Russ Freeman’s new book, “Life and Times of a Ragamuffin, Growing Up Wild,” has just been released by Outskirts Press. It is available online from Outskirts Press, Borders or Amazon.Com. It is also available at the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library and through Moonlight Books in Pagosa.
Russ was born in Mancos, Colo.,in 1938 and he grew up in southwestern Colorado. His book is about growing up in the San Juan Mountains. It chronicles experiences from his earliest memories through his graduation from the University of Colorado. It has been rated by Outskirts Press as their number one book for 2009 in the autobiography category.
During much of the author’s early life, he lived in and around Silverton, where his father was engaged in taking up railroads and salvaging mine and mill properties as well as the inter-connecting tramways. Thus, the book contains information and photographs of famous mining properties which now no-longer exist.
During the long stormy winter days and nights in the high country families often gathered to read, sing songs around the fire or just reminisce. Often times the stories told around the fire would be exaggerated to make them a bit funnier or more interesting. Over time the stories that were told and re-told could become hilarious or outrageous with the distinction often being whether one was the story teller or the unfortunate person about whom the story was being told.
The book continues the story-telling tradition with a mix of pictures, exploits suitably embellished to make them interesting, and explanations of things that may or may not be if interest. For example, if you ever wonder how a key works you can find a diagram and an explanation in the book. If you ever thought of swimming in the snow, you can find a description of such an exploit in the book.
It is light reading intended to produce an occasional chuckle and a fond memory or two. It is for anyone who is from the area, who wishes they could have had experienced the area a few decades ago, who wants to know more about the area’s mining history or who just likes to read.