An Autobiography: Chapter 4, Painting the Barn Roof


| 5/15/2012 11:11:39 AM


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Many years before I realized, in the late 1940s, that there were no magazines for hillbilly/country music fans, I discovered this was true for the popular music artists. Movie magazines were prevalent from the silent movie era, including Photoplay, Silver Screen, Modern Screen, and Motion Picture. 

Movie Magazine 

As a teenager, I knew all the pop singers and big bands, and sang the hits of the day. Singers like The Andrew Sisters, Vaughn Monroe, Bing Crosby and the Ink Spots were selling millions of records in the early 1940s, and the big bands, like Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Harry James and Tommy Dorsey were popular. Fans knew them through their records, but could not find anything about their lives – and what was wanted by the fans most of all was rarely available: their photographs.

I was thinking about this at a time I was spending summer months with my Uncle Cecil (my mother’s brother) on his small 10-acre farm near Waynesville, Ohio. He was a remarkable man. He played his old fiddle in the evening after a day’s work, and I would pump the player piano. But I did get to listen to the radio there, the local disc jockeys, and kept up with the popular songs.

Being blind, Uncle Cecil had attended the School for the Blind in Ohio, where he learned to make brooms. He had a complete broom shop in the barn, and he taught me to sew brooms. We turned out the best brooms available, and every few days we had to take a bundle of brooms to the stores in Waynesville.

Cecil Hiteman 

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