An American Family of a Different Tradition

now titled:

Goin' Home (to My Second Home)

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First a little history on the making of the film:

The second version of the film went through many changes and has essentially evolved into a new film. I felt it only appropriate that it be given a new title, "Goin' Home (to My Second Home)."


The music first selected for the original version of the documentary An American Family of a Different Tradition was Woody Guthrie's Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad.  As much as I would have loved to pay the Smithsonian Folkway Recordings and the music publisher who controls this work to include this wonderful song in my film, I did not have the funds for the licenses.

So I composed all new music to create a type of ethno-music-interpretation of their story. This mishap created what I feel is an "ethnographic song" that I wrote to interpret the events as told to me. Is this going outside the boundaries of the ethnographic or is it the product of fully understanding the holisitc experience. I titled the song I was Hungry but until you watch the film, you won't know for sure if I got the story right.

Note: The music setback was just one of many typical setbacks in filmmaking and by no means should be thought to badly reflect on any of the vested parties of Woody Guthrie's work.  However, perspectively speaking, this is part of the many large obstacles that face the small independent filmmaker everyday.  My decision came from reasoning that my documentary's status as an "experimental ethnographic film" intended for education and scholars of ethnographic film research will never be able to generate the dollars to cover the costs already spent.  The reality is, the only way anyone will ever see this film is if I show it here, distribute it myself via individual sales to the occasional interested cyber-passer-by, and/or present it in the limited university settings.  So, due to my personal and artistic vision, I merely express my disappointment that I was not able to include Woody in my film.  In this case, I have come to realize that the ending result is actually a better film version of the story. Thus, I am fully grateful for the turn of events. Befittingly and very relative to one of the film's underlying messages, misfortune every so often works out for the best.

 The third version of the film premiered at CSUSB in November 2007. Unfortunately, that copy was destroyed due to a mishap (Stacy knocked the external hard drive onto the floor). But not to worry, the second version was discovered on a back up drive and is being re-edited. The new version will also include the 2008 "Ringing of the Bell" a very short sequence in which W.O.'s passing in 2007 is among the others who past away that year.

The plan is to have it posted at the beginning of 2014, but hopefully no later than June in time for the annual reunion. Until then, please enjoy the 5 minute S.O.H. trailer posted in the Viewing Room.

State Orphans' Home in Corsicana Texas
               Main gate to the State Orphans Home in Corsicana Texas (early 1900's)
The star of the film pictured somewhere on the orphanage grounds.
Gaylon as a boy in his orphan-issued overalls (approx. 1934)
When I asked about his barefeet in the picture, Gaylon replied he "didn't get the shoes until graduation."
I found out later he only just says that because it "makes for a better sounding story."  Such a card and absolutely a great storyteller.
Gaylon C. Thornton
Gaylon's Graduation Picture (1938)

After graduating from the State Orphans Home, Gaylon went on to college and received an Associates of Arts degree...not too bad for an Depression Era orphan, is it?

The other individuals of the core group from the Class of 1938 are pictured below:
 W.O. Mike Johnson

W.O. "Mike" Johnson (passed away June 14, 2007).

At the 2008 year's reunion, during the Bell Memorial held on June 14th, W.O.'s name was called out exactly one year from his passing. Only Gaylon from the Class of 1938 could attend that year's event. But he was not alone. His many younger brothers and sisters surrounded him with their mutual love and support of each other.

 Alice Glover Sawyer
"Alice Glover" Sawyer
 William "Peelings" Benson
William "Peelings" Benson


the whole crew...(back in 2005)

Left to right - Peelings, W.O., Wanda (W.O.'s wife), Gaylon, & Alice (in front of the Dining of the last structures still standing on the grounds)

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