Big dreams from some small boys
The following is an excerpt of a Medford Mail Tribune interview with Robert and David Harris after their capture, published April 23, 1937:
"Dark Hollow 'Tarzans' Going Back to School; Boys Reveal Ambitions"
By way of conversation, the older boy was asked yesterday:
"What are you going to be when you grow up?"
"I'm going to be an aviator, and a good one!"
"What are you going to be, David?"
"I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but I don't know for sure!"
"He won't be a doctor because he's too chicken-hearted," interjected Robert.
"Yes! I'm chicken-hearted," agreed the younger boy. "But I'm going to be something!"
"What do you think of Lindbergh?" an inquirer asked Robert.
"I don't think much of Lindbergh. He couldn't have flown across the ocean if the Wright brothers hadn't invented the airplane. They did more!"
"When you kids were out in the brush, did you get scared at night?"
"What was there to get scared of?" replied the boys together.
The interviewer mentioned bears and coyotes.
"There is not a bear in that country, and coyotes won't hurt you," assured Robert.
"What did you have to eat?" was asked.
"We ate a pig, chickens, lots of eggs and a pigeon, and Mr. Wicklein's rooster," the older boy answered. "We wouldn't have shot Mr. Wicklein's hens if we had known they were special. We are sorry we did it. I killed the little pig and butchered it. It was good and lasted two days. We gathered the eggs in the afternoon. If we had waited till dark they would have been gathered."
"I never told Mr. Moore I wouldn't be taken alive," Robert declared. "We never saw anybody, but people say they saw us. We fooled around all day and slept at night."
"What will the girls at school think about the way you acted?" was asked.
"They can think anything they want to. I don't care about girls!" both boys agreed.
"Do you think you are a Huckleberry Finn?" the older boy was asked.
"Huck was okay, but I like Tom Sawyer best. My favorite 'big book' is 'Lorna Doone.' (People who have read 'Lorna Doone' say it is the size of 'Anthony Adverse' and a man-sized job to read.) I like to read, and have read a lot of books. I don't care what it is, just so it's reading."
"It was quite a stunt you boys pulled, staying out the way you did," was remarked.
This caused the younger lad to giggle, and the older boy said: "O phooey!" the favorite phrase of both.
"Have you anything to tell the public?" they were asked.
"Tell 'em we are going to be good boys and go to school, and not to worry," replied Robert.
It is agreed about the courthouse that if the lads are given an even break the public won't have to worry about them.
Robert Harris enlisted and served three years in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He owned his own logging company in the Rogue Valley until 1957, when he moved to Portland and took a job as a compositor and a markup man at The Oregonian newspaper. He eventually went to work as a foreman at Willamette Iron & Steel, overhauling ships, before retiring in 1978. He lives in Oregon City.
David Harris grew up to become a longtime member of the Iron Workers Union and worked on many bridges, dams, powerhouses and tunnels throughout Oregon and Northern California before retiring. He died on Sept. 2, 2008.