Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Heightened Interest in Blanche

As there's been a spike in interest lately on the blog regarding Blanche, and in particular many requests for Blanche images-- I've dug up some Blanche photos which perhaps you haven't seen.
As I don't believe some of these pictures have been published before, and I'm unaware of the location of the originals-- as is the practice of this and other responsible B&C Internet sites, I include a disclaimer that photos (watermarked)-- may be subject to copyright.

The photos of which originals are from my collection, are the two sepia images and one apparent color image. This portrait of Blanche (printed backwards)-- is inscribed as being from 1942. I hope all will enjoy these photos of Blanche. All of these pics, came to me within materials from Blanche's Estate.
Blanche's pics are va
luable historically-- whether as originals or copies from originals, her archive yields good Blanche and Bonnie & Clyde related images.
Of note to some, could be a look at Blanche's eye-- blinded at Platte City. I don't believe many willing straight on shots, such as these exist. I would suppose what seems to be a Blanche prison photo
above, was a less willing look-- than her photo with the hat. In having read words of hope from Blanche's friends, re: methods said to exist to correct her sight, it's a shame this wasn't to be.
That's Eddie Frasure with Blanche at dinner with friends. A close up of that festive table, shows a good time was seemingly had by all. That was from the days before the need for a designated driver. The vintage restaurant motif is a classic. The final photo, is a lesser known shot of Buck and Blanche-- where Blanche had apparently borrowed Buck's hat.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bonnie and Clyde Q&A-- What Color Was the Bonnie & Clyde Death Car??

Some say the color was Desert Sand-- some say Cordoba Gray. Here are some Ford color chips from '34, which include the color of the Warren B&C death car. The 4th chip down is Cordoba Gray. Thanks for a colorful B&C question.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Investigating The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde-- A New Twist

As is often the case when some mystery comes about concerning Bonnie & Clyde, I'll place a call to L. J. "Boots" Hinton-- to see if our friend with so many B&C resources, can shed light on whatever needs sorting out. "Boots" and I had an interesting talk, concerning Bonnie's poem The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde. As said previously-- it appears this once family held artifact, may be a rare and early working version of The Story of Bonnie and Clyde. Although seemingly, there have been different versions of this Bonnie classic published over the years and apparently with different titles-- what is likely considered the definitive version of this poem, appears to be the one published in Fugitives in 1934.

Those familiar with this family told story of Bonnie and Clyde (with help from Jan Fortune)-- know that according to Emma Parker, Bonnie gave The Story of Bonnie and Clyde to her just 2 weeks before she died. A 16 stanza version of The Story of Bonnie and Clyde, was then published in Fugitives later that year. The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde contains just 15 stanzas, and exhibits notable differences in both stanza order and wordings-- when compared with published forms of Bonnie's poem. Remarkably, "Boots" told me that when The Story of Bonnie and Clyde was brought forth to be published in Ted Hinton's memoir Ambush-- that Billie Parker allowed it to be used for the book, provided it was published in the right order and with all 16 stanzas present, including it's "missing" stanza.

So the plot thickens. It seems Ted Hinton may have also had a 15 stanza version of this poem (or Billie made him aware of one)-- and Billie was insistent, that based on her knowledge of Bonnie's poem-- she wanted the 16 stanza version used for publication in Ambush. Billie's comments concerning this, more than imply to me that there "was"-- a known alternate version of The Story of Bonnie and Clyde.

As Billie seemed aware of a 15 stanza version with it's stanzas in alternate order, my question is was that version The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde??-- and based on this poem's provenance-- possibly this very copy of Bonnie's poem?? "Boots" asked a good question, in wondering what influence if any Jan Fortune may have had on Bonnie's poetry and it's publication?? Jan Fortune's influence on the content of Fugitives, has long been the focus of speculation.

