By Studs Terkel, Ed Cray
Author note: ahead by means of Studs Terkel
A patriot and a political radical, Woody Guthrie captured the spirit of his instances in his enduring songs. Ed Cray, the 1st biographer to be granted entry to the Woody Guthrie Archive, has created a haunting portrait.
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Additional info for Ramblin' Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie
Elliot was at the dance with three friends, “all hoodlums,” as he later put it, and all standing around in sloppy T-shirts. He did not give them a chance to get near Ruth. Dancers were charged a nickel for charity to enter the roped-off dance floor. Elliot quickly paid for the first dance and took Ruth out on the floor. ” Everything seemed perfect to Elliot, but as the first dance ended he realized he did not have any more nickels. He told Ruth to wait on the dance floor for a minute, and frantically borrowed enough change from his friends to keep her by his side for the rest of the night.
As they stepped off the first curb, Elliot kicked something. He stooped to pick it up and discovered it was a nickel. Neither of them was superstitious, but this time they felt they had received a powerful omen. Ruth said, “That’s for good luck. ” Elliot put the nickel into his wallet, and suddenly his good spirits seemed to return. The next day he got a new and better job at another lighting fixture company. Decades later, he still had that same nickel in his wallet. Ruth and Elliot’s unique partnership established many of its patterns in those early days.
They could never stay apart more than two or three weeks, and Sarah grew ever more worried. After her high school graduation in 1934, Ruth enrolled at the Uni- versity of Denver, announcing her unconventional plan to become a lawyer. She continued to work for Sarah and Louie, but when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the National Youth Administration Act in 1935, providing money to employ young people, she got a job in the chancellor’s office as a stenographer. Elliot continued at Shockett Lighting and at the local art school, although he knew his education was mediocre compared to what he would find at the Art Institute of Chicago or the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles.
Ramblin' Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie by Studs Terkel, Ed Cray