Friday, February 14, 2014

The Beatles Nail Small Town Memories

February 14, 2014
   Last weekend Radinas from many miles around descended upon our house in Cave Creek to pose for a commemorative photo to celebrate Betty Radina's 90th birthday.

The Radinas, three Bells and three Bortschellers.

   Bryan Black shot the photo and he's very good. Meanwhile, working on life in Kingman in the 1950s. Got some help from a few of my Kingman compadres:

A Snapshot of Kingman
    At the Dairy Queen a banana split cost 50 cents and all cones where hand dipped. The latest rock 'n' roll records could be purchased at Central Commercial, or, at Mohave Electric, across the street, for a dollar (I was so shocked when we went to Phoenix for the Little League Championship and i found "La Bamba" by Richie  Valens for 78 cents at a Skagg's Drugstore in Glendale). Milk could be ordered for home delivery from McCall's Canyon Dairy, leave the empties on the porch for pickup.

   Every night there was a 10 pm curfew and a siren would go off to warn kids to go home. Admission to the State Theater was 15 cents for under 12-years-of-age and 25 cents for over. Many of my teenage friends tried to fudge in as a 12-year-old to save a dime. Popcorn was 10 cents.

    Dogs were allowed in class at the junior high. Mary Kay Hokanson remembers her dog Tootsie being in every class except Mrs. Hands' class. Mary Kay even remembers Tootsie graduating with her.

    We got all of our mail at the main post office and our box number was Box 470. One time at a party, Arnold D. Thomas, who worked at the post office, regaled everyone by telling each of us our Box office number. And as you might guess, we were easily entertained.

    Our telephone number was Blue 549 and there was no dialing, you picked up the phone and an operator came on and asked for the number you were calling, and I would say I'm calling the Harshbergers at Blue 427 and she would plug in the connection. We were all on party lines, so if you picked up the phone and people were talking you had to wait until they got off. Sometimes, my father would tell certain yackers to quit hogging the phone lines and get off. That always went over well.

   It was a dirt road to Wickiup and Phoenix. According to Charlie Waters the road wasn't paved until some Kingman people embarrassed Governor McFarland by starting a movement to secede from Arizona and become a part of Nevada. When he agreed to start paving the road, they agreed to stop the movement. The Kingman crowd also picketed the governor's appearance at a Frontier Rodeo Parade in Prescott and the first stretch of paving was cut the same day.

Speaking of the Beatles, thanks to Mike Torres, who called me and told me to tape the replay of the CBS 50 year celebration of The Beatles being on Ed Sullivan, I got to watch part of it last night. Really a stellar show. Can't get over how many great songs those Limey kids created in their early twenties! "In My Life" actually made me misty because it applies to what I'm attempting to do with my book about growing up in Kingman. Really profound. How could a couple of kids write that?! Just amazing.

There are places I remember

 All my life though some have changed

 Some forever not for better

 Some have gone and some remain

 All these places have their moments

 With lovers and friends I still can recall

 Some are dead and some are living

 In my life I've loved them all

—Lennon and McCartney