About Randy Ford

Randy Ford

Randy Ford

RANDY’S EARLY YEARS

Randy was known for exaggerating. From an early age, he had trouble distinguishing truth from fiction. And that was true. It might seem like he was lying when he tickled his great-grandmother by telling her and his Oklahoma cousins that he had a lawnmower at home in Texas that could cut down a tree, but he could tell a “whopper” and believe it.

Everything about him, however, wasn’t exaggeration. He may not have owned the real Lassie as he told a friend; but when he told someone something like that, he was hardly aware of it. And such things waited inside him, until out of boredom, he started writing dialogue in high school.

Since he couldn’t read very well, he chose writing plays over other literary forms because plays had fewer words.

In back to back study halls his senior year, he had his first audience. A teacher caught him one day distributing copies of his dialogues and confiscated them, admitting that she didn’t know what to do with them. To her credit, she sent Randy to the Dallas Theater Center, where as a high school student, he attended an adult playwriting class. The teacher of that class was Eugene McKinney, who became a life-long friend and mentor of the playwright.

Randy started out in the theater by first studying drama under Dr. Paul Baker at Baylor University and at Trinity University, after Baylor made national news by closing Long Days Journey into Night and its drama department resigned in mass. If Randy had not made that fateful move from Baylor to Trinity with the drama department, he wouldn’t have met his wife Peggy and have one son by her.

RANDY FINDS EARLY SUCCESS

While still at Trinity, Randy first had one of his plays produced professionally at the Dallas Theater Center. Henry Hewes, then a widely know drama critic of the Saturday Review of Literature, called the play “most impressive” and wrote “it quite successfully catches the drag racing, girl-chasing flavor of two hotrodders who emulate and idolize the late James Dean.” Randy went on to have two other plays and a reading of another one performed at Dallas Theater Center. One of the playwright’s greatest honors was to have one of those plays, R.U. Hungry (Specialty, Short Orders), directed by Dr. Baker, the managing director of the theater.

AN ADVENTURER’S LIFE

Randy never attempted to stay in the theater and, as a playwright, feels that was a wise choice. After studying and working at Dallas Theater Center for only two years, he and his wife chose to join the Peace Corps. In the Philippines–apart from being extremely busy teaching drama and working in the theater–he got this ridiculous notion that he could somehow bring about world peace by crossing borders and used the idea as an excuse for becoming an adventurer. Ironically, one of the few books Randy read in high school was “I Married Adventure,” and that was what Peggy unwittingly signed on for when she married the writer. She has since said that instead of an adventurer she thought she was marrying a playwright who would someday be rich and famous. They are still waiting for that to happen.

On Bongao, an island situated near the tip of the Sulu Archipelago, Randy and his wife met a British world traveler who fueled the writer’s imagination with a description of his trek across Borneo. Peggy soon found herself somewhat reluctantly tagging along on a trip that would last for three years and take the couple the rest of the way around the world.

They flew to Singapore and bought bicycles in Malacca, Malaysia, riding them up both coasts of Malaysia and on north to Bangkok. Somewhere along the way, they acquired a companion, a white handed gibbon that rode on Peggy’s hip while she peddled as hard as she could to keep up with Randy. One, hard day they got lost looking for the Bridge Over the River Kwai and, before turning around, almost ended up in hostile Burma. They taught English in Bangkok and because of Immigration nine times crossed over into Laos. This was during the Vietnam War and crossing the Mekong then was not done without some trepidation.

From Bangkok and back through Malaysia, and, before such touring became popular, the couple rode their bicycles through Sumatra, Java, and Bali, pushing and trudging through jungles. Depending on the locals, they never knew at the end of the day where they might land. From Indonesia, they lived and traveled in India and crossed Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and on into Europe by Landrover. They walked over the Alps into Austria, carrying their suitcases and gibbon, and landed flat broke in Vienna, where they lived and recuperated for a number of months.

SOCIAL ACTIVIST/WORKER

From distant lands to the United States, Randy never gave up bicycle touring until after in 1976 when he, Peggy and their three-year-old son moved from Maine to Arizona by bicycle; and Randy soon after led a bicycle trip from Phoenix to Washington D.C. with a group of disabled people. By then, necessity had led him into the field of social work (in preference to eviscerating turkeys), and he became a social activist. As such, his accomplishments have made a significant difference.

