Reviving Texas history through storytelling is Rickey Pittman’s first love. The author and songwriter shared his love in a free show on March 2, Texas Independence Day, to a small group of children and parents at the Harker Heights Public Library.
“Kids today don’t know what Texas Independence Day is, so I’m writing a letter to get the Texas Legislature to declare March 2 as a statewide school holiday,” Pittman said. “Be proud to be a Texan!” he declared.
A Dallas native and an adjunct English teacher, Pittman travels the state bringing the rich Texas history to life through stories, songs and showing handmade relics used by Texans more than a century ago.
Dressed in a Comanche War shirt made from buckskin with Apache leather boots and a cowboy hat, Pittman looked the part of a Texan from the 1800s.
He explained a variety of items, such as a wooden and glass candle holder, corn husk dolls and small paper fans called friendship fans. Three girls from the group helped him demonstrate the secret meaning of each movement.
“When you put it over your heart, that meant you like a boy,” said Pittman.
Mixed in with the stories were eight songs, including some he wrote, such as “Home Grown Tomatoes” and “The Texas Tornado,” along with famous songs, like “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” and “Long Tall Texan.” The kids tapped their toes and wiggled in their chairs during the music and jumped up to dance to “The Hog Boogie-Woogie” song.
This was the first time in the area for Rickey Pittman, who also performed this week at two Killeen schools, Fowler Elementary and Peebles Elementary, and did a show at Copper Mountain Library.
In addition to his storytelling, Pittman has 14 children’s books published, like “Red River Fever” and “Rio Grande Valley ABC,” among others.
“I recreate a way of life for the audience they won’t see just anywhere,” he said.
Samuel Quinones, 10, enjoyed wearing an Indian chief’s war bonnet made with hundreds of feathers during the show.
“It was an awesome experience,” he said.
Listening to the songs was the favorite part for Brianna Richardson, 7.
“I want to learn more about Texas.”