The latest issue of True West is hitting subscribers' mailboxes this week:
And we are already starting to get response:
"I received the latest issue of TW mag yesterday and started reading your bit on how you ruined your kids' interest in history... (haven't finished it yet; I'm a slow reader).
"Anyway... I wanted to see if you had a soft copy of that which you wouldn't mind me forwarding on to a friend of mine in Dallas. He is just getting back from his road trip with the fam (down Route 66 for parts of it) and I thought he might get a kick out of your story.
"I am going to read Johnny's [Boggs, "How To Get Your Kids Hooked On History"] story with great interest since my kids have yet to share the same fascination with history that I do (my wife could care less as well...). Needless to say, our road trip this year to Sea World & Magic Mountain are going to consist of a couple of stops along the way - Yuma Territorial Prison and Mission San Capistrano (got that last one from the last issue of True West)."
—Harold Roberts, Tucson, AZ
Wonderful Russ sent me this photo of him and Hoppy at the Camelback Inn in Paradise Valley, Arizona in 1951:
Now he's demanding his own cover. He's not alone:
"Damn you, BBB......you never asked ME about MY kids and history....hell, I have a photo of my youngest, Olivia, at age 11 wearing a homemade suit of Ned Kelly's armor!
"And photos of both of them walking around the collasping ruin of Butch Cassidy's boyhood home in Circleville, Utah.
"And at my studio and at the Little Bighorn helping me work on and install my "Custer's Last Stand" installation......
"and then there's baseball. (talk about a GREAT history!!!) When Bart Giamotti was the commissioner of baseball he wrote an essay about the importance of baseball, especially for young boys. His claim, and I agree with it, is that sports is the FIRST thing a young boy can talk about with his elders and they'll LISTEN to him! Being a baseball fan and being around children of my friends, these young boys can rattle off stats and scores and a grasp of baseball; because they sure cant talk about things like sex, ddrugs, rock 'n' roll, cars etc......but they CAN talk knowlingly of sports. AND, if they are brought along in the same manner as we do with our kids and western history, they'll get JAZZED and baseball, as you know, will become a lifelong passion, one that, more then any other, gets passed down from father to son (and daughters.)
"And baseball has the good guys and the bad guys and the shootings and the suicides and the drinking and whoring and tragedy AND comedy...the moments and the men.....it's all there.
"Plus the history AND the myths are intact...indeed, unlike the west of our passions, baseball is still alive and continues to create legends and myths....even the horrible, unheroic legends we see today.
"damn damn damn.....somewhere in that game the kids pick up on the myths and the passions and they rival, indeed equal, anything the West ever produced.
"When I am with Rusty and Frank we talk either baseball or the Wild West......Clete Boyer or Billy the Kid.........the mysterious suicide (?) of Johnny Ringo and the suicide of Hugh Casey, blowing his brains out while holding the phone to his head so his estranged wife could hear the blast.
"Sal Maglie packing a pistol on the mound when he was pitching in Mexico. The shooting of Eddie Waitkus which inspired the shooting of Roy Hobbs in "The Natural."
"We'll miss you in Oklahoma City......but we'll drink one to your health."
"I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me."