Billie and the Boys
by Hal Shearon McBride, Jr.

"There is little worse than to have never competed, to have never risked failure in the pursuit of a prized dream."

Billie and the Boys is a sequel to McBride's memoir, To Bear Witness, in which he quotes a veteran who observes, "They are only lost when no one remembers them." In his latest memoir, McBride again makes sure that people and places from the past are not lost. He captures the details of life in the late 1950's and the simplicity of that period of time.

The book begins in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he is a married student at Arizona State College (now Northern Arizona University). McBride and his wife, Billie, must adjust to a very different world from their home in Oklahoma. He describes the landscape of the mountain community of Flagstaff with faultless attention to detail. "The campus was dotted with large ponderosa pines, spruce, and aspens. With their grayish white bark, the aspens were unique. Their leaves gone for the winter, black abstract lines flowed across the bark as if drawn by pen and ink."

McBride skillfully transports his readers back in time as he writes about the arrival of his sons, and the events that make up his and Billie's daily life. In the early 1960s, the McBrides return to Oklahoma, or as the author writes: "With a box spring tied over the right wheel well, we hit the road, reverse Okies headed home." Back in a familiar environment, McBride focuses on his career and enjoying life with Billie and his boys. His memoir captures a time in history that now, thanks to this accomplished writer, will not be lost.

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