Honoring the Women in Jerome AZ: International Women’s Day

Anyone who has lived in Jerome for any period of time knows this to be true:  the women are strong, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, accomplished at what they set out to do and passionately engaged. Many are artists that have served the town politically and are business people. A triple header combo that is hard to beat. And they’re smart. Very very smart.

Here’s an honor role of a dozen, in alphabetical order, who live or have lived in Jerome and some of their contributions.  Most moved to Jerome in the seventies and early eighties and many were, and still are, irreverent hippies!

Anne Bassett, for documenting the town through her intricately detailed illustrations and her service on the Jerome Town Council.  http://jeromeartists-bassett.blogspot.com/ 

Patty Bell, for singing Joni Mitchell’s song, “Pave paradise, put up a parking lot,’ in a particularly rancorous Jerome Town Council meeting

Barbara Blackburn, the wild woman who became CEO of Jerome Instrument Corporation and served on many of the town boards. She helped put together the Jerome Defense Fund to help members of our community that were arrested in 1985.

Mimi Currier, for running for US Senate in the eighties as a liberal Democrat with special interests in the arts, for her long-time service on many boards in Jerome, and for her incredible Netsuke carvings.

Nancy Driver, a wonderful fiber and leather artist, who served on many boards, and helped start the first artists’ cooperative store in Jerome.

Katie Lee, who wears her advocacy for freeing the Colorado River on her license plate (Dam Dam), and speaks eloquently and emotionally about them in her books and in her music. And for bringing a smile to everyone’s face when she streaked Jerome on her bike when she was in her eighties. www.katydoodit.com

ML Lincoln, photographer and producer of the film, Wrenched, honoring the legacy of Edward Abbey and the decades of wilderness activists he helped inspire. www.wrenched-themovie.com/‎

Jane Moore, for her long-time service on the town council (12 years, not all consecutively) and on many boards, with special advocacy for water rights, and her incredibly lovely ceramics and paintings. www.madeinjerome.com

My cousin Deni Rapp, the woodworker, for her lovely cribbage boards and wooden furniture, her courage in dealing with many physical ailments so graciously and positively, and for her service on many boards.

Ivy Stearman, one of the first women midwives in the Verde Valley (against the ire of many doctors) and founder of Nurses Network. nursesnetwork.net/

Sue Tillman for having the gut to start the first AIDs organization in the Verde Valley at a time when even the funeral homes wouldn’t dress someone who died of AIDS.

Sharon Watson, cofounder of Aurum Jewelry, a wonderful designer and jeweler, and long time member of the Fireman’s Auxiliary and board member of the Jerome Historical Society. www.aurumjewelry.com

Kathleen Williamson  for her lifetime advocacy of human rights, including LGBT people, her astute legal head and her musicianship. www.kathleenwilliamson.com

Okay, there are a lot more women, who have started their own business and shops, but I have to go teach tai chi right now. Post your favorites.  Make a list for your hometown. Today’s the day.

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You Know When You’re From Jerome When. . .

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.

Kathleen Williamson
When you breathe deeply and inhale the Milky Way.

Aaron Bacharach
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.

Scott Hugues
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!

Jesse Dowling
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.

Sally Stricker

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.

Denise Lerette
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.

Jane Moore, one of the owners of Made in Jerome, made this for Katie for her 93rd birthday.

Sonya Wilson
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

Heather Johnson
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…..

Noel Fray
Remember sneaking into the old empty hospital on Halloween night to see if you could find any ghosts.

Omar Fray
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!!

David Solomon
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!

Kim Smerek
You’re happy living in the projection room at the high school with one other person, a dog and someone else’s stuff.

Terry Molloy
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…….

Doyle Vines
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

Lisa Hesterman
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)

Terez Storm
As a member of the Fire Department you set fire to wooden palettes at the Little Daisy Hotel for “live” fire and rescue drills

TK Gustafson
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!


Adam Martin

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).