I have promised myself in 2018 to write something faithfully every day. As I wrote the last blog six days ago, I was working on a memoir for a friend.
Lee Edward Atterbury was born into his family’s circus in 1924. He worked in the circus until 1941, when he joined the Army Air Force and subsequently served as a gunner and radioman both in the European theater (N. Africa and Italy), and then in the South Pacific. When he returned from WWII, the era of small circuses had come to an end, and Lee and his brothers began show business again with carnival shows and games. Lee retired from the road in 1996, but his legacy lives on as his children continue with carnival games and concessions. Lee says that whether we talk about the circus or the Fair circuit, “It’s All Show Business.” (I’m using his quote as the working title of his memoir.)
I’ve been caring for Lee in his home for the past two years, and as I heard his stories, I knew that this is a valuable piece of American history that is rapidly fading with the lives of “our greatest generation.” I spent most of one year interviewing Lee to recover his memories of those years and get them down on paper. Last week, I finished a first solid draft of the memoir. This week, I am hoping to gather a few more details from his children. We are gathering photos for the book, and Martha Wherry, who illustrated “Camo, the Polka-Dot Pup” is working on cover art. I hope to publish before summer this year. Lee’s life has been rich with variety and experience, and he passes that on brilliantly to the reader. So stay tuned, folks, to more announcements forthcoming.