The Family Page I of III
My grandfather, Philip Drachman, first was in Tucson when he passed through here on his way to visit his sister in San Bernardino, California in 1854, the first year which Tucson was a part of the United States. The portion of Arizona lying south of the Gila River was acquired by the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico through an act of Congress on December 30, 1853.
, a native Tucsonan, told me that he had some records among his family's papers which stated that Philip Drachman was in Tucson in 1857.
I have a letter written me by the late Senator Carl Hayden, dated May 16, 1960, stating, "In the 1864 census records of La Paz, Arizona Territory I have found, 'Drachman, Philip, age 30, resident in the Territory one year, occupation, merchant, value of property, $5,000, place of birth, Poland'."
His letter continued with information regarding another early pioneer, "Michael Goldwater, age 42, a native of Poland, is listed as having been there two years as a merchant with property valued at $15,000."
La Paz at that time was the county seat of Yuma County, and was a mining community of considerable importance.
It appears that no one knows for certain when Philip Drachman became a permanent resident of Tucson. We do know that Philip and his brother, Sam, were in Tucson in the early 1860s.
Philip was born in Piotrkow, Poland, a small village approximately 75 miles southwest of Warsaw on July 4, 1833. (When I told someone this once, he said, "All Poles were born in a little village near Warsaw.") Sam was born in 1835. Poland at that time was ruled by Russia. The Drachman family, like most Polish families, was poor. Their country had been a battleground of the adjoining nations for many generations. What one army failed to take, the other had. Poland was a third rate nation without its own armed forces.
When these two boys were growing up they were destined, as all Polish boys were, to be Russian soldiers when they reached the age of thirteen. Conscription by the Russian army was a foregone conclusion. But Harris and Rebecca Drachman were determined that their two sons would somehow avoid service in the army of the hated Russians. For two or three years before Philip reached the age when he would be picked up by the Russians, they planned his escape. Families in the area often spirited their male off-spring out of the country to avoid service in the Czar's army.
The Drachman parents removed some floor boards from one of the rooms in their small home and began to dig by hand a cellar into which Philip could hide. At night they would carry the soil out of the house and spread it over the ground so it would not be noticed. This went on for months and months until they had a place to hide their oldest son, who was soon approaching the age of conscription.
When the Russians came looking for Philip they were told by the parents that he had run away. He was actually hiding in his cellar room where he lived, beneath the floor of his home, for many months while arrangements were made to send both Phillip and Sam to England and eventually on to the United States.
Philip had health problems most of his adult life, and he felt that they stemmed from the months he spent in the damp hole underneath his home. It was said that he first came to Arizona for the warm, dry climate. Thus he may have been Tucson's first health seeker!
An article regarding early pioneers in Arizona stated:
"Philip Drachman and Michael and Joseph Goldwater, bearers of two family names destined to help shape the state of Arizona, traveled steerage to New York in 1852. Mike was later to become the godfather of Philip's first son, Harry Arizona Drachman. The Goldwaters went to California, and Philip left for Philadelphia, where relatives had assured him that he could find employment as a tailor.
"Philip was sixteen years of age when he arrived in Philadelphia, but he did not remain there long. It could be that the letters which this young colt received from the Goldwaters made him restless. At the age of eighteen, in 1854, he decided to go West. On October 16, 1860 he was naturalized as a United States citizen at San Bernardino."
The Goldwaters settled in Phoenix and Prescott. They operated stores which sold all kinds of things at first but eventually specialized in "soft" goods, and particularly fashions for milady.
The second and third generation Goldwaters and Drachman have remained friends throughout their lives. Some members of each family have been close friends while others hardly know each other. After all, the number of offspring has increased to the point where they can be counted by the score. In both Phoenix and Tucson the Goldwaters and the Drachmans have been very active in the business and social life of their respective communities. And Barry, of course, has been prominently involved in the political life of his city, his state and nation.
In 1868 Philip decided he should be married. He traveled to Baltimore and then to New York City where on April 21,1868 he married Rosa Katzenstein of Baltimore.
An article which appeared in the Arizona Daily Star in 1960 quoted from a letter written years before by Rosa Drachman, my grandmother.
"We started for Tucson on May 1, 1868 from New York City on a steamer named 'Arizona.' We arrived in Aspinwall, Panama, and crossed the Isthmus in wagons, and on the other side boarded another steamer named 'Senator.'