RANDY’S LIFE NOW

Now Randy has come full circle. In March of 2005, he retired from Child Protective Services in Arizona, a state agency for which he served as an investigator for sixteen years. Since then, he has continued his career as a writer and has also written several novels and short stories  Randy still lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his wife Peggy and four animals. He enjoys spending time with his son, his daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. He has also written an opera, three unpublished novels, short stories and a short travel piece about Muko Muko.

The playwright was a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc, The Authors League of America and The Society of Southwestern Authors.

Randy keeps pretty busy writing, but blogging is a way to keep his eye on the literary world.

Randy has written recently about his battle with Parkinson’s Disease.  His wry sense of humor and daily bicycle regimen are his weapons along with the loving support of his beloved Peggy.  It is now that Randy has returned to daily writing, keeping up his blog and giving theater workshops, often biking home in the evenings or taking the bus.  Actively seeking historical designation for the site of the original “El Ojito Springs” in downtown Tucson, he had had it pointed out to him that he was the busiest retired man in Arizona.

on Black Snow in Vienna

      Black snow?  Was this real or not?   People in Wien (Vienna), after all, used coal to heat their homes; and Wien, though beautiful and ugly, a city bewitched by history and music, magnificent buildings and wide boulevards, had streets lined with tenements that were anything but picturesque.   It seems at least possible then that when it snowed it turned black as it came down.   This is another example of how I have trouble separating what was true and what was not .   In this case, I distinctively remember black snow; I had an explanation; and I was the one there.   Who can dispute what I saw?

Now back to what we know for sure: there were certain recorded facts.   We know that year (1972) the second snow in Wien didn’t occur until the end of January.   We also know what such a mild winter meant, that the seeds of the winter crop froze because there was no snow to protect them.   But what made us experts about crops?  We didn’t grow up on farms.

There are things we know and things we don’t; what is true is more than likely logical; what is false is more than likely not (or illogical).   Given that, we know then that the scarcity of snow hurt the ski business, which usually attracted a lot of foreigners.   (Now wait a minute, what about snow making machines? The ski business would still be hurting, wouldn’t it?)  Now about that black snow.   You sort of have to take what I say as true until you run across a contradictory statement such as this from a letter written that winter from Wien: “Even Randy and I are pleased to see it turning white.   If it’s going to be cold and grey anyway, we might as well have some snow.”  It was cold.

on news from home from afar

      To follow what was going on at home while we were traveling overseas was not always easy.   And to me there was something particularly disheartening about a divorce in the family.   Life on the road can be unsettling enough.   Today I sometimes get a sense of what we missed when a movie comes up of that era that I haven’t heard of.   We know we missed the campus demonstrations and riots in the US of the late sixties and early seventies, as well as the Democratic Convention in Chicago.   But with family, there was personal history that we were not a part of and that will never be a part of us.   A sister’s wedding (I don’t know about her divorce of her first husband), and the birth of a nephew (the son of my other sister) do not exist in my head because we weren’t around.   That year the Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl.   We got the news third hand from English newspapers.   But, really, it didn’t mean much to us (remember my hometown was Irving Texas, then home of the Dallas Cowboys), and any excitement I had came from dredging up memories of Thanksgiving at my parents’ home (they had moved from the home I grew up in) watching the Cowboys.

We didn’t know my sister’s new husband’s last name.   We were always lacking a lot of details about such things.   And whatever news we got was always limited to what would fit on a single page and, if my mother wrote the letter, to a short jumble of misspelled words.   My father’s handwriting was perfect, but he only wrote about business matters, or when details were essential.

