This week, we are joined by WWW member Cynthia Leal Massey. In one of her recent essay/blog posts, Cynthia reminds us all (including herself!) how important it is to check into historical facts a few times over when we write about the good old days. Enjoy!
After my book, Helotes, Images of America was published, a friend and descendant of a pioneer family in Helotes called me. She asked where I got the date for the picture I used on the cover shot. The cover shot is the iconic photo of John T. Floore Country Store’s grand opening that has been published through the years in local newspapers and other venues. I got the 1949 date from a reputable newspaper published in the 1980s.
My friend told me the date was incorrect. She knew it was incorrect because she was going to Helotes Elementary at the time and she knew several of the children in the picture. She said the date was either 1952 or 1953, and she gave me contact information for a couple of the boys (obviously now men) who were in the photo to corroborate her assertion. I called both and they both agreed the picture was taken in the early fifties, but were not sure of the exact year. Not long after my friend’s call, another old-timer told me his father had taken pictures of the original Floore Country Store location (the old Rigg’s grocery store building, today’s Helotes Art Gallery), which was still open in the early 1950s. “The dance hall was not built yet,” he told me.
I am registered with Newspaperarchive.com (an invaluable fee-based research tool) and decided to check the newspapers for those years to see if anything was written about the dance hall being built and its opening. I figured there would be. John T. Floore was a showman and publicity hound. I found the articles, and the dates jived with what my eyewitnesses told me.
In an April 5, 1950, San Antonio Light column, “Around the Plaza,” columnist Benwicke Cary wrote: “John T. Floore, the country store owner and real estate developer, is among those in the big middle of things, rushing plans on a new dance hall. He says, ‘We already have one dance hall, but there’s room for another. I want to catch some of the overflow crowd that comes here on Saturday nights for country style dancing’.”
Two years later, on Saturday, September 13, 1952, John T. Floore formally opened the doors of the Floore Country Store Dance Hall and Kitchen, according to San Antonio Express columnist Bill Freeman, who wrote about the event the next day, in his Sunday September 14thcolumn.
What I learned from this was that the rule of three should be the norm for researchers. Find at least three different sources to verify an account. Newspapers are fine, but they are not always correct. In fact, the dailies are often missing information or provide incorrect information because reporters don’t have the luxury of time. Often, subsequent newspaper issues tell more of the story and correct misinformation; sometimes they continue to print errors (as the 1980 article I used to date the picture did). Also, find people who were there for corroboration. That is not always possible, but still the rule of three applies. Find three sources to corroborate a story or supposed fact.
Ultimately 1949, rather than 1952, isn’t a catastrophic error. But it is an error. Because it is published in the first edition of my book, I’m afraid that date may stand for some time to come. Mea culpa.
For more about Cynthia, or to follow her blog, you can visit https://cynthialealmassey.com/blog/.
Let’s congratulate WWW member C.M. Mayo with her upcoming book of poetry due out in a few days!
C.M. Mayo’s book Meteor, which won the Gival Press Poetry prize, will launch at the Associated Writing Programs conference in Portland, Oregon, this March where she will be participating in Gival Press’ 20th anniversary celebration reading and signing copies of Meteor at the Gival Press table in the bookfair. (Details at www.cmmayo.com/events.html)
Meteor has been garnering blurbs and reviews, among them, from Foreword Magazine, which calls Meteor “funny and thoughtful” and from poet Grace Cavalieri who hosts “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress,” who says of Meteor, “I believe this is Mayo’s best work—perfect words without artifice; characters and situations made permanent; a triumph of language as a natural art. She brings flowers to the living.” Mayo also recently gave an interview about Meteor to Leslie Pietryzk for her popular TBR blog at this link: http://www.workinprogressinprogress.com/2019/01/tbr-meteor-by-cm-mayo.html
About C.M. Mayo
C.M. lives and writes in and about Mexico! She has written several books, both fiction and nonfiction, and is an avid translator of Mexican poetry and fiction. She was elected to the Texas Institute of Letters in 2017 and is an accomplished host of podcasts and blogs. Learn more at www.cmmayo.com
First Annual Literary Festival, Cortez, Colorado
When: Friday evening (6 – 7:30), June 7th and all day (10 – 5) Saturday, June 8th
Where: Cortez Public Library, Cortez, Colorado
Special guest author: Anne Hillerman
Information: Reserve a table now for book sales – $25
To: Kathy Berg, KBerg@cityofCortez.com
WWW Member Janet Squires has recently released her latest children’s illustrated book with her publisher, Mindstir Media. Check it out!
Gracie Jane has a heart as big as the Western sky, and she’s always ready to lend a helping hand. So, she doesn’t think twice about rescuing Fifi La Rue and taking the lost pup home. After all, how much trouble could one little dog be on a great big ranch?
It’s nonstop fun and excitement when one good deed goes hilariously wrong!
Janet Squires writes for both children and adults. Her first picture book, THE GINGERBREAD COWBOY, was the Arizona Governor’s 2007 First Grade Book and a special edition was printed and distributed to every first-grade student in the state. To learn more, visit: http://www.janetsquiresbooks.com/home.html
Little did Addie Wright realize what she would face when she came west from Ontario in 1910 to marry her fiancé, Abraham Hanna.
Based on entries in Abraham’s diaries, Our Bull’s Loose In Town! tells the story of the author’s grandparents as they built their farm and raised a family in the Meyronne district of southwestern Saskatchewan. Through trials and triumphs, sorrows and successes, the horrors of the Great War, the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties and the dark years of the Dirty Thirties, they found strength and courage in their faith, in their indomitable humor, and in their family and neighbors.
This is also the story of the rise and decline of a prairie village, and of the political and social turmoil of a province and country in the first half of the twentieth century, all as Addie lived it.
Margaret G. Hanna grew up outside the village of Meyronne, SK, on the farm that her paternal grandfather homesteaded in 1910. She was a professional archaeologist and curator of Aboriginal History at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina, where her work with the aboriginal community was vast and involved with many tribal elders. She now resides in Airdrie, Alberta. For more, visit margaretghanna.wordpress.com
WWW member Juni Fisher released her debut novel, Girls from Centro, on November 12, 2018, a coming-of-age, contemporary tale with a strong Hispanic backbone that tackles the question of immigration, poverty, family, and sacrifice.
Teresa sells souveniers to tourists and feeds her father’s fighting roosters. Ana, a young single mother, cooks at a convent and orphanage. Both young women are offered the chance at ta better life in the United States, and both decide to walk away from their existence to fight for a new one. For Teresa and Ana, the dangers and the uncertainties are worth paying a price. But will the challenges along the way be worth it to reach the dream of life beyond the border?
Juni Fisher was raised in the San Joaquin Valley on a California farm. Riding horses, playing her guitar and singing have all been central to Juni’s life from little onward. Her first country music song was released in 1999 and with the accolades received, Juni made music her full-time gig, though her first novel adds ‘author’ to her list of achievements. For more, visit: junifisher.com