Many people have asked what sparked me to write Man with the Banjo. Curiosity about my father's pre-George Robert life probably commenced the day he commissioned me a Lieutenant in the USAFR. He would not have been able to do this had he not been an officer himself. But how did he receive his commission in 1935? The country wasn't at war...he hadn't attended any service academy or graduate from a university. In November of that year he passed away, leaving me with a ton of questions that were never asked.
My father and I had a musical connection that provided a forum for many snippets of his earlier life to surface. As time passed, my curiosity deepened, but I was never able to put all the snippets and pieces together. Then I read Lowell Schreyer's 2000 publication of The Eddie Peabody Story that chronicled my father's musical career from 1921 until his passing in 1970. At that point and without any formal organization, I sat at a computer for about a month and typed out what I call a mind dump. When I printed what I'd written -- almost 900 pages -- my only thought was Now what do I do?