My husband Dave and I grew up in Maplewood, Missouri, a middle to lower middle-class community. World War II had been over for several years. The economy was growing, and anyone willing to work could find a means to make a living.
It was a time on Saturday evenings when boys pushed carts down our streets loaded with Sunday newspapers to sell to those who were ready to catch up on the latest news.
It was a time when we locked our skates onto our shoes and buzzed up and down sidewalks, balancing precariously trying to avoid the cracks in the concrete. And sometimes running home with skinned knees expecting a kiss from mom and a dab of stinging iodine on the wound to make it all better.
Those of us of a certain age remember a variety of people personally coming to our door to collect insurance payments, sharpen our knives, and deliver milk. On a hot summers day we would meet the man who was delivering ice for our “ice box’ in hopes he would chip off a little piece for us to help chase the heat away.
It was a time when Dave was about five or six and a man came through the area taking pictures, for a price, of the would-be cowboys in the neighborhood. The TV show, Hapalong Cassidy, was the rage at the time. Each week Hapalong, and his horse Topper, fought the bad guys. Is it any wonder that all little boys wanted to be like Hapalong?
So along comes the man with a pony, and Russ and Betty Ferguson saw the opportunity to make their little boy happy. It’s doubtful they were able to buy the full cowboy regalia; the outfit probably came with the pony. It doesn’t matter that the pony and outfit weren’t Dave’s. The picture is a snap-shot in time in the 1950s when life was simple and cowboys ruled. It was a time when a little boy, on a pony in full western regalia, could pretend that he was a cowboy, if only for a moment.