The Wind And The Ships
The Wind and the Ships is an exciting novel based on the first Kamikaze attack. It tells the story of the men who formed the Kamikaze Corps and of the men who commanded the American ships in one of the war's most ferocious air/sea engagements.
The book has only recently been completed and will soon be submitted for publication.
STORIES & ARTICLES:
"An American Story" -- The life and death of Pfc. Eugene A. Obregon, USMC, Congressional Medal of Honor.
"The Life and Death of 'Manila John' Basilone", USMC, Congressional Medal of Honor.
Both appearing in "LEATHERNECK", Magazine of the Marines.
Angie, Kiko and Liano, 3 Latino teenagers from East L.A., cross the 4th Street Bridge to see what the rich "gringo world" holds for them. Inspired by their fantasy pirate hero, Captain Blood, they move from one exciting adventure to another, learning what lies beyond the barrio and how they fit into the world they've challenged.
My name is William Douglas Lansford. I'm a veteran of World War II and Korea, so you know I'm no spring chicken, but what is age? Age is a box you store a lifetime of adventures in; and if you were lucky enough to be born when I was - in 1922 - time is a book of 20th century history, with some fresh chapters in the new millenium.
If you'd like to drop me a note, I can be reached at:
WHAT DO I DO?
I'm a writer. I've written books, films, television episodes, and longform movies. Maybe you've seen or read some of my stuff. I write about things I've seen; the times I've lived through in what's been called the most turbulent, interesting century in all history; the era of the so-called "Greatest Generation." I've recorded some of of that history for those of you who came along a little later or who had a father, a mother, a favorite uncle, maybe a grandfather (if you're that young) who experienced some of that history along with me. Those were wild, dangerous times, I'll tell you, and I've put down what I saw because one couldn't be there and not want to document it for those who followed - or just to reread it later and ask yourself: "God! Did that really happen?" But war's not the only thing I've written. I've written about my dad, who grew up a real cowboy and later became a tough L.A. cop. I've written about the real Wild West he knew as a kid growing up in Texas, New Mexico and early Los Angeles, and about the lawmen and gunfighters - good or bad - and the adventurous Soldiers of Fortune who fought in wars all over the world, then rode south to join Pancho Villa's revolution... And about old Pancho, himself. Now, there was a character! I think that researching and writing my book, PANCHO VILLA, was just about the most fun I've ever had.
Well, I could go on and on and bore the crap out of you (if I haven't already) so I'd better stop.
I'm supposed to do a website, but what the hell does an aging warhorse born in '22 know from websites? I can't even turn on a computer without help. So let me just put down the stuff some of my friends thought might be interesting and you can e-mail me a tell me if it sucks or if you'd like to see more.
If people's lives fitted in neat little boxes, mine would look something like this:
...But since people don't live in boxes, but in an active, ever changing world, I've enjoyed changing, too.
Meanwhile, like most writers in the BWS ("Before Websites") world, I mostly stayed behind the cameras, behind the scenes, and behind the print. So you might well ask: "Who is this guy?"
Actually, I came from a foreign country called East Los Angeles where I grew up a skinny little Mexican-American kid in a home where frijoles and tortillas were king and only Spanish was spoken. It was in kindergarten that I first heard a language called English and fell in love with its sounds and with the magic they could create. This is why I love the art of wordsmanship, what we call "writing." And this is what this site is really all about. So, rather than just say "Welcome!" let me say it as we'd say in East L.A.: "Bien venidos, amigos. Mi casa es su casa...and let my words be yours, as well."
TWO FAMILIES - TWO WORLDS
My life began near downtown Los Angeles, in an old 2-story Victorian house on the corner of California and Stockton Streets on the morning of July 13, 1922. My mother, Rosalina Melendez, was born in Juarez, Mexico, my father, William Lunsford,(my family spells it both ways) was born in Tyler, Texas.
My mom's dad was don Guillermo Melendez, a Spaniard who settled in Juarez and became a prominent painting contractor. My grandmother, dona Felipa Gonzales, a wonderful Chihuahua Indian lady,was his housekeeper whom he married after both had been widowed for some years.
My father's family was Scotch-Irish-English. His dad, "Rocky," was a Marshal in El Paso who apparently shot several badmen. He died of dysentery while in his early 40's. Dad's mother, a Southern lady known as "Reb," soon removed herself to Philadelphia where she became an actress and theatre manager, leaving "Billy" (my dad) in the care of Felipe Lucero, a famous New Mexico sheriff and "man hunter" who raised Dad as a cowboy, taught him to speak fluent Spanish, and loved him like a son.
At 16, my father joined the Army to fight in the Philippine Insurrection. When the U.S. entered World War I, he re-enlisted as a Sergeant in the field artillery and fought in France, remaining with Gen. "Blackjack" Pershing's occupation forces in Germany until 1919.
In 1920, Dad gravitated from El Paso to Juarez where he met a 16-year-old Juarez beauty named Rosalina Melendez. After convincing her straight-laced father that he was suitable husband material, he married my mom and they headed for Los Angeles, where he became a cop and she became a singer-actress. The marriage didn't last. Shortly before I was born, Mom and Dad divorced. He went on to become a police captain and Mom to become a star in the (then) very popular Spanish language theatre.
I've gone into all this because people sometimes ask me why, if I'm proud of my Mexican heritage, did I change my name? Or why was I raised in a Spanish-speaking home when my name is Lansford?
You may be relieved to learn that what I've written here is pretty much all I know about my family.
If you'd like to comment, you can reach me at: