Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Carolyn Valenta

One day as I was leaving the editorial room of The Post to go downtown Worth Gatewood asked me for a ride. He had come back to The Post at my invitation but he did not have a car. As we drove toward downtown, Worth asked me to swing by the railroad station. "I am going back to New York," he said. "Please tell Arthur Laro (the executive editor) that I am leaving." "Why me," I protested. "You are the one who talked me into coming back," he replied. Then he smiled and said, "and I am taking Carolyn Valenta with me." "You rascal," I said. Carolyn Valenta, who was from Shiner, Texas, had been working in the photography department of The Post for more than 10 years. She was the outstanding photog when it came to a news story. Well, Worth and Carolyn got married and became the parents of twin boys. Within a year Worth became features editor of the New York Daily News and Carolyn lined up a lot of assignments as a free lance photographer. Arthur was greatly upset.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

worth Gatewood

One of the oldfashioned reporters and editors was Worth Gatewood, who once was a columnist on the Houston Post. He belonged to a generation of colorful writers. Worth decided to go to New York and he became an assistant editor on the New York Daily News. Arthur Laro, who was editor of the Houston Post, wanted Worth to come back. To disguise my mission, which was to try to talk worth into coming back, Arthur sent me on a junket to England with a stopover in New York. I stopped off and told Worth we still loved him and invited him back. He and other editors held forth in a bar across the street from the Daily News. This was the old days of sensational and competive newspapers. After that I went on to England where I had an objective of my own. We landed in Manchester and I obtained a government guide and played sick so I could make a secret trip to the Comet aircraft plant. One of the large passenger planes had crashed over Rome, killing about 200 passengers. The plane was powered by Rolls Royce engines, which I did not believe were to blame. When I got to the factory it was like attending a funeral. Eastern Airlines had cancelled their contract with the British company. Eventually I found out that the fuselage of the new post-war plane had collapsed because of the stress of high level flying. When this became common knowledge it led to the construction of airplane bodies with stronger material and to the development of world wide flying. I wrote the story but The Post chickened out because I could not name my source. Eddie Rickenbacker, who was president of Eastern Airlines, decided to buy planes from a West Coast manufacturer. When I got back to Houston Worth Gatewood was in the middle of the editorial room. He had come home.

Monday, December 29, 2008

East Texas

When my grandmother, Katie, was about 90 years old I took her on a trip to the part of East Texas where she was born. We started out in Liberty County and I pulled up in front of a cafe because it was lunch time. "Son," she asked me, "Have you eaten here before?" I admitted that I had not. She informed me that she did not like to eat in a strange place. I thought a while and decided to visit the Partlow family. This was a pioneer family, but since they were related to Bill Daniel I had decided not to introduce Katie because she was related to the Hightowers because they were political enemies. In fact, one of the Hightowers was sheriff at that time. But I decided to take a chance and we were welcomed by the Partlows. On this day they had set the table for about 24 people. They invited us and we enjoyed a great oldfashioned lunch with them. After that we stopped off in Livingston where Judge Luby Hightower's picture was hanging on the courthouse wall. "He was a learned man, but he drank too much," she told me. The judge's drinking problem was well known in Polk County, but I do not know how Katie found out. Then we went on to a settlement near the Indian Reservation and I stopped at a large farmhouse. I introduced us to the owners and they invited us to sit and talk. We were in the vicinity where Katie was born but everything had changed. Finally we started back to Friendswood where I was living. "Son," she said, "I appreciate the trip but it has only shown me how lucky I was to leave East Texas," she said. "They haven't made any progress here since I left."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dennis McCarthy

Katie had one brother named Dennis McCarthy. He became a telegraph operator and assistant station manager at the Santa Fe Railroad in Cleveland, Texas. He stayed with his aunt and uncle, the former Jane Lockhart and District Judge L.B. Hightower. One night while working at the railroad station he witnessed a robbery. He talked to Judge Hightower about it and was referred to the district attorney. Two men were arrested, but released on bond. One night, a few weeks later, Dennis was found stabbed to death. The two men were arrested and later sent to the penitentiary. Katie went to the funeral for Dennis, but she never forgave Judge Hightower. She thought the advice should have been for Dennis to carry a pistol. Not too long afterward, Katie sent for her father, Florence McCarthy, who was becoming blind. She took care of him until he died. One day a McCarthy relative from Upper New York State arrived in Christoval. He was a nephew of Florence McCarthy and wanted to restore the family. Katie was 15 years old at that time and not yet married. The New York nephew wanted to send her to a Catholic convent in New York. Her mother, who was Protestant, opposed this and so Katie remained in Texas. Katie got married not long afterward, and several years later she attended the funeral for Dennis, her brother, which was held in Cleveland, Texas.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Granny Kate

My grandmother, whom we called Kate, got married at an early age to Grandpa Asa, who was a strong man. They moved to Christoval, in Tom Green County, and bought a 100-acre tract which reached to the South Concho River. Asa stocked this track with cattle and then he set about building a hotel. There was a place nearby which gave people hot sulfur baths. Kate and Asa rented rooms to people who wanted to stay for a while and have these baths. At nightime the staff would move the dining room tables into a corner and the young people would dance to the music from a Victrola while the older folks played dominoes. Meanwhile, Asa set up an irrigation system, using water from the river. The family prospered. Then one day Asa had an attack of appendicitis, and died shortly thereafter. This left Kate with four children, a hotel and a cattle herd to manage. Kate turned out to be equal to the task. My grandmother helped to raise me and she was a strong influence in my life. Soon I will tell you more about Granny Kate.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

This is the first time in 60 years that I will celebrate Christmas Eve without my wife, Marie. She has been gone for a year now and I am still trying to adjust. However, my daughters are joining me for Christmas. Nancy is coming down from Austin and Katrinka is coming from New York, bringing her husband, Michael. It is nice to have two dedicated daughters. Yes, I am 90 years old. I did not plan to live this long but apparently I am not in charge of my destiny. On Friday we will visit Bob and Cindy Peterman here in New Braunfels. Uncle Bob is my brother-in-law. On Saturday we will go to Austin to visit Arnold and Dorothy Snygg. Arnold is retired from NASA where he helped develop the stealth bomber. Arnold is a scientist. But when he came to this country at the age of 6 he could not speak English. We are taking Sally Wiginton Arnold with us. It was her mother who referred to Arnold as "Little Arnold." This is part of the Swedeish-American heritage. Arnold was born in Sweden, but his father was a U.S. citizen. Arnold graduated from the University of Texas and soon started an illustrious career in the Space program. This is all part of our culture.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Brotherly Love

One time I was over in deep East Texas and on my way home, but I decided to stop by Montgomery Texas because Percy Foreman and his brother, Zimmie, were trying a case together. It was the only time the two brothers were co-counsel in a case. As I pulled into the courthouse I saw Zimmie walking by himself across the parking lot. He waved me down. "Are you by any chance going to Livingston," he asked me. "I can go by there on my way home," I replied. At that point Percy emerged from the courthouse and caught up with his brother. They were both big men but Zimmie had an artificial leg which caused an imbalance. It soon became obvious that the two brothers were mad at each other. Percy grabbed Zimmie and said, "We came here together and we are going home together. Finally he dragged Zimmie off and waved toodbye to me. I went into the courthouse and found out that the Foreman brothers had won an acquital for their client. But it seems that Percy had conducted most of the hearing in his usual flamboyant style, antagonizing Zimmie, who used a low key style. I guess the two brothers made up, but at any rate Percy drove them back to Livingston. It gave me an insight into their relationship.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Midnight Call

One time I had the misfortune to be in Amarillo in the wintertime, but I finally completed this assignment and headed south. I got as far as Brownwood and checked in to a hotel in the middle of the night. I had been in bed a few minutes when the telephone rang. It was Percy Foreman. He said I needed to be in Brownsville, down on the border, at 7 o'clock the next morning for an important story. I protested and he said I would regret it if I were not there and he hung up. Well I got up and drove to Brownsville, arriving in time for breakfast. Percy showed up with Nago Alaniz, who was wanted in connection with a shooting in Alice, Texas, about two years earlier. They appeared before a magistrate, Nago pleaded not guilty and Percy posted bond. That basically was it. Percy later won an acquital. I was on the list of newspaper reporters whom Percy trusted, not 100% mind you, but under the right circumstances. However, over the years Percy gave me some exclusive stories and some good tips. Next I will tell you about the time Percy and his brother Zimmie appeared in court together.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The One and Only Percy

