On Wednesday morning, I took a road trip to Prescott, AZ for a couple of days. I was ready for a little cooler weather, to look around at a child that played a prominent part of my childhood and to just get out of town for a few days.
On the way, I stopped in Kingman and had a great lunch with my cousin Clarann. Our dads are brothers and she is 11 years older than me. It happened to be her birthday, which I did not know until that day. We ate a Cracker Barrel and although their gravy sucked, the biscuits were good and I did not leave hungry. I checked into my little Hilton, walked the mall across the street where I had to buy a new jacket and watched some World Series. Apparently it was cooler weather. Much cooler.
Here is a picture outside my hotel. Check out the leaves.
On Thursday morning, I went to downtown Prescott. Things have changed, of course, but they do still have an active downtown which is impressive.
When I was a little girl, this building housed Woolworth’s and upstairs, JC Penney. It was the building on the left with the black and white sign and the red and black sign. We spent a lot of time there. At the end of the street–go right–no picture was Eagle Drug, that had an old fashioned soda fountain. If I close my eyes, I can still remember the smell. and across the street was a tobacco shop/news stand where I bought my Tiger Beats. Whenever I hear ‘Silver Bells’ with the ‘City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in bright red and green’ this is what I think of, the Christmas street of my childhood.
And then I had lunch at El Charro, my dad’s favorite restaurant whenever we came to town. The food was as good as I remembered.
After lunch, I headed to Bagdad, the city where I went to school my first 8 years. We left there when I was 13. Along the road is a town called Skull Valley, where my Uncle Dub (Clarann’s dad) and my cousin Spike lived and are buried. I was not sure where to look so I did not stop at the Cemetery. I did see the cafe was still open. My mom ran that cafe for about 4 months when I was in the 6th grade. I’m not sure why…maybe they needed money…but she and I lived in the back room and I went to the school in Skull Valley, where the top grade was 6th and I was the only student in the 6th grade. Junior high would have gone to school in Prescott, about 20 miles away. Even then I always thought the grass might be greener on the other side. Glad now that I did not have to face another school. The kids in Bagdad weren’t nice to me particularly but by this time, they weren’t mean either. The cafe is open again and the decor is a little different but really not much has changed. No back room to live in though. The new owner did not know anything about it.
Then, after a horrible 60 mile horribly winding road, I made it to Bagdad. I kinda remembered the road being windy but I always got so car sick my mom got smart and gave me Dramamine to put me to sleep so I was not barfing the entire way. Even so I barfed alot. I certainly knew nothing about the 45 mph speed limit.
Driving into Bagdad really did not provide me many memories because, of course, after 45 years there were changes. Basically the whole town. And not for the better. It actually seemed smaller. No businesses to speak of. The mine–Phelps Dodge, last time I checked but who knows–owns the entire town. Since all of the houses pretty much looked alike, I would bet they own all of them too. I looked for old streets, found one we lived on but completely different and the 2nd one was eaten up by a golf course. And I could not find the ranch we live on about a mile out of town either. It appears the mine took over the land. We went to the Southern Baptist Church and I was surprised to see it still there. There did not ever seem to be over 30 at any service and there was another Baptist church in town that had more. I found the other church and it was standing but boarded up. The Southern Baptist was where I was baptized for the first time, at about 8 years old. That was the time we were supposed to be baptized. I was re-baptized in college, when it was real.
I spent about an hour and cannot imagine I’ll ever need to go back there again.
I had breakfast in Prescott with a Facebook friend that I’d never met and she was a delight. She is a potter and when I go back down to Prescott we are making a bell!
On my way out of town, I stopped at the Phippen Museum, Western Art & Heritage. George Phippen was a western artist who died too young of cancer. He was from Skull Valley and very honored in the area. Nice museum!!
I survived the road from hell (Kingman to Las Vegas, ugliest road ever and 65 mph for some reason). I don’t like paying for tickets but when an RV pulling a car honked at me on 65 cruise, I decided to speed up. I waited for the perfect car to follow, thinking they’d get stopped first…never saw a cop but did follow a pretty silver camaro for several miles and made it back to Las Vegas alive.
Still in recovery mode …these trips tire me out…but had a great time.