"We arrived in San Francisco on May 23,1868 and remained there two weeks before taking a steamer for Los Angeles, arriving there four days later.
"We spent a couple of weeks or more in Los Angeles before starting for San Bernardino where by husband's sister lived. We left Los Angeles early in the morning by stage coach and arrived in San Bernardino that evening about six o'clock after a hard day's ride over very rough roads. A few days later my husband left for Tucson on a buckboard.
"He returned in October for me. We started for Tucson on October 21, 1868. We traveled in a four horse ambulance which was a relic; of the Civil War. We had provisions and camped out.
Our bedding was spread on the ground, and that is the way we slept.
"We traveled at the rate of 25 miles per day and camped near stage coach stations where I saw the roughest and worst class of men.
"As we traveled we passed many graves of poor people who had been murdered by the Indians or the desperate characters. We were detained en route by many mishaps to our team. Our friend, L. M. Jacobs who was traveling with us, got disgusted and got a buckboard and continued on to Tucson ahead of us.
"After we left Yuma, we had to cross a mountain and upon arrival on the other side we saw eight graves. This place was called Oatman Flat. The story was that a family had met the Apaches and was kind to them, gave them provisions and tobacco. The Indians assisted them down the mountain and then murdered them all with the exception of one girl, whom they made a captive. A good many years later I heard that she had been rescued from the Indians by soldiers.
"When Mr. Jacobs arrived in Tucson he told my brother-in-law, Sam Drachman, of our mishaps and when we arrived at a station called Blue Water, we found a team with ten armed men to escort us to Tucson. Sam had sent the team and also a mattress.
"After another long and tedious journey across the desert, where there was nothing but cactus, sand and brush and occasionally an immense freight team which they called 'Arizona Schooners' and mighty glad to see them, we arrived in Tucson on November 15th, twenty four days after leaving San Bernardino.
"We stopped at Mr. Levin's home until our house was ready. The place where Mr. Levin's family lived was called Levin's Park. They were very hospitable to us.
"I started housekeeping without a stove. Cooked on a Dutch oven in an open fireplace. It was some years before we got stoves. When I did get one, I enjoyed cooking.
"When I arrived in Tucson there were only two other American women, the names of whom I have forgotten.
"The Apaches were so bad it was not considered safe to go out of the city limits. Men always carried arms. We could see the signal fires on the mountains when there was an Indian outbreak. The bloodthirsty Apaches had no mercy for men, women or children. They were conquered at last by the Army.
"On February 3, 1869 my first son, Harry, was born. The first boy born in Tucson of both American parents. At the age of six he attended John Spring's school and had to take his own rawhide chair with him. We had no public schools.
"In 1880 the railroad reached Tucson. There was great rejoicing and today you can live as well in Tucson as any other place in the U.S.A."
Philip and Rosa Drachman had ten children, all born in Tucson, with the exception of their second child, Mose, who was born in San Francisco while his parents were visiting there.
Philip Drachman operated several businesses in Tucson during the 1860s and '70s. He owned a transportation company hauling goods in and out of Tucson between Lordsburg, N.M. to the east, and San Diego to the west. This company also operated "hacks" or carriages for transporting people around Tucson.
Philip also had contracts with the U.S. government to furnish hay and other goods to the army. To meet an army contract to furnish hay to Camp Grant, northeast of Tucson, Drachman and his partner, Isaac Goldberg, in 1870 sent eighty men to cut hay in the San Pedro Valley. In March of that year, their wagon train, loaded with supplies for the haying crew, was attacked by Apache Indians. The assault was made a little after sunrise at Canada del Oro, on the western side of the Catalina Mountains. An account of the attack stated that "Angel Ortiz, the wagon master, was killed and that the sixty Apaches captured the members of the haying crew who had not been killed in the fray."
Drachman and Goldberg filed claims against the government to recover funds to compensate them for their losses, but for some reason they waited until 1888. Their case dragged through the courts until 1903 when it was dismissed by the Court of Claims.