Percy Foreman had a super ego. But it worked in the majority of his cases. He defended some obnoxious people and won their freedom. However, in looking at the record, Percy persuaded many of his clients to plead guilty for a lesser sentence. He was tall and had a strong speaking voice. Percy came from deep East Texas to Houston where he found that most of the people who were there in an early time came from some part of East Texas. He took advantage of the fact that he understood this culture. Once I arrived late in the courtroom and found myself seated between Percy and the jury. Every time he made a major point in interrogating a witness he looked over at me and beamed. Then I realized that he was wooing the jury. I changed seats the first chance I got. One of Percy's strong points in defending a really guilty client was to press for a delay. At one time he had so many clients who were delayed by the fact that he was their only attorney that he found a doctor who would testify that Percy was too ill to go to trial. This was a frustration to prosecutors but kept some real rascals from going to trial. I sat through many of Percy's cases. His technique was to woo the jury. If he could not get an acquital he might get a hung jury. I remember one case where a printer from the Houston Post, where I was employed, was on a jury hearing one of Percy's cases. The jury found Percy's client innocent and he was turned loose. The next day this juror came back to work at The Post driving a brand new Cadillac sedan. I went down and asked the printer where he got the luxury vehicle. He said Percy had given it to him for being such a great juror. "You don't think that guy that Percy was representing was really guilty, do you? he asked me."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Percy and Zimmie Foreman

You may think that I have run out of characters during my time in Texas but you would be sadly mistaken. The Foreman brothers of East Texas were among the most interesting. Zimmie was the older brother and he practiced law in Livingston for many years, seldom losing a case. Percy was more colorful but only because he practiced law in Houston which was much larger and which had three newspapers and three television stations which gave him maximum publicity. Zimmie had an artificial leg as the result of a riot in Houston during World War I when he was serving as a security soldier. This was known as the Camp Logan uprising. Briefly, the black soldiers had been transferred from many other places to Camp Logan on the edge of Houston. In downtown Houston there were hundreds of black women who wanted to meet them. But to get to downtown Houston the black soldiers had to go through an all-white neighborhood. Texas was a segregated state in those days and the soldiers were forbidden to leave Camp Logan. This led to an uprising at Camp Logan and Zimmie Foreman and other military policemen had to do their best to enforce the restrictions. While rushing to the scene of a demonstration Zimmie was riding in a Model-T Ford, the forerunner of the Jeep of World War II. Some militant black soldier threw a grenade at the Model-T and Zimmie was taken to the hospital where his leg was amputated. He was bitter about it. But he went on to law school and became a successful attorney. He would prop his artificial leg on a large walking stick that he carried and twirl it around in the courtroom which fascinated jurors and spectators. Percy was a different story and we will get to him later.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Buckshot the Sheriff

Unlike many Texas sheriffs, Buckshot did not wear a broadbrimmed hat, and did not wear a gun on his hip. However, no fool, Buck had a pistol under his shirt. He also rented out space in his jail. During this time he lodged a prisoner from Harris County in his jail. This prisoner bought a gun and tried to escape from the jail. As he reached the lobby, expecting Buck to surrender, he found that Buck had pulled his gun. Buck shot this convict at the door leading to the jail. He wounded the man and persuaded him to surrender. This led to publicity which discouraged criminals from trying to shoot Buck. In those days the sheriff lived in an apartment in the same building which housed the jail. It was part of his salary. His wife, Margaret, cooked in this apartment. A colorful figure in Texas, Buck bought a plane and learned to fly it. I went up with him once and his manuevers were unorthodox but he never had an accident. Buck was descended from an old Texas family, but he was not a prototype of your swashbuckling gun toting Texan.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Buckshot Lane

No blogs about my career would be complete without mentioning Buckshot Lane, the colorful sheriff of Wharton County. One story about Buckshot has not been written, but now that he has passed on I think it is time. Buckshot had been sheriff for some time and during that time he had talked to the HighwayDepartment about a narrow spot on U.S. 59 where the highway slowed down to one lane over a narrow bridge. An average of once a week there was a traffic accident because of this narrow bridge. One day Buckshot decided to take matters into his own hands. He poured a can of gasoline over the bridge and set it on fire. Tkhis precipitated the sort of action that Buck had been lobbying for. The Highway Department rebuilt the bridge and made it wider so that Highway 59 could flow more smoothly.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