The "missing" stanza as Billie put it, appears to have been the stanza referring to the West Dallas Viaduct. "Boots" is searching for the rendering of Bonnie's poem used in Ted's manuscript. It's unclear to me, whether all this was discussed with Billie in advance of her supplying what she felt was the correct version of Bonnie's poem-- or whether there was indeed another copy of an alternate Story of Bonnie and Clyde outside the family?? Could Jan Fortune have played some role, in editing Bonnie's poem at some point??-- or had Bonnie's earlier draft already been refined by Bonnie, and presented to Emma in completed form?? That also leaves the question, of who in the family originally had this seemingly unfinished Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde.

With family accounts of this part of B&C History seemingly known, I don't see how any version of this poem would have been published prior to Bonnie's death-- but with the True Detective magazines so active at that time and money tight, I suppose anything's possible. The families are documented, to have participated in that traveling sideshow of sorts back in the day-- comprised of notorious outlaw family members. I'm not sure how much more I can learn about this, but so far so good. I'm anxious to learn more of this if I can.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Modern Day Bonnie & Clyde??-- Somehow Casslyn & John Just Doesn't Have the Same Ring to It

I thought while many were going around touting the now captured fugitive pair of John McCluskey and Casslyn Mae Welch as being a modern Bonnie & Clyde-- I would comment on this bold comparison being made. You would think the real Bonnie & Clyde might be flattered by such an affinity being drawn to them, but in reality-- there doesn't seem much to warrant such a boastful and sensational claim, either self directed or media fueled.

Being on the run for 3 weeks, murdering an elderly couple and McCluskey getting caught while asleep after being spotted by a Forrest Ranger, with Welch unable to fire a shot although gun in hand when confronted-- somehow to me, doesn't rise to Bonnie & Clyde level. Also Ms. Welch apparently having ties to running drugs for a white supremacist group-- surely doesn't aid their cause in this regard. Of course law enforcement has advantages in modern times, not enjoyed in yesteryear. But in order to forge a link to Bonnie & Clyde, I would think some element of cunning in flight, compassion when others least expect it and profound ability to elude capture with a marked daring to match-- would be prerequisites to use the Bonnie & Clyde mantle. Where's my game show buzzer??? Ah, there it is-- click here... Now that's better.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde-- An Early Version of the Bonnie Classic, Or Rare Copy of the Original??

I thought while we were focused on poems, and as many inquire of The B&CHB re: Bonnie's poetry-- that this would be a good time to break out a rare Bonnie and Clyde artifact from my collection. As I've never shown this unique piece of Bonnie & Clyde History publicly-- I hope this Bonnie poem will be of interest to all who study and enjoy this history.

Many know The Story of Bonnie and Clyde, as being one of Bonnie Parker's most endearing poetic efforts. According to W. D. Jones, Bonnie developed her poems by writing her thoughts on whatever scraps of paper were available-- before apparently discarding her initial ideas for more finished ones. But interestingly-- it's believed almost all of Bonnie's poems were discovered typed, and in complete form. Few if any handwritten versions exist, and how some of the more polished representations of Bonnie's poetry have come to light-- is seemingly unknown. We appear to take for granted, that Bonnie's poems as published today-- are as they were known when Bonnie wrote them.

Marie Barrow provided insight into Bonnie's poems being typed, when she acknowledged in writing-- that Bonnie and Clyde carried a typewriter with them when they traveled. However I'm not sure a typewriter has ever been noted, as having been among the belongings captured from any abandoned Barrow Gang car. And to my knowledge-- no photographs exist showing a captured B&C typewriter.

Both this year and last-- a number of kind and wonderful gestures have been aimed my way, for which I am most grateful. One of these gifts was a Bonnie Parker poem, which came to me via The Estate of Blanche Caldwell Frasure (Blanche Barrow). Based on my knowledge of Blanche's Estate-- I feel there's an outside chance this poem could at one time, have been in the possession of Billie Parker. But as Bonnie's niece (who's also Billie's stepdaughter) was unfamiliar with this Bonnie offering-- I am left to believe this poem belonged to Blanche. Either way-- the family provenance of this olden document is uniquely solid.

