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collection of postcards of Morgan Hill, about which he planned to write a book, until one day he walked into Booksmart in Morgan Hill. “I saw my book sitting there, displayed in the store—written by someone named Ian Sanders,” Brookman explained. Booksmart owners, Brad Jones and Cinda Meister, introduced Brookman to Sanders, and the two writers set about creating a second book about Brookman’s own collection. Next, the two men wrote about Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs. After that, the City of Saratoga asked them to author a book on their own hot springs, released in 2016. Their next book will cover Madrone Soda Springs and Glenn Willis Hot Springs, sitting underneath Anderson Reservoir. As Brookman explained, “The hot springs were a significant part of late nine- teenth and early twentieth century culture. He added, “They were a hotbed of social activity.” Newspapers from that time are filled with tales of drama and intrigue, infidelity between romantic partners—even murders occurring around the springs.” From a research perspective, written information on the various hot springs is plentiful. Usually, Brookman finds his information in a large historical research library in Berkeley, the California room in the San Jose Main Library, or in one of several private collections. What’s been more difficult for Brookman and his writing partner Sanders, is getting local residents to talk about their own families’ histories and their relationships to the springs and other local landmarks. The writers have tried to reach out to the public by posting flyers and through other means of advertising, which Brookman has deemed “fruitless.” Instead, he has more luck casually mentioning the topic of his books and research in local bars, restaurants, and other businesses, where he can make a face-to-face connection with people. In those environments, people occasionally have their own story to tell, which may shed light on Brookman’s research. After meeting him, it’s not difficult to understand why. His easygoing man- ner and grin makes discussion about everything from the latest Pokémon Go phenomenon to tense political situations palatable over coffee. Next, Brookman would like to write a book about various local immigrants. For example, he has learned that a majority of miners who worked in the area were Italian. He also wants to explore the history of the many local Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans. In 1840, Brookman’s own mother’s relatives came to California from France, and his father’s side of the family moved from Ireland to California in search of gold. Eventually his parents moved to Saratoga where he grew up and attended Prospect High School. But he had always been fascinated by his family’s origin overseas, and eventually, he expanded his interest in local history to a broader scale. In 2003, while he was climbing Mount Shasta—knee-deep in snow—his childhood friend asked if he wanted to go to Spain. “When?” Brookman asked. “Three weeks.” “Okay,” he said. Before that, Brookman had never left the country. Since then, he’s been back to Spain five times through Gavilan College’s immersion program, where he spent the month of June living with a family. He’s also been to China to visit his sister, and to Germany and Ireland. Brookman likes to research and study local history before he travels to a location. In fact, he became a certified tour guide and planned to make that his next career since retiring from the police force. However, he’s since taken some unexpected time off to care for his father who passed away two years ago. Through the years, Brookman has been continuously involved with more community service organizations than he can list, including multiple facets of Leadership Morgan Hill. He was part of the organization’s second class in 1996, maintaining involvement in many of their projects over the years, and currently serves on their board of directors. He also served on the YMCA Board of Directors when they first instituted Project Cornerstone’s 41 Developmental Assets. He’s been a part of CERT—the Community Emergency Response Team. In addition, Brookman’s been an active member of the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance—which serves as an informal, citizen-run government for his small town—and is currently the group’s Secretary. For 20 years, he’s enjoyed volun- teering as a docent at Gilroy Hot Springs. Brookman explained his dedication to community service during his years of often demanding careers and desire to travel: “I’m not a religious man. It’s the Golden Rule. Do unto others—a way to increase the quality of life that makes things better in the place we live. And I always got more out of it; I try to put in a lot.” He shook his head and smiled. “It’s such an enriching thing.” Tom Howard, Museum Volunteer Coordinator with authors, Mike Brookman and Ian L. Sanders at a book signing at the Gilroy Museum. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 gmhtoday.com 15