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Six Days on the RoadBilly Boren
MARRIAGE & LIFE ON THE ROAD WITH FAMILY | In 1962, the first year of working The Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY, I dated a local girl, Sue Howard, she was a true beauty with a great sense of humor. We began dating and were married in Cave City, KY. We moved into an apartment and after several months we were asked by the apartment owner if we would like to move into their house on the river and "house sit" for them - this was amazing for us, and Sue became pregnant with soon to be our first child, a beautiful baby girl, Suzanne!
Suzanne, Sue, and I traveled across the United States as I performed at various clubs and although work was steady, and it was a great adventure, it was definitely a struggle. We were staying in small hotels, and keeping baby bottles cold in ice chests or by leaving them on window sills in the evening - this was definitely not a great long term plan. I knew that we needed a place to call home.
KIDS FIRST HOME, 32' HOLIDAY RAMBLER | In 1965, I had finally save enough money to buy our dream trailer, a 32ft Holiday Rambler - this would be our first family home. I purchased our trailer from a dealer that had turned an old service station into a trailer dealership on Hwy 51 South in Memphis. I bought a Dodge Monaco station wagon to pull the trailer with and the Dodge dealer in Tupelo gave me a deal on a trailer tow hitch at a discount and installed it for free (I would learn later not to purchase a bargain hitch!). I had spent most of my savings so I advised the Holiday Rambler dealer that I would drive up to the factory in Indiana and pick up the trailer in order to save transportation costs (gas was cheap then). When I arrived at the dealership and saw my new trailer, it was one of the most exciting moments in my life (outside of my marriage and new child of course!) - I knew that Sue and Suzanne would love it! The trailer was beautiful and ready to be hooked up and driven to Mississippi. But - there was one small hurdle - the hitch that I was sold was a bargain hitch and wouldn't work, I needed to have an equalizer hitch. The dealership let me know that I could pull the trailer a short distance to Bock Hitch Company, they phoned the company and let them know I was on my way. It was late afternoon and I arrived just before closing and was told I would have to wait until the next morning. I explained to the manager in charge that I had some money problems and he assured me we could work something out, and we did. I will always be grateful for a company and a manager with some trust and understanding. I will never forget my first night in my new trailer. It was winter and I found that one battery wouldn't run the heater fan for long. My trailer also had gas lights, one in the front and one in the rear bedroom. I ended up with one thin blanket and two gas lights burning. It was great when morning arrived and I was able to get into the shop and grab a cup of hot coffee and thaw out. The hitch was installed the next day and I was on the road by early afternoon. I had never pulled a large trailer before but learned quickly how to manage when the first 18 wheeler passed me, I also learned how important good brakes and a good hitch were!
Over the next several years, the family continued to travel with me as we traveled the country. When I traveled internationally, we would park the trailer at my parents house, and Sue and the kids would stay with them in Verona. The early years of traveling with the kids was a great adventure, back then the trailer parks had prime locations, we stayed in really beautiful locations across the United States.
SETTLING DOWN, Family Home, Verona, MS | We stayed on the road full time until we decided the kids needed to go to a regular school instead of mail order home school. In 1969, I purchased our family home in what was then known as Carr-Vista Park and Estates subdivision in Verona (now annexed into Tupelo). We initially rented the home out as we were still travelling with the kids, but in 1971, we moved into the home permanently. I found that life on the road was not fun without the kids tagging along, I used the trailer off and on for a few more years, and put a total of 175,000 miles on it and went through three vehicles while pulling it - those were great years and we loved our Holiday Rambler, but it was time for the kids to have a permanent home and for me to spend less time on the road.
It was at this time that my brother Charlie introduced me to the clothing business, this became our family business, and I continued to perform in clubs and as a circus ringmaster, but only seasonally, spending part of my time at home and part of my time on the road.
Although I continued to work in show business until 2004 and my kids were able to attend various shows, my last "show business" road trip that one of my kids was able to join me on was with my youngest son, Cliff, in 1991. we took several weeks over the summer and he joined me for a Circus I was working in Salt Lake City and in Ogden, Utah. This was a great memory for both of us.
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