For some reason, I had occasion to look at Bisbee in Google Maps the other day, and just happened to zero in on 223 Tombstone Canyon Road – and voila! There was a street view picture!
This is where we lived when we first moved to Arizona from Alabama in 1994 – in a little Victorian miner’s cottage on the canyon wall in Bisbee that we rented from one of the local hippies. I found this place when I came out west in July, and Ethel and Silas showed up a month later. We loved this place, and we lived here until the following spring, when I took a more stable job in Tucson and we moved there and bought a place.
That garage entry and the walkway are bridges over the canyon creek, twenty feet or so below this viewpoint; you would park in the entry (the garage wasn’t there then) and then come out and walk across the bridge and up the stairs. That first door opened into the basement, which is where I kept my desktop; it had a phone line, so I could access the Internet via modem (remember modems?)
From there, you could walk up the stairs to the front porch, which ran most of the length of the home. That front porch caused us quite a bit of concern, as the wall on the front of this porch was only a couple of feet tall, and Ethel was afraid that Silas would jump off of the front porch and plummet to his death. We solved this by going to Home Depot and buying some small cactus in rectangular pots, and placing them at short intervals across the wall; Silas was by this time very up on his Dr Suess, and in Hop On Pop, there’s a triplet that goes like this:
Pat, Hat, pat sat on hat
Pat, Cat, pat sat on cat
(picture of a cactus) No, Pat, no, don’t sit on that!
…and once those cacti were in place, Silas would walk out onto the porch, point at them, and say “No, Pat, no!” and wouldn’t go near the porch wall…for many years, prickly pear were referred to as “No Pats” in our household.
The home was a shotgun house, with kitchen at the far left (Silas’ little room in front of that) then the football-watching room, and the L at the right end was the bathroom (clawfoot tub) and bedroom.There was a tiny back yard where Silas could play without fear of him falling to his death. The whole place was probably less than 1000 square feet.
There was no A/C, as Tombstone Canyon never got hot enough to need it; not only was it near 6000 feet of elevation, but the canyon was north/south, so the sun didn’t shine down into it long enough to heat it up. We would lay in the bed on summer evenings, while the monsoons would come through, and listen to the thunder roll up and down the canyon – amazed and delighted that we did, indeed, live in the West. Sometimes in the afternoon Ethel would put Silas in his little red wagon and take him downtown to let him play in the park or they would wander around the little shops; pulling Silas back home up Tombstone Canyon was always a bit more difficult.
(I’m trying to imagine Ethel pulling Silas in a little red wagon NOW – all 6’3″ of him).
We didn’t spend many weekend days here; we would climb into the white Dodge Caravan and take off for someplace in Arizona or New Mexico, or even up into southern Utah or Colorado. But we’d always return home by Sunday evening, driving along the highway from Tombstone and watching the little desert cities shining like diamonds in the distance.
We loved Bisbee, but the place was as weird as snake suspenders; it’s a very “artistic” town, which means weirdos galore. No doubt a great place to live unless you have a small child; it’s doubtful that Silas would ever have learned to ride a bicycle in Bisbee, as there wasn’t a flat spot big enough to learn on, and the roads were too windy and narrow for us to let him ride anyway. And I just didn’t want to raise a child in that much diversity. Pucketts are strange enough without diverse role models.
If I didn’t ski, I’d probably move back to Bisbee now – you can still buy a home in Tombstone Canyon for under 100K, and it’s still a short walk to meetings and church. Cochise County is still one of the prettiest places in the West, and the food is great.
But it’s a ways from the chairlift. And as I get older, I might not like having to walk back home from downtown, unless I can get Ethel to pull me in a little red wagon.