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As a child Dusty woke up in a Roy Rogers wonderland.He would climb out of his Roy Rogers bed and shut off his Roy Rogers alarm clock.“Then I got to going through all the clippings, the fan mail, the thousands of pictures of all the things he’s done, the children’s hospitals he’s visited. This is the man I had spent my whole life with and never really gotten to know.I didn’t even take enough time to see his cut, what he was made of.” They went out for a ride in the pickup.Then he would slip out of his Roy Rogers pajamas and into his Roy Rogers shorts (with a likeness of Trigger on the front) before putting on his Roy Rogers jeans. “I had double R on both my boots, and I never did know which boot to put on my left foot.” A lot of kids had the same cowboy shirts and belts and badges and lunch boxes, but Dusty had something not included among the 125 licensed Roy Rogers products—an official Roy Rogers dad.
Sam Kamaka (1890-1953) attended the Royal School in Honolulu from age 8 until 14.
About five years ago there was still some unfinished business between Dusty and his father.
“I used to wonder when I was a kid what in the world was so exciting about this guy,” says Dusty now.
By that night, we were so wild we were almost beyond redemption. “Dad used the belt on us but he never did it in anger,” recalls Dusty.
We threw ourselves on the floor, rolling and hollering, really tearing up the place. “He never hit us hard.” Roy, 75, and Dale, 74, who co-starred in movie Westerns and in The Roy Rogers Show on TV until 1957, tried to shield their children from the pitfalls of fame.The small talk faded, and Dusty said, “What really worries me, Dad, is I’m afraid you’re gonna die and I won’t have a chance to tell you that I really love you. We got out of the truck, hugged and kissed each other and cried.Then we walked down onto a field, kicking rocks together, and we had a long good talk about all the stuff that bothered us through the years.” And there was peace in the valley.Mom, of course, is Dale Evans, the thrush who accompanied Roy Sr. “Dusty is a good boy, always has been,” says Dale, who helped raise him after Roy Sr.’s first wife, Grace Arlene Wilkins, died of complications six days after Dusty was born.