Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety Three…

scrapbook

OCTOBER 2018

 

Well, here’s Rooster,
One of the more famous searchers who probably has to look on a map to find out where she’s standing. Fun comes to her easier than it does for most of us. She said dal could post her email if I blocked out her very secret search area, so I placed ???? in its place (rolling eyes). Thanks Mz Cogburn, and please don’t ask me to be your search partner. f

Subject: ScaredyCat

Dear Forrest Fenn,

I finally ran away from home, for 25-hours. 25-hours of sheer hell. Hell of my very own making. I did see a moose and found a tin can sculpture, so I can probably subtract 15-minutes from my hell.

Attached is a map and a sculpture.

I made it through the private community of ????. As I was trespassing on private property, I was tracked down by two old biddies, I guess they are the sherriffs in the place, making sure they keep the riffraff out. Actually, they were very nice, after I let them know that I was trespassing because I was chasing a wily fox (which is technically true), the old biddies bid me good-day, reminding me to wear my orange when hiking around. Because of course, it’s hunting season. Crap, I forgot my orange. After I was busted by the biddies, I tried to make my way up a bit North to where I think there is a gaze connecting my tary, but a hunter chased me away. It occurs to me constantly that I am the very worst searcher, ever. I am truly a doofass. I haven’t given up, but I gave up this time. I did make my way to Laramie and seen the UofWyo, it was dark. I slept at a rest area, I was scared, and then I came home. In the gray areas of my narrative, there are only dark dumb scary things that I do all the time, like driving with my lights out, getting lost ALL the time, being weird and not knowing North from South, taking i80 east instead of i80 west, more than twice. Almost driving up a “Do Not EnterWrong Way, Not bringing bright orange, and babbling like a criminal to the two old biddie sherriff’s. I might not ever find your treasure, but I’ll keep trying and crying.

I hope you and yours are well, Forrest Fenn.

Hugs from Utah,

RoosterCogburn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety Two…

scrapbook

OCTOBER 2018

 

Today I received a wonderful email from Jeff Olsen and he gave me permission to post his P.S. I always had good excuses not to spend more time with my parents. And now, at age 88, I regret everyone of them. If anyone is listening please post a comment on this blog. f

“P.S. – I want you to know also that The Thrill of the Chase has already had an immeasurable impact on my life. Especially in regards to the relationship I now have with my dad (he is 82 and has recently just completed his memoirs as a partial result of me giving your book to him for christmas a few years ago), and in the adventures that I am able to take my kids on now and in the true spirit of your gift to the world…” Jeff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety One…

scrapbook

SEPTEMBER 2018

 

George and Me

George Montgomery was born in 1916, which made him 14 years my senior, but we didn’t care about that. We were really good friends who collected western art and Indian artifacts together. He was a movie star and an artist. Our gallery sold his bronzes. We both loved Montana where I spent many summers. He was born in Brady, MT, and half of his ashes are buried there.

But our similarities started slowing down really fast after that. He was a genuine cowboy who worked on his family ranch. That was nothing I wanted because they had to get up too early, work outside when the ground was frozen, and dig fence post holes in the blazing summer sun.

Other dissimilarities: George was 6’3”, strikingly handsome, possessed the gift of glib in a good way, and made 105 movies. Some with John Wayne.

And he was haunted by a fear of flying the likes of which may be noted in the broad annals of aviation history. One time we were having Frito Pie at the Santa Fe Five and Dime on the plaza. Our spellbinding stories to each other occupied too much time in the telling, but we loved them anyway.

Suddenly George looked at his watch and cried, “Oh God, I’m going to miss my plane.” He had an important meeting in LA that absolutely could not be missed. I thought he might collapse, and the airport in Albuquerque was 65 miles away. “George,” I shrieked, “You can make it if I fly you to ABQ, what do you think?” He looked horrified. “Ok”, he whimpered.

Twenty-five minutes later we were in my little propeller driven airplane heading south. Albuquerque Center handed us off to Approach Control, who turned us over to the tower. They cleared us to enter a right base leg for runway 27 and we were number 2 in the pattern. An aircraft on a half-mile final approach was cleared to land ahead of us.

Well, the small airplane ahead of us crashed on the runway and started to smoke. Two people crawled out of the wreckage and fled. Suddenly there was a lot of commotion on the radio.

George looked straight ahead and didn’t say anything.

The excited tower operator reported that runway 27 was now closed and advised us to enter a right base leg for the north/south runway. We touched down over a mile away from the accident and didn’t interfere with the copious emergency vehicles that raced down a taxiway.

George looked straight ahead and didn’t say anything.

After some back-and-forth discourse with Ground Control, we were cleared to taxi to the gate where his jumbo jet was loading passengers through an up-ramp.

