I attended the talk on ranching at the Raton Museum the other day.
There were a few speakers but one woman’s story was especially intriguing. As a very young child growing up on a cattle ranch she went along on the cattle drives.
Like the ranch hands, she had to prepare her own bedroll. She explained they each rolled a paperback book in their bedrolls for campfire reading.
One year, she took Peter Rabbit. It didn’t take many nights around that campfire before the cowboys were tired of reading Peter Rabbit to her. So, they began reading their Ranch Romances aloud.
The cowboys taught her to read that summer. When it was time for her to start school she said she was not interested in the Dick and Jane readers because the ranch romances were much more exciting.
I read up on ranch romances of the 1940s. Here’s what one blogger said: “The cowgirls in these were strong and self-sufficient, but still feminine. The heroines were what the readers wanted to be, living the life they wanted to lead.”
Self-sufficient, but still feminine–I’m sold. With my daughter beginning to read pretty well, I believe I’ll be picking up a few ranch romances for our campfires.