Thursday, October 22, 2020

Was Billy the Kid A Bonnie Lass Toolie?

October 22, 2020

   The new Billy book will have plenty of new pictures and plenty of new questions, like this one:

Was Billy the Kid a "Bonnie Lass Toolie"?

Daily Whip Out:
"Billy as a Bonnie Lass Toolie"

   Interviewed in 1936, Jesus Silva of Fort Sumner claimed that he found the Kid walking after his escape from the Lincoln County Courthouse and that he guided the fugitive to the Jesus Anaya home, eight miles south of Fort Sumner. The Kid, though hampered by his leg irons, walked part of the way while Jesus rode. Silva left the Kid at the Anaya home, and claimed he stayed for almost a month.

   “Anaya had three daughters, and when strangers would come, Billy dressed up like a girl and stayed in the kitchen with the Anaya girls. And he made a good one, too — he was small, his hair was long and he talked Mexican just as good as them."

—Jesus Silva, in The Amarillo Daily News, Friday Morning, Nov. 13, 1936

   So, yes, if the Silva account is true, Billy the Kid was in the slang of the day, a "Bonnie Lass Toolie" which is a good looking woman.

   Thanks to Mark Lee Gardner, I got another crack at the visage of Walter Noble Burns. Mark bought most of Burns' papers and in them, is this photo printed on a publicity release for "The Saga of Billy the Kid." It's one of the best photos I have seen of the writer, but it has one problem:

Burns with ripped mouth.

So I took a crack at him in my own style:

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Walter Noble Burns"

   The older I get, the more I mistrust oldtimers and their stories. I know, I know, it takes one to know one. Still, if you have been doing this as long as I have you have to face the fact that most of the collected remembrances of geezers comes down to an orgy of inconsistencies and that eventually you come up against the unmistakable: it's all built to baffle. Still, we trudge onward, hoping to gleam some truth from the effort. 

"My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be."

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