pictorial exhibit of W. H. Wheeler

The Pictorial Exhibit–the Website is 501 Levi Original fit and tall & big original fit jean for men.

This site helped me with my decision to write about my dad.  I found the best way to write about my dad was by designing and making the 8-feet long pictorial exhibit which ..included his creative innovations; rare pictures, stories and other surprises.  It was made of a heavy plywood with a center piece and two sides.  

I had always respected Levi Strauss & Co and is the reason I decided last year to write about 501 Levi jeans original fit and tall & big original fit jeans for men for my website.  Knowing about the personality and the background of Levi Strauss also motivated me to build the pictorial exhibit.  So how were jeans made for such a large 47- foot structure?


A Levi Strauss garment manufacturing company in Amarillo, Texas was responsible for fitting the jeans for the big cowboy in 1960.  Unfortunately, they had to close their garment factory after 35 years sewing fine jeans. 

Read about that sad event and make a comment here if you know anything about that event.     

Anyway, 1960 was the time my dad, William Harry Wheeler, built the 47-foot cowboy.  

                                          the big 47-foot cowboy

Dad was not a builder by profession.  In the 1950’s and the 1960’s, my dad worked at the Strategic Air Command which was located at the Amarillo Air Force Base.  He built many things apart from the big cowboy in his spare time and on weekends.  Some people enjoyed looking

He had his Master’s Degree in Music; not engineering which was a feature of the well-built sculpture.  He played the piano and clarinet.  But then again, he was a man with the Jack of all Spades.  (or is it, trades?)

Many people today change their professions or jobs after they get their college or university or training schools.  Sad to say but many still had to pay their college loans.

He had his Master’s Degree in Music!!  Yet he built the curio shop and the motel and other things too without the benefit of training or additional schooling. 

Building the 47-foot cowboy was just one of the varied events in dad’s life.  He was such a creative genius, that it would take a long time to describe the background and events that happened in his lifetime thoroughly.  

Most people have one event in their life, but various accomplishments in that one event.  This was so with my mom but not my dad.  He had a variety of events or professions.  His name was William Harry Wheeler and was born in 1916, I believe. 

My mom, who had her music degree in Piano, accomplished many things in that one event.  Of course, both my parents concentrated on their curio shop business in the 1950s and early 1960. Mom did keep up with her music.  

She taught piano and did some accompanying for the singers at the local university, now known as West Texas A & M University. She was known for her compositions and exceptional teaching ability.

Mainly, during the time of the curio shop business, (1951-1963) she helped the tourists buy their souvenirs and talked with them after they had finished buying them.  She would also clean the curio shop every morning.  Kept tabs on business records. Kept the tax records.
The cash machine was not like the ones you have today.  We had to count the money and give change by hand.  Here is a picture of an old curio shop; not ours, however.   And the cash machine looks exactly like the one we had in the curio shop.  By the way, the curio shop was named, The Corral Curio Shop and Motel. 
Here are the TeePee Curio Shop and the old fashioned cash register.
Curio shop name TeePeemoney in a cash register 
I learned a lot by taking care of the curio shop.   Communicating with the tourist kept me from being provincial like so many of the school-age students at the high school.  I remember at that time no one wore original Levi jeans.  

Are you getting a feel of the pictorial exhibit?  

Let me show you the pictorial exhibit about my dad that shows events from the 1930’s to his death in 1979.

pictorial exhibit of W. H. Wheeler



The pictorial exhibit is 48 inches tall.  It sits on a utility table and is quite heavy.  

I took it once on a 14-day tour in Amarillo in July, 2015.  I hope to go again.  

It was well received and was exhibited in a huge mall in Amarillo, Texas.  Bealls and West Texas We|stern Store were the two businessess that showed the pictorial exhibt.  
They were both very friendly and accommodating managers.  I am fond of everyone I met.
So here is the pictorial exhibit that shows the events and the professions in Mr. Wheeler’s life.  It was| sitting on my sofa in this picture rather than on the utility table.  The top center picture is now, after improving the exhibit, larger and the words are seen much better.  
Later, I will have a patented design of a curio shop that is a one of a kind tourist attraction and will be s|hown at the bottom middle of the pictorial exhibit.   Some of the listings of events that are horizontal are difficult to see here, but I will tell you about them.                            
Here are the different events of dad’s life.  The events or professions are listed horizontally and the item, stories, cartoons, and information are listed vertically down from each event or heading.
Rare photos and items are also included.  The stories and the rare picture or pictures describe Mr. W. H. Wheeler’s exciting life story.   

These are all the various skills and events or professions in (his)Wheeler’s lifetime.

