Special to Times
Longtime Beacon Hill resident Mark Duffield has written a new book
“As I Recall: Wings of Remembrance” is a true and wondrous Beacon Hill story that takes place in 2006 – the first year Mark and Jennifer Hill became co-owners of Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill.
The book was published by SBPRA and went in late August on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and sold more than 50 copies in a single day.
Lynn Eddy, vice president of acquisitions for SBPRA (Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency Publishing, the Connecticut-based company that published Duffield’s latest book, said: “‘As I Recall; Wings of Remembrance’ by Mark Duffield was a delight for us to produce. Not only is the story one that brings comfort for those who have had a loved one pass on, it’s about the importance of how we treat each other and all creatures great and small. But, most importantly, it’s about those who teach us lessons of kindness and care and how that goodness lives on. And it will be impossible to see a wren and not think of this book after you’ve read it.”
“As I Recall: Wings of Remembrance is Duffield’s third book. It’s richly illustrated by former Beacon Hill Mail carrier, Nancy O’Hearn, and the cover was designed by his twin sister, Sharon Duffield.
“Nancy O’Hearn is a brilliant illustrator and her magnificent work blended seamlessly with my words and enhanced the story immeasurably.” said Mark.
In “As I Recall: Wings of Remembrance,” a new shop owner, Mark, takes over a successful business. He worries he might not measure up to the task, and wishes his dad, James Edwin Duffield, better known as “Ted,” who died in 1980, were alive so Mark could seek his counsel. His wish is answered when a winged visitor appears, evoking memories of his youth and his father’s love and wisdom.
Mark is well known for his other two books and the philanthropy that inspired him to write them. “The Last Shepard” and “Tales of the Tenth Ornament” sold 5,000 copies and raised thousands of dollars for childhood cancer at Mass General Hospital. “As I Recall: Fireflies in the Night” had a limited run, selling 1,000 copies, while bringing awareness to the Boston Museum of Science firefly program for children.
“When I was at Blackstone’s we did dozens and dozens and dozens of book signings,” said Mark. “We never turned anyone down, I think because, I knew just how hard it was to write one and because most of them were neighbors as well,” said Mark.
In fact, Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill will be welcoming Mark for a book signing as part of the store’s 40th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Sept. 24. The timing will be announced closer to the event.
Said Jennifer Hill of Blackstone’s: “This book is a wonderful reminder of the symbolism we associate with birds. Like many others, every time I see a cardinal or bluebird I am warmed by memories of my parents ~ both of whom were alive at the time we purchased Blackstone’s. When you next see your favorite bird, I hope you will enjoy both the moment and the memories.”
Meanwhile, Mark never fails to thank the entire Beacon Hill neighborhood who turned out in droves to help and support his efforts and he has spent many of his days returning the generosity by developing neighborhood projects, like “Spring Eternal,” and the month-long October Halloween spectacular, which raised $20,000 for the Jimmy Fund, as well as in years past, window-decorating contests, opening day baseball street events, and countless others.
“Even now so many have turned out to help,” said Mark. “A special thanks to Laura and Bob Cousineau of Upstairs Downstairs [for their] constant support of my efforts and now wishing to carry a few of my books in their store. Only in this neighborhood does such generosity flow. You don’t have to ask. They offer their help. That’s what makes this such a special neighborhood.”
Moreover, Mark added: “Once in a while when we least expect it, life flies in with lessons and blessings on the Wings of Remembrance. Sometimes a wonderful unexplained coincidence should remain unexplained. This allows the miracle of the moment to live on and soar.”
Books can be ordered on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com. Bookstores and retailers, if you know any in your neck of the woods, can order at Ingram Books.com or directly at [email protected]