Monday, July 14, 2014

A Sackful of Westerns

Visiting my Grandpa Ken Christison and his wife, Elizabeth, with Katie in Oregon

In 1989, I flew with my one-year-old daughter, Katie, to California and Oregon to introduce her to my Dad's family. While Grandpa Christison and I talked, we learned that we both loved to read westerns. On the flight home, I carried a paper sack filled with paperback westerns that Grandpa gave me - Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour, and Steve Frazee.

The Steve Frazee books were special. Grandpa and Steve were friends. Grandpa told me the story of how they met in 1934. Grandpa was walking from Westcliffe, where he worked at a dairy after high school, to Turret, the tiny mining camp east of Salida where his parents lived. He'd walked all day and half the night before falling asleep along the trail. He was awakened by Steve Frazee. Steve walked the rest of the way to Turret with him, where Steve lived with his dad.

It wasn't until I started writing my book that I became aware Steve Frazee had been the President of Western Writers of America in 1955-1956. He was the third president of the organization.

I find it interesting that today, I happen to know the current President of Western Writers of America, Sherry Monahan. Sherry recently began her term as President at the annual WWA Convention in Sacramento. Sherry and I met through Women Writing the West and worked together on marketing for the group when she was the VP of Marketing. I am very excited for Sherry as she steps into this new role. This is one of her latest books, one I happened to buy when I was in Tombstone this year, making it even more special to me. Here's the link to Sherry's website

Westerns, storytelling and a love for central Colorado, the ties that bind a grandfather and granddaughter. I still have Grandpa's paperbacks and every once in a while I pull one out to read.


Sherry Monahan said...

Awe. That's such a sweet story and it's a pleasure to call you my friend.

Now, when are you coming the WWA convention? :)

Renaissance Women said...

What special memories you have Gayle. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Women Writing the West, has been a wonderful place to meet so many great people who share the love of the West and all it means to them. Doris