Saturday, May 26, 2018

THE FLY GIRLS -- THE WASP



For this Memorial Day weekend post, I’m sharing the Fly Girls, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and their home in the only all-woman air base ever, Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. Theirs is, to me, an amazing story.

As a celebration, I’m giving away a set of the e-books for my Texas Time Travel trilogy to one commenter, which includes TEXAS STORM, in which a WASP is sent forward from 1943 to today.

Back to the WASPs and their story.

After a great deal of political positioning, backstabbing, and juggling which I’m sure you don’t want to hear, the new women’s ferrying group was assigned to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. Sweetwater is the home of many very nice people as well as rattlesnakes, tarantulas, black widows, and scorpions with dusty winds, a huge cotton compress, and high temperatures in summer and low temperatures in winter. I grew up in West Texas, so I take those things for granted.

I wonder what the women arriving from more temperate and picturesque locales thought when they first saw their new home. For instance, since the mid twentieth century, Sweetwater has been home to the world’s largest annual Rattlesnake Roundup. (Yes, I shuddered when I wrote this.) Although the roundup didn’t become official until later, those sneaky snakes were around when the WASP were.

Even though each WASP had a pilot’s license, she was trained to fly "the Army way" by the U.S. Army Air Forces. More than 25,000 women applied for the WASP and 1,830 were accepted into the program. During the course of their training it was reported that 552 women were released for lack of flying proficiency, 152 resigned, 27 were discharged for medical reasons and 14 were dismissed for disciplinary reasons. 

Start of the WASP Program

The women pilots were required to pay their own way there and the return fare if they washed out; they also had to pay for their room and board. The WASPs were treated as much as possible like male cadets. They marched wherever they went and lived in barracks.

Elizabeth  L. Gardiner at
controls of a B-26 Marauder


The WASP program began on a civilian basis because it was an experiment. While the women fliers functioned in the military, they lived under civilian law. They did not receive government insurance, and hospitalization for sickness or illness was difficult to work out.

Re-creation of barracks, three
bunks on each side of room

The women were assigned six to a room divided by a bathroom and a room with six bunks on the other side. Twelve women sharing one bathroom may sound like a nightmare. Remember this was at a time in history when most homes had only one bathroom and many still had only an outhouse. The bathrooms did have two toilets and four sinks as well as an open shower space. In addition to their bunk, they had a small locker-like closet, a desk, and a chair.

They received approximately 210 hours of flying time, about equally divided between PT-17s, BT-13s and AT-6s. Approximately 285 hours were devoted to ground school instruction. The training period lasted seven months.

Wearing her "zoot" suit coveralls over
her uniform and with her parachute
strapped to her, helmet on head, a
manikin poses for museum visitors.

Graduates of Avenger Field went on to flying assignments throughout the United States. They ferried 12,650 planes of seventy-seven different types, including B-17s. Fifty percent of the fighter planes manufactured were ferried by WASPs. After proving themselves as ferry pilots, they towed targets, flew tracking, smoke-laying, searchlight, strafing, and simulated bombing missions, gave instrument instruction, and tested damaged airplanes, a dangerous task.
After training, the WASP were stationed at 122 air bases across the U.S. assuming numerous flight-related missions, and relieving male pilots for combat duty. They flew 60,000,000 miles—yes that’s sixty million miles—of operational flights from aircraft factories to ports of embarkation and military training bases. They also towed targets for live anti-aircraft artillery practice, simulated strafing missions, and transported cargo.
Women in these roles flew almost every type of aircraft flown by the USAAF during World War II. In addition, a few exceptionally qualified women were allowed to test rocket-propelled planes, to pilot jet-propelled planes, and to work with radar-controlled targets. 

Many had been pilots before the war and loved flying (as the heroine in my book). Her first and last names are after two of the thirty-eight women WASP who died in the program. Eleven died during training and twenty-seven on active duty missions. Although these women loved flying and were patriotic, this was not a game.

Frances Green, Margaret "Peg" Kirchner,
Ann Waldner, and Blanche Osborn


Because they were not considered part of the military, a fallen WASP was sent home at family expense. If her family could not afford the expense, other WASP chipped in to send their fallen comrade home. Traditional military honors or notes of heroism, such as allowing the U. S. flag to be displayed on the coffin or a service flag in a window were not allowed.

