I suppose there is nothing quite like a reunion to turn one's thoughts back to 'the good old days' and maybe slip a pair of rose colored glasses on so that the rear view mirror shows enticing scenes. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that nostalgia kind of sounds like an ailment or illness. You know, neuralgia, fibromyalgia...that sort of thing. In a way perhaps it is. We've all heard the old saw "You can't go home again." And it is true. Especially when you get into mature years, the home you may recall from childhood simply does not exist any more. Although I say that all change is not progress, you cannot progress without change and time inevitably brings change, whether we want it or not. So looking back with a mixture of pleasure and sorrow is not very beneficial yet we all do it. In a way it is good to resolve or release the bad memories but too much "Oh, I wish I was still..." is not healthy or productive. I've been working my way through that part these days.
It was interesting to go back to Jerome and the Verde Valley in the central part of Arizona as I did two weeks ago. I have been back a number of times since I left the area, first going to Flagstaff to college and then on to work, marriage and a number of residences in Arizona, Colorado, California, back to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado again and finally back to New Mexico! So I was not unaware of the growth, the expansion, the new levels of prosperity and the tendency of the main town of Cottonwood to grow itself into a mini-Phoenix and Sedona to morph into a New Age Mecca of sorts with an amazing array of spiritualists, hucksters, gurus, medical and pseudo-medical practitioners and of course a motley assortment of artists of all kinds. T'ain't what it used to be for sure and never will be again. I felt like a tourist which was fun in some ways but a bit disconcerting as well.
The first house I can really remember living in was in Jerome, on a place called Sunshine Hill--there are no houses there now. They were torn down or moved away after Phelps Dodge closed the mine. During the fifties and sixties the whole valley was in a mini-depression and that's the part I remember most. Here is where the house once stood, or close to it. There is a lot more growth in terms of brush and cactus now and the whole terrain has been altered. And the building where I went to first grade, as did Roberta Blazina Wescott who was a classmate in first grade and then from eighth grade through high school. I saw her at the reunion.
Then there is the depot in Clarkdale. I recall it as a simple little frame building in a kind of yucky mustard yellow color that held some of the local maintenance equipment and the office for the Railway Express agent and the telegraph office etc. Now this structure has vanished and a stylish new Spanish Colonial variant sits there. It serves as the office for the Verde Scenic Railway and also houses a gift shop, restaurant, and other facilities. In fact this very place is now in the middle of a story I am writing--or rather Deirdre O'Dare is! There will be more about that posted on the 'writing blog' later on. But here are a couple of shots of the new station. I took the excursion a few years back and recommend it highly! If you are ever in the middle part of Arizona, do look into taking it. It is only about a four hour trip but the scenery is awesome, you will see a variety of wildlife, and if you are a rail buff, as I am, you will marvel at the engineering feat that built the basic track well over a century ago. Be sure to bring a camera!
And finally to give you an idea of why Alamogordo feels familiar to me, here is a shot of the hills near Clarkdale on the left and one of those just east of me, above the Air and Space Museum on the right. Am I just imagining a similarity?
So, nostalgia strikes again--I can't go home to where I grew up but I can still live in and love the high desert and the familiar flora and fauna with which I have lived for a good chunk of my life. My spirit is at home in this desert. It just may be that my nostalgia goes back far beyond this one lifetime.... This type of environment knows me and I know it, to the depth of my soul and the marrow of my bones!
Welcome to my World
Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!