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The Personal Histories

of

Darvil Burns McBride & Josephine Phillips McBride

 

OUR TEENAGERS — IN THATCHER

 

In 1949, after moving back to Thatcher, we were really busy going to our children's involvements in school.  One or more participated in one or more events each week, it seemed, during the entire school year.  When we moved back, Sally Jo started the seventh grade, Jon, the eighth and Mac, his first year of high school.

 

Sally kept busy in music playing the piano, singing in musical groups and in special music presentations and programs. The boys had beautiful voices too, but Mac refused to be active in music, preferring athletics.  Except, to just give it a fling once, he tried out for the lead part in the senior class play, and got it. His performance was excellent. John, also a fine actor had leading rolls in his class plays. Sally Jo had real interest in plays and operas. Gifted as well, she had deep fondness for those activities and for the piano.

 

Mac played all four sports—football, basketball, baseball and track. Though he says he didn't really excel, I know that to be exaggerated to the negative. He was the first person in the school for seven years to letter in all four sports. He lived for athletics, and since Thatcher was a small school, he said the coaches were just grateful for another warm body to spell the better players. But, that isn't so either, he possessed a versatility that made him valuable to the teams in many ways.

 

During his one (sophomore) year in Safford, the track coach had taught him the fundamentals of pole vaulting.  So, as a senior at Thatcher during his baseball practice, he discovered Thatcher High had an old vaulting pole, standards and crossbar. When he expressed interest in it, the coach straightway ordered a load of sawdust hauled into the long, unused, high-jump pit and laid in the ground the catch-box for the pole. Mac practiced at it a good many late afternoons after baseball practice.

 

During the nine-school conference track meet, never having vaulted in a track meet before, he entered and won first place in the conference. He also entered the high-jump, and the 440-yard dash in which he performed well. He would have been Thatcher High's entire track team, except, he convinced three of his fastest friends to enter the 880-yard relay, and they placed forth. To be truthful he says, there were only four teams competing. So, be it known that he alone garnered the only legitimate five points awarded Thatcher’s track team.

 

His win made him eligible for the State competition. Kendall Haynie, his math and chemistry teacher, took him to Tucson, where he borrowed a pole and tied for fifth place with six others. Through the influence of his former coach, then the principal of the high school, Eastern Arizona Junior College offered him a token scholarship to play football, and Arizona State University at Flagstaff offered him a—tuition, books and       on-campus-work scholarship, if he would play football and track. (A note of interest, his father, yes, I, had won first place in the high school conference pole vault and gone to the State track meet, placing third, about 26 years before.

 

That year, the football team placed first in the "B" class schools of the State. Mac played with many really great players that went on to play ball in the military and college. One of the up-and-coming greats in the high school was our Jon. During his senior year, it seemed that hardly a week passed that his name didn't appear in the local or one of the state newspapers with comments on "Jon McBride, Thatcher High School's outstanding light tackle…."

 

During the same year that Jon did so well in football, the students elected Sally Jo, as one of (only) three cheer leaders. Jon was elected as the student body president, the office I had occupied many years before in the same high school. He also had the lead part in the special yearly musical and he sang the baritone solo at his graduation exercises to Sally Jo's piano accompaniment. Also, the faculty honored Jon by selecting him as one of two from the school to attend Boys State in Flagstaff—a wonderful experience for him.

 

Two of our children always had company in the house. Sally Jo and Mac's friends were always there, wherever we lived. On the other hand, kind of a loner,  Jon, wherever we lived, it seemed we had to have a party for him to get acquainted before we saw any of his friends come to the house. Nevertheless, he commanded great respect and always enjoyed extreme popularity among his fellow students and his teachers.

  

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