yet to read anything from any of those who hate us that didn’t have enough grammar errors to exclude them from criticizing us in that regard.
 
But let me add weight to this by saying that I am a published author and a manuscript editor, and I often get pains in my gut when I read some of the well-intentioned but agonizingly crude rebuttals some of my compatriots write in response to some journalist or professor who spews his venom at us.  Some of them surely must grin with satisfaction when they read some of our criticisms.
 
I’m not saying not to write.  By all means do so, but please take a little time to get your words right.  That’s why spell-checkers were invented.
 
Yours for truth and honor,
 
Ken Bachand
Hendersonville, NC