True West Historical Society

Official Site of True West Magazine, Since 1953

April 6, 2012

Enjoyed reading this posting this morning: "I don't know about y'all, but I love this website. It's a great respite from all the crap going on in this world. I often think (and wish) I'd been born in the early 1800's instead of the mid 1900's. Granted, the life expectancy for a man at that time was about 50 and you were considered an Old Phart at 40.

"Nonetheless, I think I would have been a whole lot more satisfied with life way back when.

"Anyhow, the purpose of this is that you may have friends who need a place to hang their hats and kick back at the end of a long hard day in the old grind. Why not let them know about this site? All y'all need to do is CLICK HERE to import your e-mail contacts and invite them. Once you enter your invitations, you'll have a chance to send them a brief message. Just tell them this ain't no dadgum political site, it's about history and the Old West."

I think this dovetails with the article I was telling Ken about in the New York Timeswhere an urban mother writes that she can't quite figure out why she so enjoys reading "Little House On The Prairie" to her two daughters and why THEY enjoy it so much. She guesses it's because deep down we all love "pastoral narrative with sharp teeth," and we all love "a fantasy of total isolation and total control." This is the secret power of Davy Crockett, Billy the Kid, etc. People want to get away from the stress of the modern world and the frontier West takes them there. I told my staff: "Let's don't forget to take them there!"

 

Last night I shot a couple dozen photos off of The Westerns Channel. One of my favorite shows growing up was "Lawman". Loved that dude's chiseled face.

 

That's Peter Brown at right who I just had lunch with two weeks ago. Peter and his wife stayed in the exact same flat we stayed at in Paris a year ago. Peter said the landlord told him, "Oh, you are in into all things Western? We had a crazy American here last year who publishes a true magazine." What are the odds?

 

Using the screen captures on "Lawman" to utilize in the Wyatt Earp time travel story. Sketches to follow.

 

"You have merely replaced one myth with another."

—Wyatt Earp to a young whipper snapper named Burns

Views: 192

Comment by Sue Cauhape on April 6, 2012 at 1:43pm

BBB, you've hit the nail when you talk about people wanting to live in a time of total control. We're seeing a lot of that attitude coming out in some political groups these days. (And that's all I'm going to say about THAT!) People faced some nightmares back in the 19th Century too but maybe they were so busy trying to survive, whatever happened back East didn't matter any more. Jeff Foxworthy once said he doesn't pay attention to any news that doesn't concern him directly. That certainly cuts out a whole lot of stuff. Maybe that's one way to create that "fantasy of total isolation and total control." 

Comment by Kevin Hogge on April 7, 2012 at 2:55pm

My wife has always said I was born 100 years too late. I was, however, born just in time to experience many old time customs. Raised in the country, I know what an outhouse is, we still had one when I was a small child. I milked cows, learned to ride a horse, worked with pigs, dumped slop jars, drew water from the well (and a pitcher pump). I've watched my grandmother do laundry on a scrub board; she lived very old timey until she died in the 1960s and never had running water. Life was simple and much slower. People did for themselves and were generally grateful for what they had. This is how I see the days of the "Old West" as drawn from my small glimpse of how it might have been.

I too wish I could have lived during those times in either Arizona or New Mexico and met some of the people we study today.  I have no doubt I would have perfectly satisfied. And you are correct Bob, people didn't live that long back then; but what the heck, I'd be dead by now anyway Ha! Marsha says it wouldn't matter; I would have been shot or hanged by the time I was 30.

That's why I love this website, it takes me to a place I wish I could have lived. I turn on "this" computer when I get home in the evenings (TW is my Home Page) and it takes me there. I can visit with my friends, many I've come to know personally, and learn things I don't believe I would have found only in books. Through our friendships, discussions and mutual love of the west, we are collectively living our "past life" in the old west and the rest of the world takes a back seat if only for a little while.

Comment by Steve Sanders on April 7, 2012 at 9:38pm

Well said, Kevin.

Comment by Bob Boze Bell on April 8, 2012 at 7:34am

Yes, Kevin, I sent your comments to our staff for inspiration and reflection. Sometimes we get so busy we forget why we're doing this and you brought it back home. Thanks again.

Comment by Murray A. Gewirtz on April 8, 2012 at 9:11am

Kevin, had you actually lived in Victorian times, you would probably have decried the increasing industrialization of the times, with its crassness and materialism, and nostalgically longed for a romanticized notion of the Middle Ages, with chivalry, heroic knightly deeds, pure damsels in distress, and personal craftmanship. People have always idealized the "good old days."

Comment by Bob Boze Bell on April 8, 2012 at 12:38pm

My good friend Jim Dunham has a very honest response to the question of living back then. When asked what he would probably be doing if he actually could go back to the Wild West, Jim replied, "I'd probably join some pirate re-enactment group."

Comment by Murray A. Gewirtz on April 8, 2012 at 1:30pm

Right on!

Comment by Kevin Hogge on April 8, 2012 at 3:17pm

Murray, I think you're right; I'd probably hate the banks and the railroad. Ha! 

Thank you Bob, that means a lot!!

Comment by Sue Cauhape on April 8, 2012 at 9:36pm

Re-enactments are a great thing for anyone with fantasies of "the good old days." You see, at least in a campout situation, how comfy as well as how rustic it was. Then again, re-enacters can always return home to indoor plumbing, soft beds and microwaves. It's called "camping" and you can make it as challenging as you want for as along as you like. We can still experience the joys of the old days. Just deep-six the 60-inch TV, computers, iPhones, etc. 

Comment by Murray A. Gewirtz on April 9, 2012 at 9:29am

I'm always amazed at the pace with which things changed in the 19th century due to technological advancement. In the beginning of the century We were an agrarian society in which things were done pretty much as they had been for hundreds of years. By the end of the century there was tremendous growth of cities and factories, with complex machinery, standardized parts, railroads, automobiles, ocean liners and battleships, telegraph and telephone, phonographs, and still and portable and movie cameras, machine guns, the end of the"wild" frontier, the end of the Indian wars and of slavery, and  more. Very soon to follow in the early 20th century were radio and the airplane! It must have been enough to make even Wyatt Earp dizzy.

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