One of the biggest thrills an author can have is for someone you wrote about to say you did a great job. That happened this week when Eric Saarinen sent me the most kind e-mail you could imagine about my book The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch.
“Your background coverage over time is a great time-lapse of history emerging to the evolution and the final result,” wrote Saarinen, the son of Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen. “To me, your point of view was very different from the professional biographers who are just now discovering my dad. I wish every city had such an inspiring monument. So tragic that he never saw the very inspiring result himself.” Eero Saarinen died of a brain tumor in 1961, two years before construction started on the Gateway Arch. My phone interviews with Eric Saarinen and his sister Susan were sometimes difficult, because part of them dealt with how they handled their father’s divorce and remarriage while he was designing the Gateway Arch. In his e-mail, Eric Saarinen said, “Jim, you have been very gracious and thoughtful. I have learned a lot from your point of view…being swept away by the ingenuity and resourceful creators. Everyone from Saint Louis loves it.”
Eric Saarinen is a talented videographer, as this shot from the commercial he made shows.
He says he may be using that talent to with a film marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Gateway Arch next year. “Hopefully, this will be a good film. . . a great film.” I look forward to seeing him and meeting him when he’s in town.