This got me to thinking about my time and experiences with EAC. I truly loved going to school there and I received so much from my two semesters as a full time student. My folks could not afford to send me to college, so I worked and saved through high school, and pretty much for the rest of my life. I worked for Inspiration Copper the summer I graduated from high school saving enough money to go to school, but not enough to do so “in style”. I had no car, no bike, but I did buy a small portable typewriter for $70. Thankfully many of the social activities at both the college and the Institute were free so I had an enjoyable social life, but I could not afford an activity ticket or tickets to sporting events, so I never actually witnessed the Gila Monsters play in any sport.
My first semester (fall of 64) I worked as a dorm proctor in the brand new Mark Allen Hall, as I recall this gave me and my
roommate, close friend Grant Wilbur, free rent on our dorm room. We worked for local farmers cleaning ditches and “chopping” cotton (which means hoeing the weeds out of the cotton fields without actually damaging the cotton plants) and any other labor that someone would pay us to do. We couldn’t afford a full meal ticket for the cafeteria so we bought one that let us eat a few times a week. We also collected as much in the way of crackers, catsup, fruit, and such as we could to have in our dorm room, since there was no cooking allowed there. Catsup tastes pretty good on crackers when you're hungry. For breakfast each morning I went over to the Thatcher Drug Store soda fountain and for ten cents had a coke float (we called it “the breakfast of
We had a rather bad experience one night when a few of our friends from Miami got to drinking and raising a ruckus in their
room, so in our role as proctors we asked them to quiet down. They said OK, but almost immediately fired it back up. This time when we went to talk with them they pulled knives on us, and it was obvious they were drinking, so we called the Dean of Students and told him. The security and Thatcher police came and took care of the situation. We decided a free room
wasn’t worth that kind of trouble, so we moved out of the dorm and rented a room in the old motel that was at the corner of Main Street and Stadium Avenue. It meant that we now could cook, and we could still use our meal ticket five times per week. So we bought eggs, bread, and milk, and had a bit more robust diet than we had before.
I enjoyed the classes, particularly my chemistry and engineering drawing classes. I fondly remember several of my instructors, but the one that saved my bacon was Lorenzo Flake, who taught calculus. I was doing just fine in the class and then one day I realized I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I studied hard, read the book, took copious notes, but was soon failing the class. I finally told him I was having trouble and he had me come in during his office time, we did this for the rest of the semester, and because of his patience and willingness to help me, he pulled me back up to a passing grade.
My second full-time semester began when I returned from a church mission in Canada, in the spring semester of 1967. I applied for work study and was given a job as a custodian working for a fine man, I think his name was Orbie Starks,
who taught me the proper way to clean bathrooms, mop, wash windows, empty trash, clean blackboards, and operate a floor polishing machine. This time I went in with three friends from Globe-Miami, Dale Billingsley, Chester Beadle, and Dan Smiley in renting an apartment in an old dairy barn from the Smith family in Thatcher. This semester was different in that Lois and I were engaged, Chester was dating Lois’ cousin Judy, and Dale was engaged to Kay Langley, so my social life that semester was centered in Miami, as was Chester’s since Judy was still living there. Kay was a student at EAC. Another friend, Wayne Blake was dating a student, Phyllis DeCloss, whom he would also marry. By the end of the semester we were all married.
I was again hired at Inspiration for the summer, but at the end of June after working just three weeks, the copper unions all
declared a strike which lasted for eight months. This ended my career as a full-time student. I would spend the next seventeen years taking night classes, travelling to Thatcher, taking classes at Gila Pueblo, serving a four your apprenticeship,
and travelling to ASU, and eventually University of Phoenix, before finally getting my BAS in Management. But even that did not end my association with Eastern Arizona College; I worked evenings as a part-time associate instructor for Eastern Arizona at the Gila Pueblo Campus, the Miami Learning Center, the San Carlos Learning Center, and at the State Prison in Globe. I
taught both academic and vocational classes in Instrumentation, Robotics, Business Management, and Public Speaking.
So in addition to the education from the programs of EAC, I benefitted from the willingness of instructors to actually teach me,
from learning important work and life skills, from developing coping and negotiating skills. When I was thrown out of work by the strike, jobs in Arizona were at a premium, because there were tens of thousands of copper workers who would take any job they could get. I was hired to work for Arizona Cleaning Contractors because of my custodial training, and was shortly promoted to floor polisher. I was later hired by the Arizona Highway Department because I scored higher than all other applicants on the drafting test (Engineering Drawing). They moved me into their Engineering Lab School, then promoted me to
grade inspector because of my chemistry and lab skills. And so it continued through my entire career, EAC gave me the start, the advantage I needed to succeed.
Now my readers know a bit more about EAC, which has significance in The Wham Curse (and in my life). By the way, the land on which EAC was built and some of the early structures were provided by Christopher Layton, my wife's great-grandfather.