In January of 1972, when we still lived in Vienna, Peg’s mother sent us pictures of the family taken at Christmas.   It was not the same family we left behind.   Her mother still looked young; her father had gotten a little heavier; but all of the rest seemed to have been from somewhere else.   You have to imagine that by then we had been away for almost five years.   Well, with the pictures it meant we no longer had to rely on our imagination.   To see how much a baby brother (Alan) had grown, for him to be as tall as Peg, if not taller, you must realize that we didn’t see these changes evolve slowly over time.   When Peg saw a picture of her baby sister, she said, “Susie isn’t a thin Puckett (Peg’s maiden name)…in fact she’s definitely a little plump.   But she’s a Puckett in that she now wears glasses.”   We had been warned that Peg’s oldest brother Mike had grown a beard, so that wasn’t too shocking.   “It wasn’t a heavy beard and looked nice on him.”   But her middle brother… Well, Steve’s appearance was the most shocking: he had hair down to his shoulders…and it was wavy!   Nobody had warned us of that!

“Shock” hardly expresses the feelings we had then, as we thought of our families and home, definite emotions effected us when we least expected it, but they were conflicted and never simple, but how long we stayed in Austria depended more on how well we were treated there.

45 responses to “About Randy Ford

  1. A great life lived and many more journeys for you Randy.
    Great to find your blog.
    Kindest,
    Michael

  2. Mike,
    I admire and enjoy your blog page. It’s encouraging to me and I encourage anyone to read it. I’m not the fastest on the up-take, so it has taken me a while to learn following my inner journey takes the most guts. It’s the most complicated and satisfying to explore. Giving myself permission to start down that road hasn’t always been easy, permission that I have to give myself over and over again. Reading Mike on the road pushes me along. I seem to need a push. I would like to be linked. Help me out. Thanks, Randy

  3. okathleen

    Well I’m exhausted just reading this!
    What do you do in your spare time!!

    http://www.okathleen.wordpress.com

  4. Kathleen,
    In my spare time I read, sleep, eat, teach, walk my dogs and ride my bicycle. Bicycling keeps me alive. How about you? I went to your blog site and now recommend it. Randy Ford

  5. Randy
    I, too, live in Tucson and know lots of SSA folks.
    I think your readers and other authors will be pleased to learn about 2009 Word Trippers (from Jerry Simmons’s column). I invite you to check it out at my website.
    Hope to meet you at a writers event around town.
    Best, Barbara

  6. Hi Barbara,
    Thank you for referring me to your website and to 2009 Word Tripprs. I recommend it to other writers. We can use all the aid we can find. Hope to meet you. Thanks again, Randy Ford

  7. Running Deer

    Dear Randy,
    Never have I read a life’s synopsis like your own (and your wife is a great sport too). Without complimenting you too much, I’d like to say that I have a Kelty backpack, have had it for years. My purpose and values and humor nad trust in a Universal Divine will fit neatly into it. And, someday I’m just going to go. The Road Less Traveled. Thank-you. -Running deer (poemhunter.com)

  8. Hi Running Deer,
    I appreciated your comment. Yes, my wife is a great sport. Putting up with me hasn’t been easy for her. Why not take off? Your name lends itself to that. Hopefully, your Kelty is bottomless, as in Bottom, endless wit. I’ll check out your website. Thanks again, Randy Ford

  9. Randy, Thank you for your blog! You have been incredibly generous with posting readings of new work etc, and the Bay Area theater folks greatly appreciate your support. Hope you’re well!
    Best,
    Marissa

  10. Hi Marissa,
    Thank you for you comment. If there is any information or news you would like for to spread around, I would be happy to post it. Send the material to me at info@randyfordplaywright.com. Thanks again, Randy Ford

  11. Randy,

    Damn! I miss reading at the ‘springs!

    My book is in print form, just now going over the final proofs and am about 6 weeks from publication.

    I self published through an outfit called Infinity Publishing.

    I would love to come see you and shake your hand and find out what’s new in your world since you disappeared from mine. Please do write me back and lets catch up.

  12. Hi Mark,
    I also miss the readings. A couple of us are still meeting at 7:00 p.m. at ArtFare 135 N. Sixth Avenue on Monday nights. You would certainly be welcomed. I’m glad to hear about your book. Please send me more information about it. I would be happy to plug it for you. Keep writing. It was good to hear from you Randy Ford

  13. That’s quite a story!! That would make a great book! 🙂 Congrats on your successes! I am fairly new to the literary world, so I’m always encouraged by success stories such as yours. 🙂

    God bless,
    Taylor J. Beisler
    http://www.eloquentbooks.com/ArintSaratir-WarriorsLight.html

  14. Hi Taylor,
    Thank you for your comment. I believe all writers mine their personal stories. I continue to do that. Keep writing. Thanks again, Randy Ford

  15. Lloyd

    Hello Mr. Ford,

    I apologize if this is not the correct forum for this question but I was looking for guidance and after looking at your blog thought you might share some wisdom?