Philip also operated a store for a while, opened a saloon in 1881, owned a cigar store, and, of course, operated his transportation company. Philip Drachman teamed his freight from Yuma by mule train. In the '60s and '70s Tucson's prospect of a railroad was still much of dream, freight shipped from the east rounded the Horn to San Francisco, was back-hauled around the Peninsula of Lower California to a point near Puerta Isabel, Sonora. Transferred there to paddle steamers of the Colorado River Navigation Co., it was cargoed to Yuma, where Philip loaded it in his wagons and hauled it to Tucson, provided he was not intercepted and looted by the Apaches. The five hundred mile round trip with his long eared mules was quite an ordeal but necessary for the survival of Tucson.
He died in 1889 when his youngest child, Phyllis, was one year old. Rosa raised the ten children without benefit of indoor plumbing, running water, electric lights, gas stoves, air conditioning or even wooden floors, which were a luxury she could afford only in the last home she occupied in Tucson.
After the death of their father, the three older boys were the sole support of the family. Harry worked at Steinfeld's store where he learned the mercantile business and especially the shoe business. He later operated his own shoe store for many years.
Mose, the second son, worked at odd jobs but soon became the travelling salesman for the Arbuckle Coffee Co. for southern Arizona. Emanuel went to work at the blacksmith shop at the Southern Pacific Railroad yards.
There were seven other children in the family. In the order of their birth they were Rebecca, Myra, Albert, Minnie, Lillian, Esther and Phyllis. None of them remained in Tucson after reaching adulthood.
None of the older boys finished grade school. Minnie, Lillian, Phyllis and Esther finished the eighth grade at the "Big School," the Safford. Myra not only finished her schooling here but also graduated from the Los Angeles Normal School which later became the University of California at Los Angeles. She taught school most of her life, first at Terminal Island near Los Angeles, one year in Tucson and then for over thirty years at the old Pine Street School in Long Beach, California.
Lillian attended for one year the Preparatory School run by the University of Arizona as a three-year high school to fill the gap between grade school and college which existed here until some time later when the local school system established a high school. Lillian worked in a local retail store for about a year. Esther worked for the Arizona Eastern Railroad as a secretary for several years.
Rebecca finished the eighth grade and then helped her mother run the household. When she was about twenty years old, Rebecca together with her mother and sisters Lillian, Minnie and Phyllis went east to visit Rosa's sister, Sarah, who had married Mose Vogel and lived in Baltimore. While on the east coast, Becky visited New York City and met Sol Breslauer, whom she later married. He was a widower with two daughters.
Mother Drachman and her daughters remained in the east for almost a year, during which time they visited Rosa's other sister, Caroline, who had married Hiram Groves and lived in Maseville, West Virginia, about thirty miles from Kaiserville.
Rosa's name was Katzenstein and her family lived in Baltimore. One of her two brothers, Samuel, followed her west and married Freda Steinfeld, Albert's sister. They had four children, three girls and a boy, all born in Tucson. Sam Katzenstein was quite a character and was a real swinger, playing a concertina with which he entertained his children and nieces as well as his bar room friends. He deserted the family, moved to Mexico and lived with a native of the country for the rest of his days.
His family moved to Los Angeles where they lived out their lives. They were delightful people and were quite close to their Drachman cousins who likewise lived in Los Angeles.
After her husband Phillip died, Rosa and her children continued to live in the same house on South Main Street for four years until they bought a house from a Mr. McCormack, on the corner of Main and McCormack, 233 South Main Street.
In the early years of this century her six younger children moved to Los Angeles where she joined them in 1909. None of her six daughters nor her son, Albert, ever had children. All of the many Drachman's who now or formerly resided in Tucson were offspring of the three older boys and their cousin, Herbert.
When Rosa Drachman died in Los Angeles in July 1918 one of the Tucson newspapers stated, "Mrs. Rosa Drachman, the grand old mother of the Drachman boys, who died in California, was brought back to the town she loved so well for burial. Mrs. Drachman was beloved by all who knew her. She raised a large family of children and they are among the most progressive and respected of our citizens. There never was a better woman than mother Drachman."
Mose, the first of his generation to take a wife, married Ethel Edmonds who came to Tucson as a school teacher. He was twenty-six years old, Ethel a bit older. They had three children, Rosemary, Phillip and Oliver. Rosemary gained a bit of fame for her book-play-movie, Chicken Every Sunday. Phillip lived much of his adult life in Evansville, Indiana.
