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Book featuring the "Recollections" of Johnny Cash is released

On the grand opening of her father’s boyhood home, Tara Cash Schwoebel announced the publication of a book about Johnny Cash’s reflections of growing up in Dyess.  The book is titled “Recollections by J.R. Cash: Childhood Memories of Johnny Cash” and was written in her dad’s handwriting.  Schwoebel tells how the idea for the book came about.

“In 1995, I gave my father a book entitled ‘Dad, Share Your Life with Me’”, said Schwoebel. “ I gave him a copy which included questions about childhood, life and his love of music.  The following year, he returned it to me on my birthday filled out with all of his boyhood memories of Dyess.  I am able to share this book, written in his own hand, and I included photos to enrich his stories.”

Schwoebel, the youngest of Cash’s four daughters, says this diary gives a deeper insight into the singer’s life in northeast Arkansas:

“These questions are not the typical questions that he was asked in the countless number of interviews he did in his career.  That fact makes this such a unique and wonderful addition to the story of my father, Johnny Cash.  This book tells the story of a young boy, his home life, his friends and family, his dedication to work, and where all of his hopes and dreams came alive in Dyess, Arkansas.”

She says she was working on the book when she went through the house in April.  She says all of those memories seem to come to life when she revisited the house.  She says she remembers visiting the Boyhood Home with her father in the 1980s and remembering how the house was almost dilapidated.  She says she was beyond pleased when she saw how the house was restored.

“I am touched that I have had the opportunity to visit my father’s boyhood home and to have had the incredible good fortune of working with Dr. Ruth Hawkins, the director of the Arkansas Heritage Sites program.  She played a major role with many hard-working hands of Arkansas State University in restoring my father’s boyhood home back to its original state.  Dr. Hawkins’ wealth of knowledge and resources allowed me to add many photos to paint the picture of what life was like growing up in Dyess.”

She tells what some of her favorite memories and stories where that she saw while working on the book.

“I still smile and laugh at some of the things that he wrote and drew.  Sometimes if he didn’t have an answer, he would make up a limerick about me, or he would draw a picture.  After I went to the house, it gave me a new perspective as a re-read the stories that he had.  I think the whole thing is wonderful because it paints a huge picture of who he was.  There are so many fishing stories and others. 90% of the questions are about his childhood.  His sense of humor is something I think about when you ask that question.”

She tells what she hopes Johnny Cash fans will learn about her father:

“A better understanding of his more playful side and where this all began.  I think it is important to see where he grew up, and I think you can see that by reading the book.”

Schwoebel announced the book yesterday at the Cooper Alumni Center at Arkansas State University.  The grand opening of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home takes place tomorrow.  Copies of the books will be available on the Second Floor of the Dyess Administration Building during tomorrow’s grand opening.  More information is at www.recollectionsbyjrcash.com.

Johnathan Reaves is the News Director for KASU Public Radio. As part of an Air Force Family, he moved to Arkansas from Minot, North Dakota in 1986. He was first bitten by the radio bug after he graduated from Gosnell High School in 1992. While working on his undergraduate degree, he worked at KOSE, a small 1,000 watt AM commercial station in Osceola, Arkansas. Upon graduation from Arkansas State University in 1996 with a degree in Radio-Television Broadcast News, he decided that he wanted to stay in radio news. He moved to Stuttgart, Arkansas and worked for East Arkansas Broadcasters as news director and was there for 16 years.