Here is an event that took place while I lived in Jasper, Texas, in the 1930s and was employed by the H. N. Gibbs & Co. department store.
Late one Saturday night Mr. Singletary, our hardware manager and part owner of the business, and I, buyer and manager for the men’s department, were alone in the store. As I was going to the door with Mr. Singletary to lock and go home, a young, goodlooking lady appeared and asked if we had boots and riding pants. I told her we did and asked her to come in.
I measured her feet and showed her a pair of H. J. Justin’s Lady Boots for thirty-five dollars. She asked to see the riding pants. I proceeded to measure her and showed her a pair of D. J. Riding Pants, also for thirty-five dollars, and asked her to step into the ladies’ dressing room to try on the slacks. She looked me straight in the eye and replied, “Hell, I don’t have the time to go to dressing rooms. I’m in a big hurry.”
Standing about two feet out in front of me, she placed her right hand on my shoulder. With her left hand she reached down and pulled her dress above her waist (she was wearing a pretty pair of pink panties). She told me to put those pants on her. Then she sat down, and I put the boots on her. She paid me seventy dollars and was gone in less than five minutes.
The following week, about Tuesday or Wednesday, a go-between betrayed the outlaw pair Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow to the police near Shreveport, Louisiana. He told the officers what road the couple would be on. He was to be standing on this road at a certain place, which would serve as a signal to Bonnie and Clyde that their route was clear. When they came around the curve, he stepped out on the road. They slowed to a stop, and the posse cut them down. One hundred and eighty-seven bullets hit the car. Bonnie Parker was wearing the boots and pants I had sold her.
Bonnie had been born and raised in Texas. She was one of Clyde’s last women, and he had trained her as a crack marksman. They kept several guns always loaded, in the car, and many times before they had shot their way clear of posses and roadblocks.
As for that previous Saturday night, Mr. Singletary had waited for me to finish serving Bonnie. He saw her pulling up her dress while I slipped on the riding pants. He told all of Jasper, which was very embarrassing to me—but I was also really afraid some of Bonnie and Clyde’s henchmen might think I had something to do with their meeting their deaths. But at the time I didn’t even know who I was waiting on.
Of course, they always did their shopping at hours when people were not around.