Wayne Busbice takes you along on his seventy-year walk through history. Beginning life in a Waltonesque family on a < s t 1 : S t a t e > < s t 1 : place>Louisiana backwoods cotton farm, < s t 1 : C i t y > Wayne followed his parents’ advice to get education and more education. Humorous stories about friends and neighbors, church hymns and “all-day singin’”, and country music on a wind-up Victrola were the only leavening agents of a hard life in the Depression, when farming was done with mules, and currency was so scarce it was called “actual cash money”.
The family tradition of service led < s t 1 : C i t y > Wayne to a career as a teacher and principal. But the family musical talent led him (and his brother, Buzz Busby) into a parallel career of singing, performing and songwriting. Intense patriotism, fired by his father’s service in World War I and his older brothers’ in World War II, led Wayne to a long career in the Air Force and Air National Guard, ending as lieutenant colonel. As a military officer in < s t 1:place>Washington < st1:State>D.C., his calls to duty afforded frontline participation in many historic events.
But the undercurrent of < s t 1 : C i t y > < s t 1 :place>Wayne’s life remained a driving need to uncover the family secret: a killing the adults whispered about when they gathered behind closed doors. < s t 1 : C i t y > Wayne discovered he was living under a false name; Cousin Allen was really his grandfather; and Allen had lived a double life as a fugitive from the Pinkerton detectives of the 1890s.
Along the way < s t 1 : C i t y > Wayne developed an intense interest in genealogy that continues today. He unearthed court records, news articles and family letters documenting the murder of his other grandfather, an event that fractured the family and sent two aunts to insane asylums. Together, these two story lines -- the two killings and their dramatic human consequences, set against a background of a warm and intimate family life -- animate this charming memoir of a vanished time.