Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hobo's Bundle

The dentist appointment went well, though I probably shouldn’t have celebrated on the way home by buying - and eating - an entire bag of chocolate-covered pretzels. (In my defense, I hadn’t eaten anything all day. Then I had a salad for dinner.)

I’ve been looking through that file on Hobo that I casually mentioned a couple of weeks back, trying to tease an appropriately shaped blog post or two out of it, but it’s been hard.

A lot of what’s in the file are your basic kind of background research materials: magazine and newspaper articles, fliers and brochures from various Mustang organizations, including WHOA (Wild Horse Organized Assistance), and so on. Some of them personally annotated by Velma Johnston (aka "Wild Horse Annie") herself.

This bundle of documents is more interesting as a collection than any one item in it.

Except for the letters. Included in the file are a small number of letters to and from Annie - mostly involving Peter Stone, Dick Lewis, and surprisingly, even a copy of a letter to Marguerite Henry herself!

Which are, in themselves, a bit problematic to discuss.

Most of the correspondence relates to the article that was written for an early (tri-fold brochure!) issue of Just About Horses featuring Wild Horse Annie, with the usual exchange of corrections, updates, and tender pleasantries.

There’s also a great deal of communication about details of her personal life that are best kept private. Reading those parts of the letters - even in the privacy of my office - sometimes makes me feel like I am intruding on something I shouldn’t.

There is one small piece of the letter I think I am comfortable with sharing. In the letter from Annie to Marguerite, she acknowledges the receipt of a half dozen Breyer Hobos, a gift from Marguerite.
The six Hobos came thundering through a foot of snow into my entrance hall yesterday …and what a handsome sight. I am pleased beyond belief …so what if he is a buckskin! I almost have myself convinced of it by now, anyway. And the tiny [double heart brand] on his left hip is just the right touch. Indeed it is a beautiful job of modeling, and the kit is so colorful, besides the story it tells.
Whenever I see any discussion of the adaptation of either a real-life or fictional horse into a Breyer model, hobbyists are quick to point out the deficiencies or inaccuracies in it, sometimes even citing the commentary of those associated with the horse in question in support of their argument.

The reality is usually far more complicated than that. Sometimes the complaints made public by the people involved are not about the interpretation per se, but about all the intangibles that went into creating it. If there was a flaw somewhere in that process - a poor choice of words, a lack of acknowledgement or thanks, or even a missed phone call - that sort of thing can make a small problem seem so much more annoying than it originally was.

Obviously things went right, in this instance.

1 comment:

Terri Farley said...

HI Andrea,
I would love to hear more about your collection of Velma Johnston papers and memorabilia. I am sitting here with my WHOA pin, given to me by Velma when I first moved to Reno :) but I have no idea how one would acquire her papers. How were you able to do that?
I did several magazine interviews with her & she was helpful and supportive of my writing.
And yet I know very little of Hobo.
Terri Farley