After completing four months of military flight training, 1,074 of them earned their wings and became the first women to fly American military aircraft. While the WASP were not trained for combat, their course of instruction was essentially the same as male aviation cadets. The WASPs thus received no gunnery training, and very little formation flying and aerobatics but went through the maneuvers necessary to be able to recover from any position. The percentage of trainees eliminated compared favorably with the elimination rates for male cadets in the Central Flying Training Command.

When the B-29 Flying Fortress was being tested and crashed several times due to an engine fire, it spooked most pilots from flying in the plane. In fact, many refused, something I didn't realize was possible without severe punishment. Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets was assigned to get this plane flying. To show the men the plane was safe and reliable, Tibbets recruited two of the WASP to fly the four engine B-29, Dorothea “DiDi” Moorman and Dora Dougherty. Instead of the regular six months training plus two years toward an Aeronautical Engineer degree, DiDi and Dora had three days to get ready for their demonstration. Of course, the two women had already qualified as WASP and had ferried numerous types of planes.

Tibbets did not inform the women about the engine’s fire problem. On one of the training flights, the engine caught fire and filled the cockpit with smoke. Dora didn’t hesitate for a second and instructed her male flight engineer to feather #3 and pull the fire extinguisher. Handling the emergency by the book, she got the fire out and, with the remaining three engines turning, landed the plane safely.

Tibbets plan was a resounding success. The WASP convinced their male counterparts that the B-29 was safe and reliable provided it was managed properly. The men stopped complaining. For those of you who don’t know, it was Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets who piloted the Enola Gay (named after his mother) to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

The B-29 known as the Flying Fortress,
The Enola Gay

In 1944 WASP members at Maxwell Air Field founded the Order of Fifinella organization. Earlier, Fifinella had been designed by Disney and gifted to women pilots. The organizations initial goals were to help the former WASP members find employment and maintain contact between themselves. Through the years the Order of Fifinella issued newsletters, helped influence legislation and organized reunions. The group held its final meeting in 2008 and was disbanded in 2009.

Fifinella
The records of the WASP program were classified and sealed for 35 years making their contributions to the war effort little known and inaccessible to historians. In 1975 under the leadership of Col. Bruce Arnold, the son of General Hap Arnold, along with the surviving WASP members organized as a group again and began what they called the "Battle of Congress". Their goal was to gain public support and have the WASP officially recognized as veterans of World War II.

Statue of Fifinella
at Avenger Field Museum
In 1977 the records were unsealed after an Air Force press release erroneously stated the Air Force was training the first women to fly military aircraft for the U.S. Documents were compiled that showed during their service WASP members were subject to military discipline, assigned top secret missions and many members were awarded service ribbons after their units were disbanded. 
It was also shown that WASP member Helen Porter had been issued an Honorable Discharge certificate by her commanding officer following her service. This time, the WASPs lobbied Congress with the important support of Senator Barry Goldwater, who himself had been a World War II ferry pilot in the 27th Ferrying Squadron. During hearings on the legislation, opposition to the WASP members being given military recognition was voiced by the Veterans Administration, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

President Barack Obama signing the bill for 
the Congressional Gold Medal paperwork

On July 1, 2009 President Barack Obama and the United States Congress awarded the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal. Three of the roughly 300 surviving WASPs were on hand to witness the event. During the ceremony President Obama said, "The Women Airforce Service Pilots courageously answered their country's call in a time of need while blazing a trail for the brave women who have given and continue to give so much in service to this nation since. Every American should be grateful for their service, and I am honored to sign this bill to finally give them some of the hard-earned recognition they deserve." 

Madge Moore, WASP
On May 10, 2010, the 300 surviving WASPs came to the US Capitol to accept the Congressional Gold Medal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders. On New Year's Day in 2014 the Rose Parade featured a float with eight WASP members riding on it.

Ladies, thank you for your service. Thank you to all who served.

Sources:
http://waspmuseum.org/ Sarah Byrn Rickman
Fly Girls, by P. O’Connell Pearson, Simon and Schuster
WASP of the Ferry Command, by Sarah Byrn Rickman, UNT Press



Now, about my book in which a WASP, Jeannie Luttrell, is forced to parachute from her plane in a storm in 1943 and lands in 2018: TEXAS STORM, book 3 of the Texas Time Travel trilogy is now available from Amazon. The trilogy starts with TEXAS LIGHTNING, in which Penelope Jane "Penny" Terry comes forward from 1896. In the second book, TEXAS RAINBOW, Eleanore "Ellie" St. Eaves comes forward from 1921. The three books involve men from the Knight family, handsome and wealthy brothers Jake and Bart and their cousin Caleb. Click on each title above to be taken to the purchase link. These books have received great response from readers.