    I am an engineer and my wife owns a small business here in the Phoenix valley, Peoria. We have wrote a book together, almost done, now what?? Looking on the web is hugely confusing, it would be great to talk with someone that could give us some direction or advice. The book is simple and helps people make money, a good topic in this economy. We are not looking for make millions and are very realistic. We do believe the book has national appeal and could do well. We don’t have $5,000 to $10,000 to invest, we are looking for a simple low cost method of getting this published.

    Can you help or point us please

    Regards,
    Lloyd and Sharon
    lloyd@perllo.com

  16. Hi Lloyd and Sharon,
    Thank you for you comment or question.
    There are three people I suggest you contact and ask your question.
    Jerry D. Simmons at http://www.writersReaders.com
    Robert Casler at rcasler@ag.arizona.ed
    Sam Henri Jr. at http://www.wheatmark.com
    I know these people. Therefore, you can drop my name. They are knowlegable.
    A competitor of Wheatmark is Dog Ear Publishing.
    Please let me know how this turns out. I am always interested.
    Lots of Luck, Randy Ford

  17. Allan Meyer

    What an amazing life story! And here I thought you were just a generous, jolly fellow who befriended artsy people at El Ojito. Thanks so very much for your encouraging comments on my short story “Church League” yesterday at the SSA Book Fair. By the way, I found your (typed) comments on that entry in SSA’s writing contest. I’m all excited again. God love you for everything you’ve done and everywhere you’ve been. (Sharon and I lived in Maine one year.) Since then, it’s mostly side trips to greater Eloy. Michael Goodrich (former Tucson weatherman) humor. Keep up the spirit and very best to Peggy. Allan Meyer

  18. Hi Alan,
    Thank for your comment. I really did enjoy your short story “Church League.” I thought it was one of the best stories of many stories submitted to this year’s the Society of Southwestern Authors writing contest. You also have a lot to say that’s worth reading (non-fiction or is there such a thing as non-fiction.) Keep writing. Stay in touch. Randy Ford

  19. Hi Randy

    I’m Aliazer Abdurajim, a native of Sulu. I just read your profile, from beginning up to the end. I think you really have more good memories about Sulu and its people. I will read all your posted articles.

    http://alltausug.blogspot.com

    God Bless

  20. Hi Aliazer,
    To have contact with someone from Sulu is exciting to me. I have fond memories of sailing the islands from Basilan to Sitankai/Sibutu and back to Zamboanga. I especially enjoyed the friendship of the priest at the Norte Dame school at Bongao Tawi Tawi; and walking along the the plank walkways between the houses on stilts was quite an adventure for my wife and me. Thank you for your comment. And I wish you and your people the freedom, happiness, and security that you deserve. Randy Ford

  21. Jim Frits

    I read with interest your story related to the PI and Angeles City and your time spent with Nick (a Huk?). I was in the USAF during the late 60s to the early 70s and spent time on TDY (Temporary Duty) at Clark AFB. I was in Angeles City the night of the explosion that injured several GIs, in fact I was close enough that I felt the compression of the explosion. I immediately ran out of the courtyard I was visiting a friend at and to the location of the explosion. It was a terrible sight to behold as one individual’s upper leg was nearly blown off! The incident occurred in the immediate vicinity of an MP shack and they were onsite within seconds and emergency services arrived within minutes from Clark AFB. The immediate thought was that the Huks were the group that was responsible. I read with interest your experiences with Nick as I have met a man from my work that is a Filipino and he has related some perspective about the Huks and post WWII experiences. Did you ever get to meet the Negrito people as they were another interesting group of native PI people. Thanks for your story.
    Jim

  22. Hi Jim,
    Thank you for your comment and for telling me about your experiences. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, I taught two years at the University of the Philippines in Diliman Manila and worked in the National Theater at Fort Santiago. The character Nick is based on a teacher at UP who became my closest friend at the University. He was a Maoist and visited what was then “Red” China. He came from Central Luzon and was indeed an activist. As for for Angeles City, I remember the Dew Drop Inn and I knew about the incident you experienced.
    I would be interested in reading more about your time in the Philippines. I believe many of my readers also would be interested. Thanks again. Randy Ford

  23. Hello Mr. Ford,

    It was nice to find your stories. I can see you are an universe of experiences to share. I would be more than happy to continue reading your stories.
    Thanks for all your contribution.