George Parr

Once there were two large Anglo families in Duval County, but an upset left George Parr in control. Parr did not have a sense of humor. He ruled Duval County by force. This became a news issue in 1948 when Lyndon Johnson was elected a U.S. Senator and carried Duval County by all of the votes. When I asked Lyndon about it he replied: "I have never been in Duval County in my life." I do not know who was the go-between, but someone talked to Parr. At that time Parr was under a conviction and needed help to avoid a prison sentence. One thing I do know. Lyndon and Sam Rayburn got on the train with President Harry Truman as he was passing through Kansas on his way back to the White House. Truman agreed to pardon Parr. This was not unusual for Truman because it helped him control Congress. Parr went back to Duval County in a stronger political position. In those days in Texas there were several counties indeep South Texas who joined together to exert power. Kleberg County, for example, and Webb County and Duval County. George Parr had a group of Mexican-Americans whom he put in office and they helped him run the county. All this was well known in 1948, but that was a long time ago and few Texans remember all this.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Ranger Stories

During my time as a roving reporter for The Houston Post I was sent to South Texas to cover a trial involving George Parr, who was the political boss of the area. Parr was serving as county judge of Duval County at the time and appeared in court wearing a gun. The Post sent a gung-ho photographer named Keith Hawkins to take pictures. Keith shot a picture of Parr. This was resented by Parr, who jumped up and grabbed Hawkins and might have shot him if I had not intervened. We were going around in an unbalanced circle, Parr hold Hawkins and me holding Parr when a Texas Ranger named Joe Bridges intervened. He took Parr by the arm and led him out of the courtroom, then he turned to me and said: "I ain't being paid to babysit you reporters. Why don't you leave?" I took Hawkins outside and told him to go back to Houston. He showed up with a black eye and claimed that Parr had beat him up and the story, including a picture of him, ran in the Houston Post with a headline claiming that Parr had beat him up. The upshot was that the judge postponed the case. I was in nearby Alice when the county attorney of Duval County called me and asked me to come to the Duval court house and shake hands with George Parr. I went to the meeting and Parr shook hands with me, but he was still hostile. I made it a rule never to linger in Duval County.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't Make Fun of The Texas Rangers

In writing about the early days of gambling in Galveston I condensed the stories perhaps too much. Let me clarify. A national columnist visited Galveston and charmed a local character who told him how the Rangers invaded the game room at the Balinese Room and were caught empty handed. This story made newspapers coast to coast and embarrased the Texas Rangers who were a Texas tradition. Now the governor told the head of the Rangers to do something about it. They enlisted a Ranger who was not widely known. I remember his name as Clint Peoples. He was sent to Galveston along with a sexy looking female companion and registered at a downtown hotel saying he was a Texas oilman from Dallas. After his arrival had been publicized he asked for a guest card at the B-Room. Now the front gate had a security code which meant that they searched you for firearms and other things. That is where the woman came in. She had a large purse but was not searched. His gun was in her purse. They proceeded to the game room where he wagered a modest sum. Right on time by pre-arrangement the Rangers arrived at the front gate with a warrant. The buzzer went off in the game room. Then Ranger Peoples retrieved his six shooter from the woman's purse. Before they could dispose of the gambling paraphernalia he placed all of them under arrest and the other Rangers arrived shortly afterwood and handcuffed the suspects and took them to the jail. The moral of this story is do not bad mouth the Texas Rangers. This was the beginning of the end for the B-Room.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Austin Hearing

The next occurence was when a Legislator decided to investigate Galveston. He was head of a House sub committee. He subpoenaed the mayor, the sheriff and most of the members of the Mafia. I was sent to Austin to cover this hearing. Mayor Herbert Cartwright made a statement: "People don't come to Galveston to go to church." Then Frank Biaggne, the sheriff, said he had gone to the Balinese Room to investigate but could not get in because he was not a member. The Mafia witnesses refused to testify because their statements would incriminate them. The hearing turned out to be a farce. That night the Mafia attorney invited me to a meeting at a downtown hotel. He said I could attend if I would agree not to write about anything said at the meeting. I agreed and when I got there I saw that more than half the members of the Legislature were present. These people were the same ones who had visited the B-Room over the years. But Will Wilson refused to give up. He was convinced he would be the next governor. He send the Rangers back to Galveston and issued an injunction against the Balinese Room. The Mafia leaders closed the B-Room, and many of the younger men went to Las Vegas. Wilson had shuttered the B-Room but it did not elect him governor. His political career was ended.

