Ron Wallace - Bio Page "Yes, I am a pirate, two hundred years to late. Cannons
don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder, I'm an over forty victim of fate." Jimmy Buffett
I was born Ronnie Glenn Wallace December 17th 1953 at Haney Clinic on West
Main Street in Durant, Oklahoma to Leonard and Ida Wallace, the fifth child of
the family. My father was a police officer on the Durant Police Force and would
eventually rise to Captain before retiring from active duty.
I often say that Mom taught me how to work and Dad taught me how to avoid as
much of it as possible. They both taught me how to think, not what to think. I
was one of those fortunate few who had a phenomenal family and doubled my
luck by marrying into a second one. My wife's parents were a second set to me.
Her brothers are my brothers, her aunts and uncles became mine. Mom's baby
brother R.V. Rodgers and his wife Billie Jo were always there in my childhood,
and Mom's baby sister Iva married a man who became my father's best friend
and a second father to me at the time, Ira Waldrum, a baseball player and a
Penticostal preacher, one of the best men I ever met. My wife's Aunt Marie and
her husband Neville Curtis and her Aunt Sissy and her husband Joy Schrock
added to my already huge family filled with my own nieces and nephews and
their children. Family was always a driving force in my life. My Christmas list is
staggering without even adding the friends.
My dad was an avid reader of westerns, Louis L'Amour in particular and he
taught me to read using the comics in the Durant Daily Democrat before I
entered the first grade at George Washington Elementary on East Main Street
in Durant. My mother began to push me toward education early on. She was
forty-three when the baby of the family (me) was born twelve years after my
next youngest sibling. My oldest sister Joyce had died twenty years before I
was born and Floyd, Marie and Leonard Wayne (my remaining brothers and
sister) had dropped out of school for marriage or the military or their own
reasons, and she was determined I would not. God Bless her; coincidentally
they're all more prosperous than I am, and they've never failed to be there for
me. They provided me with five nephews and three nieces to be surrogate
little brothers and sisters. What more could I ask?
From the time Dad taught me to read, Mom began buying me books, starting
with the old Classics Illustrated Series of comic books. I loved 'em and
progressed quickly to the real deal. Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, Ivanhoe,
Kidnapped, Treasure Island, The Last of the Mohicans, The Deerslayer, Men of
Iron, Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, Great
Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Lord Jim, Frankenstein, I couldn't get
Then high school with girls and baseball ended all that, no time for reading
Shakespeare except in class when it was a forced matter. Mom could see the
battle being won for graduation and had set her sights on college next. I
resisted temporarily but succumbed. I enrolled at Southeastern State College
in Durant (but not on Main Street) as a pre-law major, and it soon became
Southeastern Oklahoma State University. I began dating my wife there, an
English major, and soon my focus shifted back to literature. I found English
comp, and humanities, and tons of literature courses taught by brilliant people
so I switched majors.
No one warned me of the vow of poverty, but I wouldn't have cared anyway.
Elbert Hill, Blanche Jamison, Billie Letts, Joseph Littlejohn, Richard Freed,
Claude Adams were an amazing faculty; they revived my love of reading and
writing for me. Drs. Ball and O'Riley terrified me but once more breathed
literature back into me.
It was also here at Southeastern that I found two of the most profound
influences in my life. Howard Starks was a poet, a real live honest to goodness
Walt Whitman, James Dickey, Robinson Jeffers poet, walking and talking
before my very eyes. He was a genius, and I was in awe. I wanted to write like
him. Some day if I'm lucky I'll get close.
Enter genius number two, Dennis Letts, In a Masters class on writing he read
a poem by Howard, "Running Boards" then he read two James Dickey poems
"The Last Wolverine" and "Looking For the Buckhead Boys". The rest of the
class was great stuff of all kinds and all forms, but I realized the genius of
Dennis Letts was his ability to think, to make these selections and to discuss
them explaining their glory. Through him I met his talented family and his
lovely wife, Billie, a wonderful writer on her own, but ah, Dennis, Dennis
became my friend, and to this day I love him like a big brother, always will.
I found a core family outside my family at SOSU. Chuck Ladd and Bobby Adams,
both of whom I missed there joined me at Colbert High School and both have
had enormous impacts on me being who I am. We lost Bob in '97 and I lost
Mom in '94 and Dad in 2000; they all missed me trying to be a writer. They knew
I wrote, but they missed the books and the attempt to make this fly, to be a
I write some poetry, but I want to be a poet, a real live Walt Whitman, James
Dickey, Robinson Jeffers, Ted Kooser, Howard Starks kind of poet. Dennis
Letts believed in me; he wrote the introduction to Native Son and
encouraged me, edited my work, gave me confidence. If I wouldn't have had a
glimmer of possibility, Dennis would have politely acknowledged my work and
talked about baseball, but he didn't, so I'll keep trying to become a poet I
Losing Dennis in February of 2008 was a hard blow. After sitting with him and
Billie less than a year before at the Oklahoma Book Awards, it's hard to
reconcile myself to the loss of my editor, my publicist, fantasy baseball partner
and most of all, my friend, but I'll be back there before too long.
My Version of the story and I'm sticking to it
by Ron Wallace:
Mom circa 1910
Mom and Dad 1926
Ride 'em Cowboy
Me in 1955
My Girl - Christmas
1973 Janie Darlin'
Matthew - OU
enrollment June 2008