I moved to Show Low from Phoenix in April of 1954. At the ripe old age of four months, I had no say in that decision. My mother was from the area and my dad loved Show Low.
Show Low is quite different now. Not a single stop light existed in the entire White Mountains area for many years. There were no chain hotels and the closest thing to fast food was A & W and Tastee Freez. We could watch a movie at the one screen theater in the middle of town.
The mom-and-pop shops that lined the Deuce of Clubs in “downtown” Show Low included a couple of grocery stores, drug store, shoe store, gift shop, several clothing stores and a jewelry store. Sprinkled among those were national brands such as Sprouse-Reitz, Western Auto, Montgomery Ward and Sears. If my mother couldn’t find what she needed at these places, she drove to McNary where there was a general store operated by the company that owned the lumber mill.
Tractor Supply now occupies the property where I lived until I was ten years old. The highway was a two lane road. My dad owned seven and a half acres and our house was next to his construction yard. We played hide-and-seek in the septic tanks my dad made on site and we played on all the heavy equipment. Today, they would arrest my parents for letting us do that, but when I was growing up, no one gave it a second thought.
I attended what is now Blue Ridge school until my family moved to Show Low Country Club. The houses were few and far between so my sisters and I had the run of the neighborhood. We rode bikes all over and never paid attention to the sparse traffic. The only people coming and going were there to play golf. Our girlish screaming and laughing was probably a real irritant to anyone on the second and third holes.
Show Low did not have a high school so I rode a bus twenty miles to Snowflake. I played the flute in the band and orchestra. The band played at the football games and the orchestra played for the school musicals. Most days, I needed to stay late for practice. My mother’s had sisters lived in Taylor so sometimes, I stayed at their houses for the night, but generally, I rode the activity bus home. I usually arrived home around seven o’clock at night. I did a lot of homework on that bus to keep from staying up until midnight.
Many things have changed since I was a child but one thing has remained the same. Lots of people who live in Show Low don’t want anyone else to move there. They like it like it is and don’t want to see changes. Some Village residents feel that way about the area around the Village. Cities and towns are fluid. Change and growth is inevitable. There are choices in how to deal with that change; embrace it or complain about it. It’s going to happen and in embracing it, you might just make some new and lasting friendships. Someone once said, “You can chose to be happy or you can chose to be unhappy. The amount of effort is the same.”