A few years ago, Denise Lerette started a Facebook craze in Jerome when she posted, “You know you’re from Jerome when. . .” The responses crowded my mail box and many of them were hilarious. Many were from children of sixties and seventies parents.
Nobody ever stops living in Jerome, even when they’re not there, and many favorite memories begin with, “When I was in Jerome. . .”
I couldn’t top some of the great one liners, so many of them memories of the kids as they grew up in Jerome. Here are my favorites.
When you breathe deeply and inhale the Milky Way.
You have to walk two miles just to get drunk or laid.
Had to ride a wooden Radio Flier wagon two miles into town with my mom to get water and then get pulled back home by my mom with jugs of water beside me.
Told tourists that there is a gas station about 5 miles out Perkinsville Rd.
Go trick-or-treating in the Gulch and get grapefruit.
A tourist asks what elevation the deer turn into elk.
You remember Pat Bacharach (Montreiul) coming from Perkinsville road, 3-4 feet of snow on the ground, on her little red ‘K-Tel’ skis with little Aaron in tow!!! A vision I shall never forget!
Riding my bike to MUHS in Cottonwood and then catching a ride back to Jerome on the big purple bus!
The house you grew up in started out as a goat shed and was rebuilt with lumber from the burn pile.
You used to hang around the Spirit Room and wait for ‘the chip man’ to give out the expired bags of chips after he delivered new ones
You made extra candy money by selling tourists ‘leaver-ite’—the rare and hard to find mineral that you only find in Jerome…
If you ever swung from the upper park flag pole out over Main Street
Susan Dowling (Jesse’s mom)
When you know that stream of blue and brown water coming from your neighbor’s garage means they’re carving turquoise and pipestone
People in the houses up town can see you sunbathing nekkid in your garden
Mary Nickerson finds a tourist car that didn’t make the turn nose down in her garden.
You hear Kathleen’s goats calling her to come milk them
You walk up the gulch to Petra Lomeli’s store so you can weigh your baby.
The telephone guys and the electric meter readers stop at the bottom of the Gulch to take a pee behind the old dilapidated store.
When the septic was a hole in the ground, shored up with wood and tin.
Know where the old apple tree is up Allen Springs Road so you can have a snack while riding.
Diane Johnson & Cherry Waters
You check the parked cars to see if your friends are at Paul and Jerry’s yet.
You call all the dogs on Main Street by name.
You check the “free box” for your summer wardrobe.
You saw Kathleen Williamson riding up town on her donkey and tying her up at the Flat Iron while she went in and had her espresso
Alishia Amber Craig
You know that Jerry pays the town Santa every year with two cases of Budweiser.
long ones in Jerome.
When centipedes in other towns don’t freak you out as much as the mutant foot long ones in Jerome.
Watch Zach and Danny ride their skateboards down the hill
You’ve seen this bumper sticker on the back of Lang’s police car—”Bad cop, no donut”
Walk up to bake at Macy’s at about 4 am in the morning after a huge opening at the Exposure Gallery—Paul Nonnast was featured that night—to find the bartender of the function, Benny, peacefully snoozing in the street in front of the gallery!! Now that was funny, Benny!!
And who can forget Katie Lee riding through town on her bike naked in honor of Harvey’s passing. Love Katie Lee!!
Jane Moore, one of the owners of Made in Jerome, made this for Katie for her 93rd birthday.
Pllayed hide and seek in the old high school, did magic tricks on the big steps for money for Cheetos and soda, and made the flumes into your own private water slide Woo Hoo!
You go down to Guy’s house, walk in and you dad is there! You say “Dad?!?! What are you doing here?” to which Guy replies “Same thing you’re doing. Now sit down and shut up.”
Rayna Phelps Bachman
Broke into the old bomb shelter in the elementary school and getting drunk for the first time (courtesy of booze Troy Harris stole from his dad). Then being ditched there by Troy, TK, and Steve and being carried to Karrisa Baltz’s house by Ron Barber (the sheriff) so they could call my mom. Ah, good times.
Rode the flumes
Had a huge snowball fight with the cops.
Made out in the glowing rock room at the Douglas Mansion.
Pretty much existing on apricots from all the trees around town because you were too busy playing to go home and eat.
Joe D. Garrett
Swung off the swing set in the park using the rope on the flagpole (probably why it’s locked up today)
You get stoned under the steps in the park or in the abandoned apartments above the park or in the sliding jail or everywhere in Jerome !
Denise M. Ford
The tourist you just served the bloody mary to asks you what you do for a living
Larry comes uptown on a motorized bar stool
Silkie is pouring a beer with a cig in her mouth and a baby on the breast at PJ’s
You use the noonish siren as an alarm clock
You remember when there were more tumbleweeds than cars on Main Street
You remember playing “ditch the cops” when you were out after curfew!!
Teri Horinek Von Gausig
You can remember the officer on duty on Sat & Sun would stop the tourist traffic in front of the Spirit Room so we could all pour out into the streets and dance!
You can remember “sneaking” a mattress down the stairs onto Main St. from the old Connor Hotel late at night with Tesa and trying to be quiet about it so that George wouldn’t hear you…..
Remember sneaking into the old empty hospital on Halloween night to see if you could find any ghosts.
If you’ve ever had a VW Bus try to park on your front porch.
Remember playing “ditch the cops” when you were out after curfew!!
You’re sitting on your deck or working in the garden and a tourist asks if you work here, in Jerome, like it’s a reenactment stage or something. Not that you could be at your own home or anything. I made up an elaborate story about how we all lived down in the valley and were 9-5ers. People believed it!
You’re happy living in the projection room at the high school with one other person, a dog and someone else’s stuff.
When you sit on your front porch at night and watch Pedro the donkey stand in the middle of the road stopping tourists in their cars begging for treats…….
Remember the days when it was too iced up for traffic to come up the road from Clarkdale, so we sledded down and caught a 4WD back to town
Katie Lee is standing in front of you with her guitar singing and crying while you’re watching a black and white slideshow of what used to be Lake Fowell (Lake Powell)
As a member of the Fire Department you set fire to wooden palettes at the Little Daisy Hotel for “live” fire and rescue drills
Mailing postcards to someone addressed ‘General Delivery’ in Jerome and having it tacked on the bulletin board in the post office for the entire town to read
Charlie the UPS driver leaving you gallons of fresh milk on his way through his UPS route and then making the UPS truck backfire to scare the shit out of the tourists!
when you know the name Jim Faernstrom and know where his head stone is
When the D. A. R. E. Cops came to school and only pull you out of class
(Soon to be published in Diane Rapaport’s book, Home Sweet Jerome, Rescuing a Town from its Ghosts, forthcoming Spring 2014 from Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing).