In August of 1964, my dad, Allen Spencer bought a Hollywood Reloading Press from his brother, William Spencer. Uncle Bill is two years older than my dad, and he loved his little brother, was always protective of him, and took him under his wing. As a little boy, Dad was really proud of his big brother, and wanted to say “brother” very badly, but he couldn’t quite get the word out correctly. Instead it always came out “Bowa” when Dad said it. After a while “Bowa” stuck, and the brothers both used it often. When Uncle Bill sent Dad the Reloading Press, he sent with it, a letter carefully explaining its safety instructions and its warnings. While going through Dad’s things, we came across that letter. It was such a treasure to find it, because it so perfectly depicted the relationship the brothers had.
Always the big bowa, Uncle Bill was very excited that my dad wanted a reloading press, and since Uncle Bill was a gun dealer, who else would Dad have gone to when he wanted to make such a purchase. For those who don’t know, a Hollywood Reloading Press turns used ammunition into loaded ammunition again. Uncle Bill loved guns and all the accessories, and so it stood to reason that Dad would follow suit. The brothers had always used guns for hunting and safety, and even dynamite for blowing out tree stumps…and the occasional gate post. While boys would be boys, these boys weren’t troublemakers, but were rather careful and respected these items. They knew that improper use could be deadly. While my dad had grown up knowing about guns, Uncle Bill knew that he had not used a reloading press before, and he wanted to make sure nothing went wrong. It wasn’t that Uncle Bill thought my dad was careless, he just wanted him safe, and the reloader could bring danger, if not used correctly.
The letter, in my mind, was more about the love Uncle Bill had for my dad, than it was about the Hollywood Reloading Press. Theirs was a close relationship that each of them treasured. Uncle Bill always loved writing letters. He always felt that the written documentation was forever. It carried with it the history of events that occurred in the life of the writer and the receiver. So few of us understand that, I think…at least not until it’s too late. The letter about the Hollywood Reloading Press will always be a treasure to all of my family. I’m sure that the letter was a treasure to my dad too, since he kept it all those years. And I will always think of “Bowa” when I think of the brothers now.