By BRAD NEWMAN Amarillo Globe-News
2011 The Associated Press
DUMAS, Texas — Louise Carroll George is in the story business.
Specifically, George retells the tales of the region's past; the people and places of a different era, one that shaped so much of the Texas Panhandle.
"Our heritage is so interesting," the longtime Dumas resident said. "I want the stories to live on."
George's latest book, "Some Real Good Old Boys," spotlights the lives of 11 men ages 84 to 95 from the Texas Panhandle. The 327-page volume, which released in December, is her fourth publication about the area's history.
George, 78, hasn't always been an author. She began her writing career in earnest after her retirement in 1992.
Encouragement from family members and friends prompted George to pursue her longtime writing interest.
In 1994, she self-published a book about Masterson, a community located about 30 miles north of Amarillo. George, a 1950 Amarillo High School graduate, lived in the town with her husband, J.A., and four children from 1958 to 1969.
"I wanted to honor that place," she said. "We had such a great experience there."
The book, titled "No City Limits: The Story of Masterson, Texas," is based on George's memories and extensive research and interviews.
"Some Real Good Old Boys" is a companion to George's second book, "Some of My Heroes are Ladies," released in 2003. It contains the stories of nine Panhandle women aged 85 to 101.
"Those type of personal stories are always interesting to people," said Dumas resident Martha Crabb, a longtime acquaintance of George.
For her biographical works, George relied on personal interviews, a skill she developed over more than 20 years working for the Texas Employment Commission in Dumas.
"Interviewing was second nature to me by the time I left there," she said.
After visiting each of her subjects for the books, George would write the memoir of each one. George then took excerpts from the memoirs that shared a common topic and arranged the excerpts into chapters.
"Some Real Good Old Boys" features men from various parts of the Panhandle — Claude, Goodnight, Perryton, Friona, Dalhart and more. Their lives represent a broad array of occupations (farming, ranching, banking, railroading), and their stories offer adventure, humor and wisdom.
"I've learned so much by doing this," George said. "It's just so much fun."
The book includes black-and-white photographs throughout and begins with short introductions of each of the 11 men, and the remaining 10 chapters span a bevy of topics, from war experiences to the weather.
The entire work is written from the perspective of the men.
"When you get through reading Louise's books, you will feel as though you really know these people," said Glyda Pflug, a longtime friend of George. "She brings their stories to life."
George also wrote the Dumas installment of the "Images of America" series, a pictorial book about the history of Dumas which released in 2009.
George said she does not have any specific plans for her next project, but she indicated she might try writing a fictional novel based on the life of an acquaintance.
Whatever the subject, readers can expect a story rooted in the narratives of real-life Texas Panhandle people.
"I want people to just enjoy the stories and have a good time," she said.