  24. What a little gem of a blog you have here Sir,so pleased to come across it and learn a little of your life…Eliza

  25. Randy, thanks for the plug for my latest book, “Levi’s & Lace: Arizona Women Who Made History.” Because of generous individuals like you who spread the word about authors and books, we continue to survive, and sometimes flourish, in today’s economy.

  26. Great blog here, it’s always lovely to stumble across one of the web’s little treasures and I think you’ve got a wonderful site Randy. All best wishes, Kate

  27. Randy-
    It was great seeing information about my company on your blog, as well as information about Desert Sleuths, Sisters in Crime. It’s a wonderful organization for mystery writers, and has been invaluable to me. Thanks again for all your hard work on the blog!
    Chantelle

  28. Thank you for plugging my books, Randy. I enjoyed your blog and hope to run across you someday. I meant that figuratively, not literally. I was a drama teacher for 25 years. Now I write books and am president of AZ Authors, as you probably know.

    Best wishes in all you do,
    Toby Fesler Heathcotte

  29. Mr. Ford,

    I found the book Crossroads, The Louis Lugo Story mentioned on your site. There is an error I would like to bring to your attention…I am referring to where it says Louis Lugo Author – Crossroads; the Louis Lugo story…by Louis Lugo

    The error is listing Mr. Lugo at the author. Louis Lugo is the subject, R.S. Hunter is the author (I know this because I am the author). I would appreciate it if you would change Louis Lugo Author to R.S. Hunter Author and where it says by Louis Lugo, please change to by R.S. Hunter.

    Please visit my website at ww.richardstevenhunter.com for details.

    From one writer to another, I thank you in advance for correcting this.

    This link is where I found the book on your site…
    https://thebrainpan.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/louis-lugo-author-crossroads-the-louis-lugo-story/#comment-5490

    This link is from my website…
    http://richardstevenhunter.com/TheMakingOfCrossroads.aspx

  30. Mattie Lennon

    I have written a full length play based on the life and works of Irish songwriter, the late sean McCarthy. Further information from; mattielennon@eircom.net

  31. Randy!
    I just discovered you! I was delighted to find the article on my new book in the October 2011 issue of The Write Word listed on your site. You even mention it as one of your Most Popular Posts; no kidding? What makes it deserving of that spot? Did you read the book? If so, would you write a review for me? If you did not, would you like me to send you a copy?

    I am so impressed with your life. You really made something of it. So did I, I think. And here we both ended up in Arizona, writers, SSA members. I am sure you know Harvey Stanbrough, my editor. I think the world of him. Living in Prescott, I have not had a chance to come to Tucson for any Forum or Seminar, but I hope to be there sometime in August for a few days to celebrate my husband’s 75th birthday. We liked Tucson, but after twelve years in rural Hawaii we ended up in Prescott. I guess because we love nature and Tucson had become too built-up and too much of a big city.

    Too bad you’re not a screen writer Randy. Although I am only at the beginning of my online marketing, I have high aspirations for my book.
    Thank you again for thinking highly of it.

    Ronny Herman de Jong

  32. Hi Ronny,
    In 1976, my wife and I, with our three year-old son, moved from North Anson Maine to Prescott Arizona on bicycles. When we left Maine in June of that year, we didn’t know where we would end up. What attracted me to the state were names of Arizona towns such Nowhere, Why, Rattlesnake, Rye, and Snowflake? Then when we finally made it as far as New Mexico, we started asking people along the way if they had a choice where they would like to live in Arizona and everyone, without acception, said Prescott. So that was why we headed for Prescott. It’s always good to hear from someone who is hooked on writing. When you come to Tucson, let me know and maybe we can meet.

