The Personal Histories


Darvil Burns McBride & Josephine Phillips McBride




After Darvil finished that first year in Flagstaff, (his third year of college) I got him; I won the contest; I emerged the victor; I took the prize. We married in August of that summer of 1933. Dad brought the white, satin material for my wedding dress from Phoenix. Phyllis Pace, the only girl cousin my age, made it for me.


As we prepared to return together in September to Flagstaff for Darvil's fourth year of college, I didn't have any money, and Dad didn't have any either. Though Darvil came up with our only twenty dollars, dear Dad slipped over to his store and filled a big box, full to the top, with groceries to send to help us begin our new lives together. 


We occupied a tiny, summer cottage reserved by the college for married students. A small wood-burning stove served as our only means of heat. At seven thousand five-hundred feet, after the long, snowy winter set in, we used it continuously. Darvil forced himself out from under the covers two and sometimes three times each night to replenish the wood. Thank goodness for its location there so close to the bed. All through the surrounding pine forest laid a plentiful amount of wood available at no cost whenever we needed it. Thank goodness too for the abundance of wood, for it saved our precious, few dollars for buying necessities.


Darvil found employment at the college library. He worked in exchange for a full-year, meal ticket that we both could use in the school cafeteria. Though not a lot, it afforded him some credit at the book store too, saving additional cash. Together, we went to the cafeteria for every other meal, enjoying meals that someone else had prepared. It became a constant treat for me to be eating meals with him so often. Fortunately, we lived close to the college dairy, and by helping some friends working there, Darvil, our neighbors next door and others had permission to get the milk and cream we needed. The men usually waited to get the milk after the cream had begun to rise so we could bring home the creamier part. Believe-you-me, I gained weight, and it wasn't a very happy situation. Because of the indulgence I needed larger sizes of clothes, but, no such luxury as a new wardrobe for me then.


I'd always been spoiled by my parents. I had always had everything I wanted, which brings to mind an occasion I’ll share. Back in Thatcher Mama and I went to Safford to shop. Better said, she went to shop and I went along only as her company, for I lacked funds. I didn't have a single nickel to my name, and I remember passing a grocery store and seeing boxes of big, delicious oranges and apples. How my mouth watered for one,  but pride kept me from saying anything, for I had learned to do without, as Darvil had had to do all his life. Later when I related the experience to Mama, she moaned, "Oh Jo, that just makes me sick." She'd have bought me any or all of them in a minute.


Edna and Dillon Lewis with their young baby, Monford, lived in the cottage next to us. We soon became friends, a lasting friendship through the years. Dillon and Edna had been raised in Taylor, Arizona, and Dillon's parents lived their on their farm. Their home town, not too far away, beckoned them back quite often, and they always returned to Flagstaff with an over-abundance of vegetables and fruit to share with us. We appreciated their thoughtfulness more than words express because of our limited resources.


Ice cycles formed long, clear and heavy during the freezing winter nights. Dillon and Edna owned an ice cream freezer, so after school in the afternoons, Darvil and Dillon harvested the hanging ice cycles from our cottage eves. They crushed the ice cycles to make ice cream, using the creamy milk from the college dairy. Those were pleasant interludes. We made many-a-fine-batch to fatten up on. Edna and Dillon were dear, dear friends, we had many, fun, frugal times together that year.


Though we couldn’t afford the tuition for me, and therefore, I would not receive credits, the school allowed me to audit some wonderful courses. I remember one outstanding literature class that I enjoyed, but most of all I appreciated two advanced classes in music. In the classes I enjoyed being a part of the groups. I sang with one choral group under the direction of a Professor Ardrey. The advanced theory, understanding and training I gained served me well in years to come.


I made sure I went with Darvil to the extraordinary weekly, student assemblies. The programs were nothing short of marvelous. The talent of guest performers and programs presented by the students never ceased to thrill me. 


The great Broadway musical, Showboat, showered its influenced upon the world of music, and Professor Ardrey had trained his students in the rendition of many of its magnificent selections. Even though I couldn't be a part of those presentations, the talented students were impressive. The experience of being in the midst of it,  listening to and seeing such heart-moving renditions shall forever bring pleasant memories.


There during one of Flagstaff’s warmest winters, I took advantage of the comfortable, outdoor conditions to prove my athletic skills in skiing. Though my own technique differed somewhat from the orthodox, I did quite well down hill: sliding with my knees up and skis splayed out in front, as my seat provided plenty of wide stability.


During the second summer of our marriage, we had a plentiful lack of money, and we spread it thin to make do. Darvil had always managed the money, but I got tired of not having what I thought was enough. I'd been raised with always a shekel or more in my pocket, Mama and Dad providing it when wanted. Darvil would give me money when I needed and wanted it, but I tired of him doing all the managing and raised such a ruckus to do it myself, that he finally gave in.

He handed over all the money that we had to make last for the whole summer. He simply told me to -- just go ahead and be the manager. Well, it was gone in six weeks, if not in four, which embarrassingly forced us to scrape and scrounge around for enough more to see us through the summer session. Lesson learned, forever after I left the money managing to him.

  Previous                                                                          Contents Next