When I stopped, George quickly got out of my plane, jumped off the wing and boarded the airliner just as the door was about to close.

I don’t remember if I yelled goodbye. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Ninety…

scrapbook

SEPTEMBER 2018

 

A recent conversation with a friend about Eric Sloane prompted me to go through his papers in my file cabinet. The first item I found was the following story that I wrote many years ago, and never published. I remember with great fondness that interesting event with my friend Eric.

Today I look around at me,
And rue so many things I see.
Maybe it will help if we
Recall the way they used to be.

 

The Sheet Episode

One winter morning about 1980, while gathering some sun near the pond behind my gallery, I told Eric a funny Taos story about an Indian who had been invited to dinner at the home of Louise and Joseph Henry Sharp. During the meal, the host and his wife retreated briefly to the kitchen. When they returned they found that their guest had departed along with Louise’s prized white linen table cloth that had adorned the table. The dishes were askew and Louise was aghast. The next day Sharp witnessed the Indian walking near the plaza wearing his new wrap-around table cloth.

My story reminded Eric that in 1925, when he visited Taos Pueblo, most of the Indian men wore white sheets as an outer garment. He recalled that many years earlier, some of the men wore nothing at all in the summer time, except maybe an eagle feather hair decoration.

During the Army presence at the pueblo after the revolt of 1847, some of the wives complained that the feathers didn’t cover up enough. Kit Carson took the matter up with the Governor of the Pueblo, and after some deliberation, the Indians agreed to wear clothing, but only if the Army supplied the garments.

A simple solution was effected with the issue of regulation army sheets for the Indians to wear, thus starting a long and colorful tradition at Taos Pueblo. Everyone was happy, especially the female tourists.

Standing Deer by Joseph Sharp – Forrest Fenn collection

Unfortunately, over time the Army disappeared from Taos Pueblo, and so did the white sheets.

So, Eric and I decided to re-supply sheets to the Indians, expecting them to be thrilled, and we could wallow in the realization that an interesting episode in Taos Pueblo history had been rekindled. The next day, with a gross of J.C. Penny sheets in my car, we struck for Taos where we spoke with the Governor of the pueblo. After telling him the Kit Carson story, we suggested that he take our gifts and issue them to what we were sure would be a delighted group of natives.

We departed the pueblo with the gratification that belongs only to those who have made great cultural contributions on a magnificent scale. Our friends held us in thrall until the next day when a friend of Eric’s in Taos phoned him to report that the governor and two of his friends were successful in wholesaling large quantities of sheets on the plaza.

Eric and I had a good laugh at our own expense but were somewhat pleased to know that at least we had added, in some small way, to the economic growth of the pueblo. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Eighty Nine…

scrapbook

AUGUST 2018

 

Does Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Really Exist?

I met Forest Fenn one day in the early 1970’s while visiting family in Lubbock, Texas.  I was around 10 years old and with my dad who had an interest in everything and anything art.  It’s all a blur now.  I had no real idea of where we were or what we were doing at the warehouse in what seemed to be an industrial side of town.

My dad had learned of a foundry and a caster of bronze who was moving to Santa Fe to set up a foundry. We found him and he made time for us. Dad asked Mr. Fenn many questions that day about the lost wax method of casting bronze sculptures.  I was fascinated by the discussion and was even more interested when Mr. Fenn handed me a small piece of dark brown casting wax and told me that if I sculpted something out of it he would cast it for me.

I naively took this man at his word. I lost no time and quickly sculpted a rather crude horse figure, placed it in a box and sent it back to Lubbock. Several months past and the horse crossed my mind a number of times. But back in those “no internet’, “no over-night shipping” days we had a healthy patience about expectations and waiting.

Sometime later a small box bearing weight arrived by mail and I recognized the name on the return address  – Forrest Fenn – Santa Fe, New Mexico. I hurriedly open the box and unwrapped the packaging and there it was, my little wax horse exactly as I had sculpted it, only now it was in solid bronze. I was amazed. A sculpture that I had created with my hands now was in a form that was as permanent as it could possibly be. I felt like a real artist!

Looking back on all of this, there was no gain in it for Mr. Fenn.  He had to fabricate a mold, and then melt the wax out of the mold followed by sweat and the extremely high temperature of a foundry. He took on the risk of pouring the molten bronze into the mold, followed by the finishing work and a patina applied perfectly – even to an insignificant piece of “art”. He did all of this while keeping up with the address of a boy he would probably never see again. And, Mr. Fenn never asked for anything in return.

The horse is almost comical looking and it sits today in my living room. And although very few people notice it, when I do, I think of a young boy and a man who did not know each other but made a promise with each other. And that promise was kept.

Many people are searching for the famous treasure. I feel a responsibility to tell all, that, I already found the real Forrest Fenn treasure -over 45 years ago!

By the way, Mr. Fenn, Thank you. 

