Growing Up True

Lessons from a Western Boyhood

hmbook-grow.jpg The world had been ravaged by global war and then in 1946 it was quite suddenly over. Families regrouped to sort things out, to fall in love again, went back to their roots, to firm ground, to stake out something to endure, to hold on to. Ours went to the wheat fields of eastern Colorado, a mile from a three-room school, a horse race from the Big Bend, a world away from radio and music and those things that draw a man to cities where wars come from. Here in cottonwood country three small boys failed miserably trying to teach a race horse to plow but shocked the county with a plow horse that raced. We showed chickens and sheep at County Fair, learned to true up a log barn or a wire fence, to stack hay and ride like the wind.

Stewart Udall, a former Secretary of the Interior, says that in Growing Up True are the lessons and laughter which shaped “the greatest generation.” AVI, a children’s book writer and himself a multiple award winner, calls the book “A rarity a memorable memoir a true love story, the love of family.“

The publisher, Fulcrum, has written this precis: “Written in a frank and refreshing style, Growing Up True evokes the struggles of a boy stretching for manhood. Whether describing the dares of taunting schoolmates, his perfectionist father’s attempts to true a fence by adjusting the posts just a “whisker more,” an elegant aunt on her knees with freezing new-born lambs in the family kitchen, or his own coming to terms with a suicide, Craig Barnes offers readers a hopeful message in which integrity, hard work, kindness, and tolerance remain bedrock. Craig Barnes grew up on the plains of Littleton, Colorado, in the 1940s and 1950s. Over time he has been an essayist, playwright, newspaper columnist, National Public Radio commentator, teacher, trial lawyer, politician, and international negotiator. He divides his time between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Marble, Colorado.“