This is going to be a series of how technology isn’t always the best thing.
When I was younger our family lived in a very tiny spot on the road called Hyder, AZ. Hyder is located between Gila Bend and Yuma, AZ. This would have been in 1974 or 1975.I use to think I hated it because there was never anything to do. We had to make up our own entertainment. Hyder was about the same temperatures of Death Valley, rattlesnakes were all over the place. We actually lived across the street from a den of rattlers. We also had what seemed like millions of scorpions. Hyder is now considered a ghost town and I can honestly see why.
I was in the 5th grade when we moved there. The school we went to was about 40 miles from our house and we had to be picked up around 4 in the morning and we got home around the same time. That’s because it’s all farmland and kids lived all over the place. It took us a long time to get to school. The school I went to was called Sentinel and there was 28 students from the grades 1-12. There were 2 trailers for the classes. For grades 1-4, they met in the single wide trailer. The teacher for those grades most of the time was drunk by the time we made it to school. I tried to find images of the school and it looks like it isn’t there any longer, which I totally understand why lol.
When the teacher was passed out on the floor, my teacher Mr. Hollingsworth would send one of the kids in our class over to teach those kids. He would decide on who went to help by who passed the spelling bee and math bee for that day. It was first thing when we got there since we needed to go over right away.
While we lived in Hyder, we had to create our own entertainment. Our T.V. had three channels and that’s with Rabbit Ears. My dad always chose what he wanted to watch and it was always news. There were no discussions of arguments. We never argued because of the way my dad was and the constant fights that were very heated. I won’t go into that right now.
We did have a phone and our phones were on a party line. A party line is a shared service line. I think we had to share our line with 4 or 5 people. The way we knew if we had a call was because of a code ringing system. I think our ring was a high pitch ring that rang three times. If we accidentally picked up someone else’s call, we just hung up and apologized. If we wanted to make a call, we had to pick up the receiver to make sure nobody was on the phone. None of us kids were allowed to make calls or receive calls. My parents always unplugged the phone after 5 since they went to bed around 6 pm and the same for us kids. Since we lived so far away from anyone, we didn’t really have many friends that would call anyhow.
I did make friends at church and my dads boss Jerome Thompson had kids our age, so their kids were our friends. My mom would allow me to walk over to Kim Thompson’s. But that was at least a 2-3 mile walk across the desert and I had to keep an eye out for rattle snakes since I had to walk right past the dens. My parents didn’t really care about us walking that far or the dangers I would come across. It would usually take me an hour or so to get there. That depends on how many stops I made to drink or sit down. If I seen a snake, I got there faster lol. Oh and also there is wild boars and no trees.
I usually always walked by myself. If something happened, nobody would know since there were no cell phones or anything out there. It would for sure NOT be anything I would ever let anyone I loved do. I did know enough though to bring a gallon of water. That water was gone by the time I got to Kim’s and her parents were more than happy to bring me home. Since we couldn’t use the phone, I couldn’t call them to tell them I was coming over. I would say that during the summer, our thermometers showed that it was always 125% F.
Since there was no entertainment or friends, we came up with ways to have fun. We would get up early on the weekends and during the summer. Most of our days were always outside. Because of how my parents always fought, we did anything to stay away. There was 5 of us kids, and we would play baseball, run, Frisbee, swim in the irrigation ditches, play in the orange groves and since we lived in cotton fields, we would play in the fields and throw the hard cotton ball pods. If the cotton was only partly showing, those hurt and they were sharp enough to cut ya.
We also played kick the cans, tag, running races and we played with cars on our made up dirt tunnels and roads. One of my favorite things to do was look for cool and unusual rocks in the gravel. It sounds boring, but I would spend hours looking for unusual rocks. That is until it got to hot outside, They would bruise like nothing else if you got hit by one.
Because of the lack of any kind of technologies, we knew how to play and use our imaginations. We were exhausted because of how hard we played. Which having to go to bed so early, being exhausted was a good thing. We weren’t allowed to sit around a computer, television or be on the phone 24/7. Since we couldn’t make any noises at night we had to sleep.
I won’t be going into any of the negatives in this series of posts. I’m going to do my best to talk about the positives. My next post will also be about living in Hyder and my faith and baptism happening in irrigation ditches. So, please check back.