Bill
Natchitoches, La.

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Eighty Eight…

scrapbook

JUNE 2018

 

In 1955 I was at the Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio walking on my way to someplace when I heard a booming voice “Hey kid they got any cold beer around here?” I stopped and looked about. There were lots of people milling but none of them were paying attention to me so I thought it must be an aberration.

“Hey feller I’m up here” the voice bellowed. I was standing beside a ladder that climbed straight up about 10 feet to a platform where I saw an arm wildly waving at me. “Think you could find a couple of cold ones somewhere?”

The arm belonged to Dizzy Dean and I recognized his beaming face right off. He played for several teams including the St. Louis Cardinals and was the last pitcher in the National League to win 30 games in one season.

He was one of my all-time favorite baseball heroes (along with the ageless Satchel Paige who famously said “How old would I be if I didn’t know how old I wuz?”

About 10 minutes later I climbed the ladder holding a six pack of Jax beer and a Dr. Pepper. My cost was almost 2 bucks but I didn’t care because this was Dizzy Dean . I was thrilled even more than when I shook hands with Sammy Baugh.

Dizzy was commentating on the radio between sips and talking with me during commercials and more sips.

It was Sunday afternoon and as the tournament wound down Dizzy finished off the last Jax and my bottle of soda was almost done. We said our good-byes and I climbed down the ladder expecting to see a bunch of photographers recording me and Dizzy. There weren’t any but it was an experience I’ve enjoyed for the last 63 years.

A personal note:

I’ve been criticized for the way I write and use words. I say I too much, mix verb tenses, use commas wrong, and I can’t spell.

I just read through my story above about Dizzy Dean, and removed all of the commas. I feel so good I may just go get myself another Dr. Pepper. f

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Eighty Seven…

scrapbook

JUNE 2018

 

Jerry and Keri came to see me yesterday and brought their two boys. Little Willie thought he was in charge of entertainment so it was pretty exciting until he got tired and went to sleep.

Some of you may remember that Jerry became somewhat stranded in Montana a few years ago while searching for the treasure in deep snow. Keri gave me a frantic call and I got my cousin Chip Smith to call out a rescue chopper to find him, and it did. All ended well and we have been friends ever since. Check out the video that Keri made yesterday. f

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Eighty Six…

scrapbook

FEBRUARY 2018

 

More than an asterisk in my Book of Days

Mickey Goolsby, with whom I jumped the milk truck in high school, died last week. I talked about him in my TFTW book, page 40. He was my age plus a few months. After college he owned a construction company that built some of the schools in our town. His demeanor was one I might wish to emulate, would that I could start anew. A special breed of men narrows with Mickey’s passing, and soon it won’t exist at all. f

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Eighty Five…

scrapbook

November 2017

 

A while back our little Tesuque’s spirit went to a place in heaven that is reserved for special pets. Now her body rests in the little cemetery beside her sister, a brother, two cousins and a friend.

This morning a new little companion arrived on United Airlines from Dallas.

He’s a Bichon Frisee poodle mix, and weighs 3 pounds. We don’t have a name yet although my grandchildren and great grandchildren are throwing all kinds of names in the suggestion pot. I will let them decide.

With all of the ill feelings around the world the future still looks bright when an old man plants small trees and has a new little friend who rests beside him in his lounge chair – where he is now. He’s 2 ½ months old so that makes me more than 4,500 weeks his senior. And both of us seem to be very happy with that. f


On November 28th Forrest added that the pup’s name is Willie.

On November 28th Forrest added this video.
https://vimeo.com/244919485

On December 4th Cynthia added this video of Willie greeting Desertphile.
https://vimeo.com/245840175
 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Eighty Four…

scrapbook

MAY 2017

House Bronze Foundry 1972-2010

“Jerry House was a good friend who shared my interest in history. So of course we collected history together, which was not a big deal because neither of us had earned income to spare back in the late 60’s.”
– Forrest Fenn

In December of 1968 a singular event in a war zone 8,500 miles away nearly altered the time space continuum of the art scene in the southwest United States. That was when Forrest Fenn, future Santa Fe gallery owner and arts benefactor almost didn’t make it out of Southeast Asia alive. Had Forrest perished over the dense jungle canopy of Laos that month it is a given that Fenn Galleries would never have hatched onto the Santa Fe scene a few years later. It is equally unlikely that House Bronze, an acclaimed art foundry run by Jerry and Gail House, could possibly have emerged on the stubbornly dry, staked plain of Lubbock, TX in 1972.

In January of 2010 Gail House was closing the doors on an art business she and her late husband Jerry operated since 1972. House Bronze Foundry occupied an unremarkable building in an unremarkable section of Lubbock, TX. But what went on in this “plain Jane” building for the previous 38 years is indeed quite remarkable and has added significantly to the collections of art bronze statuary and monuments worldwide.

