Blast from the Past

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As Cimmerian readers well know, one of the last surviving men who actually knew the Howard family is Norris Chambers, now 88 years old I believe, who resides in White Settlement, Texas, which is in the suburbs of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Those of you who attended the centennial Robert E. Howard Days last June got a taste of the interview Don Herron and myself did with Norris last year, which appeared in June’s TC (V3n6). Later on this year, The Cimmerian will present the full interview, with lots of new information about Robert E. Howard and his parents, so keep an eye out for it.

But if after reading the tease in the June issue you can’t wait until autumn to get more Norris stories, head over to his website where many favorite tales from his bygone youth have been posted. The one that Howard fans will initially be most interested in is “Typing Conan Stories,” but for anyone wondering about the history of Cross Plains and the surrounding area during Howard’s time, all of the tales listed on the site are well worth reading. One of my personal favorites is the macabre, Charles Willefordian tale “Good Old Chicken,” the first tale in the list. Others describe numerous hijinks of the sort that Howard likely engaged in or witnessed.

Norris was thinking about attending Howard Days this year, but this spring his wife had a stroke and he felt it unwise to leave her side. So if you like his stories and website, drop Norris a quick email letting him know, and wish him and his wife good health and a quick recovery. Who knows, maybe next year Norris will be able to make the trip to Cross Plains and visit with fans at Howard Days. It would be fascinating to walk with him through the Howard House and listen to him describe how it was seventy years ago, when he walked its halls and rooms with Isaac, Hester, and Robert E. Howard.