You'll note the Bonnie poem shown here, bears a similar title to a poem many familiar with this history know-- however, this title's not the way you remember it. Nor is the content of this poem, the same as published for all these years. The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde by Bonnie Parker, appears to be a rare "working" version-- of what would later become The Story of Bonnie and Clyde. This Bonnie Parker work which is a carbon copy of it's original-- is typed upon 2 pages of 8 1/2 x 14 inch olden onion skin paper. For those perhaps too young to remember the use of onion skin paper-- prior to more modern ways of copying typed documents, this light weight and almost translucent paper was used along with carbon paper, to create simultaneous copies of typed originals. Older guys like me now, remember such things.

I think you'll find some interesting differences, in comparing this seeming early draft of Bonnie's poem-- to the more accepted and complete version of The Story of Bonnie and Clyde. First you'll note there are just 15 stanzas instead of the traditional 16-- and that many of these stanzas are in a different order than most are used to. Alternate wordings, are also present within some of the stanzas. As I view this vintage rendition of Bonnie's poem, I wonder if somewhere along the way-- this poem wasn't altered during publishing, to better suit a modern audience?? I also wonder, how many might prefer this poem's original colorful and descriptive title-- to the more popular one known?? I guess that's a matter of taste-- but I myself like the older title, as it seems more representative of the truth.

This particular version of Bonnie's poem also seems to contain an unusual and enticing clue-- which makes this piece of B&C History even more enticing. The initials vcq which appear at the bottom of page 2, apparently identify the typist of this copy of The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde. As this letter configuration seems so very unusual-- the question must be asked what does it mean?? Did Bonnie perhaps ask someone within their travels, to type this poem for her-- during a time when a typewriter wasn't unavailable?? Or did a clever Bonnie herself, type this poem using a secretarial pseudonym-- to lead the law astray and better protect the gang, should her poem be seized?? Did Blanche or Billie sometime after the fact, have this poem typed from a set of Bonnie's handwritten notes?? Or perhaps this "was" Bonnie's version-- given by Bonnie to Emma or someone within the families-- and adapted after Bonnie's death?? All are possibilities to me-- but without more info which is unlikely to exist, a definitive answer to this most intriguing mystery may never be known.

So please enjoy this gem of a Bonnie & Clyde artifact-- which appears to be an early version of Bonnie's poem The Story of Bonnie and Clyde once entitled-- The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde. But here's an interesting question??-- Could Bonnie's poem in this form have actually been the original and Bonnie's intent, and the version we know best edited and changed by others-- or did Bonnie adapt this earlier version of her work, to hone it into the poem we know today?? Was this poem's title later changed to lessen a negative portrayal of Clyde, and prose edited to make for a smoother delivery?? As this vintage version of Bonnie's poem surely exists with strong provenance, and no other vintage version of this poem to my knowledge has ever been imaged (non-transcribed)-- that's a possibility that intrigues me.

I wish someone who would know, would still be alive to answer that question. It's time for some research. We know The Story of Suicide Sal was 1st published in Joplin, Missouri after the Joplin incident. With this alternate version of Bonnie's poem now known-- I feel it may be important to learn where and when, The Story of Bonnie and Clyde was 1st published and in what form?? Could an alternate version of Bonnie's poem have been published before the version in Fugitives?? It's also been noted this poem was once titled "The Trail's End" or "The End of the Line".

There are just a couple of typos evident, which because their intended words are obvious, I've taken the liberty to correct. As always, with these formerly unseen Bonnie & Clyde artifacts which I'm happy to share with you-- I ask for your consideration regarding copyrights. This Bonnie poem, The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde is ©2010 The Bonnie & Clyde History Blog by A. W. Woodward-- with all rights reserved. Many thanks. I look forward to your comments.



You have read the story of Jesse James,
Of how he lived and died.
If you still are in need of something to read,
Here is the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang,
I'm sure you all have read
How they rob and steal,
And how those who squeal
Are usually found dying or dead.

There are lots of untruths to their write-ups,
They are not so merciless as that;
They hate all the laws,
The stool pigeons, spotters and rats.

They class them as cold-blooded killers,
They say they are heartless and mean,
But I say this with pride,
That I once knew Clyde
When he was honest and upright and clean.