Austin Hearing

And so we went down to Austin to hear the Legislative committee hearing on Galveston. One of the first witnesses was Mayor Herbert Cartwright. (People do not come to Galveston to go to church, he said.) Another notable witness was Sheriff Frank Biaggne. He testified that he went to check on the Balinese Room but they would not let him in "because you had to be a member to be admitted." Most of the Mafia figures refused to testify because of the self incrimination clause in the Constitution. That night in the ballroom of one of the Austin hotels the men who ran the Balinese Room and their attorneys held a gathering. I was admitted after I swore that I would not write anything about what happened at this meeting. Inside the room I discovered that more than half the members of the Texas Legislature were present. (They also had been guests at the B-Room) In other words, the hearing was a farce. But Will Wilson was not about to give up. He sent the Rangers once again and he filed an injunction against the Balinese Room. That was it. Most of the Mafia figures who were still young enough to be active went to Las Vegas. Those who did not leave town retired. But Will Wilson did not achieve his goal of becoming governor. That was the end of his political career. (Next: Sheriff Biaggne.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Will Wilson, an Unpleasant Man

And so, I was at the Houston Post and Galveston was still wide open, and almost out of nowhere came Will Wilson of Dallas, who was attorney general of Texas.Wilson wanted to be governor and he had decided that declaring war on Galveston was the way to go. I don't think he understood Galveston, or even Texas. A lot of people who espouse morality in their home communities in Texas secretly enjoyed Galveston with its rowdy clubs and whorehouses and carefree attitude. You can call it hypocracy if you wish or call it human nature. Will sent the Texas Rangers into Galveston. By the time the Rangers got into the gambling room at the Balinese Room all they could find was a group of gentlemen shooting billiards. The roulette equipment had been dumped into the Gulf. One of my favorite stories involved Mort Jones, a Ranger from East Texas, who ran into Miss Jessie Elliott at a club which he was raiding. "Why Dirty Neck Jessie, I haven't seen you since the oil boom in East Texas," he said. Miss Jessie, who was the madam of the most popular house of prostitution in Galveston, had become a dignified lady. Call it a clash of cultures. Will Wilson was an introvert. In a room filled with more than 100 people he would often be standing alone in a corner. But he did have burning ambition. I was sent to Galveston to cover his crusade. Anthony Fertitta, whom I knew well, said to me: "I do not understand this. People love coming here to Galveston, including more than half the members of the Legislature." It was true that gambling was illegal in Texas in those days, but this fact had been ignored for years. Nevertheless, Wilson was determined to close Galveston. Finally a House investigating subcommittee, headed by a legislator who also wanted to obtain higher office, scheduled a public hearing on Galveston in Austin. They subpoenaed the sheriff, the mayor. the chief of police and most of the members of the mafia, including the operators of the Turf Club and the Balinese Room. I was sent to cover it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sand and Sun

It was pleasant living in Galveston. I turned in about one story a day. Marie and I went to the beach in the afternoon and splashed in the surf. About once a month we went to the Balinese Room and ate well and watched the gamblers lose thousands. The only problem was that we did not have a future. The Galveston News did not pay much and we were not making a reputation in the news business. Ambition can be the ruination of a young couple's existence, but we knew that we were going to have to make a move. And so we applied to the Houston newspapers, Marie to the Chronicle and me to the Post. We were both hired and so we moved to the Big City, although Houston only had a population of about 400,000 in those days. Soon Marie became a copy editor and I became a roving reporter. We were working on two large daily newspapers and there was a career satisfaction in that. The only difference was that Houston was a dull community compared to Galveston. Most of the city closed at sundown. There was only one all night pharmacy. We bought a house in a new subdivision and started raising our daughters. Houston continued to grow, although you could stand in front of the downtown Rice Hotel and meet visitors from East Texas on any weekend. It was still a provincial community.

