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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Outlaws

A memory popped into my head out of no where when I was driving home last weekend.

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.  









19 comments:

Molly said...

I love old memories. There is a story (legend) about my grandfather saving Jesse James. My cousin, Judy, wrote about it here.

http://judy-backintheday.blogspot.com/2010/03/dick-grandfather-was-methodist-circuit.html

bekahjane said...

"A memory popped into my head out of no where when I was driving home last weekend."

You are such a beautiful story teller.

Love this.

C... said...

What a neat memory. My great uncle was born in the early 1900's and he also remembers seeing Pancho Villa come through Mexico where I was born during those days. Interesting times those had to be.

Coffeypot said...

The character of Jessie was Christopher Jones and he is still alive at 70 years old. I have stayed at the Excelsior Spring Hotel twice and I have been to the James farm. Frank did settle down there in his later years. He has his horse buried there. He loved his animals more than people and was also a various reader and love Shakespeare (according to the tour guide on the place.) He put up a handmade sign at his front gate (that had a word or two misspelled) and collected something like twenty cents per interview and picture. The farm is on a small, two-lane road and you can drive right by it if you aren’t aware.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Great recall! I also loved your old photo:)

Jan n Jer said...

Wow what a memory...I bet your Dad was just thrilled at the time!
Sounds like you are busy as usual with the grands...glad to hear your daughter is doing well!

Donna Schlicting said...

I love your memory and especially your prose. So glad that you are blogging :)

Karmyn R said...

How cool was that?

I'm looking at the picture - and assuming the one brother is the first hat wearer from the left - because he totally looks like pictures of Ron (that I remember seeing)

I can see that "scowl" in pictures of other family members too! hahhaha

bichonpawz said...

I wonder why everyone is scowling in old pictures?

Memories pop into my head at weird times too...must be age? Ha!

grammy said...

How fun to remember (o:
my mom told me she was related to jesse Jame...who knows???
Hope your daughter is feeling better. I love it when the little ones sneak in my bed...I think I am old and deaf, because sometimes I didn't even hear them get in bed (o:

Peter said...

Great story Pamela, that old photograph must have been protected by the old photo preserving ghosts, there is hardly a mark on the important part of it.

lisaschaos said...

I was preparing to see my mil (ex mil now) re-marry at the James farm, she was marrying a great-great grandson, a Texas Ranger, we were to go the next month to witness. He died before they wed. :( So anytime I hear about Jesse Jams I think of her and how she buried one husband and one love before he became a husband. It's so hard to find someone when you're older, indeed most of my older relatives just don't remarry after they lose their spouse.

But I ramble, sorry. Very cool that he got to chat with him, and that picture is awesome!

~KaThY~ said...

First if all, you know that you, Karmyn, and the rest of the gang at The Dusty Blog have been in my prayers, and thoughts, and on my hug-list !
You have, by far, the best historical posts evah ! This reminds me I need to glob-hop more often. Just haven't done it lately. I'm going for the record. I've now posted on two, count them TWO, blogs in the last 10 minutes.
Hugs to you and yours, my friend.

Merle said...

Hi Pamela ~~ Thanks for your comments and glad you enjoyed the jokes. I do hope your daughter can beat the thyroid cancer, I will keep her in my prayers. I am lucky to still be going OK. Take care, Love, Merle.

Donna said...

Hi Pamela! Thanks for all your sweet comments! And I Really want to thank you for your prayers for Texas to get some MUCH needed rain! We could really use some!

Love the photo...Must have been a treat for him to See such an icon of the Old West!

Have a great weekend!
hughugs

Mozi Esmé said...

What a neat little piece of legacy! I need to spend more time with my parents and document some of the stuff they remember...

Intense Guy said...

What a cool picture! I sure wouldn't wanted to keep all those rugrats and urchins sitting around too long getting their picture taken! What a frownie face!

Its cool too, that your dad "went over there to set our sights on him."

:) Imagine if it was today? Your dad would have been taking the outlaws picture with his cellphone...

Amanda said...

I love these old picutres of our family. I often regret that I never got to meet your daddy.

<3

Wendster said...

Loved this story! And what a fun picture of your dad and his brothers et al.
And I had to leave Edith because she got "healthy" and ambulatory enough to be on her own. She moved to a fabulous place ... the jewel of the assisted living homes in LA. The Monarch. The service there is incredible, the food, passable, and the activities numerous. Once ina while she still has me out to help her with a few things. I was able to help her get a free surgery for her cat last week when he broke the head off of his femur (leg got stuck in wheel chair when he jumped down. poor baby) Just found a new weekend job, fortunately and still have my night jobs for the moms who work at night. I should be alright.
My prayers for Karmyn's full recovery. How long has she had cancer? I missed that! Sorry I haven't been here for you. I feel bad about that. Too caught up in "me" ... need to make time for others.
I love you Pamela! xooxo

Wendy