But the law fooled around,
Kept tracking him down,
And locking him up in a cell
Till he said to me,
"I will never be free,
So I will meet a few of them in HELL."

This road was so dimly lighted,
There was no highway signs to guide,
But they made up their minds
If the roads were all blind,
They wouldn't give up till they died.

The road gets dimmer and dimmer,
Sometimes you can hardly see,
Still it's fight, man to man,
And do all you can,
For they know they can never be free.

If they try to act like citizens
And rent them a nice little flat,
About the third night they are invited to fight
By a submachine gun rat-tat-tat.

If a policeman is killed in Dallas
And they have no clues for a guide,
If they can't find a fiend
They just wipe the slate clean
And hang it on Bonnie and Clyde.

Two crimes have been done in America
Not accredited to the Barrow mob,
For they had no hand
In the kidnapping demand
Or the Kansas City depot job.

A newsboy once said to his buddy,
"I wish old Clyde would get jumped,
In this awful hard times
We might make a few dimes
If five or six laws got bumped."

The police haven't got the report yet,
Clyde sent a wireless today,
Saying "We have a peace flag of white
We stretch out at night.
We have joined the NRA."

They don't think they are too tough or desperate,
They know the law always wins,
They have been shot at before
But they do not ignore
That death was the wages of sin.

From heartbreaks some people have suffered,
From weariness some people have died,
But take it all in all
Our troubles are small
Till we get like Bonnie and Clyde

Some day they will go down together,
And they will bury them side by side,
To a few it means grief,
To the law its relief,
But it is death to Bonnie and Clyde


Friday, August 13, 2010

A Guy Named Barrow-- Believed Published for the 1st Time Since 1934

Here's one you don't see every day. During the desperate years of the Depression, outlaws like Bonnie & Clyde captivated the public's imagination. To many, B&C were wild and unpredictable killers-- but to some, it seems they served an unlikely role as anti establishment heroes. In 1934, a woman named Myrtle J. Potter wrote a poem which was published in a Dallas newspaper. For nearly 7 decades, Myrtle's poem lay dormant within the archives of The Dallas Public Library.

9 years ago, in scouring these archives for Bonnie & Clyde materials-- Shelley Mitchell helped uncover this gem of a B&C memory while researching with Jimmy Ray Gillman. Now Shelley's been most kind, in offering the Myrtle Potter poem for all to enjoy here on The B&CHB. Many thanks to Shelley, for sharing this unique piece of 1930's commentary with us. It's believed, this is the 1st time Myrtle's poem has been published in any truly public medium since 1934. So please enjoy this colorful offering, including it's wonderful Depression Age language and slang.

To me, this is a most interesting commentary on Clyde Barrow, in that some of Myrtle's expressions almost seem sympathetic to him-- while it's ending appears to suggest a solution in dealing with Clyde, which had an eerily true ring to it. *Note the last 2 stanzas of Myrtle's poem and the date below it-- and then consider, the events which occurred but just one month later. As always-- I welcome your comments.

Guy Named Barrow

Thar's a big drive on, and it's nationwide
For a guy named Barrow, and his first name is Clyde
He's a fresh young squirt from the Longhorn State
And makin' his rounds in a Ford V- eight

He's been a-bustin' inter banks, and abreakin' outer jails
Ascarin' the wimmin, and arobbin' the males
And he killed two cops, the goshderned fool
Now he's gone and shot himself a constibule

For a long time he's been acuttin' such capers
And agittin' his name inter all the blamed papers
Till Ma down in Austin got her dander up
And decided to ketch this onery pup

So she ups and puts a price on his head
Says she wants Clyde Barrow alive or dead
Now the cops are some worried, fer all they know
That's he's as void of a conscience as hell is of snow

And, as no smart cop wants to jine the saints
They don't look where he is, they just look where he ain't
And these fellers don't deserve no blame
If I was a cop I'd do the same

For they had Barrow once, locked him tight in a cell
And Ross let him out, so what the hell?
Now it's up to somebody to ketch him agin
So let that thar Pardon Board go fetch him in

