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!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Another Memoir Tale

So here is another installment in Rawhide Butterfly's varied memories!

Home Schooled With an Audience
As a first and only child for eight and a half years, I was overprotected and had little contact with other children before I started school. Thus first grade was traumatic to find myself one of about twenty- five six and seven year olds and the only girl in Clark Street Elementary who often wore overalls or blue jeans. Yes, in 1949 that was emphatically not the thing.
Nowadays it would probably be called bullying, but then teachers turned a blind eye unless there was real physical mayhem on the school ground. I liked the class room, although I was half afraid of my teacher, Ms. Pew by name. At the time she seemed very big but I do not think she was an unusually large woman. At that time my main female role model  
was my mother, who was slender and almost petite. However, recess was torture.
I can recall playing jump rope, at which I was not very good. It was one of those act it out games where you had to salute to the captain and bow to the queen. There I was sketching a curtsy with a skirt that did not exist and the others howled with laughter until I slunk away, demoralized. All in all that was not a good year.
Me as a second grader
With that behind me, I moved on to second grade and soon to what was a totally different environment. After just a few weeks, I transferred to a very small rural school.  There my father began his teaching career as school master for a one room school in the remote community of Camp Wood, Arizona which boasted a small sawmill and a couple of ranches that supplied the eight students. There, as the only girl, my ‘britches’ were not odd and frilly dresses would have been absurd. I was the youngest student that first year.
It did snow at Camp Wood
I still had little trouble with the academic part even if the teacher was more demanding of me than of the rest, or so it seemed. I was already reading well and had mastered simple arithmetic. Spelling was a slight challenge but I managed that too.
The school was a frame cabin, barely more than a shack, with no running water and two outhouses, his and hers, and a wood burning stove for heat. It was straight out of 1900! And my parents and I during the week lived in a tiny trailer. It had propane for heat, light and cooking, no refrigerator, and barely room for our small family. I slept on a fold down shelf that by day served as the dining table and benches. Still, in memory, it was mostly fun.
The kids played dodge ball, tag and king of the mountain. Sometimes we had a softball game with no teams called “work up” where every player rotated from position to position to include at bat. I don’t think there was such a thing as scores.
Since Camp Wood was about sixty miles from Prescott over mostly primitive dirt roads, we traveled out there and back in a Jeep, one of the early four wheel drives that came out right after World War II, having been perfected for the military use. It was not a family car. The small back seat area was used for cargo so I sat in the gap between the two bucket seats on a cushion or two. I expect that was about the time I started to make up stories since I could not see out very well and certainly did not dare to whine or fuss.
In some ways my parents were casual and lenient but with me they were mostly protective, restrictive and strict. Still, when I look back I treasure most of those two very formative years.
As one of eight students and the only girl, I was kind of a pet of the older boys. The second year a younger boy of the large Foster clan was there so I was only next-to-the baby! After the second year, that school was closed. I suppose they bussed kids into a facility nearer Prescott, perhaps Williamson Valley or even the edge of Chino Valley. At any rate, I then began fourth grade in a larger school—for two years there were two rooms and probably twenty five or more students!
This school was located in Bridgeport, Arizona on the highways between Cottonwood and Sedona and the one going south to Camp Verde. All the towns were much smaller than they are today and now, Bridgeport has vanished into Cottonwood. I cannot even locate the exact site where the school stood.

To be continued with more pix tomorrow!

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