Born in 1940, he was a journalist, folksinger, actor and golfer. He once acted with Jack Nicholson in a TV drama and was once the youngest pro golfer in Canada. He wrote the children’s book Gregory and Alexander (Orca Book Publishers, 2003) [Illustrated by Kim LaFave]. Barringer was the first editor of Monday magazine. He died in 1996.
Gregory and Alexander (Orca $19.95)
William ‘Bill’ Barringer—the eldest of a family of nine children who moved to Hollywood in the 1960s—just about did it all. He was the founding editor of Monday magazine, a Victoria Times Colonist reporter, Vancouver Sun writer and editor, CBC radio-TV producer and reporter, Detroit Free Press syndicated columnist, semi-professional golfer, folk singer, Morningside contributor, stained glass artist and actor in the series Dobie Gillis. He even acted alongside Jack Nicholson. After helping design the pilot issue for B.C. BookWorld, he increasingly turned his hand to his first love—exquisitely fine writing.
Barringer’s Gregory and Alexander (Orca $19.95), illustrated by Kim LaFave, is the story of a young mouse in Perambulator Park—living off breadcrumbs and bits of cheese he finds under picnic tables. When he saves a jolly caterpillar named Al from the greedy paws of the ‘Collector Lady,’ the two creatures become inseparable.
One day—watching kids fly their kites—Gregory develops a hankering that won’t go away. He wants to fly a kite. Day after day, he dreams about having a kite of his own. He even ventures into the dangerous city to visit the toy store. But it’s no use. The kites are all too big for a little mouse—they’d surely carry him away.
Al the caterpillar solves the problem in a curious way. He takes a long, long nap—and wakes up as Alexander, a Monarch Butterfly. With some string provided by a neighbourhood spider, Gregory attaches the line to his colourful new friend and soon has the best kite in Perambulator Park.
All good things come to an end. Summer gets cooler. Days get shorter. Gregory faces loss when Al announces he’s flying south—and not coming back.
In the 1990s, when Bill Barringer knew he wasn’t flying back, he produced numerous manuscripts, one of which is Gregory and Alexander. It’s dedicated to his children and grandchildren. 1-55143-252-8 (2003)
[Spring 2003 BCBW]