I know it is sacrilegious for anyone from Douglas to admit a Bisbee connection, but this is one Puma who became a Bulldog, or was that Smoke Choker? Yep that former cat was one Larry Strom born in the Copper Queen Hospital (located across the street from the Copper Queen Hotel) on October 16, 1942 to John “Al” Albin and Winifred “Wynne” Idle Strom.
The Strom’s were not newcomers to Tombstone Canyon and the back alley’s of Brewery Gulch. In the early 1900’s, Larry’s grandmother, Ida Syll, came to Bisbee, Arizona by train. John (Storkung) Strom (Larry’s grand father) was at the train station in Bisbee and when Ida got off the train he commented to a friend, “That is the woman I will marry”. Ida came to Bisbee to live with her sister, Eva Syll Soderman and her husband Matti Soderman. Ida worked as a domestic for a physician living on Quality Hill in Bisbee. She did housework and was a Nannie to the children. John (Storkung) Strom and Ida Syll were married in Los Angeles, California.
The Strom family moved from Bisbee to Ray, Arizona so that John (Storkung) Strom could work as a miner with Ray Consolidated Copper Company. Ida was a housewife. John “Al” Albin Strom (Larry’s father) was born at home in New American Townsite (Ray) on August 9, 1915. Al Strom spent his childhood years in Globe/Miami/Superior and Hansville, Washington. Al Strom graduated from Superior High School (Arizona) in 1934 and went on to the University of Arizona. Al left the University after his freshman year to work in the mines back in Superior. Guess the pull of hard rock mining pay was too great. Al Strom married Winifred “Wynne” May Idle on March 27, 1937 in the Grace Lutheran Church located at 1124 N. 3rd Street in Phoenix, Arizona. On March 25, 1941 John Sven Strom (Larry’s brother) was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital, located near 7th Street and Van Buren, in Phoenix.
After John Sven was born it was determined that hard rock mining was far too dangerous for a family man. As a result Al Strom started work as Head Cashier for Arizona Edison Company, Bisbee, in February 1942 and was Chief Clerk (Office Manager) when he left Arizona Edison in 1948. Second son Lawrence Harland “Larry” was born on October 16, 1942 in the Phelps Dodge Copper Queen Hospital in Old Bisbee. In 1948 Albin went to work for Southern Arizona Auto Company in Lowell (GM Dealer). He left Southern Arizona Auto and began working as Office Manager for Badgett Motor Company in Douglas, Arizona. Newton Badgett sold the dealership to Joe Mauzy, et. al. and Albin became the Office manager for Bledsoe Mauzy Motors (Ford dealer) in Douglas.
While in Bisbee the Strom family lived at 113 Clausen Avenue, which was across the street from the old Bisbee High School Gym. Down the hill from the Strom home was Max Spilsbury’s house, the legendary football coach at Bisbee High School and Arizona State College in Flagstaff. Max was a decorated US Marine who had served during WWII. Max would often greet John, Larry and Wynne as he sat outside his home recuperating from wounds suffered in the Pacific Campaign. Later, Larry would later work for Max Spilsbury at Arizona State College in Flagstaff. “Nacho” Castro, Augie Orci and Larry were “football managers” for Maxer’s Axers.
Feeling the need for smelter smoke to clear their sinuses, the Strom family moved to Douglas in June 1948.
Larry arrived in Douglas in time to attend “pre-school” at the Immaculate Conception Church. The “school” was located at 10th Street and A Avenue, which was about ten blocks away from Larry’s new home at 1301 14th Street. This eventful day in September 1948 marked the very first time that Larry “ditched” school. It did not take Larry too long to case the joint and see that there was going to be nothing but trouble for him at the hands of “The Sisters”. By 10:00 a.m. that very morning Larry showed the power of his built-in GPS system and made his way from the Catholic Torture Chambers back to the safety of his ocotillo fenced yard.
Larry attended kindergarten at A Avenue School located at A Avenue and 15th Street. It was at that time he met many of the schoolmates who would eventually graduate with him at DHS in 1960. Classmates were:
Lois Jordan, Charlotte Bailey, Diane Scherr, Jimmy Boner, Ruth Ann Arnold, Norma Rodriguez, Mary Ayala, Rex Fuller, Judy Ayers, Eleanor Davison and Robert Chapman, Jo Hill, Paul Douglas, Bennie Lou Brown, Billy Gwin, Dianne Vance, Larry Strom, Mary Coughanour, Johnny Griffith, Shelley Henderson, and Marshall Strang, Cloise Barker, Judy White, Phillip Board, Jo Ruth Good, Dickey Ash, Mary Beedle, Tony Miramontes, Donna House, Joan Moore, and Brian Kolb, Betty Lee Pope, Lynne Brown, Olan Jones, Margaret Kimrey, Larry Lybarger, Shirley Starks, Ralph Longnecker, Kay Thompson, and Georgia Tyra
In 1951 Larry and his family moved from 1301 14th Street to 1220 11th Street just in time for Larry to attend Intermediate School at 12th Street and A Avenue. Classmates of Larry’s in fifth grade were:
Leslie Thompson, Dick Ash, Kenneth Pointer, Francisco Grijalva, Leonard Keefer, Mike Conway, Carnation Chavez, Delline Bohmfalk, Roberta Haynie, Norma Rodríguez, Eva Hatt, Marla Jean Wicke, Karen Berry, Margaret Richardson, Joan Tabor, Bill de la Vara, Mike Garcia, Betty Pope, Pamela Hill, Carol Hannigan, Sandra Latimer, Jo Ruth Good, Anna Jane Teeter, Clara Beckwith, Victor Pedrego, Donald Kelly, Raleigh Fullen, Tex Harris, Frank Puzzi, Gary Mattingly and Billy North. Miss Mary Nell James was our teacher.
We can all remember the “dirt” playground at Intermediate School. It was identical to the “dirt” playground at A Avenue School. I guess we can all say we had to walk a mile through “dirt” to get to school and back (forget that snow drift stuff). The saving grace for Intermediate School was the Probst’s Store across A Avenue. You could always sneak over there and get one of the 8oz Cokes out of the ice chest, or get gum out of the 1 cent gum ball machine, or pick other candies from behind the glass front of their display case. There was also a frozen dessert chest from which you could pick a wide variety of 5 cent popsicles and ice cream treats. The store had a wooden pickle barrel from which you could choose the pickle that struck your eye. Intermediate School also signaled you were now big enough to go down to the “Grand” for Saturday afternoon matinees. Since your allowance was only 10 cents a week, and since you had already blown it on a Coke and gum at Probst’s store, it was necessary that you “alley pick” for Coke bottles to cash in to buy a theater ticket. As kids, we couldn’t believe how many people would throw a perfectly good 2 cent return pop bottle out of their car window. We found them all over town. Luckily it only took five coke bottles to raise the ten cents to see Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, Gene Autrey and the Bowery Boys, not to mention Pathe News and a Buck Rogers serial! You got 2 ½ to 3 hours of entertainment for 10 cents. We were absolutely scandalized when the Grand suddenly doubled their price to 20 cents – we’d just find more pop bottles.
Junior High School
It was not long before we all ended up at the Douglas Junior High School, now Ray Borane Middle School, located at 840 12th Street. Oh, the memories of Judd Gregor and Mr. Bevis. Guess they never did take a liking to my stylish pink and gray outfits and weird sense of humor. Other classmates who I am sure had the same opinion of Judd Gregor and Mr. Bevis were:
Leslie Thompson, Luis Esqueda, Herman Ahal, David Greenwalt, Francisco Grijalva, Richard Hunnagaurd, Mike Alva, Eva Hat, Arura Arellian, Eunice Valenzuela, Carnation Chavez, Mirena Pointdexter, Roberta Haynie, Clark Friend, Brenda Gonzales, Leonore Broten, Loy Dean Chilton, Artie Franklin, Alicia Palma, Alicia Barclo, Jo Ruth Good, Mike Garcia, Pamela Hill, Betty Pope, Clara Beckwith, Carolyn James, Tex Harris, Tommy Pointdexter, Frank Puzzi, Elias Carbarga, Rudy Acedo (Fito), Bill de la Vara and Bill Tinny. Home room “teacher” was Judd Gregor.
Ah, Junior High, that was a time when life began to have some definition. I can still remember counting the time until algebra class was over so I could listen to the following on KAWT:
1. Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White, Perez Prado
2. Rock Around The Clock, Bill Haley & His Comets
3. The Yellow Rose Of Texas, Mitch Miller
4. Autumn Leaves, Roger Williams
5. Unchained Melody, Les Baxter
6. The Ballad Of Davy Crockett, Bill Hayes
7. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, Four Aces
8. Sincerely, McGuire Sisters
9. Ain't That A Shame, Pat Boone
10. Dance With Me Henry, Georgia Gibbs
Junior High also meant your were old enough to hold a part time job. Sure mowing lawns and pulling weeds was how you made change when younger, but Junior High meant you could have a “real” job. My brother John and I sold sodas at the Bisbee Douglas Copper Kings baseball games and later I found the perfect job, pin setting for the Elk’s woman’s bowling league. Let those gals have a few drinks and the tips came a flying, or perhaps it was tipsies. Sitting in the bowling alley pit soon gave way to the lure of the alley behind the Dispatch. Sure you have heard all those rumors about getting “de-pantsed” in the Dispatch Alley, but I was now strong enough to score reversal points if anyone tried to lower my Levi’s. Those were the days of folding papers for Ray Young and Glen Anderson and then heading up to Bisbee on Saturday to deliver, or better yet, getting the “newbies” to fold my papers just for the chance to ride on the back of my Harley 165 and watch me toss Dispatches through the air. When you were good enough you could have three papers in the air all at the same time. Perhaps the best part of being at the Dispatch was Taco Saturday. It was mandatory that each “paper boy” purchase a greasy bag of tacos from either La Fiesta, or Little Mexico. Yes, the grease had to drip all the way to the bottom of the bag before you got back to the Dispatch Alley. You were lucky if the tacos ever made it back to the Dispatch Alley as they SMELLED SO GOOD! You remember that smell! I bet you all can just taste those tacos right now!!!!
High school meant you traded in a sack of Little Mexico tacos for the real Mexico tacos. Yep, you guessed it, The Brookhill Brotherhood. Somehow those Brookhill tacos tasted so much better with a Mariachi band playing and a semi-cold Corona to cut the grease. High school meant you got to know your teachers better. All of a sudden you had advocates for your future. Folks like:
Mr. Tom Lay
Dr. Harold Fink
Mr. Ned Neidemire
Mr. Ted James
High school also meant a driver’s license and the freedom it brought. A driver’s license was not such a big deal for Glen Anderson, Bill Hood and I since we were able to obtain a five-brake horsepower motorcycle license. Helen Bloomquist’s father had managed to have a MC license law passed so we could deliver the Douglas Dispatch from our “scooters”.
Those “bikes” provided our introduction to Trent Martin. You all remember Trent and his BSA motorcycles. If you missed the bell at the end of the school day, you could always hear his bike fire up in the parking lot only seconds after the bell had rung. Trent could have been captain of the track team, if he so desired.
I can remember many wonderful August nights riding our motorcycles after a thunderstorm. Oh, the smell of the fresh mesquite and the sound of Joe Borane’s siren as he attempted to “educate” us on proper riding etiquette.
Life After High School
Larry left Douglas the fall of 1960 to attend Arizona State College (ASC) at the suggestion of Mr. Tom Lay. Flagstaff was love at first sight for Larry – SNOW. Although he would have to wait until after graduation to learn to ski (too many afternoon lab classes and part-time work for skiing), Larry did enjoy college life at ASC. He worked part time for SAGA Foods for a meal ticket, worked in the Athletic Department for a paycheck and summers for the USFS. Larry graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. Larry then completed a Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in 1968.
The first summer after graduation Larry worked for the USFS out of the Mormon Lake Ranger District. After the summer rains started Larry was out of a job and “looking” when a friend from college dropped by and said the USGS was hiring summer help. Larry went to investigate and was hired full time as an engineering designer. It just so happened that this, so called, summer job was for the US Geological Survey’s Center of Astrogeology, or Astro. As a “designer” Larry worked on various projects from a powder magazine to applied geophysical instrument prototypes used by Apollo astronauts. Many of the projects fell under his “Top Secret” security clearance.
