Sad to read that Chuck Bowden died Saturday in Las Cruces, N.M. We overlapped at the local newspapers in Tucson in the early 1980s and for a few years he lived around the corner from me, between Broadway and Sixth Street just west of Tucson Boulevard. He had only one or two books to his credit at that point and I knew him as Chuck rather than Charles.
We weren’t close but because we were neighbors, we sometimes ran into one another at the supermarket or at one of the local restaurants. We usually traded stories about trying to write on the primitive personal computers of the day.
I remember one time particularly when I ran into him at Austin’s, a Tucson landmark on Broadway, where he was having lunch after dropping out of sight for a couple of weeks.
He explained that to research a story on immigrants, he had made the desert trek across the border from Mexico — on foot — and as it was summertime in Arizona, he had nearly died and had to take some time off work to recover. I’m fairly certain he wrote a story about it, but I savor having heard him tell it to me personally with all the details that were left out of the newspaper version. I remember him talking about crawling under a truck at one point to get some shade because it was so hot.
At least I’m pretty sure he wrote about it.