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The Personal Histories


Darvil Burns McBride & Josephine Phillips McBride




Only days after the tragic death of my Dad and his two deputies by murderous outlaws, we moved from Safford three miles east to Thatcher. During that first week in the new town, I first saw 5-year-old Josephine Phillips. Walking along the sidewalk in town with her mother, she proved to be a sight almost too much for a nine-year-old romantic. I remember thinking to myself, "How beautiful she is!"  Fascinated by the full, long, silken curls that fell across her shoulders reaching well down her back, and how prettily her mother had her dressed, I stared in rapt disbelief.


During those few, spellbound, enchanting minutes, a history-making decision indelibly impressed itself in my mind. Arriving home, my mind in a dither, I immediately told Mother that I'd seen the girl I was going to marry. Of course, she laughed. Rebuffed by mother’s response, in silence I carried my secret with me, unmentioned, for the next 16 years.


As the years slipped by, I didn't especially dwell on the declaration I'd made; it simply became relegated to the youthful back burners of my mind. It was singular though, that at the tender age of nine, I thought that I'd seen the girl, though four years younger than I, that I would marry. In time, it seemed that destiny prepared a "primrose path.” Unbelievably, she moved right next door to our home. Yes, she lived only fifteen feet from the fence that separated our lots. A beautiful seventeen-year-old by then; she looked like opportunity come home.


Though I had known Josephine for many years and had attended the same grammar school, high school; gone to the same church meetings and participated in many of the same social events that occur in a small town like Thatcher, because of our age difference we had never developed a special friendship. But that indelible record, back in the depth of memory, had occasionally slipped forward into my consciousness.


            "Tongue in cheek," while Jo sat listening as he recorded, Darvil purposely spawned the following "fabrication," specifically to perturb her: "After she moved next door, I came to know Jo and her sister, Eleanor, pretty well. In fact I got to know them a lot better than they really knew, because their bedroom window, with curtains often open a little too wide, was right there over the fence." Jo came unglued, "Oh no you didn't! Our bedroom was on the other side of the house." Only half thwarted he continued -- still funning. "Well anyway, when they came into the kitchen in their skivvies (underclothing) with the kitchen window so near to the fence, I did get better acquainted with them than they ever realized. But, how could I avoid it, when I naturally had chores around our place after dark?" Jo then called him a big “jass-onkey liar,” one of many pet names she has for her beloved Darvil. (Heard and recorded by their eldest son, Mac McBride.)



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