|James Byron Dean|
|Life Magazine, 1955 (Dennis Stock)|
This article is not to recycle the same old story that's been told over and over a million times. Nor is it some long biography of Dean's life from start to finish. No, instead this blog will be solely about my friend's experience at Dean's childhood home and cherished accounts shared by Dean's own family.
"It was June of 1984, as I recall," Roland started.
|Winslow Farm (James Dean's Home)|
Quickly they went outside and walked up to talk to the woman with shorter platinum blonde hair. She immediately took a liking to Roland's mother Patricia, and of course Roland. She stated that the way he was dressed, it reminded her of Jimmy and that was why she was looking at him.
|Winslow Farm (James Dean's Home)|
|Dean playing with "Markie" (Life Mag. 1955, Dennis Stock)|
|Spot look familiar? (Dennis Stock, Life Magazine, 1955)|
Roland continued to remember sitting in a chair next to the window, just like this photo seen to the right. He said that the whole experience, being able to relax and visit with Dean's family, in their home was surreal and dream like for him at the age he was. His mother had a long lengthy conversation with Marcus' wife, while Marcus said a quick hello and went upstairs. Roland and his dad continued to take photos of the home and just take in the surroundings of where they were.
"My dad wasn't really all into James Dean, but my mother and I were. This stop in Fairmount was basically for my mother and I." As he continued to look at the photos on display, the lady came back in the room and told him, "Follow me, I have something to show you."
|Roland sitting on a chair in James Dean's home|
|James Dean's 1949 Ford (given to him by his uncle for graduation)|
What is interesting is the fact that so many claim that this was a car he "borrowed" to go to Prom. When in fact, the car was bought brand new by his uncle as a gift to James Dean for graduation, so this theory of him "borrowing" it for Prom doesn't make any sense. As you can see by the photo, the car's original paint was green. To my knowledge this is the only photo posted online, that actually shows the car in it's original state (before they repainted it red and put white-wall tires on it).
|'49 Ford (James Dean's)|
While on the farm, Roland wandered around alone, just trying to put himself in Dean's place for a moment. He wondered how it felt for Dean when he came here for the first time at the age of 9. How it felt to grow up there, to learn to live without his mother, and where he might have spent his free time there on the farm. He walked on the grass, or on the dirt or bricks, wondering if that was a spot at one point in time that Dean had walked. A spot under a tree or on the porch where Dean once had sat and daydreamed. The experience was ethereal and unbelievable for him at such a young and influential age. Especially, being that James Dean was Roland's idol at the time, one can only imagine how this visit impacted him.
|Dusty with Mrs. Winslow|
|Mrs. Winslow, Dusty and Roland|
After they had spent a significant time at the Winslow Farm, Mrs. Winslow decided it was time to show the family where Dean was buried. So they all followed her in their station wagon up to the cemetery, but not before giving the family a few mementos, including a red Honda motorcycle helmet that she gave Roland's little nephew Dusty.
|Roland at the grave of James Dean|
Upon reaching the cemetery and going up to Dean's final resting place, it was obvious that something was wrong. "His headstone is gone! This is a regular occurrence, unfortunately," Mrs. Winslow remarked upon seeing that his headstone was stolen.
Standing there, above the grave of his idol, Roland paid his respects and took it all in. The surroundings, the sounds, everything. He saw where other relatives of James Dean were buried, including his uncle Marcus Winslow, Sr. After his trip to the cemetery, Mrs. Winslow then took them out to the place they had intended on visiting from the very beginning, the James Dean Museum.
|Paying his respects, vandals had stolen Dean's headstone|
While at the museum he met Adeline Nall, Dean's Drama Teacher from Fairmount High School. She was introduced to Roland and his family by Mrs. Winslow. As Patricia (Roland's mother) continued talking to Mrs. Winslow, Roland and his father walked around with Adeline, while she spoke of her memories of Jim (as she called him) and the story of when he gave her a painting of an orchid. She said that Dean had asked to borrow an orchid that he had given her as a gift, and that he later returned with a painting of the orchid he made for her. He had told her that he took the flower back so he could paint it. He then told her,"now you can keep it forever." She spoke with such admiration and affection for Dean, as she walked along showing Roland and his father the museum. She mentioned to Roland towards the end of the visit that he reminded her of a young Marlon Brando, and that Dean had idolized Brando when he was younger.
|Fairmount High School|
When the trip to the Museum was over, they said their goodbyes to the Winslows and Mrs. Nall. They took some more photos around town, including this one of the front of Fairmount High School, where Dean attended. As they drove away from the small, quiet town of Fairmount, Indiana the Boulware family was left with a wonderful memory. The memory of stepping into Dean's old life, if only for a day. They walked where he walked, sat where he sat, spoke with the family he cared for so much and even chit-chatted with his teacher. They experienced something that millions of people across the world only wish they could do. And yet, the Boulwares did it, they took a trip down memory lane at the Winslow Farm, a trip they will never forget.
(Copyright- J'aime Rubio, September 29th, 2013)
Thank you Roland Boulware for the wonderful interview, sharing your special memories and for allowing me to use your family photographs.
(Photos are copyright protected and are the property of Roland Boulware)
All other photos are from Public Domain or LIFE Magazine, 1955 (Dennis Stock)