Creating mostly large public statuary, House Bronze turned out bigger than life monuments of icons of our times including president George H. W. Bush, the astronaut Willie McCool and even a nine foot Rev. Billy Graham. They didn’t just cast important folks though. They also made elephants and lions and bears and giant whatcha-ma-callits that adorn public gardens, university lawns, town squares, corporate entryways and great halls all over America.

Texas Tech University in Lubbock

But it wasn’t Jerry and Gail’s dream to own an art foundry back in 1968. They both worked at Texas Tech University. In fact, large art bronzes probably weren’t even anything they thought much more about than you or I do today.

Jerry collected guns and was interested in obtaining a smoothbore muzzle loaded firearm. Those things were expensive and the company told Jerry that if he could generate $5,000 in sales he would get a discount. So he was contacting everyone he knew that might be interested in buying a modern black powder gun. Black powder guns are a kind of unusual firearm. His list wasn’t building rapidly.

Someone told Jerry that there was a pilot over at Reese Airbase, a Major by the name of Forrest Fenn and if Jerry could wait two months Forrest Fenn would be back from Vietnam and surely he would be interested in buying one. Jerry added Forrest’s name to his list of hopefuls.

Nearly two months went by when Jerry heard the news that Forrest and his F-100 had been shot down and he might not be heading home. Jerry added a question mark after Forrest’s name on his still incomplete list.

In 2010 Gail House was reminiscing about her late husband Jerry and his friendship with Forrest. She remembered when Forrest arrived back home from Vietnam. ”The morning of the 26th, our phone rang and it was Forrest Fenn. A helicopter had picked him up not long after he was shot down, and because he was due home, he took the next Red Cross plane back.”

For his part, Forrest wanted to make sure Jerry didn’t scratch him off the buyer’s list. He wanted that muzzle loader.

“When Jerry got the call from Forrest, we were stunned,” Gail recalls. “Jerry went over that day, and they formed a real friendship.”

At the time, Forrest had started a part-time business in his garage where he was casting small bronzes for artists. Jerry was intrigued. More-so when Forrest told Jerry he could make a handsome $10 an hour doing this kind of work. That was the egg that Jerry later developed into his own foundry, House Bronze.

Forrest recalls that he was thrilled with his new black powder gun. “Jerry and I knew how to load it: measure the powder and pour it down the barrel. Then tamp some wadding in. The round bullet was next, just roll it down the barrel. More wadding was added to keep the bullet from rolling out if you tilted the gun down.”

They really wanted to shoot the thing because neither had done that before as Forrest remembers, “The problem was that we didn’t have any bullets. After looking around for a minute I found some old chewing gum that one of my young daughters had placed on the kitchen counter. It was dried and hard. I remember having to force it down the barrel with the ram-rod that came with the gun. Are you ready for this? Jerry took the first shot and that glob of chewing gum went clear through a 1” board in my back yard fence. We couldn’t believe it and Peggy couldn’t stop laughing.”

So now it was Forrest’s turn to shoot and he put a small rock down the barrel and shot at the fence. “When the powder ignited our close proximity went black with smoke that chased my wife into the house. You are not going to believe this, but that little pebble came out of the barrel in pieces, and each one was impaled in my fence. There must have been 6 or 7 pieces. Jerry and I talked about that for a long time and considered telling the Army about our newly discovered secret weapon.”

The camaraderie lasted well beyond their first muzzle loader experience. “Jerry was a lot of fun. One of his legs was 2” shorter than the other, so he wore a shoe with an elevated sole. He bragged about it keeping him from being drafted. One thing you never did with Jerry, and that was to call him on the phone between 12:00 and 12:15 because that was when Paul Harvey was on the radio. Jerry was a fanatic about that guy, and he got me started listening. Paul, Jerry, and I had something in common. We were good, conservative, patriotic, American citizens.”

After awhile, Forrest moved his foundry out of his garage, hired some help and started Fenn Bronze on the outskirts of Lubbock. “Jerry used to come see me in my foundry, which was just a few blocks from where he worked. After a while he started helping me work waxes and get them ready to pour in bronze. He liked it, and was soon on my payroll. It wasn’t long before he knew the business as well as anyone.”

After Forrest moved to Santa Fe, in 1972, Jerry opened his own casting studio with his wife Gail in Lubbock called House Bronze and did very well for 38 years.

Jerry and Forrest kept in touch. He was still working long hours at House Bronze and probably making considerably more than $10/hr when he died in 2009.

You can read more about Forrest’s “Bronze Years” on this blog in Forrest’s Scrapbooks:

https://dalneitzel.com/2014/12/29/scrapbook-one-hundred-twenty-two/
https://dalneitzel.com/2014/11/02/scrapbook-101/