The story for Banjo Billy and the River Rat Kids was born on a warm sunny, Sunday afternoon. My Great Ruth was celebrating her ninety-second birthday and our families had gathered to join in the celebration. While the young children waited for the hamburgers to cook, timid little Alex spoke up and asked Aunt Ruth what it was like to be so old. When his mother tried to whisk him away, Aunt Ruth only laughed and began telling him stories about growing up in the early nineteen hundreds. Banjo Billy and the River Rat Kids is a story about two boys, Jeremy P. Stone and Ollie Preston, growing up in Appalachia in the early nineteen hundreds. When they come in contact with a stranger named Banjo Billy, they jump at the promise of money. Half-Indian and half-French, Banjo Billy is a colorful character who will keep you intrigued with his stories of the Gold Rush days. The boys share many adventures including a ride on the B & O railroad, their first look at the bank president's new automobile, and the trip to see the Wright Brothers and their wonderful flying machine. They also witness electricity come to town and the post office having the town's first telephone.