Ford I. Gano History Ė Tape 6 Side A
My note to you at this time, when I finished that previous tape, trying to tape it off there, some of things that I did while I was in college. I listened to it afterwards, and I was so discouraged because it was such a muddled up mess of words and mispronounced and one thing or another that I couldnít understand it at all. I felt very bad about it, and I told Grandma about it, and she said she would listen to it, and she did, and she says, well, I could understand that tape, and I donít think you should do away with it, because you have a lot of information in there covering a good period of time. Now, I donít know, Iím not going to destroy it, Iím just going to continue on where I left off in that tape.
As a student at ASTC, a group of us had made a bus trip down to Carlsbad Cavern, the Great White Sands, and artesian wells, that area, and otherwise more or less just informed ourselves so that our Geology professor could have something to grade us on perhaps. Iím going to just simply skip anything more about that trip, and come back up to the school days at this time.
As I reflect now over those school days at Tempe, they were about the most happiest days of my life, up to that point. I really enjoyed getting acquainted with the problems of education, and meeting other kids, and being part of their life. That was just simply the greatest pleasure I had ever had up to that time.
I donít remember whether I ever mentioned that my mother had been the primary influence in getting me off to college. She had suggested that we sell what cattle we had. The government had been buying cattle up to get them off the range. The government had been buying them for $15 a head, and we had about 10 head running down there on the river, the Verde River banks, which grazed off up into the grazing lands, the open lands of the ranchers, and they didnít like it, so the government was paying $15 a head to anybody that would sell their stock off to them. So she suggested that we do that, get rid of them, and I should take the money and go to school. Well, we go t $150 out of that bunch of stock, and I let her take half of it, and I took half and headed off for Tempe, and thatís how I got my start in education. I really enjoyed that period of life, and Iíll never regret it in any way whatsoever.
Of course, I do not want to do an injustice to my growing up days on the river, the ranch houses there, China Place and all, but after my sweetheart Annie Lee had died, I was kind of looking for other ground to move to, and get away from it all, and this came up about going to school, and I readily agreed to try it. Before that, I had been reluctant because I thought I wanted to get a start on the old China Place, in farming or something, and make a fortune so Annie Lee and I could live happily ever after. But we had never been formally engaged, we had just been sweethearts and had agreed on that as soon as I could make a home for us.
Well, that was done. That was sad.
And then I sold off all the paraphernalia I had from my cowboy days. I didnít own any of the horses, so I couldnít sell them, but I owned all the paraphernalia to go along with them, my chaps, my spurs, my bridle, saddle, everything that went with it. I think I kind of weeped a little when I sold them, but I knew that I would be using the money for a good purpose. And I headed for Tempe. That was some of the most beautiful days of my life, as I mentioned before there.
Now Iíve carried myself up through most of the first three college years, and now my fourth year, as I went back up to school that yearÖ
It was not my fourth year, because one year I had completely stayed out, to earn a little money. So in my fourth year at school I was made an assistant in the Biology department. That was a really exciting time, and was a really big feather in my cap. That of course was where I met Nellie, and I mentioned that earlier.
Some of the other things that had come upÖ
One other thing I want to mention at this time, I donít think I mentioned it before, or maybe I just hinted at it, but in order to get a degree in agriculture, I had to switch from Tempe to the agricultural college down at Tucson, Arizona.
So in my fourth year of schooling, I switched and went down to the University of Arizona. Norris Gilbert and I were roomed up together in the Aggie department that was available for us at the University of Tucson, and in inquiring I found out I had to sacrifice a lot of credits I had earned at ASTC. The University was just stuck up and didnít think that ASTC deserved being recognized as a full credit school, so they took away some of my class credits that I had. So I had to take 22 units of class work the first year that I was there at Tucson. That really made me hump quite a bit.