Harry married Florence Cowan, also a school teacher who came here with her family from South Carolina in 1902. Harry was thirty four when he married and had five children: Cowan, Byron, Oscar, Allen and Rosalee. Only Cowan remained in Tucson although Rosalee lives in Winkleman, Arizona.
My father, Emanuel, married when he was thirty three. He was operating the Elysian Grove, an amusement park, and became acquainted with my mother, Millie Royers, a young singer booked by a Los Angeles booking agent to appear at my father's airdome, an outdoor theatre in the Grove. There were three boys in our family, I and my two younger brothers, Frank and Albert. Albert didn't live in Tucson long, moving to Los Angeles, near where he lives now.
Sam Drachman, Philip's younger brother, lived in Tucson for the rest of his life. He married Jennie Miguel, who like her husband was born in Russia. They had four children, Herbert, Myrtle, Lucille and Sol, who died when he was in his early twenties. Herbert moved to San Francisco where he lived for many years before returning here in 1916 with his wife, Eda, and his step son Dick. He operated a real estate brokerage and insurance office for the balance of his life. His firm was known as Herbert Drachman Realty and Insurance Co. It later was known as Drachman-Grant Co.
Sam was a well known Tucsonan, having operated a men's club, really a cigar store and pool hall, at the tip of the "Wedge" which divided Congress street starting at Stone avenue and running west. The "Wedge" was removed right after the turn of the century and Sam's place moved to the south side of Congress street about a half block west of Stone. I remember visiting him there on several occasions with my dad.
Three views of Congress St. in the 1920s and 1930s.
Sam lived with his family on South Main Street about a block south of Congress but later built a fine home on the southwest corner of Third Street and North Fourth Avenue. It later became the Sigma Chi fraternity house. Sam died there in 1910.
The three Drachman boys, Harry, Mose and Manny, limited in education, stymied by the responsibilities of being the bread winners for their mother and their sisters, never had opportunities to venture beyond the hills that surround Tucson until they were well along in years. Their horizons were very limited and perhaps the lack of confidence plus lack of opportunity caused them to decide that Tucson was to be their home always. Or they might have been very smart and knew that Tucson, for all its short comings, could provide them a good way of life. Actually that is what happened. Many other men in their generation, and in mine also, left Tucson for greener pastures beyond the hills, only to return a few years later regretting that they ever left the Old Pueblo.
Those Drachman men did pretty well. None became rich but they managed to raise their families in fairly comfortable ways. However, they were old style guys in many ways. As an example my father never wore anything but high top shoes. He never learned to dance. He wore very plain clothes. He never went to church in his life but believed that the golden rule was all the religious guidance needed. But he, on two different occasions allowed his theatre to be used by churches to conduct their Sunday morning services free of charge while their permanent buildings were being repaired from fire damage. He traveled east of Douglas, once in his life, when he was a first lieutenant and second in command of the Arizona Militia when it was sent to Albany, Georgia during the Spanish-American war in 1898. He did travel extensively up and down the West Coast and into Canada on one trip.
Mose was a little more venturesome, but he never saw the Grand Canyon until he was forty-five years old. Harry visited the east coast on several occasions as a representative of the Masonic Lodge of which he was a thirty third degree member. His three brothers were also members of the Masonic Lodge.
The three brothers were men of simple tastes and strong character. They were close to their families and to each other. Growing up in such surroundings was a real treat for all of us Drachman kids, of which there were ten boys who were very close friends as well as relatives. We had happy lives as youngsters in Old Tucson.
My brothers and I lived on the wrong side of the tracks during the early part of our lives spent in the old adobe family house at 233 South Main Street with its high ceilings, thick walls and screen porch.
The neighborhood on South Main Street was at one time one of the better residential districts, with many of the more affluent families living in that part of town. However, by the time I was growing up all but three of the Anglo-American families had moved to other neighborhoods. The Will Scotts lived across the street, and the Stevens family lived two houses north of us. The George Adkinsons lived across McCormack Street to the south.
The old Otero house, which has been moved and restored to form part of the historic area at the Tucson Community Center, was right next door to our house. Sabine Otero and his brother, Teofilo, with their families, were our neighbors.
Eventually our house became just plain worn out, what with the rear two rooms no longer habitable because of the rotting floors and the condition of the roof. One of the bedrooms had been converted into a kitchen where we practically lived. There was no heat in the house so, in the cold months, we kids dressed and undressed in the kitchen with the oven door left open.
