Douglas Arizona

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October 15th 2006
Published: October 15th 2006
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Some of the greatest memories I have as a child were my trips to Douglas, Arizona. My grandfather was stationed there during the first world war, as was my grandmother. He was a medical doctor, she a nurse. They met there, and never lived anywhere else. After the war, he practiced medicine at the Copper Queen Hospital in Douglas, and was later appointed Chief Surgeon. Later he had his own practice in Douglas. They are both buried within a stone's throw of the Mexican border.
I remember traveling overnight to Tucson on the Santa Fe Railroad from Pasadena, California where we lived.

I remember their home in Douglas, at 1138 9th St. A simple but nice 'post war bungalow' style home.

I remember my grandparent's parakeet, that was never confined to a cage, that would perch on the edge of my grandfather's bourbon glass and help himself...

I remember the fish pond in the back yard. I must have been 8 or 9, for my brother was a toddler. He fell into the pond... I just stood there like a brain dead kid, at least I was able to yell for my mother, who came running and jumped into the pond and saved his life.

I remember the smell of my grandfather's cigars. Mmmmmm.... I loved that.

I remember the hacienda out in the desert... with the scorpions that had fallen into the pool, and the rattlesnakes that were woven into the barbed wire fence. I remember the fresh, homemade tamales we ate there.

I remember my mother telling me about nights when there would be a knock on the front door, my grandfather getting out of bed and finding a man standing there... with his sombrero in his hand. Then, according to my mother, my grandfather would saddle a horse, and follow the man across the border into Aqua Prieta. He would come back hours later... and announce that he just delivered a baby boy or girl!!! Also, my mother told me, that some time later, the same man would show up on the front door, again with hat in hand, but this time with wife and baby at his side... to give my grandfather a gift of homemade tamales !!

I remember going across the border... and buying firecrackers... and switchblades, and smuggling them back. I still have one of the knives! When we went across the border, I did some 'shopping' on my own (at about 12 years old !) and asked every shopkeeper, til I found some that would sell to me. I remember buying a wooden mask, having it wrapped, with the firecrackers and two switchblades neatly in it. Then I nonchalantly met up with other members of my family, and coolly told all I got were a few wooden masks. Then holding my breath as we crossed the border..... I was a real smuggler !

I remember my riding home with my dad in a 1957 black and yellow Ford Fairlane that my grandfather gave to my folks. I remember going through Tombstone. It was going to be mine one day, but my dad totaled it.

I remember getting ready to leave for home... and my grandfather giving my sister an airsickness shot. He was so intoxicated that he couldn't hold the needle straight... and it would wobble up and down in her arm... that made me soooooo queasy!!! I couldn't stand it!!! And my sister would always get sick anyway... and throw up all over the plane..... (Apache Airlines) yuck!

And I remember my mother waltzing around the kitchen as she cooked dinner, singing.... 'Don't Fence Me In' 'You Are My Sunshine' and, especially.... 'Ragtime Cowboy Joe'

Thanks... for letting me reminisce...

Past and Present

I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon
Nor bought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember
The roses, red and white,
The violets, and the lily-cups--
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,--
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow.

I remember, I remember
The fir frees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from Heaven
Than when I was a boy.

Thomas Hood 1799 - 1845


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