Jerome AZ: Tales from the Seventies

Here are more tales from the seventies. They do not appear in my book Home Sweet Jerome, Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City. Like the tales told in the book, these serve to illuminate the condition of the times and town in the seventies. The book is about how the town was rescued. (homesweetjerome.net)

Pat Jackson (early seventies) “When I moved in to the house in the Gulch, I found that the owners had let the chickens roost in there and that they also shucked all their corn for their tamales and left all the shuckings there. It didn’t have windows. In the little tiny kitchen, the sink board was rotted out. Maggots were in the sink board. Here it is, I’m eight months pregnant with Ian and all my friends in Jerome got together and helped me put together that house. Somebody brought a toilet. First they had to put in a new floor in the bathroom because if you sat on the old funky toilet, you’d fall through the floor. Then somebody brought me an old tin shower and installed it. Somebody else put a nice wood sink board in and a piece of nenolium—it was nenolium in those days—over it. And then somebody else found an old window and enclosed the window.“ Pat was the first licensed mid-wife  in the Verde Valley, a round woman with a kind face and a lot of energy. She has children by four husbands, and was a political organizer, mostly on behalf of women. She now lives in Alaska.

Charley Aughe Charley Aughe was a humble man who lived in the gulch sometime during the seventies with his wife Faye and was known as the “Curator of the Sedona Dump.” He was one of the lucky ones who had a county job. When people would leave stuff off, he’s pick out anything useful, and set up rows, like garden rows, and sell it for not much money.

Caroline Talbot Caroline Talbot was Kim’s second wife. When I interviewed her, she wanted to tell me about Kim who moved to the Gulch in 1967. His first wife was Gayle.

“In 1967, things were always getting ripped off from their house. Kim actually saw them take a coffee mug and a shirt and then chased them, but never caught up with them. They turned up a week later with a six-pack and an apology. Someone even tried to steal two gallons of anti-freeze when Kim was under one of the cars changing the oil. The cans had water in them. He moved away and toured Europe as a musician, lived in Phoenix, and then returned to Jerome in 1977. When Kim got here, rednecks ran the town. The hippies were starting to move in. They didn’t want anything to change. They tried to run the hippies out of town. I understood because I grew up in similar small towns in the Adirondacks, so it didn’t phase me. People get at each other’s throats and then later they’re best buddies again. They would fight over their different vision of how something was to go. Build something like this and not like that. It can be real comical.

Richard Flagg, circa 1976 “One of my early dreams was to be a vagabond. I was living in Flagstaff and visited a natural food store there, which turned out to be owned by friends of mine living in Chino Valley (Kit and his wife) right next door to Molly and Gary Beverly (the Chino Valley potters then). I saw a sign: “House for sale in Jerome, $4500.” Holy smokes, I said to myself. I could swing that. I bought it and rented it out. Jeanne Moss lived up stairs; and John Binzley lived down. Jeanne used to shampoo and cut people’s hair from an upstairs porch and the water and hair came drifting down. Then I went vagabonding. River trips down the OMO with Sobel expeditions where I made the cover of the first issue of Outside running a rapid and being chased by hippo. Sailied out of Somalia, traveled in Afghanistan and India. When I came back to Jerome I started an expedition business of my own, called Sacred Monkey Expeditions. Paul Nonnast designed the logo.” Richard Flagg still lives in Jerome but he is still a vagabond, spending some 8 months a year traveling in Cambodia and other countries in Asia.

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2 thoughts on “Jerome AZ: Tales from the Seventies

  1. Changed it so that it read like that. When I interviewed Caroline,mostly all she wanted to talk about was Kim.

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