Kenneth's family lived across the alley from mine
for several years when we were kids.
He loved to ride his bike,
or his horse -
and he dreamed of being in a rodeo.
He liked everything about the family ranch.
He liked to pluck a guitar and try to sing.
But what he had absolutely no interest in,
was - me.
Or, for that matter, any girls.
I was six. He was eight.
He and his baby sister, Barbara,
"sandwiched" me in age between them.
Barbara was five when they first moved there.
Nellieanna and Barbara
Barbara and I played together inseparably.
I was so envious of her hair,
which was always neat and tidy,
while mine was always wild and curly.
However, this did NOT justify
my dumping a can of mudpies over her head.
I loved all the Bishops, though.
Their family arose from Texas soil,
with a lineage of ranchers.
Kenneth's dad, Leo, also served as a Texas Ranger.
What a handsome heroic presence!
I was smitten and star-struck!
Ruby, his mother, was the "heart" of the family
and I dearly loved her.
There were five children in the family.
One older sister, Carolyn, dated my brother in High School
and was a fellow-artist with and close to Mother.
So there were many family ties and shared fond memories among us.
But Kenneth was my own personal "hero".
There were such momentous incidents as
when he let me ride to school on the back of his bicycle!
And - when I fell into a deep hole and broke my leg,
it was he fetched help for me;
and it was to their house I was carried immediately.
I confess I harbored a HUGE secret crush on him.
But - alas! -As one might guess -
What he most loved, was to rodeo, play his guitar,
and practise his lasso.
Their family had moved to Alpine from Del Rio,
when Mother and I spent much of one summer in Alpine.
We visited with them often during that summer.
Barbara and I still enjoyed playing with dolls!!
We were about nine and eleven; he was a couple of years older.
Still Kenneth remained my shining "hero",
although he was far more interested in calf-roping!
Nevertheless, our paths crossed several times during our teen years;
in fact, we became serious after he joined the Air Force
and was stationed in my town.
When I came home from college at summer break,
it seemed that rodeos were no longer the highest priority!
But our dream of a future on a ranch together wasn't to be.
Dedication to my education and his Air Force orders locked horns.
Following his active service in Korea in the early 1950's,
he returned state-side and worked in electronics
during the remainder of his military career.
He continued in that area in a civilian capacity
for several more years, at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio.
Kenneth decided to complete college,
after which he became an electronics instructor at the High School.
He was also a seasoned "ham" radio operator
and an amateur astronomer.
He helped bring an FM radio station into Del Rio!
Many years later, he sent me these pictures,
older and wiser, perhaps, but still heroic to me.
He also sent an audio tape of his vocals,
accompanying himself with his guitar
in several classic real "cowboy" songs and stories.
You can hear one now.
It is in the style of the real cowboys of yesteryear,
who crooned lanquorously to quieten the cattle at night
on long cattle drives.
There began an enjoyable lively correspondence
and an exchange of visits
between Dallas and Del Rio,
as George and I became friends with Kenneth
....until his death, in the summer of 1984.
After all that time and scattered dreams,
We were truly amazed and delighted
to discover each other's minds!
We marveled how our paths had diverged -
and then, realigned so many years later.
In phone conversations and letters
we discovered mutual interests in many subjects,
as we renewed our friendship
at a platonic level!
We could only conjecture how it "might have been",
had things been different years earlier,
but it was gratifying to rediscover someone so dear.