I guess the two big loves of my life, besides writing about the rest. are horses and dogs and then my fascination with "Romance". Yes, that is a capital R! And my unusual early years helped to make me the person I became. I talked a little bit about the one room school I attended a few posts back, where I was the only girl. At that time gender did not mean much to me but the awareness was not too long coming. That tiny school was closed and I went next to a slightly larger one that was not as remote.
Bridgeport, Arizona was a few miles down the road from Cottonwood. Today there is no clear line where one leaves off and the other begins although Bridgeport is still more rural appearing with ranchettes and small farms along the river. Then there was a gap of vacant land in between. The school served the local community and normally had about twenty to thirty students in the eight grades. I haven't found a picture of the whole building in my scanning but a couple show parts of it. One section was frame and the other was a common southwestern style at that time, boulders in cement. Here are a couple of shots that show the two types of construction. As you can see, a lot of the kids wore jeans, or in their generic term "levis" as opposed to the brand name Levis. We had bring your horse to school days--oddly many more girls than boys seemed to do that--and the whole group seemed to get along most of the time--all sizes, ages, and ethinic backgrounds. It was a real lesson in diversity although I do not recall any African Americans. But there were Latinos and Native Americans and many nationalities of 'gringos' since many areas of Europe proved workers for the mines in Jerome and the smelter in Clarkdale up through mid century or a bit longer..
Everyone was checked for clean hands after recesses and noon and sent to wash if they were dirty! We had student officers who did these and other duties, offices that rotated regularly through all the students That's what is happening in the first shot. In the second picture the man in the western hat with the football is Dad who was the teacher of the 5-8 grade group at that time and later had the whole eight grades for two years.
I started out in fourth grade in the lower classroom--in the frame building and then moved to the other in fifth through seventh grades. I didn't get to graduate there as again the school was closed but the end of year festivities were a lot of fun. The ceremony was usually Wednesday and the eighth graders had a free day while the rest of us went all over the community to collect flowers which were usually in full bloom by the end of May. With the bounty, we decorated the hall --in the frame part--for the celebration that night. The next day was a community wide picnic down by the river where all the kids and most of the families who were not at work gathered for games, rowdy fun and lots of good eats. Then it was over for another year except at least two years they had collected a huge truckload of scrap metal which was sold to finance a special field trip. One year we all went to the Grand Canyon and the next went up south of Flagstaff to visit a working ranch owned by one set of parents, see a US Forest Service fire lookout tower and do some other outdoorsy things. Willard School was a really delightful place to learn and grow and I feel so privileged to have had that experience.
I was in the sixth grade when I really recognized that kids came in two models, hims and hers! Wow, that was quite amazing. I got a crush on a boy then in the eighth grade and held him as a kind of hero for several years although my fickle fancy did dart off to others like the usual teenage crushes on celebrities. (Mine were mostly rodeo cowboys and the stars of the many TV westerns of the era.) Still I did remain somewhat loyal to my first beau even after we went on to high school and our separate ways. Here's a shot of him at the eighth grade graduation that year. And it does not really show his adorable dimples! :-( He had blue eyes and reddish blond hair, just an ordinary looking kid of fourteen or so to me now LOL. Time does change one's perspective.
I located him about 2000--he was in Albuquerque at the time, a happy father and grand dad--and we exchanged a casual email or two before he passed away in 2004. Heart trouble ran in his family and it hit him rather early as it had his father. And so began my many decades' fascination with 'love' and perhaps the first tilt toward becoming a writer of romance!
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!