Thursday, May 24, 2018

Deadwood South Dakota Like You've Never Seen It Before by Paty Jager


I'm proud to be part of a 17 author anthology that is available in both ebook and print. Wild Deadwood Tales has stories that are set in Deadwood and show the historical and contemporary lives in that town. All the short stories in the anthology had to be connected to Deadwood.

Some authors spun a short story that goes along with a series they write. Others used historical events to concoct their version of history. Others used the ghosts of Deadwood's past to build their story. Which gives readers a variety of genres in which to learn about Deadwood.

My short story in the anthology is Saving Dallie. I have one of my main characters from my Silver Dollar Saloon series in Deadwood along with his Silver Dollar Saloon partner, to check out a brewery in Deadwood. While there, Beau Gentry sits in on a card game at the Gem Theater.

The theater was notorious for the owner telling women he wanted them to come to the theater to sing and they ended up working as prostitutes. When they tried to leave, he would beat them up and threaten to kill them. Al Swearengen wasn't a nice person.

At the time of my short story there were 75 saloons in Deadwood. Many were canvas and wood structures using barrels and wood as the bar. There were 7 wholesale liquor dealers, 5 brewers, and 38 bartenders. making the liquor trade an employer of 3% of the population.

Not only was there liquor at the Gem Theater, there was gambling. Hundreds of professional gamblers arrived in Deadwood hoping to take some of the gold from the prospectors pockets while the prospector was gambling for entertainment.Nearly every saloon had gambling. The games played the most were blackjack, poker, faro, roulette, and policy- a game like keno. In my story, Beau is sitting in on a game where a miner throws his daughter into the pot. Beau knows that the girl will do more than sing if Swearengen gets a hold of her.

Not every bar in Deadwood had prostitutes, but every house of prostitution had a bar. Most of the bars who professed to be theaters, such as the Gem, had women and men who sang and danced. Most of the entertainment was said to be "ribald song and smutty jest."

The Gem was one of the lowest places and one of the longest running even though it was dubbed, "dissolute and degraded." While it started out with accolades and boasted being neat and tasteful, it soon fell into "an infamous den of prostitution under the guise of being a dance hall."  Many leading citizens prospered financially from the establishment. Swearengen's wife continually wore at least one black eye and his "girls" were managed by a man who treated the women worse than Swearengen treated his wife.


Saving Dallie
Beau Gentry, owner of the Silver Dollar Saloon, has vowed to help every woman he comes across that reminds him of his mother’s past.  When a miner tosses his daughter into the pot at a poker game and the winner is a brothel owner, Beau is determined to keep the young woman out of the man’s hands. Even if it means putting himself in danger as they travel from Deadwood to Shady Gulch.

If you'd like to checkout the other stories in the Anthology you can find the information here:
WILD DEADWOOD TALES Anthology
Rodeos and romance, Old West adventure, and even a few ghostly tales. Deadwood's wild past and exciting present come alive in seventeen original short stories written by USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors to benefit the Western Sports Foundation. Contributing authors: E.E. Elisabeth BurkeZoe BlakePaty JagerTeresa KeeferMegan KellySylvia McDanielAmanda McIntyrePeggy McKenzieAngi MorganNancy NaigleJacqui NelsonTerri OsburnGinger RingMaggie RyanLizbeth SelvigTina Susedik and A.C. Wilson
Proceeds from this limited edition collection go to benefit the Western Sports Foundation, an organization providing critical assistance to athletes competing in Western lifestyle sports. Whether they need help recuperating from an injury or planning for the future, WSF is there for them.
universal by link https://www.books2read.com/WDTales


Paty Jager is the award-winning author of the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.This is what readers have to say about the Silver Dollar Saloon series: “Paty Jager brings her characters to life, right off the pages of her book. You will laugh, cry, be sad, and get angry right along with the characters.

Source: Deadwood:The Golden Years by Watson Parker

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

JUST EAST OF WEST, Part Two #SweetheartsoftheWest


In part one, which is posted on the Western Fictioneers blog, I discussed Nauvoo, Illinois and Hannibal, Missouri. These towns, which are near the area I grew up, have wonderful history, that were part and parcel of my early childhood. For part two I would to share some of the history of Quincy, Illinois and Keokuk, Iowa.

In his book "Reminiscence of Quincy Illinois: Containing Historical Events and Antidotes, Matters Concerning Old Settlers and Old Times etc", 1881Henry Asbury mentions burial mounds where the town was built. "The question of who were the mound builders, what people buried their dead upon our Mount Pisgah — the high mount through which Maine Street was opened to the river — and other high points along the River Bluffs, I leave to others to explain". Whether these were part of the Cahokia settlements is probably lost to history. Cahokia Mounds

It appears one of the first settlers, Willard keys, past the site in May 1819. An act of Congress approved May 6, 1812, and other acts concerning the military bounty lands, indicated all the country lying between the Mississippi and Illinois River were set apart for satisfying the bounties for hundred and 60 acres promised to the non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the United States. That land included Quincy in Adams County and was surveyed between the years 1815 and 1816.Not all of this land was patented to the soldiers, some was afterwards sold by the government to purchasers.


19th Century View of Quincy Courthouse By John Sanftleben
The town of Quincy itself , sitting on the East side of the Mississippi River, started when John Wood purchased 160 acres from war veteran Mark McGowan for $60. Wood initially named the area Bluffs, Illinois. In 1825 it was renamed Quincy, becoming the county seat for the newly created Adams County. Both names in honor of the newly elected Pres. John Quincy Adams. In 1840 the town was incorporated.

When the Mormons were expelled from Missouri in 1838, a number of them sheltered in Quincy prior to moving upstream to Nauvoo Illinois. In that same year Quincy also sheltered the Pottawatomie tribe when they were being relocated from Indiana to Kansas.

In the 1850s and 60s, Quincy grew as a result of steamboat traffic and railroads that ran through the town, linking it to places both East and West. With the founding of the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad in 1855 in the construction of the Quincy rail bridge, the population grew to 24,000 by 1870 and at that time was the second-largest city in the state of Illinois. Because of its proximity to Missouri, a slave state, Quincy had its fair share of controversy on the subject of slavery. For more on the history Quincy Illinois

Keokuk, Iowa is about 36 miles north of Quincy on the West side of the Mississippi River, 15 miles south of Nauvoo, Illinois and 60 miles north of Hannibal, Missouri.


Keokuk in 1865
Keokuk has a National Cemetery that was created during the Civil War to inter veterans who died while being treated in the five military hospitals in the area. By the end of the war the cemetery numbered 600 Union soldiers and 8 Confederate prisoners of war. 

Prior to the building of the dam, on the Mississippi, which began in 1910 and was completed in 1913, the area around Keokuk had some pretty hazardous rapids that effectively cut off steamboat traffic to the northern portion of the river. Known as the Des Moines Rapids, they stretched between Keokuk and Nauvoo. For more on the story of the rapids, and short read can be found here .

Keokuk, located in Lee County Iowa, was the home of one of the early co-ed medical schools. The Keokuk College of Physicians and Surgeons, which opened its doors for classes in November of 1850. The town was also the home of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) older brother Orion. It was here young Samuel helped his brother in Orion's print shop.

Two places for additional information about Keokuk can be found here: History 1 and History 2 from 1820 to present.

My writing is informed by these towns and others in the tri-state area of my childhood. Many a story has its genesis in what I heard and learned growing up here. My first novel, "Josie's Dream" had Josephine 'Josie' as a graduate of the medical school in Keokuk, Iowa.


https://amzn.to/2wVegnv














Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Member of National League of American Pen Women,
Women Writing the West,
Pikes Peak Posse of the Westerners

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Glories of a Hidden Canyon


My trip to Arizona was wonderful. Hubby and I spent several days with my niece and her husband, who made us feel right at home and took us on two fabulous sightseeing jaunts.

Casa Grande Ruins

Over 650 years old, the four-story "Great House" was built by ancient Sonoran Desert people, who also developed wide-scale irrigation farming and trade connections lasting over a thousand years until about 1450 C.E. The earthen buildings, red on buff pottery, and extensive canals are called "Hohokam" but that's not a proper term. The ancestors of the O'Odham, Hopi, and Zuni people were dubbed Hohokam -- not a word in any of their languages or the name of a separate people.
Note modern roof added to protect ruins from further degradation

Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum 


This famous zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden -- about 85% outdoors -- houses 230 animal species, 1,200 plant types, an aquarium and hummingbird enclosure. There are 2 miles of walking paths -- way too much for me! A rented wheelchair and two strong men (Hubby and niece's husband) solved the problem, and although temps were in the 90s, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Cougar at the Museum, photo by Stephen Lea; wikipedia commons
Overlooking Tucson

Then it was on to Canyon de Chelly: Research Time!


We took a 400-mile scenic route to the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona. The road snaked up and down and around mountains -- not my husband's favorite driving terrain, but I loved the views! As we neared our destination, the land appeared flat and dry with hazy mountains in the distance. It was hard to believe a deep canyon lay hidden not far away.

Finally arriving in Chinle, a small mostly Navajo town only minutes from the entrance to Canyon de Chelly National Monument, we checked in at the Best Western and rested up.

Shortly before 9 the next morning, our guide from Canyon de Chelly Tours, Richard, picked us up at the hotel. I climbed into the front passenger seat of his SUV while Hubby got in back. He knew how important this excursion was to me and wanted me to have the best views. Thank you, honey!
Our guide Richard                                 Visitor Center
Richard took off and we were soon passing the Visitor Center. Then the canyon opened up before us, revealing rock walls, thick rutted sand and our first glimpse of pictographs. Eye-popping but only a taste of  what was to come.

Slogging on through the sand -- deposited by seasonal streams originating in the Chuska Mountains to the northeast -- we ogled dark streaks called patina on the canyon walls, caused by water, and a strange tower that was split almost in two. Richard took us into Canyon del Muerto, the north fork of the canyon complex where many of the best preserved pueblo ruins are located.

Then came "First Ruin," so named because it's the first pueblo ruin you see in the canyon. Built into a niche in the canyon wall by the Anasazi -- correctly called Ancient Puebloans -- the structures served as apartments for families, often with a ceremonial space and an area for storing food.

We bounced over more sand, with Richard avoiding the worst spots (some are quicksand.) The walls rose taller and taller, we saw more ruins, and stopped once where Navajo artisans were selling their wares. I couldn't resist buying a turquoise necklace! Moving on, we oohed and ahhed over the Two Lizards rock formation and Antelope House Ruin.

Antelope House is named for the pictographs of antelope on the canyon wall around it. The white figures were drawn by ancient pueblo inhabitants. The burnt orange figures were drawn by Navajos who later moved into the hidden canyon.

Finally, we arrived at the famous White House ruin, the only ruin tourists can get close to on their own, following a trail down from the south rim of the canyon. Named for the white painted interior of the rooms, this pueblo was built in two levels. Here are two photos Hubby took of the upper level. Below is a public domain photo from wikipedia showing both levels.


That was as far as we went on our 3 - 4 hour tour. To see more would have required a 7-8 hour tour. Richard dropped us off at out hotel, we grabbed some lunch then drove back to the Visitor Center to check out the model of a traditional Navajo hogan, with a somewhat modernized interior.

The following day, we drove along the south rim of the canyon, stopping at several overlooks. From these photos you get a better feel for the scope of Canyon de Chelly and the height of the walls (up to 1,200 feet at the mouth of del Muerto.) Most dramatic to see was Spider Rock, located at the junction of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Canyon, the south fork. My biggest regret is not taking a longer tour so we could see Spider Rock from the canyon floor.
Tunnel Overlook - a short side canyon leading into the main gorge
Tsegi Overlook showing Chinli Wash
Junction Overlook - where Canyon del Muerto joins Canyon de Chelly
White House Ruin Overlook
Spider Rock Overlook
That concluded our visit to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Someday I'd love to go back!

Friday, May 18, 2018

WHAT’S A COWBOY WITHOUT A COWBOY HAT? By Sarah J. McNeal #YouAintNoCowboyWithoutAHat #Sweethearts-of-the-West-blog

Pawnee Bill and Zack Miller Ranch 101


I love to wear hats so it’s mighty disappointing to me that women just don’t wear hats like they used to. Somewhere in the 1960’s hats became extinct—or just about anyway.

But cowboy hats are still out there, in fact, maybe even stronger than ever. I guess the reason for their popularity is practicality. Baseball caps which have become so popular these days, are not enough for a real cowpoke’s needs. For one thing, baseball caps may keep the sun out of a cowboy’s eyes, but does little else to protect them from the elements. Personally, another advantage in a cowboy hat is that they are just plain sexy. C’mon, you know there is nothing quite as manly as a man in a Stetson
Just so we’re all clear on exactly what a cowboy hat is, here are some facts:
         

A cowboy hat is a high-crowned, wide-brimmed hat which grew from the 19th century Mexican culture and has been redefined over time and even by certain individuals because the shape of the hat’s crown and brim are often modified by the wearer depending on taste, fashion, and the weather.
Although cowboy hats may be worn on every continent around the world, it is recognized immediately as part of the American old west and its cowboy culture. From northern Mexico, through western United States, and up into western Canada, the cowboy hat is the iconic gear of a ranch worker, country-western singers, rodeo circuit participants, and movies depicting the west.

The first western cowboy hat was called “Boss of the Plains.” The front-creased “Carlsbad” followed soon after, until the high-crowned, wide-brimmed, soft felt western hats arrived on the scene and became the image we associate with the cowboy today.

A Stetson circa 1920's

The modern renditions of  cowboy hats are made from fur-based (mostly beaver) felt or straw, and sometimes leather. They are sold with a high rounded crown and a wide, flat brim. A simple sweat band on the inside of the crown just before the brim stabilizes the fit of the head. After the initial hat is purchased it can be customized with creases in the crown and a rounded or winged brim according to the owner’s wishes. Often a decorative band fits around the crown on the outside of the hat according to the taste of the individual wearer. Ornamentation such as buckles, bows, and so on are traditionally attached to the left side for an historically practical purpose. Most people are right handed, in the absence of a broad brim, decorative feathers or bows on the right side would interfere with the use of weapons.

Most often the colors are in shades of beige, brown, black, and gray. In the 1940’s pastel colors were introduced and seen on hats worn by movie cowboys and rodeo riders. The most famous and popular design and structure for a cowboy hat was created by J.B. Stetson since it was first introduced back in 1865.

Stetson focused on expensive, high quality hats that were a real investment for working cowboys. The water resistance and durability of the original Stetson gained publicity in 1912 when the USS Maine was raised from the Havana harbor where it had sunk in 1898. They found a Stetson hat in the wreckage which had been exposed to seawater, ooze, mud, and plant growth for 14 years. Amazingly, when that hat was cleaned off it was undamaged. You couldn’t create a better sales pitch than that for a durable, tough cowboy hat.


A Fedora

Just a little side info here about the difference between a fedora and a cowboy hat because of the many variations in a cowboy hat the difference can be a little obscure. So, here are the guidelines to separate and clarify fedoras from cowboy hats:

Fedoras have smaller brims from cowboy hats. They also have a stylish front pinch or dip in the front. Most fedoras have a wide grosgrain hatband. Think about that Frank Sinatra look. There is a wide variety of options in fedoras even though not as many as a cowboy hat. The top of the crown may vary in shape from an open crown, center dent, oval or teardrop shape.

Man in a Fedora

A fedora also has something called a “snap brim” so the brim can be worn up on every side much like a bowler hat. The snap feature on the fedora allows the wearer to snap the front brim down into place like a cool hipster. When the hat is to be stored, the brim can be snapped back into place to maintain its structure.

Indiana Jones’s hat looks like a mixed breed between the two, but it is a fedora and NOT a cowboy hat. It has the wide hatband and the pinched down dip in the front.

There are many famous movie stars, singers, and even a president who wore cowboy hats.

Bill Picket, a Famous Rodeo "Bull Dogger"

Frankie Laine Western Singer

Tim McGraw Country Singer

Tom Mix Silent Film Cowboy (and Friend of Wyatt Earp)

William S. Hart Silent Film Cowboy

Ronald Reagon, Actor and President of the United States

Here is a little scene with Hank Wilding and his Stetson in my book, HOME FOR THE HEART:




Excerpt:
Smoothing her hands over her lavender shirtwaist dress, Lucy took a deep breath. Hank is never going to be interested in a plain woman like me. She turned from the mirror just as she heard the knock on the front door downstairs.

Her mother called up the stairs. “Lucy, honey, Hank is here.”

A thrill rippled through Lucy’s core. Hank. Handsome, unattainable, Hank Wilding. A reminder flashed through her mind. Even if she was beautiful, it wouldn’t matter. Hank was a self-proclaimed bachelor. Guard your heart, Lucille Thoroughgood. It will only get broken.

The sight of Hank standing with his hat held politely in his hands at the bottom of the stairs caused her heart to leap into her throat and beat so fast she could barely breathe. Her hands shook from the surge of adrenaline. No man should be that beautiful. A lock of his bronzed hair had an enticing way of falling over his brow. She wanted so much to touch it and sweep it back just so she could feel its texture. Hank gazed up the stairs at her with his dark brown eyes and seemed to hold her in his spell. And if that wasn’t enough, he grinned at her in that charming, crooked way she found so endearing. It wasn’t often Hank smiled. He frowned most of the time. It was a good thing, too, because, if he did smile often, women all over town would be swooning at his feet.


Diverse stories filled with heart