After my two years at Camp Wood, I went to another small school, this one in the town of Bridgeport in the Verde Valley. The school was called Willard School after a pioneering family in the area who may have given the land on which the school was built. Although larger than Camp Wood it was still a 'country' school and my frequent wearing of jeans was not odd or out of place. Many of the kids had horses or ponies and after a few months, I did too! I enjoyed my four years there very much.
For fourth grade I was in the lower group. At first there were two rooms and two teachers. I had Mrs. Velma Fuller for that year and made friends with several girls who were either a grade or two ahead of or behind me. There were several other fourth graders but they were all boys and I had not yet truly recognized that there were two models of kids and those "other guys" could be pretty amazing!
The next year I moved up to the 'big room' and again had my dad for my teacher. By the time I was in sixth grade, the whole school was put into a single room and I discovered boys, one in particular who remained an off and on 'fancy' of mine for several years. He was two grades ahead of me and his little sister was one of my 'baby sister' friends. I was always inclined to kind of adopt younger girls and befriend them, perhaps on the example of a couple of older girls who did this for me when I was small.. When I went to the high school reunion a few of them greeted me warmly and said how they appreciated my kindness and friendship. Two or three years was a big gap then, but now it is almost nothing at all. Funny how time changes one's perspective.
Anyway just for fun here is a picture of mom and me on the first two horses we had. I'm at the left on the bay at about age eleven. They were both retired cow ponies and came to us already named. The bay was Lady and the gray was Chindy. That was a kind of corruption of the Navajo or Dine word tchindi which is the restless and often wicked spirit of a departed soul who has not broken ties with the earthly plane. The name suited as she was a bit wicked, and had a whole bag of tricks. She was gentle but just sly and tricky to a naive young rider!
Here is an example of one of her tricks. At that time I was still not full grown and had to reach hard to get my foot in the stirrup. She caught me once with my left foot there and planted her big foot on top of my right toes! I was helpless for if I kicked my left foot free I would probably fall on my butt and had no way to urge her to get off my toes. I had to wait until she decided to move. Ouch!! I did not quite pour toes out of my boot but doggone near it! I do have some severe arthritis in that foot now perhaps as a result.
Oh the adventures I 'enjoyed' in those days... I will share some more as we go along. In retrospect, it's almost amazing that my first broken bone came years later in a hiking accident, the incident that inspired my novel Healing Hearts. That book, by the way, has been out of print for ages but will be reissued as Hearts to Heal in January 2014 by Amber Quill. At least for me art often imitates life... That is my twist on the old "write what you know" saw, I guess.
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!