Sunday, January 27, 2008

We Were Soldiers Cowboys Once… And Young

Today’s Pics: Talk about long ago and far away! What I know: these pics were taken in the Sacramento, CA area, most likely in base housing on McClellan AFB (the Christmas pics) and in the house my parents bought somewhere near Mather AFB. What I don’t know: The exact year. I’m probably between four and five years of age in these pics…that’s my best guess.

These five pics were taken on at least two different occasions, but they reflect my very young boyhood obsession: cowboys. Hopalong Cassidy, in particular, but Red Ryder, Wild Bill Hickok, and Roy Rogers were up there on my list of heroes as well. My shirt, pants, and boots are Hopalong Cassidy signature items, as is the small table radio and the camp chair in the Christmas shots. I kept that radio until my teen-age years…the rest of the stuff sorta disappeared, as stuff tends to do when you move every three years or so.

My memories of this time are pretty faint to non-existent. I do remember my mother taking me to the “Kids Matinee” at the base theatre nearly every Saturday. The “show” was free and featured one “B” cowboy movie from the 40s and a few…usually three… “shorts,” that could have been about nearly anything. The moms on our block in the housing area rotated “kid duty” and took a gaggle of small boys on these outings every Saturday morning. That outing was the highlight of my young life at the time.

I also remember that we had one of the first televisions in our sub-division after Dad and Mom bought the house near Mather AFB, which was quite the Big Deal. Sacramento didn’t have a TV station when Dad bought the teevee, and he and his friends erected a 20-foot mast (at least, more than likely taller) and a huge antenna on our house so we could receive broadcasts out of San Francisco…badly. All the kids in the neighborhood and quite a few of their parents would gather to watch teevee in our living room. That was a real social event for the times, even though there wasn’t a whole helluva lot to watch. I also remember getting out of bed in the morning, running into the living room and switching on the teevee to wait for the morning shows to begin…impatiently waiting for the test pattern to disappear and the programming to begin.

Our family stayed in the Sacramento area until 1953, at which time Dad was reassigned to London, England. Dad was the recipient of one of those infamous “short-notice” assignments, and he preceded us in England by several months. My Mom, my sister and I followed about six months later. The trip from Sacramento to London…via Mom’s home in Atlanta, Georgia… was quite an adventure for an eight year-old boy, not to mention Mom… who drove across the US of A with my sister and I all alone. That was quite daring in 1953. I’ve told the tale of the move and subsequent adventures in three installments… here, here, and here… if you’re interested, Gentle Reader.


  1. Aw, you were such a cute little Buckaroo!!

    I have a fork, spoon, and knife set of Hopalong Cassidy silverware that was my father's, then mine and my brother's, and now my kids'. The fork is missing I have noticed, but dug the other two pieces out of the silverware drawer just yesterday and put them in a safer place from the kids so's no more will go missing. Hopefully the fork will turn up.

    Another interesting fact about Hopalog Cassidy: my great aunt was in the TV show. Now, 1) I never saw the show myself and 2) never met the aunt either. So I have no idea what part she played or even her name (Geraldine comes to mind, but I have no idea. I don't ever remember meeting anyone at all from that side of the family). But that is what I was told when I was little.

  2. Still got 2 of the old Red Ryder's from the mine, and one that belonged to my was indeed more simple, but a different set of dangers were still with us.

  3. Man, those shots had to be taken with something other than a Brownie...great detail in them!

    Thanks for posting them know I love those kind of posts.

    I'm just smiling all over myself!

  4. If I didn't know better...pic #1 could be SN3...the resemblance is VERY!

    Back to work!


  5. You are so cute. I like your little cowboy outfit. I agree with Sn1, Sn3 does resemble you. Of course i have not seen many pictures of Sn3.

  6. I read your "when i was eight" stories. I liked them.

  7. Every woman loves a cowboy and those pics are too cute. They are amazing quality - real treasures.

    My favorite cowboy shows were more like "Have Gun Will Travel", "Larado", "Maverick", etc. Roy Rogers was still a big hero, but a bit older. My brother and I used to get up in time to see the test pattern. Then the National Anthem would play with a flag blowing in the wind. We often fought over who was going to stand on the ottoman to salute the flag.

    Did I know you had a sister?

  8. Dude...THAT was great! Those pics were so freaking COOL!

  9. Thanks all y'all, for the kind comments.

    Jenny: It's way-cool you still have that place setting. I certainly wish I had something from those days, but I suppose I should be thankful I have the pics.

    Pat: I had several Red Ryder BB guns as well, but the gun in the pic isn't one of those.

    Mushy: I'm not entirely sure, but I think my father used an old Speed Graphic. IIRC, and all that.

    Buck: You're right about the SN3 resemblance...but it's the genes, nu?

    Ashley: Thanks for reading the "When I was Eight" posts! I really appreciate that.

    And if you click this link you'll find 16 or so pics of SN3 and a couple of videos, too.

    Lou sez: Did I know you had a sister?

    Probably not. I don't talk about her much; we're estranged. It's a sad story, but it's not blog-fodder.

    That's funny about you, your brother, and the ottoman!

    Thanks for the compliment, Jay!!

  10. Ashley: I noticed the links to ALL the photos in the "When I Was Eight" stories were broken. I fixed 'em, if you're interested in going back.

    Explanation: Blogger had a hard time dealing with photos a couple of years ago, so I went to a third-party hosting service... which, apparently, no longer likes me, or is dead, or both.

  11. Thank you Buck for the link on Sn3.

    I will go back a look at the pictures that go with the when i was 8 posts. Thanks :)


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