By Lydia Bogar

Not much television time at number 25 beyond “Big Brother Bob Emery” who we “met” when we got home from school for lunch every day.   In elementary school in those days,  prayed and said the Pledge of Allegiance. We had air raid drills, duck and cover.  And we walked to and from school–eight tenths of a mile, back and forth, four times a day, no matter what the weather.

On Friday nights when Daddy watched boxing on our little Emerson set, I sneaked under the dining room table to watch too.  That’s how I learned the Gillette theme song.

At about the same time, I learned “Happy trails to you, until we meet again…” from my childhood idol, Dale Evans.

Every week, she rode into our living room on her beautiful horse Buttermilk. She lived on a handsome ranch with handsome children and a handsome husband. A working mother–what a concept in 1955! Four of her kids were adopted. Her daughter Robin was what was called in those days, “retarded,” like Judy, the young neighbor I walked with on afternoons when my mother wanted me out of the house. Robin died two years later. When I was in sixth grade, I read a book that Dale wrote.

I was introduced to Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen when Dale sang her theme song on their show.  Her smooth voice and the lyrics remain tucked in some little memory cranny of my mind along with a collection of songs from John Denver, Elvis, and the Kingston Trio. Dale Evans—singer, songwriter, movie star, mother, and cowgirl. Yee-ha!

Everything in Dale’s world seemed perfect, including her childhood home–probably a role model for early television and maybe even Mr. Disney. At least it seemed that way to me until I looked into Dale’s life.

Roy Rogers was her fourth husband. “The Sons of the Pioneers” were not family except on television. Her birth name was Lucille Smith.  Roy’s was Leonard Slye.  Lucille and Leonard devoted their retirement years to adoption advocacy and conservative Christian projects like keeping prayer in schools.

But Dale and Roy helped to keep my life simple in the mid 50’s when I played with my official Dale Evans plastic horse and chuck wagon complete with tiny little cooking utensils that were eaten by my dog.

Reciting one of Dale’s prayers, “Who cares about the clouds when we’re together? Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather,” I adapted to the changes in my family as Daddy got sicker and Mom baked late at night when she couldn’t sleep.

I came to believe that Dale Evans was my friend, and I still keep her words at heart: “It’s the way you ride the trail that counts.”

BOLLI MATTERS co-editor, feature writer, and Writers Guild co-chair Lydia Bogar

Our own “Renaissance Woman,” Lydia has done everything from teaching English to doing volunteer emergency service.  She says she “hails from Woostah–educated at BOLLI.”


  1. We Americans happier then or more hopeful? Or was that just the shine of youth? I wonder how many Black Americans felt those same happy thoughts and feelings.

  2. Hi Ho Lydia
    Those 1950’s were full of simplicity and idealism, although some of it was a facade. You capture that duality in this memoir and I really enjoyed it.
    Dale Evans caught my eye as well- but for other more subtle reasons.

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