Heritage, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 1988 Page: 26
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Generations is a board game about makebelieve
ancestors developed by Le Earl
Bryant, who was interested in researching
her own Scottish roots. Ms. Bryant says she
is out to put an end to the belief that the
study of genealogy is merely a tedious and
time-consuming search through motheaten
family bibles and old court records.
The idea of turning a genealogical search
into a game came to her while she was researching
her own family's background. It's
a new approach for people who haven't
thought much about their family history to
start doing just that!
The game's strategy is similar to "Clue".
Two to six players move tokens around the
board to seven different geographical regions
within the United States searching
for hints regarding lifestyle, career, and
kind of person their ancestor was. Deductive
reasoning is used to create a fictional
family tree. The winner is the individual
best able to separate rumor from fact.
The game is packaged handsomelythe
front cover is especially appealing with
a brown-tone print of what might have
been a Victorian sitting room around the
turn of the century. There are ingenious
tokens representing various professions
such as an artist (palette), farmer (milk
bottle), carpenter (gold hammer), and lifestyles
such as a hero (blue star) and criminal
(rat). The game board is sturdy, yet
folds for easy storage. Authentic-looking
ancestor charts are also provided so each
player (researcher) can record results and
Generations allows for several interesting
variations including playing in teams
(especially useful when a smaller child
wants to be included in the fun). If you
want to build an entire dynasty of imaginary
ancestors the game provides enough
materials until all the members of the fifth
generation are known.
Don't wait until there's nothing better
to do than play "Monopoly". Generations is
a different kind of game that will pique
anyone's interest because it allows the
imagination to bloom! It can turn the
humble history of your ancestor's past into
a fascinating web of intrigue.
The game is being sold in the Print Shop
at Old City Park, Dallas; Chad's Rainbow
Toy Stores, Inc.; by mail; and some mu
seum shops including the National Archives
Gift Shop, Washington, D.C.
Elizabeth J. Vair is the Managing Editor for
Echoes of the Past
Echoes of the Past: The Cowboy Poetry of
Melvin Whipple. 7"x9"; 48 pages, softbound.
Illustrated with drawings by Lucky
Melvin Whipple is a cowboy and a poet.
Born in Utah and raised in the Arizona
Strip, he has lived the life of a cowboy for
as long as he can remember, making his way
across several states before settling in the
Texas Panhandle, where he still spends up
to 14 hours a day on horseback working
cattle in a feedlot operation. His past is full
of memories that echo through the carefully
chosen words and gentle rocking
cadence of his poems to create a scene of
day-to-day life as a working cowboy.
Published by the University of Texas
Institute of Texan Cultures at San Antonio,
and illustrated with drawings by
Whipple's son Lucky, Echoes of the Past:
The Cowboy Poetry of Melvin Whipple reflects
a long and lively tradition.
"Cowboy poetry emerged with the development
of western cattle culture during
the latter 19th century," says Dr. Jim
McNutt, Director of Research and Collections
at the Institute, and editor of Echoes
of the Past. Since at least the 1870s, a steady
flow of cowboy poems has apppeared in
newspapers, magazines and books, he adds,
citing among the classics such works as
William Lawrence Chittenden's "Ranch
Verses," N. Howard Thorpe's "Songs of the
Cowboys," Charles Badger Clark's "Sun
and Saddle Leather," and Curley Fletcher's
"Rhymes of the Roundup."
Whipple began writing poems about his
experiences as a cowboy during the winter
of 1962, while working for the Arizona
Livestock Sanitary Board. Some of
Whipple's poems recall the bygone years,
describing the changes he has seen in his
life of working cattle. Others recount stories
of events he has experienced and
people he has encountered.
"I really don't know why I write,"
Whipple says. "It seems to give me a certain
satisfaction, writing about something that
happened on the days worked, or cowboys
I've known, or horses I've ridden... I have
been asked at different times why I didn't
publish my poems. Well, I didn't know
how, for one reason, and I didn't think they
was good enough. But I do hope they paint
a picture for tho th that read them ..."
Printed and published verse is an important
aspect of cowboy poetry, but the heart
of the tradition lies in recitation, either of
original creations or well-known verses
that have been around for many years.
Whipple, for example, drafts his poems in
longhand and then types them. But rather
than hand the typed version to guests, he
reads from the pages, drawing the listener
in with the rhythm of his words.
"On my first visit to Melvin's home in
Hereford, Texas," says McNutt, "I sat
across from him at the dining table and
listened to him reading several of his poems
aloud. He read . . . with a careful sense of
meter that would be hard to discern on the
printed page, and he recited 'The Zebra
Dun' in its entirety with scarcely a hitch,
then told me he had first learned it 50 years
Whether printed or not, cowboy poetry
is meant to be heard. Because recitation is
such a significant part of the tradition, the
Institute has also produced an audio tape of
Whipple's poems to accompany the book.
Echoes of the Past is available at the
Institute Store, by mail order, and at many
local bookstores. The book and cassette are
available as a set for $11 (plus tax). If
purchased individually the prices are $6.50
for the book (softbound only) and $5.50 for
the tape. A postage and handling fee for
mail orders is additional. For more information,
contact the Institute at P. 0O. Box
1226, San Antonio, Texas 78294. (512)
Review by Jocelyn Eckerman, Director of
News and Information for the Institute of
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 1988, periodical, Spring 1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45435/m1/26/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.