BY HIS OWN VIDEO
John Montandon's book, By His Own Blood, is rich with images of the west Texas plains and the people who lived under those expansive blue skies where he grew up. A great deal of the communities, ranches, and farms are still there - and many haven't changed very much since Doc and Mary Lee Montandon raised their sons on their small cotton farm. In fact, the farm house and even the pump house are still there - pretty much just as they were in the book.
As a complement to his book, John went back to Texas recently to visit the places he brought to life through his writing. Where his ancestors carved their dreams out of the new American landscape. Where his dad sang hymns while driving his tractor through the field preparing it for planting. Where his mother met her husband on a hot Sunday afternoon on the streets of Knox City in 1937. Where he grew to be a man under the influence of a father with great character. And where an unspeakable tragedy happened to Doc that brought about a revelation.
John has compiled and narrated some great videos of this trip that provide more insight into the making
of By His Own Blood. Be with him as he re-lives those places in the story and makes it come alive.
AUDIO ACCORDING TO THE WORDS OF DOC
In the spring of 1983, John Montandon mailed his parents a Panasonic cassette tape recorder and three blank tapes. He asked them to make a few recordings whenever they felt like it, talking about their background, childhood, young adulthood, their marriage, our family, and anything else that came to mind.
He didn't expect a whole lot. But, over the next three and a half years, they recorded hours of their memories, anecdotes, songs and family tidbits. His dad especially loved to make the recordings while sitting in his favorite easy chair. It was a good reason for him to sing his religious hymns, and the recording time became a big part of his weekly routine. Little did John know at the time, but those recordings would also document his father's recounting of the rapid decline of his physical and mental health and the conspiracy to cover up of the cause of his death.
Some of Doc's recordings were transcribed in By His Own Blood as they told his story
in his own words and through religious songs he loved to sing. Those recordings and
many others are available to hear by simply clicking on the "audio" button below.
BROTHER GENE'S STORIES
As recounted in By His Own Blood, one of the things John Montandon liked most about his brother, Gene, during the first six to eight years after I was born, was his great story telling. The boys shared the same bedroom for a long time, and at night when they were lying in their beds joking with each other, Gene would get quiet for a moment and then say, "You want to hear a story?"
And of course, John did. The story of Peter Rabbit was written from memory - word for word - in Chapter 4 of the book. Most nights John would fall asleep listening to Gene's rendition of Peter Rabbit or one of his brother's many other vivid tales. Here you can read two more of Gene's stories. Imagine what it was like late on a summer's night, in John and Gene's bedroom of the small farm house, with the ever present west Texas wind blowing in through the window.