My heart is broken.
Roy Rogers has been a big hero of mine for as long as I can remember. From the time I was knee high to a grasshopper I wanted to meet him and go visit his museum in California. Well I never met him as he passed away about the time I moved to Arizona, but visiting his museum was the next best thing.
I remember exactly where I was when he passed away in 1998 – I had just gotten to work that morning and a co-worker dropped the news on me. I remember going to my office, closing the door and having a good long cry.
I moved to Arizona in the late 1990’s, and at that time The Roy Rogers/Dale Evans Museum was located in Victorville, California. The museum houses personal items and memorabilia from a lifetime of living and show business. Including of course, that greatest of all horses, Trigger.
Each year, I would make a trip over to Victorville to go through the museum, watch the movies, re-visit the collection. It was always such a joyous experience.
That lasted until 2003, when the Rogers family made the difficult decision to move the museum to Branson. I was devastated but understood why they had to do it (if you’ve been to Victorville you know it’s not exactly on the beaten path to anywhere). But I also knew when they moved to Branson that would end my opportunities to visit the museum. Airfares to the area were always cost prohibitive, much less the expense of hotels, etc.
But I never gave up hope that one day I’d get back to the museum one more time.
Until I received the devastating news this week that the museum is closing its doors for good at the end of this year. You can read the letter to supporters here:
It just makes me cry all over again. Hollywood types are a dime a dozen. The one thing that distinguished Roy Rogers from all the rest is that to a person, anyone I’ve ever spoken to or read of has always said, with Roy, he was the same in public as in private. A genuine person. A godly man.
Of course the memories and what he’s given fans over the decades can’t be taken away. Still, it is so very sad that fans present and future will not have an opportunity to view an up close and personal glimpse of his and Dale’s life at the museum.
If you live near Branson or are pondering a little trip somewhere, I highly recommend visiting while you can. You will be so blessed when you go.