As of today, there is a new member of the Heavenly Western Swing dance band . . . he was known here on earth as Bill Dessens . . . and was a member of The River Road Boys . . . although my Mom had known him for years, I was privileged to meet Mr. Dessens for the first and only time just two years ago . . . on the 10th day of June . . . at the 2012 Rockdale Homecoming . . . as a member of the 1947 graduating class of Rockdale High School, Bill was in town for his 65th class reunion . . .
Photo of Bill and Vickie by Lucile Estell
Back in March of 2011 I purchased a packet of old letters in an online auction . . . my interest was piqued because the description said they were sent to Rockdale . . . which made them desirable (to me) as vintage items which could be scanned for use in digital scrapbook projects . . . the oldest letter is dated 1874 . . . which just happens to be the year of the birth of Rockdale . . .
No names were mentioned in the auction, so I did not know until the letters arrived in my mailbox what a treasure they were for one of Rockdale's early families (the Dessens) . . . I established contact with Bill Dessens, and we exchanged multiple emails regarding the letters . . . I sent scanned images of all of the letters to him . . . and was finally able to hand-deliver the originals to Bill on the 10th day of June in 2012 . . .
Some of the letters were written in French . . . and Bill was hoping to find someone who could and would translate them for him . . . do not know if he was ever able to do that . . . he wanted to pay me . . . I declined the offer . . . but did say I would be delighted to receive a CD of their music . . . he graciously gave me two . . . they are a treasure . . . as was he . . .
R.I.P. Bill Dessens . . .