Growing up on the family farm, Robert Rebein had no idea that his life was extraordinary, or that others would want to read about it. It was only after he grew up and went off to college in a 'big city' that it started to sink in.
"When I moved away, met new people and talked about our experiences and growing up, I started to realize how unique my childhood really was," Rebein said in an interview with the Globe. "I realized that not everyone starts to drive themselves and their younger brothers to school when they're 13. Things like that, that I thought were so normal, other people didn't."
Of course, the realization didn't happen over night. It took time.
Rebein lived in different countries, learned about and experienced different cultures, and met people from all kinds of backgrounds.
"When you're growing up, you think everyone is having the same experiences as you," Rebein said, "that everything is the same everywhere. It's only when you grow up and move away that you begin to realize that's not the case."
Realizing the unique experiences he had, and how interested others were in hearing about them, is what inspired Rebein to write his new book, Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City, which will be released in March.
Rebein describes the book as one part history, one part memoir and one part literary reportage, meaning he goes out and experiences something in Dodge City, and then reports on it.
"In one chapter I talk about me memories of driving up and down Wyatt Earp when I was in high school. It was just the thing to do back then," Rebein said. "Then I put that against the history of the real Wyatt Earp."
The literary reporting that Rebein does in the book includes riding a bull in the rodeo, working in a feedlot for a day and "bucking the tiger" at Boot Hill Casino and Resort.
"Even though the book is kind of written in three different sections, it can be read continuously," Rebein said. "It has a good flow and just makes sense."
Since his book isn't scheduled to be released until March, Rebein is still working out promotion details. But, he knows he'll come to Dodge at least a few times, probably when it's first released and during Dodge City Days to promote the book.
"I think people in Dodge will really enjoy this book," Rebein said. "There's a lot that they can relate to in it, and I think people will be excited about it."
At the beginning of the writing process, Rebein gave a reading of the first chapter he wrote in Dodge. He said the reaction was very positive.
Page 2 of 2 - "People were upset that that's all I had written," he said. "They wanted the rest of the book to be finished."
Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City is available for pre-order now on www.ohioswallow.com. Rebein is hoping to get in some local stores as well.