If this was a rule, thar ain't no doubt
They'd be a derned sight carefuller who they let out
Now, up in the country where I come from
They'd make short work of this son of a gun

They'd jist set on the fence sorta innocent like
Till this pole cat come afriskin' down the pike
And as he passed by, they'd just cut loose
And fill both his eyes with terbaccer juice

Myrtle J. Potter
April 16, 1934
Dallas, Texas

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In the Bonnie & Clyde Edition of Clue-- It Was Aunt Pat, With the Matches in the Back Yard

It's often asked, what happened to Bonnie Parker's personal effects-- which may have survived after her death?? It's long been rumored, a member of the Parker family had destroyed Bonnie's belongings-- as the family couldn't stand the pain of reflecting upon Bonnie's death, while being reminded of her. Unfortunately the bottom line of this story "is" true-- however as it turns out, the fate of Bonnie's belongings apparently may have had less to do with sentimentality, and more to do with a personal dispute. As the question of Bonnie's belongings continues to surface, I feel it's important to set the record straight-- and report what I've been told is the truth regarding that most unfortunate event.

Recently I mentioned, one of Emma Parker's sisters played a key role in Bonnie & Clyde History. While revealing a B&C Poll answer concerning Emma being notified of Bonnie's death, I quoted from a news article-- which detailed the presence of both Emma's sister Lelia along with Edith Parker, when Emma took that fateful phone call on May 23rd, 1934 at the Parker residence. As it seems so many within the story of Bonnie & Clyde had nick names, Lelia was better known as Pat. Pat's married name was Plummer. Billie Parker writes of aunt Pat, along with a plethora of Parker and Krause relatives within the family history she compiled. With many thanks to a Parker family source-- I've learned it was Pat Plummer who destroyed Bonnie's things.

Although the more traditional and sentimental explanation still exists, concerning the destruction of Bonnie's chattels which I'm sure many would prefer to hold onto-- apparently the truth is, Billie had given Bonnie's belongings to aunt Pat for safe keeping. They were then housed in some sort of storage shed on Pat's property. But as sometimes happens within the best of families, some disagreement ensued between Billie and aunt Pat. Based on this falling out, apparently one day Pat thought to torch that storage shed-- and did. As such, Bonnie's belongings were no more.

It would be remarkable, to be able to view the personal effects of Bonnie Parker and learn from them. But seemingly as a result of this rift between Billie and aunt Pat, that glorious pent up desire became impossible long ago. As it's not clear when this incendiary decision of Pat Plummer's occurred, nor are the specifics known concerning Pat's disagreement with Billie-- it's conceivable their dispute could have followed the lines of the original story told. Perhaps some within the family were indeed having trouble dealing with Bonnie's death, based on some issue concerning her belongings. Could it be, that Billie wanted to keep these memories where others didn't?? Thus they were placed out of sight and out of mind?? Then aunt Pat puts a fiery end to this controversy through her actions?? Or perhaps, this was just as simple as some bad blood between Billie and her aunt Pat-- which led to a vengeful act against Billie, and thus Bonnie's things were destroyed?? My understanding is, the later could more be the case, but without clarifying info we may never know for sure.

I as others have searched for years, for any trace of the love letters exchanged between Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow while Clyde was imprisoned. A number of these love letters were transcribed in Fugitives-- and provide great insight into the young lovers, as they expressed their feelings for one another. To my knowledge, none of Bonnie & Clyde's many love letters have ever been found. At this point I wonder-- whether Bonnie and Clyde's romantic exchanges didn't go up in smoke, along with Bonnie's other effects in aunt Pat's back yard?!? At least now we know, what's said to be the true story and also who was responsible for the destruction of Bonnie Parker's personal items. Emma's younger sister, Lelia Krause (Pat Plummer) lived between the years of 1893 and 1965. The photo shown, is purely for illustrative purposes. As always, I welcome your comments.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bonnie and Clyde Q&A-- Is Bonnie's Sister Billie Jean Still Alive??