The Headings on the Pictorial Exhibit
Professional Duo Pianist;  Band Leader;  Mule Trainer;  The Big Cowboy (with curio shop and motel);  Gunfighter Museum;  Carpet Designer and Carper Maker;  Piano Teacher; Sculptures (implied heading);    
Listed in Back of Exhibit 
Builder (of advertising signs);  Roofer;  Mechanic;  Gardener; Owner of Rental Property; Writer/Editor at Air Force Base;  Writer of the first Protocol for Airline Accident Investigation;  Painter (of house);  Fixed–Doors, Windows, Carpet and other household damages;  
Innovator;  Entertainer;  Reader (profusely);  Salesman (curio shop and firework stand;  Mathematician;  Analyst;  Humorist; and of course, Father and Husband     
I wrote about the mule Francis  (click link here) who drank 10 cent cokes from coca cola bottles under the heading, Mule Trainer.  
Many tourists tried to talk to Francis, but he never said a word.
Would you like to see me working on the exhibit?  The Sculpture behind me is one of many that my dad sculptured.  That one is pictured on the pictorial exhibit.
                                                                                                      Judy making pictorial exhibit
By making my pictorial exhibit, I created an artwork, an original, protected automatically with the copyright office.  It does not need to be formally registered, but with any artwork, it is a good idea to do so.
Remember this when you create some artwork whether it be a painting, music, book or a sculpture, no one can copy your work.  
Mine, including writing the mule stories, took a lot of work, but I loved every moment.  Here is a picture from the Canyon News.  
I had wanted Canyon News and the Amarillo Globe-News to write all about the pictorial exhibit that included everyt|hing my dad did in his lifetime; that is, most of his life.  
It did not work out that way, but next time I will make sure reporters understand that the pictorial exhibit was about|my dad’s life.  Almost everything that was written–articles and websites— about my dad was false.
I wanted to set the story straight.  The reporters did not realize this important factor.
story next to my pictureCanyon news article





Nola was very nice and professional.  She interviewed me a couple of times and wanted to have the article factual with no mistakes.

The reporter for the Amarillo-Globe-News was Vanessa Garcia.  I do not have her newspaper article, but it was more about the situation that exists today.  We talked often and she too is one who wants to write the fine story.

The Amarillo Globe-News and the Canyon News did not write about the pictorial exhibit. They wanted to write about the Present Time or a human interest involved about the cowboy. That was okay.  They just forgot that he was the artist.


Do you think it is fair or moral to change an artist’s work even without knowing the hardship or struggles of the family life of the artist whose work has a legend or is famous or whose art is an icon? 

I would love for my visitors to ask each other or comment together on this issue.  

If I go again on tour again someday.  I will make sure they write about the artist, William Harry Wheeler and all his events in his life until he died in 1997.

Now to the specific headings on the left and on the right side of the exhibit.

The headings on the left side are Piano Teacher and The Band Director.  In one picture my mom, Gayneyl, my precious mom, and my dad are playing professional duo piano.

                                                                                                                                                      The left side of the pictorial exhibit
My mom had perfect pitch and composed classical music.  Dad had a great technique at the piano but had to practice more to get ready to perform.  He was certain his playing was just right, but the audience made his nervous.  This is typical of many performers.  My mom was a little nervous but once on the stage playing, she lost all her jitters.  
It was my dad that suggested that they quit and at first tried to encourage him to continue, but later saw how it was affecting him and agreed to quit their professional duo piano. He was just too nervous to play on stage in front of people.  
They always got great reviews and they played and entertained the audience very well.  I have some of their actual programs that show what they performed.  Mom and dad did enjoy playing duo piano together; and in fact, years later they performed several times.
The next heading on the left side of the Exhibit is The Band Director.

They were playing duo piano when dad got his Masters and studied with William Revelli and the University of Michigan in Ann  Arbor.  Mr. Revelli was a well-known music director and a famous innovator of the marching band on the field.  Band directors began to copy his technique, especially at the football field.  


