Growing up in the 1960’s and ‘70’s in the Verde Valley was an amazing experience and the adventures memorable. Everyone knew everyone in the surrounding towns, they knew your parents and all your relatives and neighbors. Whatever happened hit the gossip lines immediately and most kids knew their parents would learn of their behavior within hours if they did something they probably shouldn’t have done in this small community.
Perhaps one of the most interesting taboos to me during high school was the commonly understood edict “don’t date those Clarkdale boys”; we lived in Cottonwood. The Clarkdale boys, and Jerome boys by association, were touted as not being good choices because they only liked sports and music. Listening to wild music of that long-haired group from England and playing every sport imaginable leaving little time to cultivate a romantic relationship. After all, there wasn’t much else to do in this small community for a teenager once the chores and/or work at a job was done for the day. The Sedona boys pretty well stayed in their neck of the woods or frequented Flagstaff. No matter, it was too far to travel from here to Sedona anyway (even though $1 worth of gas would get us to Prescott over Mingus Mountain). The Camp Verde boys were also off-limits because of their reputation for racing fast cars and fighting, both of which they excelled at greatly. We were reminded often that we only need look in our own little town of Cottonwood to find perfectly suitable dates for high school events and weekend movies.
There were eight girls in our family and all but one of us ignored that advice; sister # 7 married a fine young man she met while serving in the Air Force. However, they moved to Clarkdale to live and raise a family, so the brothers-in-law accept him as “home grown”. As for the other seven of us girls, we sought out, dated, and each married a Clarkdale boy. Six of those boys served their country, many during the Viet Nam war, then returned to Arizona with some coming back to the Verde Valley and others throughout the state.
Just in case anyone is wondering how those Clarkdale boys’ marriages are working out …. Sister #1 celebrated her 52nd wedding anniversary this month, and this year sister #2 will celebrate 49 years, sister #4 celebrating 50 years, sister #5 celebrating 49 years, sister #6 celebrating 46 years, sister #7 celebrating 35 years, and baby sister #8 celebrating 37 years, (sister #3 marriage ended after a tragic car accident).
Clarkdale boys weren’t the only hot item riding the bus to MUHS in Jerome, we had three brothers who found the love of their life in Clarkdale girls! Two of them are still married to their sweethearts as well (we lost one brother eight years ago).
Do any of these names sound familiar? Schwab, Wombacher, Carpenter, Duncan, Ayres, Franquero? Home grown Clarkdale Boys with some families going back three and four generations; and they chose to marry Osborne girls from Cottonwood.Happy Valentine’s Day folks!
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