Tonya Todd was Guest Speaker at Anthem Authors

On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, Tonya Todd, the Henderson Writers Group’s Education Chair, gave a special presentation to members of Anthem Authors about the benefits of attending the annual Las Vegas Writers’ Conference. As the current President of Anthem Authors, it was my pleasure to host her at a luncheon and to introduce her to our writers’ group in Sun City Anthem, Henderson, Nevada.

 

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New Cowgirl in Town

Barbara and her Stetson

Barbara Murphy and her new Stetson.

One of my wife’s friend’s husband recently passed away.  He collected hats. She gave me one of his nice Stetson hats, but it’s not the right size.  It fits my wife perfectly, so she will wear it at our next South Point Casino book signing.

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Transcontinental Railroad History Day Project

On December 12, 2019, I participated in the “Transcontinental Railroad History Day Project” conducted by students and teachers from Highland Elementary School in Bakersfield, California. The Highland’s team posed questions via email to me about the political, economic, and social impact of the first transcontinental railroad on the westward expansion of the United States. I, in turn, responded via email to each of their challenging and thoughtful questions. We engaged in our exchange of ideas for almost an hour. To be included in the internet discussion with the Highland’s team was greatly rewarding for me. I thank them for including me in the project. This photograph shows them concentrating on their end of the interchange.

From left to right: Mrs. England, J.R., Jacob, and Mrs. Hammett .

 

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Successful Book Signing at South Point

My book signing event at South Point Casino on December 7, 2019, was a great success. Throughout the event I had the help of three wonderful people, my wife and daughters. To my right is daughter Stacy from Kentucky. To my left is my wife, Barbara. To Barbara’s left is daughter Beth from California. (Beth is costumed as Jenny, the heroine in The Iron Horse Chronicles.)  In addition to the book signing, over the long weekend we spent together, we held a late family Thanksgiving dinner, enjoyed an early family Christmas, and celebrated an early birthday for Stacy.

Photo courtesy of Jack Cox.

South Point Poster

The management and staff at South Point Casino went out of their way to make this a successful fourth annual book signing. The event took place during the middle Saturday of the National Finals Rodeo, thus providing me with an amazing number and variety of readers who stopped to buy books. South Point advertised the event in the casino with this amazing poster.

South Point also included the below photo of the event on their social media accounts.

I extend my thanks and appreciation to everyone at South Point!

South Point Casino Photo

 

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Book Signing at South Point Casino

For the fourth consecutive year I will be holding a book signing for my trilogy The Iron Horse Chronicles at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will take place on Saturday, December 7, 2019, between noon and 4:00 PM. The location within the casino is near the Benny Binion equestrian statue. The date is the middle Saturday during the annual National Finals Rodeo. South Point Casino plays a major role each year in this biggest of rodeos providing housing, dining, and entertainment for the cowboys and their families, and by hosting many major rodeo events in its arena. Learn more here: https://southpointcasino.com//

This year I will be assisted by my wife, Barbara, and daughters Beth, traveling from California, and Stacy, coming from Kentucky, to spend a few days with us.

While they are here, we will celebrate a late Thanksgiving, an early Christmas, an early birthday party for Stacy, and a get-well party for Beth (who is recovering from recent successful surgery). The tree is up, the presents are wrapped, and the wine rack is full. A special comment on the tree decorations: one blue ball in the center of the tree was hand-made by Barbara’s mother, while all the other balls were hand-made by my mother fifty years ago.

If you are in Las Vegas on December 7, stop by South Point and say hello.

 

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Boomer Sooner Football 60 Years Ago

A fellow resident of Sun City Anthem, Henderson, Nevada, shared a rare treasure with me this week. He has the “Souvenir Program” for the Army vs. Oklahoma football game that took place on November 14, 1959. OU won the game 28-20. The game was broadcast by NBC as a game of the week. Note the price of the program–50 cents.

I attended that game during my senior year at Oklahoma University. I attended all OU home football games from 1956 thru 1959. I graduated in 1960. While a student at OU, I also attended the four games OU played with Texas at the old Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. I managed to attend two other “away” games–one at Oklahoma State (then Oklahoma A&M) and one at Missouri University. We students at OU were avid fans of the great teams fielded during those years under Coach Bud Wilkinson.

 

My friend also still has his two ticket stubs to the Army-Oklahoma game. A check of the internet reveals that the seats for which he paid $5 each now sell for $30. The internet states that paid attendance on November 14, 1959, was 62,472, the most for any home game that year.

 

 

Other than the cover, the only color pages in the program are the center spread listing the probable starting lineups and the other members of the two squads. Chesterfield Cigarettes sponsored this color spread. We had a thing or two to learn yet.

Thanks for bringing back memories of great times, Woody!