His band movements and the music that was played while marching is copied even today.   Today, directors play a more challenging music repertoire.  Dad was there for one year and had to return to Oklahoma to finish his degree.  I was just about 3 years old when he lived in Ann Arbor, but I remember the house we lived and the snow!!
You can see a young W. H. Wheeler.  I put pictures of the old campus and some funny pictures of Directors.  Dad’s report card shows that he made straight A’s.  Revelli had a lot of respect for my dad, but dad did not have the money to finish his degree there, but what he learned was immeasurable. 
Then they moved back to Stillwater, Oklahoma so that dad could continue with his studies to earn his Masters Degree.  I believe mom had her degree already. Dad also taught for two years at the Stillwater School District.  The students really loved my dad.  It was the first time that they had played a more classical theme of music and the training out on the football field astounded them.
In fact, 35 years later his band students contacted my parents who at that time lived in Amarillo were teaching and dad was doing other things too.   Only his band members were at the reuniou dinner.  They reminisced about their days when dad was teaching.  
There was one story that was told.  Once, dad stopped their rehearsal,turned around and walked tkoloo the window without saying a word. 
Items on that side of the board included my dad’s grades from Mr. Revelli.  There are 4 original music programs under the heading Professional Duo Piano.
On the right side of the pictorial exhibit are the headings; Piano Teacher and his sculpture although that is not the name of |the heading. It just included his sculpture. On the lower left is the same picture that was behind me while I was making the pictorial exhibit. 
 You can barely see my dad practicing on the piano, then you see a funny script, dad’s innovative counting notes for little kids and a picture of a horse that had a poem. 
                                                                                                                                                                                         Right side of pictorial exhibit
Dad was in Ann Arbor, Michigan for one year.  Then they moved back to Stillwater, Oklahoma so dad could finish his Master’s
Under the heading, Piano Teacher, are dad’s innovative counting notes for little kids and a picture of a horse with a poem |written.  The counting notes were designed with young children in mind because dad knew that children can not keep a steady pace after the word two.
So between the 2 and the 3, there is a slight pause; but there are no pauses when the children count by saying walk, skip, sit| two, and run, run, run.  (they know how to run and I am sure they have seen “Forest Gump”.  Now he could really run.)  The eighth notes are run, run, run, run,—
If you scroll up, you will view the center part of the pictorial exhibit.  Beginning on the left side is the heading Mule Trainer.  |In the middle is about The Big Cowboy (implied heading because it is obvious that this was the time he built his business (the Corral Curio Shop and Motel.  Dad had a little help with a| friend for the motel.)
He built a 22-foot cowboy and later, in 1959 his big cowboy.  The family and tourist always called him The Big Cowboy.  We did n|ot have any locals come in the curio shop or to take pictures, but we had thousands of tourists that visited the cowboy, the curio shop. and the gunfighter museum.
The center part has rare pictures of the frame of the cowboy.  It took 3 cranes to lift the heavy cowboy up.  Then he was put in the| ground with a heavy steel (I think it was steel but it could have been iron) pole went through the inside of the frame through his boot and way down in a hole that was covered with ce|ment.  
The body was also cement but was the kind that would not crack.  What would you use to make his body very smooth; yet,  add the in|dentations and folds with the creases?   Some of you out there work with cement. 


frame of the big cowboy
little cowboy and curio shop
Levi Strauss & Co so gracefully provided the–Now I say, 501 Levi® tall and big original fit jean for the cowboy only.  The garment manufacturing company made the jeans, and then dad had to sew them on the cowboy when ready.  
This little chore was done by hand and also by using dad’s hand-built railing.  You can read, if you like, more about the big cowboy later when you have the time.
Now to the very right of the middle part of the pictorial exhibit.  It had two headings; the Gunfighter Museum and the Rug Designer and Maker.  It also showed a rare picture.  There is a rare picture of one of the gunfighters.  
When dad sold the business in 1963, he sold the gunfighters to a curio shop near the Palo Duro Canyon, who ignorantly left the gunfighters outside in the elements.  But they were inside when a fire broke out and all the gunfighters were destroyed.  
Dad had some pictures and I had just one.  It is quite rare.  A story is included with the picture.    Here is the story.  If you would like your own copy, read the paragraph just below the gunfighter.

sculpture of John Wesley Hardin

                                         hand-made gunfighters for museum


I will show some pictures and the story about my dad’s carpet design.  They are under the headings  Carpet Designer, and Gunfighter Museum from the pictorial exhibit.  One carpet design was made with various rectangle shapes and the other was from an octagon shaped remnants.    

If you would like a better copy or copies of the Gunfighter Museum and/or the Hand-Made Rug, feel free to email me at judy@findmejeans.com  Please send me a couple of dollars to make them presentable and for mailing.  Click the above Post here to write any comments.  

“HOW TO DESIGN YOUR OWN CARPET.”   Judy says, you can not made the carpet or the rug free any longer.  Dad, in |the 1960’s, was able to salvage his own scraps from the carpenter’s dumpsters.  Then, dad’s carpet became so popular, the companies began to sell their remnants and their |scraps.  

Perhaps, you live somewhere where they still have special dumpsters to throw away carpet scraps.  He had to find clean| carpet first, so some scraps were scraped.  

The design of his carpets was typical of his sculpture also.  He was a brilliant man and designed his sculpture in geometric| patterns.  His sculpture was elegant and captured the people’s hearts that bought them at a cheap price.

He was a very humble, kind and a loving father and husband.

How to design your own carpethand-made rug
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