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The Personal Histories


Darvil Burns McBride & Josephine Phillips McBride



After we married, I spent little time outside the home working. Darvil always provided wonderfully for us.  Between the house, the kids, music and the Church, I found little opportunity to be idle, but on occasions, I found employment that I enjoyed for specific reasons.

We returned home, from
Flagstaff, for Christmas vacation in 1934. Darvil had talked to Lafe Nelson, the Safford schools superintendent, a wonderful life-long friend to us. Explaining our financial circumstances, Darvil asked him if he had available some kind of employment for me in Safford. Back in Flagstaff after Christmas but a few days, Lafe called informing us of a state-funded library position just made available to the Safford schools. I accepted the position. Lafe, coincidentally in Flagstaff on business a few days later, provided me the ride back to Thatcher.

I left Darvil to continue his school. He faired for himself with his part-time jobs, while I stayed with my parents, far away in Thatcher, while working in the library, three miles east in Safford. Though it was worth it for the extra money and other nice considerations from pampering parents the job paid little. I recall an amount of $14 per week. The State provided funds, ran their course by Easter, so, unemployed, I returned to
Flagstaff to be with Darvil through the rest of the school year.

I didn't work again until 1940, when the three children reached three, four, and five years of age. During three Pre-Christmas shopping seasons I worked for Belman’s Department Store in Safford. In addition to being a nice respite from the continual home drudgery of raising little-ones, it added some Christmas money to my purse.

After we had established ourselves in
Southern California during the war, in late 1942 or early 43 Mama and Jean came to live with us after we moved into the two-story house in Balboa on Seventh Street and Balboa Boulevard. While they lived with us on the peninsula and tended the house and kids, I found employment with Douglas Aircraft too, where Darvil worked. I worked as a small parts inspector for about six months.

As the war continued, we bought the Help-Yourself-Laundry business in Wilmington, and I admit that I really loved it. The playing-in-the-water aspect kept me as happy as an adult, as it had done for me as a child. There were twenty, ringer-type, square-tub, Maytag washing machines with double rinse-tubs provided for each. I enjoyed doing my own washing, and of course, some of our customers left theirs for us to do. I loved that too; it was fun to use the big, commercial dryers and to fold the warm fresh-smelling clothes. Many nice, interesting people came in that I could visit with while working. I loved that money that came in too, for the business turned out to be a remarkably profitable investment.

We moved back to Thatcher at the beginning of summer of 1951, for Darvil was hired as Dean of Men at Eastern Arizona Junior College, But before his first year with the college started, Darvil knew he needed to continue pursuing his Doctorate. He lacked only a few credits to accomplish it. So, we took Sally Jo with us and rented an apartment in Palo Alto, California, where he attended Stanford University. The boys were left in Thatcher under Mama's care. (After these credits, Darvil lacked only his thesis to obtain his doctorate)

While he went to Stanford, Sally Jo became our housekeeper and chief cook and participated in the local community recreation programs, playing tennis and other sports. I worked in Ballans, a baby clothes store with beautiful merchandise. With nice owners and coworkers and pleasant customers, the work was a delightful experience, and I looked forward to being there each day. While there, the ward we attended, we enjoyed. The choir had a marvelous professional leader, and, I especially loved being a part of it under his talented direction. 

We leased the Turkey Flat Lodge in the Graham mountains during the summer of 1953. The lodge served as a bare-essentials grocery store, gas station, and light recreation area.  We rented out its five cabins and I cooked and served fast foods.  And, by appointment, I cooked and served evening dinners.  We looked at it as a paid-working vacation, for we were at seven-thousand feet elevation in the cool mountain air while the valley sizzled below. 

In 1954, wanting another break from the formidable, Arizona, summer heat, Darvil and I decided to return to the more clement weather of Southern California for a beach-side working vacation.  Since Karl and Elverda Allred were to be away on a trip from their Westminster home, we arranged to stay there for three weeks. 

I immediatly went to work for a restaurant owned by Disney Studios in Burbank.  I worked as the Assistant Maitre d' The Studio, busy then filming "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," afforded opportunity to see some of the Hollywood style and people.  Two actors come to mind -- Peter Lori, who acted as odd off stage as on, and, Kirk Douglas, a charming man off stage. 

Soon, Darvil started work for Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach.  When the Allreds neared their return, we moved to an upstairs apartment in the Torrey Pines Apartment complex on East Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach.  Our front windows looked out over the street, cliff-side park, the beach and the ocean.  Mac, age nineteen, arrived after finishing his first year of college at Eastern Arizona Junior College (now Eastern Arizona College) via hitch-hiking to find work too, but he managed to just pass the summer as a pampered guest.  The apartment's ideal location gave us access to the beautiful beach across the boulevard and down the steps.  Rainbow Pier and the Pike were a few blocks up within easy walking distance. 

We met an L.D.S. couple from Mesa there for the summer too, Jack and Maude “Mackie” Cummard, and their two beautiful daughters, Tamara, age seventeen and Cidny, age thirteen.  Mac soon became infatuated with Tamara, and we developed a friendship with the parents.  Mac thought the world of Tamara, and they wrote each other nearly every week for the duration of his two and one-half year mission.  However, a good friend of his, in his mission, who was from Mesa, returned home three months ahead of Mac and enticed Tamara away from him.  But after Mac found his wife to be in Linda and married her, Tamara met Mac’s best friend, Terrell Richard (Terry) Hoops.  They fell in love and married after Terry, two years ahead of Mac in dental school, graduated.  Tam and Terry and Linda and Mac have remained close life-long friends. 

When we moved to the apartment, I gave up the job with Disney Studios, for Darvil needed the car.  I found pleasant employment in a Gift Shop in Long Beach, a convenient bus ride to reach. 

In the summer of 1955, we leased the Mountain Lodge again.  Jon and Sally Jo came with us then.  Early in the mornings, Darvil and Jon collected millions of ladybugs, by the gallon, at the higher elevations.  They sold them to a distributor who sold them to the citrus growers for aphid control.  If  I recall correctly, a gallon and a-half of bugs sold for $10.00. Darvil and Jon had fun doing it and three to eight gallons at that price, back then, equaled a tidy additional sum.  My other work remained the same as during the summary of 1953. 

In the summer of 1957, Darvil had concluded five years as Principal of the Thatcher Elementary School.  Mac would continue in Uruguay on his mission until November.  Jon, still in school at Tempe worked long hours cooking at Harmons Ranch Restaurant.  And Sally Jo, married, lived with her family in Safford.  Darvil was employed in LaFaun Mortensen's insecticide\defoliant business, when we bought the grocery store. 

We worked side by side together, when he could be away from the other job.  I definitely loved working in the store.  I felt a close kinship with store-keeping.  Maybe I inherited it from my Dad, who, for so many years, managed others and then his own general merchandise store in Thatcher too.  At least, I felt somewhat influenced or indoctrinated with the spirit of it.  We owned the store for five years; we sold it a few months after Darvil's election to the State Senate.  My work experiences outside the home came to an end after the sale of the store.

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