Personal Items Essay
As we celebrate Robert E. Howard’s birthday, I thought a few nuggets of his life would be appropriate. These were all found during my slow crawl through the Brownwood Bulletin for 1922-23. Most are from the “Personal Items” column.
Tuesday, November 21, 1922:
Personal Items: Mrs. I. M. Howard has returned from a week’s visit in Cross Plains.
Personal Items: Tom Ray Wilson of Cross Plains was a guest of Robert Howard for the week-end.
Much has been said of the fact that Hester went to Brownwood with Bob while other boys in similar circumstances went alone.
If the above is accurate, it seems that Howard wasn’t tied quite as tightly to his mother’s apron strings as some would have us believe. And the Bulletin is hardly comprehensive: this sort of thing may very well have occurred on several occasions with the newspaper only reporting on it once.
Tom Ray Wilson, you may recall, was the gentleman who told L.
Sprague de Camp that Howard would go hunting, “but he wouldn’t kill anything.” He is also the source of the following, from Dark Valley Destiny:
Tom Ray Wilson, who lived in Cross Plains until 1924, became another intimate. As a high school boy, Tom sometimes drove Dr. Howard on his rounds while the doctor dozed in the back seat of his car. From time to time, Bob slept over at Tom’s house, but later Tom reported that he had been scared of Bob because he always carried a hunting knife and often a pistol and suffered from nightmares. So severe were these nightmares that Tom used to tie Bob’s toe to the bedpost with a piggin string lest, in his sleep, he rise up and attack his roommate.
Wilson must not have had the experience mentioned above on that first trip to Brownwood; he makes a return visit on December 9th.
Monday, December 11, 1922:
Personal Items: Dr. I. M. Howard of Cross Plains spent Saturday in Brownwood with his family.
Tom Ray Wilson of Cross Plains was a guest of Robert Howard on Saturday.
Around this time Howard submits a couple of stories to the school’s newspaper. He gets recognized for his efforts on Friday, December 22, 1922:
That same paper, under the headline “High School Civics Clubs Foster Unique Election Campaign,” tells the story of a simulated election in which “Noveline Price (Sophomore)” was elected County Superintendent.
December 22 also signaled the beginning of the Christmas break. I’m not sure how much of that break was spent in Cross Plains, but I know that some of it was.
Tuesday, January 2, 1923:
Personal Items: Mrs. I. M. Howard and son, Robert, have returned from a Christmas visit to Cross Plains.
Happy New Year.