Posted in The Iron Horse Chronicles | Tagged | 1 Comment

Letter to Roundup Magazine Editor

I was surprised and pleased to see a letter to the editor (Johnny D. Boggs) of Roundup Magazine that was published in the August 2019 issue.

L. J. Martin, a prolific writer in multiple genres, wrote about my article “Races Within a Race” which appeared in the April 2019 issue of Roundup Magazine. Thank you L. J. for writing the letter, and thank you Johnny for printing it. Since many of the readers of my blog may not yet subscribe to Roundup Magazine, I’ll post a copy of Martin’s letter here.

You can learn more about L. J. Martin and his writing at https://ljmartin.com/

You can subscribe to Roundup Magazine for $40 per year by writing to Western Writers of America Inc., 271 CR 219, Encampment, WY 82325. The official publication of WWA will keep you abreast of all the latest and best in issues and literature pertaining to the American West.

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Apollo 11 and Johnston Atoll

Launch of Apollo 11. July 16, 1969.

Fifty years ago, I witnessed close-up some of the preparations on Johnston Atoll for the return of the Apollo 11 astronauts on their way to a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean following their successful landing on the moon. JA is a coral atoll 750 miles southwest of Hawaii and was the closest land to the designated splashdown site. The island, two miles long and half a mile wide, is largely man made. It is one of the most isolated places on Earth. This unincorporated United States territory is closed to the public, is presently uninhabited, and is now administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a National Wildlife Refuge.

In 1969, I was employed by Holmes & Narver, Inc., as the financial controller for the company’s contract with the Atomic Energy Commission (whose functions are now performed by the Department of Energy). H&N provided operations and maintenance services for the island, which for several years had been used by the AEC and the Department of Defense for upper atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. At the time of the Apollo 11 mission, atmospheric testing had been suspended, and the facilities were being maintained in a readiness state.

American flag on the moon. July 20, 1969.

A day prior to the splashdown of the lunar module, President Richard Nixon, Secretary of State William Rogers, and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger flew to Johnston Atoll on board Air Force One. They spent a night on the island prior to flying out aboard Marine One to the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, the designated recovery vessel. I ate my evening meal that day at a table next to where Rogers and Kissinger enjoyed a steak dinner at the Officers’ Club, which H&N operated for Joint Task Force Eight. On July 24, prior to departing for the recovery ceremonies, President Nixon shook hands with several military and civilian personnel to thank them for the services rendered to him and his staff during their brief time on JA. He turned back from continuing down the reception line when he was two persons away from me. That’s as close as I ever got to Nixon.

Nixon welcomes the astronauts back to Earth. July 24, 1969.

The returning astronauts were quarantined aboard the aircraft carrier following their splashdown 210 miles south of JA. The USS Hornet transported the astronauts directly to Hawaii. They never set foot on Johnston Atoll. President Nixon and his entourage did return to JA where they made a quick transfer from Marine One to Air Force One and immediately took off for their journey back to the “mainland.” We did not have live television broadcasts on JA. We had to wait several days for film to be flown out from Honolulu for us to see the moon landing and the ceremonies that had taken place onboard USS Hornet.

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Roundup Magazine Articles Available On-Line

I am pleased to inform the readers of this blog that Roundup Magazine has published two of my recent articles “on-line.” Here is the link that will take you to where you can read “Races Within A Race: The building of the Transcontinental Railroad” and “Henry Morton Stanley and the West.” http://westernwriters.org/round up

These articles appeared in the April 2019 issue of Roundup Magazine, the official publication of Western Writers of America.

 

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Alas, It Was Not to Be

In my last post, I stated I would be in Ogden, Utah, to participate in the annual convention of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society and attend the sesquicentennial celebration at the Golden Spike National Historic Site on May 10, 2019. Unfortunately, the night prior to my scheduled departure from home, I developed a high fever and wound up cancelling my trip. I spent the next several days battling a flu-type bug with antibiotics. I am now recovering nicely, thank you.

Such disappointing events make one appreciate other opportunities that were accomplished. I am sad I could not be at Promontory Summit this year to witness the reenactment of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad 150 years ago; but, happy to recall that I did attend the annual reenactment in 2014 of that momentous event. I have dozens of photographs to remind me of that wonderful trip.

2014 Reenactment of CP’s Jupiter meeting UP’s Engine 119 at Promontory Summit.

Brief national television news coverage this past Friday and Saturday indicated those who attended the sesquicentennial celebration on May 10, 2019, had great weather and enjoyed the proceedings.

I made my visit to the reenactment ceremonies on May 10, 2014, as part of my many research trips while writing about the most important engineering achievement of the nineteenth century in Golden Spike, The Iron Horse Chronicles–Book Three.

Posted in Bear Claws - Book Two, Central Pacific, Eagle Talons - Book One, Geography, Golden Spike - Book Three, Museums and Parks, The Iron Horse Chronicles, Transcontinental Railroad, Union Pacific | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments