In the late 1870s, my grandfather and his siblings homesteaded along the Niobrara River in Wyoming. They named their ranch the Running Water Ranch – the English equivalent of the Native American word Niobrara. I grew up on this ranch in the 1940s-50s and have a deep love for that place, although I have made my home in a number of other states since then. That love combined with a fondness for writing and the delight of a heightened imagination about events and travels, has led me to explore fiction and non-fiction for both children and adults.
June Willson Read, PhD
Ranch life is infused with western history and hard work which underline the stories, as well as creative imagination of conversations and activities invented by a childhood lined with free time while wandering the hills with a cat or dog at my heels.
The Whistle Creek stories ‘just came to be’ as I played with memories of Wyoming, adding a bit of imagination as I went along. Like all oral history, some details changed as years passed and memories evolved. In particular The Other Tales include a couple of memories from my childhood, ‘Without My Microwave’ and ‘The Christmas Comforter’. I have to admit that some of the Blue Bordello was influenced by information gathered for my previous non-fiction book, Frontier Madam, The Life of Dell Burke, Lady of Lusk. Events and memories from friends provided the foundation for some of the other ‘tales’ involving life in the west, especially Wyoming.
Study Questions have been provided with The Man and The Boy novella, offering an opportunity for readers to explore economic, technological, as well as cultural changes and differences between 1946 and today.