Friday, December 5, 2008

the Maceo Brothers

Rosario and Sam Maceo were from Sicily, and the two brothers opened a barber shop in downtown Galveston. During Prohibition the barber shop sold whiskey. This led to war between two groups of bootleggers. When Prohibition ended a truce was achieved between the two groups. Now Rosario, known as Rose, became the godfather and Sam became the front man. They opened the Turf Club downtown, which had a restaurant you could walk into and gambling on the top floor. Sam's office was on the first floor. Then they opened the Balinese Room on the waterfront facing the Gulf. It became an exclusive casino. There were payoffs to the state government. You had to be a member to get in. After I had been a reporter on the Galveston News for a few months I learned about all this. And so I went to see Sam Maceo. "Sure, you can go, but one thing -- you must promise me you will not put any money on the tables," he said. "It is not that we are not legit, we run an honest game, but I know that you do not make enough money to play." I quickly agreed as indeed I did not have a lot of money. I got together $100 in cash and went to the B-Room with Marie. After being interrogated at the front gate we were shown into the dining room. The food was superb and the orchestra played dance music. Marie and I ate and danced and then visited the game room. Sam Maceo showed up and picked up our dinner tab. I left a generous tip. In the game room were a number of players whom I knew in person or by reputation and all of them were playing big money. It was a revelation to a country boy whose only contact with gambling had been poker games in the Army.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Marie and I ended up in Galveston, a city on the Gulf with man-made beaches. I was a naive country boy and Galveston almost blew my mind. It never closed. Some places of business did not even have a front door. We went to work on the Galveston News, the oldest daily newspaper in Texas. One thing you could not write about was the gambling. It seems that Mr. Moody, who owned all the hotels and the Galveston News, had entered into a truce with the Maceos, Rose and Sam. The Maceos had once threatened to enter the hotel business and Mr. Moody hit the ceiling. A major law firm intervened and peace was restored. The Maceos would not enter the hotel business and the Moodys would not run any casinos. This decor even extended to the hotels. You could check into the beachfront hotel and obtain a visitor's pass to the Balinese Room, which was the most famous gambling club in Texas and most of the rest of the United States. People drove from Dallas and other places to stay in Galveston and visit the B-Room. Houston was full of new millionaires, wildcat oil operators who had brought in an oil well in places like Beaumont, and who had money to spend. Some of them, such as the Abercrombies, would brag about losing $10,000 at the B-Room. This was a post war (World War II) attitude. There were rumors about a payoff to the state government, one such story said cash money was sent to Austin in a bread truck. But to the majority of Texans the B-Room was a glamorous place To visit. I will never forget the first time Marie and I visited the B-Room. In the next installment I will tell more about the B-Room and the Maceos.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Located northwest of San Antonio in the heart of the Hill Country is the unique community of Fredericksburg. It's national claim to fame is the Nimitz Museum, a hotel once shaped like an ocean going vessel, that once belonged to the family of Admiral Nimitz, the hero of World War II. In my youth when most of Texas was dry, that is, no alcohol allowed in public, everyone needed a friend at Fredericksburg. Most of the residents spoke German as well as English and almost everyone had a wine cellar. When I was in high school I had a Fredericksburg girl friend and yes her father had a wine cellar. It was quite an experience to slip into the wine cellar and liberate a bottle. My girl friend not only drank wine but she loved to dance and she taught me how to do some of the Hill Country dances. This was quite a contrast to the strict protestantism in East Texas where the bootleggers usually were church members. Today Fredericksburg is a tourist town and much of the original flavor has disappeared, but it is still worth a visit.

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Favorite Horse

Some people like cats and some like dogs. Some like racoons. I have always preferred horses. I even love swaybacked horses, mares, studs and geldings. I never met a horse that I did not like. But my favorite horse was a young gelding that I raised from a pony. This horse followed me around like a dog. When it became old enough I mounted it. That was when my problem began. The young horse tried to roll over with me. An old cowhand told me to take a length of rope, tie a knot in the end and when the horse reared up to hit it on the head. That worked. I trained this horse to respond to my tugs on the bridle and to turn in circles and to halt. I did not use bits as they were not necessary. Just a halter. I could even ride this horse without a halter or even a saddle. This was contrary to the usual western custom of breaking a horse with force. Then World War II came along. I sold everything and packed a bag and enlisted. The only possession remaining was my horse. It was a sorrowful moment but I sold him to a neighbor. Four years later I was discharged but my perspective had changed. I went to work for a newspaper. But as time went by I managed to buy a country place and to keep some horses. I never got over loving horses.