Welcome to Friday’s Bitter End! Let’s take a break from serious stuff today and take a walk down memory lane. David N. Walker is here to share his memories of growing up in the Texas of the 1940s and 1950s.
Take it away, David…
Thank you, Catie, for inviting me to your website today. At your suggestion, I’ll speak a bit about how things were when I was growing up back in the 1940s and 50s, then I’ll suavely segue into pimping my novella series, Fancy.
The world I grew up in seems almost like it was on a different planet from today’s world. As I celebrated my second birthday, we were almost ready to emerge from World War II. Air conditioning wasn’t even a dream. No one had a television set—at least not in Fort Worth. Cars were made of steel instead of plastic. Mothers wore dresses around the house, with aprons when they were in the kitchen.
My dad got out of the army and set up his pediatric practice just before I turned three, at which point we only had one car. Mother either did her shopping and other errands after he got home or else had to take him to his office so she could use the car.
Our only respite from the oppressive heat and humidity of Texas summers was an attic fan, which sucked air in through the windows and blew it out through the attic. We had mesh pads with water dripping through them on the windows to cool the air, but it still wasn’t very cool.
High Tech of Yesteryear
Dad bought our first television on my sixth birthday, while Mother was in the hospital for the birth of my brother and couldn’t object. It had maybe a ten inch black and white screen.
A store eight or ten blocks from our house installed the first automatically opened doors when I was around seven or eight. A friend and I used to ride our bikes over there just so we could walk in and out of the doors. Yes, back then the world was safe enough our parents let us ride our bikes off like that with no fear of trouble.
By the time I was ten or so, I would ride the city bus from our neighborhood in far (at that time) west Fort Worth all the way downtown and back by myself. I also rode it to my orthodontist’s office by myself.
The next neatest thing, after the automatic doors, was an escalator. I’d ridden on elevators all my life, although back then they always had an attendant operating them, but the first escalator really fascinated me. I was ten or eleven when it was built, in a new store about three blocks from our house. I would ride up and down—sometimes running up the down escalator and vice versa—until the manager asked me to quit. I always wondered where the steps went when they disappeared.
We had a choice of three different treatments for ADHD back in those days. We could accompany the principal or V.P. to the boiler room to visit the board of education, or we could stay after school several days, or we could have lunchroom duty for a longer period. Seemed to work pretty well.
A Love of History
When I was in the eighth grade, I was fortunate to have Chester Tucker as my American history teacher. In the eleventh grade, I was again fortunate to have Julia Kathryn Garrett for American history. These two eschewed date memorization in favor or bringing history alive to us, sharing the excitement of events and stressing the effect of those events on the course of history.
Thanks to those two, I’ve always been fascinated with the subject, especially Texas and American history. I think that’s a large part of why my first venture into the world of fiction is historical. My Fancy series takes place in the 1860s and 70s—a fascinating time in the history of our nation. It was a time when free enterprise and lack of government regulation allowed us to leapfrog past the established nations of Europe and the rest of the world to establish the greatest standard of living and the greatest amount of freedom ever seen anywhere in the world. Too bad we’ve lost the pioneer spirit and personal responsibility that made our nation so great.
Fancy is a fourteen year-old girl whose mother died giving birth to her younger sister and whose father left her in charge when he joined the Confederate Army. When she received a telegram from the army a few months later telling her of her father’s death in combat, she’s left to face the world, plant and raise a cotton crop and raise her four year-old sister alone.
To make things worse, an unscrupulous neighbor produces a forged deed showing her father sold the family farm to him. He manages to take over and get her evicted, leaving her nowhere to go.
The owner of a local saloon, a lady who was once her father’s lover and gambling partner, takes Fancy under her wing, giving her a job and a place to live and mentoring her in the fine art of poker.
Follow Fancy through several trials and tribulations in this first book of the series. Then follow her on through volumes two and three as she moves on in her life. Volume four should be out before the month is over, and volumes five through eight should be released at two month intervals after that.
Where else can you get started on a whole new series for only $.99? Take advantage of this offer and open a whole new line of books to read. Click here to order Kindle or paperback editions of any of the books in this series.
Find David Online
To read more of David’s musings, visit his blog.
For more information about David N. Walker, click here.
For more information about his books, click here.
Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.