Billie Jean Parker was born December 16th, 1912 and passed away on May 13th, 1993-- at the age of 80. One of her 80 years, was spent at the Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia-- serving her debt to society, for her role in aiding Bonnie & Clyde. Billie died of COPD. It's said that her heart just gave out. Interestingly, she asked not to be embalmed.

Billie was married 3 times-- to Fred Mace, Troy Frazier and A. B. (Arthur Bourland) Moon. Although public records don't confirm this, the best info I have-- is that Billie Jean is buried at Cedar Creek Lake, Texas. Her children Jackie and Buddy are buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Dallas-- near their aunt Bonnie, grandmother Emma and uncle Buster.

I for one, feel we owe a great deal of thanks to Billie Jean-- for the legacy of B&C knowledge she has left us. Although said to be a bit rambunctious while she was young, from accounts I know of and the personal reflections of those who knew her-- Billie Jean Parker was a loyal family member, loving sister and upstanding person. As often said, the eyes are the windows to the soul. This picture of Billie Jean originally taken with her mother Emma-- is my favorite Billie Jean photo.

Many thanks for a most timely question.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bonnie, Clyde and Me-- The Foreword & Introduction-- Billie's Intent, Revelations & Depression Age Realities

A quite interesting aspect of Billie Jean Parker Moon's previously unseen manuscript-- is it's unique foreword & introduction. In it's unfinished form, it's a bit difficult to envision-- how what exists of Billie's book would have been revised from it's 2nd draft, to become a more unified and complete work. As such the foreword is identified, but what would likely be the introduction-- who's words paint a vivid and most passionate picture of Depression Age life, just appears-- sandwiched in between the foreword and Billie's 1st Bonnie and Clyde account of the Sowers ambush.

Be it incomplete, Billie's manuscript is uniquely important for what it is-- a most "remarkable" and welcomed addition to Bonnie & Clyde History. I thought you might enjoy reading this insightful foreword with it's revealing look into Billie, and snapshot of the times in which she and Bonnie and Clyde lived. Within these colorfully patterned words, are melded a vivid portrayal of Depression Age life-- along with Clint Kelley's impressions of Billie, and Billie's reasoning for wanting to publish a book on Bonnie and Clyde. I have searched without success so far for Mr. Kelley-- as I would like very much if possible, to speak with him concerning Billie's effort of which he was involved.

What I believe are Kelley's descriptions of the Depression Years, jump off the page so nicely at times-- that I wonder if like Billie, he too was a product of those tough and hellish years?? Based on the tenor of expressions used, I feel that may have been the case. I as many of you, have read numerous accounts of the Depression. But I've never read an expression of the 1930's quite like this. This dynamically phrased introduction, seems to bring the strained realities of those hardened times front and center.

You'll note one current politically non-correct term, which within the years of The Great Depression I would suppose appropriate-- whereas now, this racially charged description would be considered decidedly out of bounds. I find it intriguing, this term was still used in the 1970's in writing of the 1930's. However the "furor" over this word, wouldn't erupt fully until the 1990's. Don't shoot the messenger-- but instead enjoy all of what I feel is a telling look at Billie's motivation for wanting to write her book-- plus a unique insight into the times of Bonnie & Clyde. Of particular note are Billie's feelings concerning the Methvins, and her admission that she might have made a similar deal concerning the ambush-- should she have been in a position to save Bonnie. Wow!! As usual, accounts from Billie's manuscript are re-told verbatim. I believe this time, I've only corrected a spelling error or 2 along the way-- where they obviously needed to be. In the words of Clint and Billie Jean--

"Billie Jean Parker Moon is a rare lady who has mastered the art of forgiving and, in some cases, forgetting. She bears no anomosity toward anyone, even though her life and her family were irrevocably shattered during the three bullet-spattered years her sister Bonnie rode the outlaw trail with Clyde Barrow. With hindsight born in the 40 years since those fateful days, Billie has sorted out her feelings and has attempted to sort out the fact and fiction surrounding the famous duo. In this book, she is not attempting to vindicate Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. She is trying, simply, to set the record straight. "I want to tell their side of the story as they told it to me during those years when it actually was occurring," she said."