    Rather than review other people’s work, I put all of my energy into my own stuff. Stuff is a good word. Keep writing.

    Randy Ford

  33. Ronny Herman de Jong

    Interesting! You must have liked Tucson better though.

    Oops! Reading your post again, I have a request for you to change two typo’s if you can.
    My last name is de Jong, not de Jung
    My book title starts with Rising, not Riving.
    When you write, it’s gotta be right! Thank you.
    Hope to touch base when we’re in Tucson.

    Ronny
    http://www.ronnyhermandejong.com/books/

  34. Typo’s corrected. You’re right: “when you write, it’s gotta be right!” Sorry, Randy

  35. Mary Ellen Barnes

    Thanks, Randy, for plugging my newest book. The most fun in writing “Teresa and the Cowboy” was the research of 1891 Tucson.

    I read your blog with much interest. What adventures you and your wife have had. And some on bicycles! When I lived in California, I used to bicycle with a club. Great fun!
    -Mary Ellen Barnes

  36. Thanks Randy for including the brief note( 3/13/12) from my new book “Making John A Soldier A Nebraskan Goes to War.” More info at http://www.makingjohnasoldier.com

    John Malloy Sr Tucson

  37. Thanks, Randy, I really appreciate you mentioning my books. It was great meeting and talking with you at the Tucson Festival of Books.

  38. Greetings and Felicitations! I, too, lived in Maine. A small town call North Berwick about half an hour from Wells Beach. I, too, moved to Arizona but not directly from Maine. A few years in PA, a few decades in NY. My dad was stationed in Tucson in the 60’s – I went to grade school here and have always considered it home.

  39. Randy Ford

    Hi Joe,
    My wife, son, and I lived in the small town of North Anson Maine, across the river and five or six miles north of Madison. We moved from Maine to Prescott Arizona by bicycle in 1976. Our paths have certainly crossed. I hope you keep writing. Randy

  40. Mrs Gaikwad

    Hello Sir,
    I was delighted to come across your blog. I have strong sentimental and emotional bonds with St Luke’s hospital vengurla and would love to hear more from your end about this place. We are originally from vengurla. I will be greatly delighted to hear from you. My email address is psgaikwad@aol.com.Many Thanks. Regards, Mrs Gaikwad

  41. Mrs.Gaikwad
    I am pleased with your comment about Vengula and St. Lukes’s hospital. We lived in a hospital room in St. Luke’s in Vengula for three or four months, while my wife Peggy worked for the main Indian doctor, who would get extremely upset with chickens in his operating room and was trying to get out of there. He and his wife wanted to immigrate to New Zealand. We plan to write extensively about our stay at the hospital and in Vengula in our travel piece Found Our Way. We have to find our way to Vengula first. Randy Ford

  42. Alan Puckett

    Hi, Randy–
    Thanks for your message this morning–it’s good to hear from you. I tried to leave you a note at your Playwright Website but that didn’t appear to work–I think you mentioned having some technical difficulties there. Before I forget, your cell number showed up on this end as 520-370-4259, since it sounded like you were trying to sort that out.

    I don’t write a lot these days and when I do sometimes start things and don’t finish them. Much of my interest focuses on the natural world, and on politics (how’s that for juxtaposition?) And I do enjoy photography, though I don’t do enough of it. Sometimes I combine a couple of those interests, as in this brief “trip report” I posted on the Washington Trails Association Website yesterday:
    https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/trip-reports/trip_report.2019-05-08.7764812489

    I will think some about things I might like to contribute on your blog or elsewhere, if you found them interesting. One other topic that comes to mind is family and Roswell early days–there are lots of stories to be told there, though I hesitate.

    It’s good to know that you’re active with your writing and with your blog, etc.–you’re an inspiration and a good example to others of us who should do more.

    Much love,

    Alan

  43. Alan, all good. You are such a good writer. I imagine i would publish anything you sent me. Randy

  44. Alan, it was good to hear from you. It’s all good. You are a excellent writer. Knowing you and your writing skills, I am sure I will be able to publish anything you sent me. Thanks. Randy

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