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Posts Tagged ‘time changes place’

The longer I live the more apparent it is to me that people change, not their basic personalities so much, their attitudes or even their belief systems, little things that change them as individuals. Not the least change is they get older, live without shared experiences and they are maybe wiser, maybe not. These changes in yourself and in the people you once knew well make it difficult to go back, to go home. Perhaps more difficult is, at least in this country of untrammeled growth, the place of home changes.

I guess I’ll always think of Phoenix as home. Both Rosalie and I grew up here. We went to grade school here and high school. When we went to high school there were only three high schools in Phoenix, Phoenix Union, North and West. I went to North, Rosalie, a year behind me, went to West. Probably a good think we didn’t know each other then, those inevitable changes. When I graduated from North High in 1954 I suppose there were not more than a hundred thousand people living in Phoenix, maybe fewer.

In 1961 I opened the Paradise Animal Hospital in Paradise Valley, on the corner of 32nd Street and Bell Road. The closest subdivision was a mile or two south, towards Phoenix. There mighty have been a hundred homes scattered in the desert in the ten or so miles between the hospital and Cave Creek. Carefree, AZ was just beginning to build.

We left in 1970 when I went back to school to earn a PhD. There was one freeway, the Black Canyon Highway. I cannot count or keep track of the number of freeways in and around Phoenix now, too many. My old hospital is now a store that sells imported Mexican furniture and that corner is close to being in the middle of the greater Phoenix population. That formerly empty desert is now full of strip malls and homes, all the way to Cave Creek. My brother Joe and his wife even have a home just south of Cave Creek. Nothing is the same, too many people, too much building. All the places I remember fondly are gone and I am uncomfortable with the changes, progress? I’m not so certain.

All these changes force me to dwell on how things were, how they used to be. In the desert summer, one hundred plus degrees, before air conditioning, the temperature dropped ten or more degrees when the water truck went through our neighborhood dampening the dirt road to hold down the dust before all the Dads came home. When it was time for us kids to go to bed Mom gave us wet sheets and we rolled up in them on cots in the back yard. The stars and moon were so bright you could read by them. Dad would carry the three of us into the house before he went to bed.

Here is Charlize in my brother Joe’s backyard, Cave Creek, AZ.

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