Today’s stories will be about Roy and Dale’s children – or rather, their two boys. The Rogers family consisted of 8 kids, 5 of which were adopted, and Roy and Dale. Cheryl was an orphan from Texas; Marion was a Scottish orphan that Roy and Dale fostered until she became their ward; Linda Lou was by Roy’s first wife, Arlene Wilkins, as was Roy “Dusty” Jr.; Sandy was a child-abuse victim from Kentucky; Debbie was a Korean orphan; Dodie was a Choctaw Indian orphan (Roy was part Choctaw, making this adoption possible); and Elizabeth Robin was by Dale. Robin was a Downs Syndrome child. Roy and Dale’s experience with her led Dale to write the well-known book “Angel Unaware”. Dale also had a son from a previous marriage name Tom.
While every child had qualities and faults, Dusty and Sandy probably go into the most trouble. Seeing how they were only a year apart in age, this really makes sense. The following is a story Dale shares in Happy Trails: Our Life Story.
Dusty and Sandy were waiting for the school bus to arrive one morning and they saw the mailman making his rounds. One of them decided that it would be fun if the neighbors got each other’s mail that day. So they followed the mailman, removing mail and replacing it with dirt and other people’s mail. Dale was headed out for work so she was in her full cowgirl outfit: boots, hat, belt, and all. The nanny looked out the window and saw the boys, so she called Dale. Dale leaped into the car and sped down the driveway and into the road. Stopping a few yards behind the boys, she jumped out and chased after them, pulling off her belt as she ran. When she finally caught up to the culprits, she made them put all the mail back where it belonged and then paddled them all the way back to the house. The boys didn’t do that again, but that doesn’t mean that they quit their mischief.
Another tale about the boys is the time when they really made Roy mad. Roy had a beautiful new speed boat out in the boat house and Dale knew that something was drastically wrong when she heard a roar from there. Someone had picked all the rubber off the dashboard of the brand-new boat! Both parents knew it was one of the boys, but they wanted the boys to admit it, not be told what they did wrong. So court was held – for three days running! Neither of the two prime suspects cracked until Roy finally said that he’d have to spank both of them.
The boys actually ran away from home once. Roy used his acting skills to teach them how wrong that was. Dusty convinced Sandy that they were being cheated, always having to wash their hands and be nice to the girls and do chores. So they piled some toys in a little wagon and headed over the hill behind the house. Roy and the nanny saw this and came up with a plan to get the boys back. Roy sent Ginny (the nanny) out in the car to pick the boys up while he went to enlist a friend’s help. When Ginny caught up with the boys, she threw open the door and told them they were in big trouble. Roy had called the sheriff! The only way the boys could escape the law was to get in the back of the car under a blanket and try to sneak back into the house. The boys scrambled to do as she said. When they got to the house, they both hid under Sandy’s bed. Roy walked into the room with his friend and said, “Well gosh Sheriff, I wish I knew where those to outlaws have gone.” The “sheriff” then told Roy that if they were ever caught running away from home again he’d lock them up for the rest of their natural days. The boys never ran away from home again!
Have you ever heard a kid misunderstand their Sunday-school teacher and come up with a really strange (but funny) conclusion? Dusty and Sandy did that once. The Sunday school passage had been about the Creation and how God made man from dust. The teacher had used the verse “From dust you were made and to dust you will return.” Well, Sandy and Dusty went home that afternoon and went to their room to play. A few minutes later they came running out all in a dither. Their explanation? “There’s dust under Sandy’s bed and we don’t know whether he’s comin’ or goin’!”
In the end, Dusty and Sandy turned out to be good kids. Sandy enlisted in the army during the Korean War and ended up in Germany. He made it to First Class Private, but during the wetting of the stripes party a “friend” egged Sandy into drinking. Sandy died from alcohol overdose that night. Dale wrote Salute to Sandy because of this incident.
Dusty is still alive and well. He formed a band called the High Riders, and he is still performing with them. He has a son named Dustin who also performs with the High Riders. They do shows five days a week in Branson, Missouri at the RFD-TV Theater. This year is their last season at the Theater before they go on the road. Check out their website at: http://royrogersjrshow.com/