• Fred R. Kline

FRK-2.27.2019. Notes for a Memoir

FRK-2.27.2019. Notes for a Memoir Copyright © Fred R. Kline, 2019

Fred R. Kline age 7 & Allen Kline age 5, San Antonio, TX, 1947

A friend recently asked for some proof I was a cowboy.....Moving to San Antonio,Texas from New Jersey at age seven in 1947, I entered the cowboy's life, which had been a rich part of my young fantasies--admittedly, inspired by movie cowboys like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. For one thing, I couldn't wait to see a cactus and when I did, in Marshall, Texas, it was a memorable moment--obviously, as I remember the time and place! My late younger brother Allen (who would have been 78 tomorrow) was less enthusiastic about being a cowboy but he was a good and fearless natural rider and a natural hell-raiser, and so more than qualified as a cowboy. Many a Sunday, my father took us to the stables at Brackenridge Park and we rode our horses in a small circular ring.

These were nice ponies, and my bother's horse was in love with my horse whose name was Apache. Later, it was only logical, since my parents let their baby grow up to be a cowboy, that I would have an interest in cowgirls. This interest blossomed at a nearby dude ranch, The Flying L in Bandera, where the cowgirl of my dreams appeared. By then I was 10. The culmination of my cowboy carreer came along at 22 in the Marine Corps (weird but true), when I was chosen to be assistant stable manager at the Yuma Air Station in Arizona, just as I was finishing my active duty in 1962. This plum of a job came to me soley because I was from Texas. They knew nothing of my early experience at Brackenridge Stables! Several high points of that experience were, as follows: being thrown from a runaway stable horse who didn't want to miss his dinner; flying off a horse into the dust in a little rodeo in order to bulldog a steer who dodged my attempt; riding for ten miles carring the American flag in a 4th of July parade which left me lame and halt for three dsays afterward. Finally, in the most regrettable cowboy incident, I traded a stable horse I had purchased for a tiny diamond engagement ring which I ended up throwing into the San Antonio River before I broke off the affair, feeling the ring to be bad luck. Oddly enough, something good came from that blasted hope. I actually tracked down my fiance's long lost father in Houston and facilited a reunion. I remember, first thing, he gave her a $100 bill from his pocket, which kind of shocked me. I left them for the afternoon, and of course lost track of what developed from the reunion. At least I didn't marry the wrong girl and with luck, I can only hope something good beyond a hundred bucks came into her life.

PFC. Fred R. Kline, Marine Boot Camp, 1960, MCRD, San Diego, CA.