Being young and afraid in old-time Phoenix
As someone who is drifting into his senior years now, I know that I'm finding it more and more difficult to understand why young people would be afraid of certain things. And I don't mean the kind of things that people, uh, "of age" are afraid of, like the cost of gas going up, or that situation overseas. What I remember from being young and afraid in Phoenix was the fear of looking like an idiot, with things I didn't know.
I'm sure that when I was 19, and brand-new to Phoenix, if someone had walked up to me I could have told them the names of all fifty states. In fact, I had a lot of that type of essentially useless information that I had learned up through high school. But other things worried me, because I really didn't have a clue, and I feared that the more experienced people would laugh at me. And they did!
So today I'd like to time-travel back to old-time Phoenix and worry about stuff that I don't know anything about. I'll be young and afraid.
It's 1887, I really haven't a clue on how to tie up a team. I've seen wagons go by, expertly handled, and I fear that someone would hand me the reins and ask me to help them. I'm afraid that I'd just stand there, looking stupid. I know one end of a horse from another, but not much more. I really don't even know which side of the street the team should be tied on. Is there some kind of rule?
And then there are these strange animals walking around Phoenix. Some of them are harmless, but I've been told to watch out for rattlers and Gila Monsters. I wonder what they look like? I would hate to see some kind of harmless animal and act startled. Especially in front of the old-timers, who would laugh at me.
Someone just handed me a dollar. I really have no idea what I can buy with it. Hmmm... I think that this is a Confederate dollar. I suppose I could go try to spend it at the store. I think you can get a lot of stuff with a dollar!
Well, they just laughed at me, said that it was worthless. Now I'm afraid to go back into that store. And whoops, I probably shouldn't be standing here, I almost just got run over by the streetcar! I have so much to learn!
Image at the top of this post: A Phoenix streetcar in 1887. I wonder where it went? What it costs? Everyone else seems to know!
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Posted by Brad Hall