Larry was also involved in astronaut training, along with development of near surface geophysical systems.
Larry met his wife to be, Judy, at ASC and they were married in 1966. Larry and Judy lived in Flagstaff until 1968 when Larry received a doctoral fellowship to attend the University of Missouri at Columbia. After completing his major course work, Larry and Judy moved to Chico, California where Larry accepted an Assistant Professor position at California State University – Chico. Chico State as it was called was the second oldest university (college) in the state of California, an absolutely beautiful campus. Larry taught in the School of Engineering and Technology at Chico State for seven years. While in Chico Larry and Judy had two girls, Heidi Lynn and Wendy Jo Strom.
In 1976 the Strom family moved from Chico back to Arizona. Larry had accepted a faculty position in Applied Sciences at Yavapai College in Prescott. The Strom’s were anxious to get back to Arizona since Judy was very ill and needed to be closer to family. During his second year at Yavapai College Larry completed his doctorate from the University of Missouri (MU), graduating first in his class.
Larry is retired from Yavapai College and spending time “playing”. He continues his passion with the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Patrol where he started patrolling back in 1966. In that role he has developed a training program and website for the patrol. Larry, Trent, and other riding buddies, also find time to take their various dirt and street motorcycles out to explore new places around Arizona. Larry also likes to play with computers and has entered the blog world. You can follow Larry’s blog at http://larrystrom.blogspot.com/. Larry also started a company called Highland Consulting Incorporated. Highland Consulting is currently working with a Florida firm to deploy an on-line traffic/ticket school. Driving the whole schedule, of course, is being available to take orders from one Blue Russian named Smoke. Larry and Arminta also enjoy traveling around the country to visit family and friends. Which seems to be the segway to this next segment.
Larry has two daughters and one granddaughter. His folks live about a mile from his home in Prescott. Arminta is also not too far away, living just two hundred yards down the hill from Larry.
Heidi is Larry’s oldest daughter. Heidi graduated from Tulane University summa cum laude where she met her husband to be, Kenny Moon. Heidi and Ken, were married in 2001 and have now added a member to their family, Julia Sunyoung Moon, born April 19, 2004. Yep, you guessed it; Larry is a grandfather. Heidi stays home with Julia part of the week, but continues in her position as Director of Client Services for an Internet company, CDG Solutions, and Ken continues his teaching duties at Georgetown University Medical College. Arminta and Larry enjoy going to Silver Spring to visit with grandchild Julia and her parents.
Wendy is Larry’s youngest daughter. Wendy graduated with honors from the University of Arizona and taught in Tucson for three years. Wendy is now in her sixth year of teaching at the Brooklyn School in Portland, Oregon. She has completed the second summer of her master’s degree program at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. Besides completing an MA, Wendy is also working on an MRS. Wendy is engaged to, Derek, a professor at the university and plans to marry December 2005. Wendy does not have any children. Arminta and Larry enjoy trips to the Pacific Northwest to visit with Wendy, other relatives and friends.
Larry’s brother John is a retired LA County Deputy Sheriff and is living in Victorville, CA with his wife JoAnn. They have three children who all live in the Southern California area. John still keeps in touch with many of his classmates from the DHS Class of 1959 via e-mail. Yes, he even knows where “Jungle Bunny” is living!
Larry’s parents are approaching their nineties and are in good health given their age. Both are living at home without much assistance other than Larry’s frequent visits to keep their computer on track. Both Al and Wynne take daily walks of a mile, or more. They hold their driving down to the minimum required for physician’s visits, or the store. Larry provides transportation whenever the hint of snow is forecast.
Larry’s longtime companion has joined the ranks of the retired. Arminta retired from her administrative position with the Yavapai County Library District the end of June 2005. Since that time she has been busy with a “make over” of her home. All those projects you always thought about, but never had the time for when working, are now on the front burner. Yep, that means Larry is spending a lot of time over at her place making many of those projects “happen”. They do, however, make plenty of time for “Excellent Adventures” around the country. Watch out, many of you from the Class of 1960 may be seeing us in your neighborhood one of these days.