Memoirs are all about making connections, and so I couldn’t have been more pleased to see a link on one of my Facebook pages to a blog written by Tad Callin (

When Marty’s twin sister Mamie reminisced for our collaborative book, Some Memories – Growing Up With Marty Robbins, she talked about a school friend named Nancy. I recorded what she related, but it never occurred to me that I’d find out any more about Nancy. After all, so often childhood friends turn out to be ships that quickly pass in the night.

So I was surprised and delighted to read the Facebook comment from Tad, who is Nancy’s grandson.

Apparently he’d come across the book and read Mamie’s anecdotes about Nancy. According to Mamie, their first meeting was not promising. Nancy began by asking Mamie what her name was, and “laughed, saying it was the funniest name she’s ever heard. I happened to agree with her, but nevertheless I started to cry. Later she became my best friend during the years we went to Peoria School.”

Like Mamie, Nancy had a brother who could be intimidating for the girls. While Marty’s teasing and practical jokes reduced Nancy to tears on more than one occasion, Mamie remembered Nancy’s brother Richard as “cruel and scary because he was a bully.” Even Marty couldn’t recover Mamie’s nickel, she said, when Richard took it from her on the school bus.

Tad notes that Richard grew up to be a Maricopa County judge. So perhaps Mamie’s verdict was a little premature.


Could country music legend Marty Robbins soon get official recognition from his hometown, Glendale, Arizona? Hoping to find out more when I sign my memoir, Some Memories – Growing Up With Marty Robbins, at Krispy Creations, 7013 N. 58th Avenue, next to Murphy Park in downtown Glendale, 1-3 Saturday (June 22nd).

Arizona-born singer-songwriter Marty Robbins is the subject of “Some Memories – Growing Up With Marty Robbins”, a childhood memoir related in part by his sister Mamie.

A new version of the book, available through Kindle and other digital platforms, adds family photos collected by Marty’s twin sister, the late Mamie Minotto, to the text of the original print edition available from

Photos of Marty and Mamie, their parents and also of Marty during his service in the Navy accompany Mamie’s reminiscences about the childhood they shared in and around Phoenix, Arizona, in the 1920s and ’30s.

The book takes its title from “Some Memories Just Won’t Die,” one of Marty’s final recordings before his death from heart failure on December 8th, 1982.

Descended from Texas and Arizona cowboys and Utah Mormons on their mother’s side and Polish stock from Michigan on their father’s, Marty and Mamie spent their early years in poverty and domestic strife. What they lacked in material wealth though, they found in the riches of their desert playground.

In anecdotes about the family’s frequent moves and squalid living conditions, Mamie recalls the feisty brother who always seemed able to laugh off setbacks. There are also glimpses of Marty’s developing interest in music, from playing harmonica with his father and uncle to his first gigs as a shy sideman in a local band.

Marty moved to Nashville in the early 1950s, but he never lost his attachment to the Southwest. Stories he heard and the wild open terrain he loved inspired him to write his international hit “El Paso” and other gunfighter ballads.

In 1960, “El Paso” won him the first of two Grammy awards in the Country and Western category. The second followed 10 years later for his composition, “My Woman, My Woman, My Wife.” Among his other 18 Country chart toppers between 1956 and 1976 were “A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation),” “Devil Woman” and “El Paso City.”

In addition to his music, Marty acted in television Westerns and even wrote a short Western novel, entitled “The Small Man.” His great passion outside music and family was stock car racing, and he was nationally rated as a NASCAR driver.

Sadly, Mamie passed away before this account was completed, but the adventures she shared with her brother live on in these vivid and heartfelt descriptions. Much of the material was adapted by journalist Andrew Means from interviews given to him by Mamie. Additional material came from friends and family who knew Marty in his formative years living in Glendale, serving in the Navy during World War Two, and subsequently making a name for himself on the Phoenix entertainment scene.

The 136-page print version of the book (without photos) can be ordered from, priced at $12.95.