"Bonnie Parker was never in any trouble at all until she met Clyde Barrow. But when the trouble started, she stood by him and rode out the storms. In the process, since Billie was extremely close to her only sister, she found herself drawn into situations on which the law frowned. In one case, Billie was arrested and charged with the slayings of two motorcycle patrolmen, killed in a brief battle with elements of the Barrow gang. She wasn't there, as later was proven to the satisfaction of officials, but her arrest and confinement would have left scars on a lesser person. Eventually, she was sentenced to serve a year in prison as an accessory to Bonnie and Clyde."

"W. D. Jones, a member of the Barrow gang for several months, did exactly what Clyde Barrow told him to do if he ever was arrested. Jones gave police a statement saying Bonnie and Clyde had forced him to join the gang and keep him with them through use of force. Jones also said in the statement Billie was a member of the gang. While it was true that she frequently rode with Bonnie and Clyde and helped nurse them after shootings and assorted accidents, she never actually participated in any crime perpetrated by any member of the gang."

"In retrospect, Billie says she can't really hate even the Methvins, who "sold out" Bonnie and Clyde in 1934 and set up the ambush that led to their bloody deaths. "Old man Methvin was simply trying to save his son (gang member Henry Methvin)," Billie said. "I can understand his making a deal with the law to help kill Bonnie and Clyde in return for charges being dropped against Henry. If I could have made the same deal to save Bonnie, I might have done it."

"The only man she really hates is a former friend whom she refuses to identify. He was the man who drove the family car on a windy night in Grapevine when Bonnie and Clyde almost were killed as they attempted to meet with their families. "That man sold them out for a used car and a few dollars, she said. "His only motive was profit. He didn't have a son to save like Mr. Methvin did." Billie's close association with Bonnie and Clyde during their period on the run has given her valuable insights to their lives and valuable details of their triumphs and failures. As a "non-member" of the gang, she is the only person associated closely with the facts who can afford, emotionally and legally, to disclose details."

"Writing a book with Billie has proven difficult because of this attitude she has built up over the intervening 40 years. She has, in some cases, refused to name people involved with the gang, even though those names are well-known and already have been associated publicly with Bonnie and Clyde. "I know how I would feel if one of those people wrote a book and used my name," she said. "I've stayed out of the public limelight since Bonnie and Clyde were killed and I wouldn't appreciate someone stirring all that up again."

"While some people would attempt to capitalize on such a relationship, Billie has not. Ironically, her neighbors in a quiet section of Mesquite, Texas, where she resides, have no idea she is the sister of Bonnie Parker. And that's the way Billie wants to keep it. "My only interest is telling people some of the things Bonnie tried to tell them before she died." Billie said. "The kids led a rough life and they wouldn't want anyone-- then or now-- to follow in their footsteps."

Clint Kelley
January 1975
Dallas, Texas

"The world was a miserable, wretched place to be in the 1930's. It was a time when death lurked around every street corner-- death which could be as slow as starvation or as quick as a whistling machinegun bullet. It was a time when normally strong men took the easy way out and suicides became as common as sunrise. It was a time when bedraggled mothers worried because their spindle-legged children were sporting painfully bloated stomachs, heartbreaking symptoms of malnutrition. And it was a time when the pall of despair lay more heavily over the countryside than the air pollution and stench of more modern times."

"It was not a time for decision-making. Everyone and everything-- including the immediate future-- was in doubt. But it was a period when decisions were forced.. when they were wrung from the hearts and souls of every person by sheer force of poverty and circumstance. Texas, like the rest of the world, was in turmoil. While a handful of men were getting rich in the massive oil boom, the average citizen was hard-scrabbling a niggardly existence in which the staff of life was being whittled shorter with every skimpy meal. Farmers and laborers worked 18 hours a day for short wages, hoping and praying times would get better and the dinner table eventually would be laden with something besides the beans and cornbread which stood between them and death."

"The 1930's were tough times-- for everyone, everywhere."

Billie Parker Moon's manuscript is © 2010 The Bonnie & Clyde History Blog by A. Winston Woodward-- with all rights reserved. Many thanks