Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009-- A Year Of Bonnie & Clyde Extremes

As 2009 makes it's exit and 2010 is poised to begin, it's time to take note of what this past year has brought to the Bonnie and Clyde historical experience. To me, 2009 was a year of extremes-- involving not only historic milestones and enjoyment, but controversy as well within B&Cdom. 2009 marked the 75th anniversary of the ambush of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Many varying comments were echoed not only from that hallowed site near Sailes Louisiana, but from near and far-- concerning the "eternal" ambush, who's smoke seemingly still hangs in the air from fateful day in '34.

There's always great passion when the ambush is discussed, of which opinions run the gamut from "they got what they deserved"-- to "it wasn't their fault" and every conceivable position in between. Renewed talk which never really needs renewing was re-kindled-- concerning the brutality and profound events of that unusually hot late May day. Should Bonnie have been killed?? Was Bonnie really pregnant when gunned down?? What does it mean and what difference should it have made, that Frank Hamer was convinced enough that Bonnie was with child-- to have spread the word to other law enforcement officials in advance of the ambush?? Why did the officers use such brutality in annihilating B&C?? Did Prentis Oakley actually see a gun rise above the window before firing that fateful 1st shot?? Etc--etc. There's never a shortage of ambush topics to discuss, but with the 75th anniversary milestone this year-- never a shortage-- never meant more.

Jeff Guinn made his mark on B&C History by releasing his book Go Down Together-- The True Untold Story of B&C. Most know of my pointed disagreements with this here to fore fiction writer, who to me-- continued his legacy, by writing a somewhat fictionalized and overly sensational account of B&C History. My review of this B&C book, can be found within the blog archives. Many have been impressed by Mr. Guinn's offering. I cannot count myself among those who share that viewpoint.

Paul Schneider also weighed in with a new B&C book-- Bonnie and Clyde The Lives Behind the Legend. Although written in a style most need to get used to, Schneider's research seems strong and his factual accounts to me-- set his work apart from Guinn's book. Importantly-- Mr. Schneider is also the first to use updated info from the Dallas FBI files, within a B&C book.

Despite some behind the scenes controversies and odds against it-- The 75th Anniversary of the ambush edition of the Authentic B&C Festival in Gibsland, LA was a grand event. There was great energy and enthusiasm for this year's festival, which due to it's silver anniversary status-- garnered attention worldwide through a myriad of news outlets.

And speaking of Gibsland, on a sad note-- this past Fall we lost one of the grand old gentlemen of Gibsland and B&C History, with the passing of Olen Jackson. Olen will be greatly missed.

2009 also saw great debate over the Dallas FBI files on B&C. Some have criticized these files, but I can't understand why. Dallas field office file 26-4114-- may be the greatest treasure trove of authentic B&C info documented in real time ever discovered. It seems some may not like what these files reveal, based on preconceived notions and loyalty factors not inherent within historical analysis. But to me, misplaced loyalties shouldn't negatively affect these gems of information or their importance. Perhaps some would prefer we go back to the way it was before the Dallas files, when much less was known-- and searching through this history was more like walking down a path in pitch blackness. Not me-- and I'm quite sure not for most, who are objectively interested in the truth regarding B&C History.

And concerning progress within old themes, even after more than 75 years now-- new information continues to be learned concerning a number of B&C points of interest. I am hopeful those who have learned what appear to be mind blowing new possibilities concerning B&C History-- will feel free to disclose these revelations in 2010. 2009 saw the beginning of my investigation into a Bonnie Parker pregnancy. 2010 will see the continuation of this quest. I have learned some remarkable things concerning this long rumored reality??-- and look forward to uncovering more, within an enhanced and renewed effort in 2010.

A few final points concerning 2009 and B&C History-- although I may think of more. 2009 saw a continued splintering of what some call the B&C Community. Now call me old fashioned, but as I view it-- the B&C Community is comprised of an untold legion of people worldwide, who enjoy learning of and discussing this fascinating and poignant history. However for a small group of B&C "insiders"-- the B&C Community is more of a clique, comprised of some B&C family members and those around them-- who don't wish to wander from the inner circle. Within this self serving realm, "outsiders" seem viewed with disdain-- and scorn can often follow. Unfortunately within this more limited B&C Community, it seems just a few individuals can exercise control over others-- who don't wish to lose their status within this vaunted group.

Well I couldn't be more pleased to be "independent"-- and speak my mind freely concerning B&C History, without fear of retribution. 2009 saw the formation of The B&C History Blog. Some are apparently not happy, that I have a voice and a forum from which to speak of this history. Rest assured that I am proud of this forum, where I can provide "you" who I view as the B&C Community-- with useful insights, objective analysis and uncensored commentary concerning B&C History. Concerning the web attacks and threats made against me this year, please know-- I will say what I want to say-- go where I want to go-- and won't be threatened by anyone. I have removed unwanted bullying from this blog for the benefit of all, and will continue to help champion the cause for "truth" within this history.

To close on a most positive note, 2009 has seen significant health challenges for a couple of friends of mine and to many in L. J. "Boots" Hinton and Frank Ballinger. God has blessed these great men and wonderful friends to this history, as they continue to improve from their maladies. I know the continued good wishes of all can be felt by "Boots" and Frank-- so as to be blessed for many years to come.

And finally to my daughter, who is due to bring a new and wonderful young lady into the world and to our family in February-- there's no adversary of mine, who could ever put you down in anyone's eyes-- who knows how wonderful you are.

A Most Sincere And Heartfelt Happy New Year To All--



Anonymous said...

So I couldn't help but notice all of the recently posted pictures from sites around Dallas. Sites that were on the recent Dallas Historical Society's "Running With Bonnie and Clyde" tour. Were you on that tour? I was...

A. Winston Woodward said...

No-- Actually I took those photos when I was in Dallas in early 2007. Ken Holmes and I spent a day, traveling around to many of the B&C sites. I recommend both the DHS tour, often with John Neal Phillips at the helm and Ken's tours-- as being wonderful opportunities to "get personal" with the B&C locations and individuals involved.

I would think the graves would be the most poignant stops along the way. Bonnie Parker's grave with her mother buried next to her, and her niece and nephew (Billie's children)--buried below her, was the most emotional site to me. It was Billie, who moved both Bonnie and her children to their final resting places at Crown Hill from the Fishtrap Cemetery in 1945.

For those who can partake of Ken's tours, he can be reached via the Southwest Historical Publications website. Info concerning The Dallas Historical Society's B&C tours, can be accessed through their website as well. To view dozens of the photos I took while in Dallas and Louisiana in 2007, please click on the photo tour link-- located at the very end of the B&C Signature's Investigation link, posted blog right>> just above the pic of Bonnie holding the shotgun on Clyde. Thanks for your comment and question.