There was a television series back in the mid sixties titled "The Legend of Jesse James." The leading man was handsome, as I recall, and that is probably the reason I wanted to watch it. Of course, in television land, the James brothers were modern day Robin Hoods, which made for a very romantic story line.
It wasn't the show itself that emerged from my thoughts, but rather a conversation I had with my daddy one evening. Daddy walked in to the "front" room, took his reading glasses off and stuck them in his pocket, and then observed the show for a few minutes.
"I went to see Frank James when I was a youngster," he stated in a very matter of fact tone.
"You what?" I remember turning all my attention to him.
"Yeah," he confirmed. "The James Farm was 10 or so miles from Excelsior Springs, and one day we went over there to set our sights on him."
I was impressed and wondered, "So was he dressed up like an outlaw and all that?"
"Nope." Dad shook his head and reached into his pocket for his glasses and picked up the newspaper to do the crossword puzzle. "He was just a bent over old man sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair."
I was super duper impressed - as can be confirmed by the fact that the memory was so vivid in my mind, BUT! Why didn't I ask him more questions? Or did I ask him more and I've just forgotten the rest of what was said.
Today I looked on line to find that Frank James returned to that farm in 1911 and died in 1915. Beings that daddy was born in 1900, I can safely assume that he was between the age of 11 and 14 when he visited the James Farm .
Now I wonder if people were allowed on to the James Farm to see the famous outlaw.
OR... did my dad and his brothers sneak on to the farm to get a look at him?
This photograph (which clearly needs to be restored) was taken in 1910. Daddy is the 6th one from the left on the first row. Two of his older brothers are in the school picture wearing hats.