Monday, June 20, 2016

HISTORY WITH A SIDE OF ICE CREAM

                                 Ice Cream with a history lesson topping.   

The summer sun is pounding down. Heat is shimmering off asphalt that's so soft the tar sticks to the bottom of your shoes. Add four hot, sweaty, and cranky kids to the mix. 

What are the parents to do but toss them in the car and head to Dairy Queen. The other three kids in the back of the station wagon, and me in the front between Mom and Dad. I got the best spot, this coveted spot, away from the pointy elbows of my siblings because I got car sick. Wink. Wink. 

This is where we learned the fine art of dealing with brain freeze as we gobbling down ice cream before it melted into a sticky mess.

To keep the air circulating in the non-air conditioned car, Dad would drive us around town. There were two places we always wanted to see. One was 'The Castle' overlooking Shoal Creek


 and the other was Bonnie & Clyde's hideout. 

Though my parents were quite young (7 & 9) when the Barrow gang came to town, they certainly remembered hearing all about the ruckus. These ice cream and history afternoons began my fascination with Bonnie & Clyde

(I compiled the following from the Joplin Historical Pages and Wikipedia. Note: It is because of this bust that the famous picture of Bonnie smoking a cigar and wielding a rifle became public.) 
      

                  Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow Hideout in
                                               Joplin MO

 
In April of 1933 the infamous outlaw lovers, along with other gang members: Clyde's brother, Buck, his wife Blanche, and William Daniel Jones, rented an apartment over a garage in Joplin, MO. Their plan was to use the place as a hideout after a series of robberies in the area. 



It wasn't too long until their furtive behavior aroused suspicions in the neighborhood and the local police were called. The cops,  suspecting bootleggers had taken over the apartment, were surprised to find the Barrow gang. A shootout ensued with the Barrow gang narrowly escaping. They left Police Detective Harry McGinnis dead and Newton Country Constable Wes Harryman fatally wounded.

Because the gang fled in such a hurry, they left behind many personal items. Though a large arsenal of weapons was confiscated, a camera may have been the most important and significant find. After the film was developed and released, the public got their first, intimate look at the couple.

These pictures thrust the outlaws into  national focus and fame.

Bonnie reputedly hated the picture of her smoking a cigar and was offended when newspapers dubbed her a 'Cigar Smoking Gun Moll.' It is said she regretted the gag picture so much, she once requested a hostage inform the press she didn't smoke cigars. 


The apartment survived the massive tornado that destroyed much of Joplin in 2011. Though it has been well preserved it is not open to the public.










REMullins



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12 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Interesting, R.E.! I've always been fascinated by Bonnie & Clyde, too! Thanks for sharing. Stay cool this summer! (And, of course, eat some ice cream.)

Margo Hoornstra said...

Very entertaining post. Nice to learn something with an early morning read. Best of luck with the books.

RE Mullins said...

Thank you Leah & Margo. I have also been fascinated by the Barker Gang. At the Ford museum near Detroit they have a letter from Clyde congratulating Henry Ford on his 'fine cars' and says when he has a choice he always picks a Ford to steal.
Looking back I must say I had a fairly idyllic childhood. There wasn't an excess of material wealth but I had loving and engaged parents.

Brenda Whiteside said...

I fondly remember our family trips to the Dairy Queen too. But ours weren't quite so historic. I became fascinated with Bonnie and Clyde after seeing the movie. Have no idea how factual it was, and in spite of it being about outlaws, I loved it. Thanks for the lesson, RE.

Jannine Gallant said...

Isn't it funny how we romanticize killers from the past? Those Wild West bad boys come to mind. I bet the good citizens of the day didn't think they were so romantic when they rolled into town, robbing and shooting. I wonder if that's what these mass murderers of the present think...that people will find them fascinating in a hundred years. Ugh. But, I'm not immune to the allure of Bonnie and Clyde. Thanks for the great post, Robin.

RE Mullins said...

My stay-at-home mother firmly believed in keeping our minds occupied. She said it was the only way she could prevent us from picking fights with each other.

Andrea Downing said...

R.E., thanks for this informative post. Loved seeing where Bonnie and Clyde hid out--too bad it's not open to the public, though.

RE Mullins said...

One day it might be turned into a museum. If it ever is, I'll be first in line.

Jannine, I've learned watching the plethora of documentaries that way too many citizens looked upon the bandits and mobsters as Robin Hoods. For some reason they didn't look at robbing banks (the man) as they did robbing the people. Al Capone had his soup kitchens, evidently they tipped well, were generous with money, and were nice to those they held-up. John Dillinger's a good example of what was considered 'a gentleman thief'. I think that's why they're still romanticized.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Interesting stuff, R.E. The days of celebrating bad guys never ends. Guys know all the words to The Godfather; them Mexican bandicoot "El Chapo" gets a visit from a movie star-Shawn Penn. The murderer has fans all over Mexico. Heavy sigh of frustration goes here.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Sorry for auto correct-on my dumb phone.

Diane Burton said...

Fascinating. Love the ice cream story. I've driven thru Joplin several times on the way to Arizona but never stopped. Next time, for sure.

Alicia Dean said...

OH wow, like others, I'm fascinated with Bonnie and Clyde. I didn't know their hideout was in Joplin. I've been there several times and my sister lives 30 miles from there. I visit her fairly often. I should check it out next time. I can't help but romanticize some of the older outlaws too. Jesse James was always one of my favorites and when I lived in Missouri, I visited his home and museum in Kearney a few times. What an experience. Thanks for the awesome post. I had no idea she hated that pic of her. Such a cool tidbit. Your books sound wonderful, by the way!