Friday, August 22, 2008

The Arizona years

Here's your soundtrack for this post, from 1953 - Frank Sinatra.

click to enlargeFor my birthday (on the 24th) I put together a small collection of scans from that place and time, Phoenix Arizona in the early 1950s. We lived there until 1955, when we went to Hawaii for a short time. Click any pics to enlarge. I was born on Luke AFB, which has an awful lot to do with my life in general. People ask where I'm from... I say "the Air Force." Here's a picture of the doctor who delivered me. It's from a hardback book that is exactly like a high school yearbook (published a year after I was born). We lived in a little red trailer off-base somewhere, then later moved to a duplex.

Here are my folks with their new little bundle of joy.

I suppose I needed a bath. My mother seems to have dressed up for the occasion. I did the opposite.

Here's my mother getting a similar kind of bath. Not really. It's one of those fairground photo booths, fun for the whole family. (I more than half expect photobucket to yank this one, along with another one of these I have posted there.)

A bunch of little cowpokes from the neighborhood.

Here's a bunch of other kids playing grownup. Those cigarettes are a nice touch, aren't they? Candy cigs, I'm sure. Well, maybe not so sure.

A hilarious picture of my mother Lola, a sausage, and a couple of my dad's sisters Ethel and Ruth. The "in-law" relations were always pretty bad, despite the smiles for the picture, but then they were smiling for their little brother.

For recreation, we would drive out into the desert somewhere and have a picnic. There's our car in the background by the saguaro. My folks drank coffee practically by the bucket, and what sounds better when you're out in the middle of the Arizona desert than a steaming hot cup of coffee? That's right. Nothing. My parents loved their coffee so much that once when on a camping trip, they boiled some hot dogs, then realized there wasn't enough water left for coffee, so they made it out of the weenie water.

For a side job to being in the Air Force, my dad was part of the pit crew at Manzanita Speedway for Tucson race car driver Bill Cheesbourg. He racked up some fairly impressive stats in his life. I don't think this is his car. The two sports I my parents liked were car racing and wrestling.

Another fun family event, visiting the carnival and watching the freaks sideshow.

Jesus, please don't leave me and let me go to Hell.

I don't remember this place, but everywhere we lived I got to spend a lot of time in the various dives, honkytonks, taverns, etc. On the back of this was handwritten to my dad, "To Bill, Just to remind you alway about the 3 Sister, July Betty & Jessie" (sic)

Hope you enjoyed the pics, there are a few more on photobucket.
View all the pics in this set.
View as slideshow.


Mariamariacuchita said...

Blueberry, these are priceless. They look quite a bit like my own childhood pictures taken around the same time, except we had no pictures to commemorate our visit to the freak show at the state fair. I really like the candy (?) cigarettes. Didn't they make you feel glamorous when you pretended to smoke them? I may have been thinking of posting a few of mine!! You have inspired me.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Great shost! I love your vintage photos!

Border Explorer said...

Oh, the nostalgia! Happy birthday (!!)and thanks for sharing your life with us here. What a wonderful and heartwarming post!

Mando Mama said...

Hey, how come it's your birthday, but we get the treats? These are just wonderful -- but it's really in the way you frame them for us that makes each one come alive. Was it really so long ago? My kids love to look at our own family photos from that time -- I have three brothers from the period 1950-55 (same parents), the oldest born into the Air Force as well, in Spokane.

There were still candy cigarettes when I was growing up circa 1965-75. I think they were candy, and not gum...not sure. My parents both smoked and drank coffee like water, too, although to my knowledge they never made coffee out of weenie water! OY! But, like your parents, I believe it is never too hot for coffee. It's already 80 degrees in Ohio but I am sitting here with my cup of Joe.

Happy birthday, Blueberry. May your day be rich with little celebration moments and NO WORK. I am very glad you were born. I will enjoy a brown, hoppy beverage in your honor (after I finish my coffee of course!).

Freida Bee said...

Happy Birthday, Blueberry! Those are wonderful pics. I love the one with your mom and the sausage. Just that shot makes me think she's one person from whom you got your great sense of humor.

I'm sorry, but when I was traveling with my kids to Arkansas, driving through Oklahoma, and saw candy cigarettes for sale. Maybe they're sold in Austin (I think Toy Joy has some), but it's not very often I'm perusing the candy aisle of a convenience store and I just had to buy some. I got one good pic of one of my sons with one in his mouth and the rest have been sitting neglectfully in the cabinet. They have undoubtedly survived numerous scourings for sweets and been passed over time and again. Meh.

Quasi said...

What a coincidence -- our human female is from Phoenix too.