The Aggie students, there were 21 of us there, roomed in a house that we rented off campus. We hired a Chinese cook, and cooperated on the operation of the building and doing the dishes and sweeping and cleaning etc. We had to walk from the Aggie house over to the campus, which wasnít too far, but it wasnít like living right on campus. I did manage to, by taking some correspondence courses which the university put out, I was able to work all those 22 units in to my class schedule. That many units in college course kept me mighty mighty busy to get through all of them. Since I had, when I moved to the University, I enrolled in the Ag department then, which was what I went down there for, my specialty was Ag Education. I was talked into that by a professor, or a doctor there, who was the head of the Ag Education department, because they were looking for Ag Education teachers. He thought that might be the way I should go in order to get a job immediately after graduation. Well, in order to do that, I had to go on and take six weeks of courses of classwork in the summer time after my regular classmates, some 1000 of them, had graduated and received their diploma in a special session. I wasnít able to get my diploma at that time, in other words, and had to wait until July when I finished all my special courses in Ag Education to get my degree. Which I agreed to because I was really anxious to get to work. However, I wasnít entirely idle all that time, because Dr. Klein got really busy right off the bat, and referred me to several possible jobs that needed an agricultural teacher. One of them was down in Yuma Arizona, which was a down in the Citrus Belt, and I wasnít exactly anxious to teach down there, because it was more or less for specialized farming: vegetables and lettuce and carrots and other things they grew down there in large farms. So I wasnít very much thrilled about going down there. But I went down and interviewed with the trustees at the school there, not in Yuma, but in a small school some 15 or 16 miles from Yuma, an area called Roll was the school district there. Those people down there in that area were so anxious to have an Ag Teacher come in and take care of those students there who wanted to get a little extra curricular activity in school, I guess, they gave me a contract, and I was willing to sign it because I was sure anxious to get some money coming in from somewhere.
Well, I took that contract and went back to Tucson, and there Dr. Klein, head of the Ag Education department there at the school, met me at the door so to speak, and said "Did you sign a contract down there?" And I showed it to him. He said "Well, Iíll get you out of that one; I want you to go up and look at a school up in Northern Arizona. I think itís more in your line of teaching, more in your background, and I think maybe the people up there, you would enjoy them more. Theyíre special people, and theyíre looking for a special teacher." And he described the teacher then, that didnít smoke, didnít drink, didnít tell dirty jokes, didnít run around having weekend parties and so forth and so on. He went on: " Youíre the only one in this department that I have that I can recommend to send up there to Snowflake Arizona. Theyíre a school of all Mormons. They canít get them a Mormon teacher, so theyíre wanting someone who can fill for that, until they can find what they want." Well, OK, I agreed to go up there. I had to hire a special way to get up there, take a bus so to speak, to get up there to Show Low, where the Principal of the school up there in Snowflake, which was about 15 miles on farther up north, met me. And then he introduced me to all the trustees, and some of the students around at the school, told me what they were like and what they were doing. I did like the look of that situation very much. Also, the climate was much more pleasant up there than it was down in Yuma.
All in all I was anxious to have that job there and try it out, but before I could do it I had to break that contract that I had previously signed. And I had to go back to Tucson and find out if Dr. Klein had made other arrangements for my old teaching assignment. I found out that he had, when I got there, and so I was really happy.
While going to school there in Tucson, Nellie and I had been going together pretty regularly. Nellie had a car; she also had a teaching job up at school near where they lived in Casa Grande, so she would drive down there every now and then. We went to various assorted school functions and other activities that young people like to go to at that time of life. We were both tickled at the fact that I had a chance to go teach up at Snowflake, which she thought sheíd like better. She had gone down to Yuma with me, when I had made the trip to make an application Ė by the way I had purchased a second-hand car, on time, that was the first and only car I ever bought on time. After that I was able to pay cash for every automobile I bought. Well, that was beside the point. But I had to have some way to get around, and look for these situations and take care of life in general. So I got in my old Chevy, and packed in my things, and went up to Snowflake.
There I was made very welcome, rented an apartment that I thought Nellie and I could live in, when we could get married and she could join me there. Of course, she was teaching, and couldnít come right at that time anyway. She was trying to get her motherís house fixed up with her salary, and she didnít have any extra money to speak of, but we did manage to go to a show or two while we were courting there, waiting for that particular time.
