Retired G.C. teacher now penning books

3/6/2013

By ANGIE HAFLICH

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

Now that he has more time on his hands, Bob Lambert, who was a teacher at Garden City High School for 18 years, spends his time either reading books or writing them.

"I didn't have much time when I was teaching and directing plays," Lambert said.

Lambert taught theater and coached forensics from 1972 to 1989, which he said kept him very busy.

"I loved Clifford Hope Auditorium. That was my home away from home. I spent more time there than I did at home. I loved teaching there," he said. "I still see the faces and hear the voices of dozens and dozens of students and the plays we put on. I have pictures on my wall of some of the plays and the casts."

He said one of his favorite memories of teaching at the high school involved fellow theater teacher Gloria Wisby.

"We decided one time we'd do a little repertory, and we did two Tennessee Williams plays and we did them on alternate nights. She directed 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and I directed 'The Glass Menagerie.' Both plays were very successful and we were very pleased," he said.

Lambert also taught drama at Garden City Community College for one year, prior to moving away in 1990. He then pursued graduate school, obtaining degrees in advanced education and education and administration

"I had a slot (during graduate school) where I didn't have anything else to do, so I took an extra course in creative writing," he said, adding that his first book came about from a short story he wrote for that course.

"So they liked it alright, but they said I needed to shorten it and I said, 'No, I need to lengthen it,' so after I sat around for a couple of years, I decided to lengthen it," Lambert said.

The book, 'A Few Dead Indians,' is what he describes as a historical mystery about murders of members of the Osage Tribe in northern Oklahoma and the investigator, Walter Gage, who ultimately brings the responsible parties to justice. "The tribe members were, because of the oil boom and because of the location of their oil, their royalties, they were very rich ... And then there were people who would buy insurance policies on their lives and then kill them. This is true. My account is fictionalized, of course, but the first book is really about the investigation into those murders," Lambert said.

He said the second book, "Sands and the River," takes up where the first one ends, but the emphasis is on Walter Gage's brother, Frank Gage, and what life was like in the oil fields of Oklahoma.

"My family all grew up in Kay County, Okla., which is partly where the story takes place, and they were all in the oil business — every single aunt and uncle and so forth, so I've been around the oil business all my life in one way or another," Lambert said.

An excerpt from Amazon says, "'Sand and the River' continues Walter's story, but with somewhat greater emphasis on his family, especially his younger brother, Frank, who was part of the rough-and-tumble life in the Oklahoma oil fields of the 1920s and 30s. The oil boom and the money that oil meant, brought lots of different kinds of people to the state. There were the workers, of course, and legitimate companies. But there also came gamblers, prostitutes, con men, and violent criminals.'"

He and his wife, Pat, known as Pat Witten when she taught speech at the high school during the same period as Lambert, have lived in McPherson for the past eight or nine years.

Lambert is currently working on his own website, where his books will be featured. And when he isn't writing books, he is reading them. Currently, he is considering writing a third book.

"I have something in the works, but I haven't actually gotten it started yet, except in my head, so we'll see what happens," he said. "The third one I'm thinking about is switching the emphasis to a little sister. She appears in both the first two books, but I think I'm going to expand on her life. It won't have anything much to do with the first two books."

The title of the third book will be, "Worse than Spiders," he said, adding that he hates spiders, and then laughed.

"A Few Dead Indians," and "Sand and the River," are both available at amazon.com.

"The books aren't actually in hardback. It's just available on the Kindle or on an e-book," Lambert said.

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