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Johnny 7

Johnny Jones, 5 March 2004

While we were in Connecticut, Chip and I had another Cyanamid employee, Harold Ray, in our home. His talk of home in Potosi, Missouri, where he ran cows, seemed exotic at the time; no one we knew outside my family in Alabama had a farm.

We loved living in Tucson. It took about five minutes to get adjusted there, from the damp cold of Connecticut to the bright sun of Arizona. The picture we took when we arrived at Tucson's airport has Chip with his long shirt sleeves rolled up and a smile on his face in a lovely cactus garden.

But Cyanamid was calling on him to travel more often. And Bryan loved his Dad; he would cry and cry every time Chip left, and he genuinely missed that masculine element in our household. Even before he was two, he liked doing guy things with his Dad. When Chip came home, Bryan would say, "Show me car!" and Chip would lift the hood on the Volvo and say, "That's the engine. That's the radiator. That's the battery."

When Harold became head of the St. Joe's new lab in Viburnum and asked Chip to come work with him, it was an answer to prayer!  I told Chip, "I would rather have you around more than live in this incredible place."

So on his interview trip, Chip took pictures of houses available in Viburnum, where Larry Casteel suggested we live. That was what we wanted, too. Being close to work meant we got to be together more!

Energy efficiency was a big issue in the '70s, and the uncompleted house Chip showed me by photo was half underground and surrounded by trees. Besides, it was on a cul de sac, and had undeveloped woods above and below us. There was something beautiful out of every window. It looked like a great place for our children!

But not all those windows were complete. Chip finished the ones downstairs, while I found lighting fixtures to place under the wires snaking out of the ceiling. We had a radial arm saw in the living room, which doubled as a TV stand, and no porches, nor any lawn. Our babies walked out of doors into a sea of red mud, which was a constant on our floors. I told Chip, "We need to get flooring the color of red mud and peanut butter, so things won't show!"

In fact, there was only one interior door, the one on Bryan's room, where paint had been stored. Brushes were frozen into open cans of paint. I asked Chip to put a priority on the downstairs bathroom door, since at the right angle you could see from the paned back door clear to the toilet. I'm not a formal person, but this was a little more casual than I could handle.

So our son, conceived in Connecticut and born in Tucson, was raised in Viburnum. Our daughter was Arizona/Missouri.

For a lot of reasons we didn't realize at the time, we were right about our choice for a home. Our house was a great place to raise children -- as well as tomatoes and gerbils. We got to take wildflower walks and make gingerbread houses and have children over. Chip had a job that supported us so I could stay home, and we could still afford to go on memory-making vacations (although they involved cars and tents for years, rather than planes and condos).  With the help of my very good friend, Leann, I got to start a pre-school. I got to write for the paper. Later, I had the opportunity to teach on a college level.

So here we are! Now that you know who we are and how we got here, I can thank the Lord for bringing us here and providing for us. It's nice to see our friends when we go to the Post Office, or the Country Club, or when we get gas or have a hair cut. It's very comfortable. One of my young e-mail friends just wrote today, "I was actually just thinking about Viburnum recently...but I'm sure you already know what a pretty town you have."

And still, in 2017, we live in the same house, in the same friendly little town.

Aren't we blessed?