I did a lot of driving from Snowflake to Casa Grande, where Nellie lived, on weekends from Snowflake where I was teaching as the school year started that year in September. It was a good little drive from Casa Grande up to Snowflake, about 190 miles to be exact, and so weekends were pretty well covered up by me driving down there. Some of them I had to skip because school activities would take me out of it. But one weekend when I was down visiting in Casa Grande with Nellie, we decided we wanted to get married. So we eloped, and drove up to Flagstaff one night in my old Chevy coupe, and hunted up a minister early in the morning the next day, and got him to marry us. Well, he wanted $5 to marry us, which I came up with. We also had to buy a marriage license from the courthouse up there, get permission to marry. Arizona at that time didnít have a 3 day waiting period, so we managed to pull that off. Well, there we were married and in Flagstaff, so we took in the sights just for that one day, just one day, and enjoyed each otherís company, and then decided that since she had a year of teaching to finish out, she had a year of teaching and I had to finish mine, that Iíd go on back to Snowflake, and live in my apartment alone, and she would go back to Casa Grande. She took a train back that day, and went back down to Casa Grande from that place, from Flagstaff, and I went back to Snowflake. Which was only about 40 miles.
It was kind of a sad situation, a sad way to have a honeymoon, but after that she succeeded in getting her girlfriends to come up to Snowflake for weekend trips, so we got together on weekends then, and we had a great time that way. I could take care of my responsibilities, and she would take care of hers, so we got along all right until she finished her school next spring, which was in May. At that time, she came up to Snowflake, and we moved in as Man and Wife into a little apartment that I had rented there, and lived there for quite a few years happily.
Of course, a few things happened after that that were quite important in our lives. We were going to a Mormon Church. Nellie did not like that. I did like it. I was enjoying the Mormon philosophy, the Mormon teachings, I was enjoying the people very much. They really did not fit the description my brother Frank had given of Mormons, who told me that Joseph Smith was a religious fanatic, and that his people were just quacks to follow him.
Iím starting on a new tape here Lucille got ready for me to use, and Iíve just about forgotten where I left off. So Iím going to go back a little while, to my school days in Tempe when I made the trip down to White Sands and to Carlsbad Cavern, and reflect on that for just a moment, because it does touch in on some of my later reflections as I was teaching high school up in Snowflake.
Now, we had to hike down the trail into Carlsbad Cavern, that first trip down. The rangers took us on down quite a few steps, and on down to a trail that led us down to the cavern. The trail was lighted with electrical lights, which had been kind of skillfully placed along behind the wall to reflect the beauty of the cavern as we walked down. When we got to the cavern, the mammoth cave at the bottom of the cavern, or at least where our trail was going to end for that particular day, we were set down around a huge stalagmite, a tremendous growth there at the bottom of the cave. The cave, by the way, was some 200 feet from the bottom to the ceiling, and had tremendous acoustics. You could hear a sound almost as far away as you could make it.
We had the opportunity then to sit down in the cave and reflect. The rangers pointed out to us that if they turned the electric lights off that lighted up the cave, that we would be in complete darkness, because there was no way that any sunlight filtered down into that cave. So, to illustrate the point they were making, they turned those lights off for just a minute, or maybe a minute or a half, and we sat there in the depth of that cavern, around that giant stalagmite, and without absolutely being able to see our hand in front of our faces. So we did have a taste of what complete darkness was like. And while they had those lights turned off, a quartet of those rangers back up the trail, about a mile back up the trail they said, and a quartet of those rangers sang "Rock of Ages." Now it so happened that that particular quartet was very well balanced with deep voices, middle voices, and high voice, and it was a beautiful rendition of "Rock of Ages," I remember it to this day.
Of course, I suppose at a later time they recorded that, and the next time that I came down there while I was teaching in the Ag Department up at Snowflake that I took a group of the Ag boys by bus down to Carlsbad Cavern. I thought they would enjoy it. None of them in fact had ever been down there before, and we followed the same trail I had gone down on the geological trip in college. Again, and I didnít mention this at first, there were tremendous amounts of bats roosting in a particular part of that cave. On the first trip down didnít actually witness the bats. We were told how they went out at night, and how as night proceeded they would come back to the cavern to roost. They made tremendous amounts of guano, a type of fertilizer very rich in nitrates [tape ends]