because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bonnie Parker

Bonnie Parker died only twenty-four years after she was born in 1910, but she managed to be so in-your-face that many Americans know her name nearly eighty years after her death. What drew the public's attention was that she became Clyde Barrow's main squeeze and a loyal member of what has gone down in history as The Barrow Gang.

Folks talk about the bank robberies because those were so dramatic, but Bonnie and Clyde preferred to rob gas stations and small country stores. The money wasn't nearly as good, but the risk was much smaller. In and out, down and dirty, with a carton of Camels and something for dinner, a couple of bucks and a bottle of booze and a box of bullets on the side.

Married at fifteen to a petty criminal who was doing time when Parker was shot to death in a police ambush in 1934, Parker demonstrated early her affinity for the wild-and-crazy life, but that's not how she started out. In fact, she was a top notch student before she ran off from home and was still writing poetry with such titles as "The Story of Suicide Sal" and "The Street Girl" when she died.

As best we can tell, Parker probably wracked up a hundred felonies -- including connection to a number of  civilian murders, seven kidnappings, and as many as nine cop killings -- in her two years with Clyde Barrow, whose real goal was finally met when he and Parker sprang some of Barrow's old buddies out of the prison in Eastham, Texas. So it's no surprise in retrospect that Parker was shot twenty-six times (nine times more than Barrow) when she and her partner-in-crime lover were ambushed in Louisiana. Nothing pisses off the authorities like an in-your-face woman.

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