„Recollections by J. R. Cash: Childhood Memories of Johnny Cash“ by Tara Cash Schwoebel
In case you didn’t know, I am a huge Johnny Cash fan. It’s not just the music, it’s also the places the music comes from. The whole man, his family, his June, his life that fascinates me. Which is why, when this book came out, I couldn’t resist.
It’s the story of his childhood, told by the man himself. In his own words and handwriting, to his daughter Tara. It’s one of those books that asks a dad a lot of questions about his childhood, and Johnny Cash only had to fill in the answers. His handwriting is a bit difficult to read in the beginning, but I got used to it pretty quickly.
His daughter Tara gave this book to him in 1995, and the book is set up so he has to answer one question every day. J. R. Cash (his birth name, btw.) gave it back to Tara on her birthday in 1996, and she decided to publish it now. For the publication, she added some family photos, so you can get a proper picture of the people and places Johnny Cash writes about.
Some questions the book asks are really personal (e.g. one of the first asks about the circumstances of his birth) and some are just really random and fun. You learn things like, that he never ice skated, or never sled down a hill in the snow. Or that his nickname in school was „Guitar„. And that he got his first date home by 9:30.
A lot of his favourite things and memories (his first bike, or his happiest childhood memory) seem to be from back when he was 12. Which was the year his older brother Jack died in a horrible accident. He even writes about that a little bit.
I had the feeling that he liked talking about the time before the accident, and didn’t share or remember much about the time after. It’s what makes this book a little more special than your average biography, since it asks the uncomfortable questions, instead of the author just picking the happy things to write about.
Do I really believe he never got into a fight, that J. R. Cash never ever cussed as a child? Maybe not, but I believe that it is what he wanted his youngest daughter Tara to believe, and that’s good enough for me.
This book gets a solid 5 out of 5 from me, and I would give it more if I could. It’s a special piece of history. Thank you Tara Cash for sharing something so precious with us!