This week my husband, Myron, and I celebrate 26 years of residence in Prescott Valley. It no longer looks like the same town - pop. 5,000 then and nearly 40,000 now - but feels the same in many ways.
When we first announced to relatives in Iowa that we would be relocating our family from Illinois to Arizona, we got, "Do they have running water and electricity there?"
We assured them the Wild (South)West had all modern amenities. Little did we know that all of our careful arrangements for utilities in our new house would go awry.
Myron and his father drove our two vehicles, each pulling a small trailer, to our Prescott Valley home. Arriving at 1 a.m. they were dismayed to discover the faucets disgorged no liquid to allay their extreme thirst. They managed to get some sleep, then downed glass after glass of water at a restaurant a few hours later, before calling to fix the problem. I can't recall what it was, but water ran by the time I arrived a day later, which is a very good thing for a nursing mother.
I traveled by air with our 4-year-old daughter and 3-week-old son - but not smoothly. The small children were no problem, but heavy thunderstorms cancelled our scheduled flight after we got to the airport in Des Moines. In this day before cell phones, I desperately tried to get word to friends in Minneapolis, where we were to meet for a brief visit between connecting flights, that we now had a direct flight to Phoenix. Worse, I couldn't call Myron to tell him of the change. Our phone number was activated, but the phone line inside the house was not connected. I called our Realtor, Tony Terrasi, and he drove to the house to tell Myron.
The upshot, we reunited at Sky Harbor Airport and made it home just a few hours later than planned.
The monsoons were in full swing and mud surrounded our house. We put down a piece of plywood so I could sit in a folding chair, holding on my lap a rotary phone plugged into the telephone box on the side of the house, so I could tell the folks we'd arrived safely. The hardest part was admitting I had overstated the amenities situation somewhat.
The Cocopah Street neighborhood (in Unit 19, the western arm of Prescott Valley's "cross" configuration) consisted of a handful of homes on a gravel road, so not too many people saw me with our makeshift communication system. It worked better than two tin cans and a string, anyway.
Moving to Prescott Valley was worth the slight discomfort we experienced. I marvel at our forebears who traveled the country by covered wagon, or even on foot. But knowing what awaited me here, I would do that, too.
Prescott Valley is a great place to raise a family. Its friendly people keep the small town-feel, despite rapid growth. That has made all the difference, and is our reason to remain.