The stove was an old wood burner with removable lids so the fire could be set and added to as needed. It fell to my brother, Frank, and me to keep the woodbox full. The kindling came from old wooden boxes that he and I had to break up. The mesquite wood was bought from Indians who made their living with their wood wagons and axes.
My mother was an outstanding cook. She made all our bread, setting the dough the night before and then baking it the next morning. We couldn't afford eggs so we had barrels and barrels of mush -- Cream of Wheat, Ralston's and oatmeal.
The kitchen was more like our living room. My dad wanted to be near my mother when he was home, and she was always in the kitchen. I well remember his teaching me to spin a top on the old kitchen floor. He also taught me to make kites, which I made and sold when I grew a little older. The price was $.10, and they took about twenty minutes to make. (I was also a hell of a marble player when I was a kid, and even today I can still shoot their eyes out up to about six feet. My knees and back can't take it like they used to, but I've won money at parties from some guy who thought he was pretty good with marbles.)
Most of my friends in the early days of my boyhood were Mexican neighbors. We spun tops, flew kites, played marbles, and fought kids from other areas, as if we were from the same family. I learned to speak "street Spanish" at about the same time I learned to speak English.
There were some tough kids in that south end of town, and fights were a common thing. My dad drilled into us the need for us to stand up and fight for our rights. I remember one day I came home from school with my shirt pocket torn. My dad asked me what happened and I told him some guy had grabbed it and had torn it. When asked what I did to the other boy, I explained that I did nothing because I was carrying with me a brand new geography book that the third-grade teacher, Miss Goldie Gibson, had allowed me to bring home.
My dad asked me if I knew where that boy was, and when I told him I thought he was still playing marbles two blocks away, he told me to go up there, find him and not come home until I had whipped him. He followed me part way and then stood a block away and saw to it that I completed the job. When I sent the kid home with a bloody nose, I was told that next time I should not come home leaving such things unsettled.
A very short block away from our home, on the corner of Meyer and McCormack, there were two Chinese grocery stores and two saloons. We always traded at Suey Yen's store, which operated in Tucson for over sixty years. In those days it was common practice to receive "peon" as a small gift from the Chinese merchants. It usually consisted of a piece of candy or some little trinket, given as a gimmick to encourage you to return as a customer.
The two saloons on Meyer Street were rough places catering to pisanos, cowboys, and the lower element. Fights were common and many times ended up in the street, only a few feet from our backyard gate.
A half block further east on McCormack was the dead-end Sabino Street, better known as Gay Alley. Gay Alley was Tucson's legalized red light district, and with its more than 250 prostitutes, didn't do much in a beneficial way for our neighborhood. The super madames, who seemed to be the bosses of all the "houses," and the individual madames, lived on McCormack across from where Gay Alley ended. They could look right down the two-block-long street and keep an eye on the action. Gay Alley was about twenty feet wide, with a narrow sidewalk on each side on which the small adobe houses or apartments faced.
We kids, of course, were forbidden to enter Gay Alley, not only by our parents but by a common understanding that it was no place for us. Some of our chums would go there to pick up change running errands for the "ladies" and their customers. I don't know at what age I found out what went on there, but I can assure you it was when I was very young and couldn't understand it when I was told.
We used to have to go right by the entrance to Gay Alley as we walked to and from school. We walked right past the home where the "madame of madames" lived and often heard some rather colorful language. Someone finally decided that that end of Gay Alley should be closed off from view, and the city constructed a red corrugated iron fence across the south end of the alley so we kids wouldn't be exposed to such goings-on as we went to and from school.
Prostitution was outlawed about 1916 in Arizona, and Tucson lost one of its largest employment centers. Nearly all of the girls left town, I was told, but I remember a few who remained in the city. Some had families in Tucson, and some had become attached to one of their customers and wanted to remain near him.
I knew of one who lived with a fairly prominent man for many years. His family was very well respected, and after Gay Alley was closed he and his lady friend established a household and lived together for many years.
I knew of another who married a local man and had a daughter by him who still lives in Tucson. I doubt if she has any idea of her mother's profession.
Still another remained in Tucson and continued to ply her trade in one of the illegal "houses" that operated in Tucson off and on for years. She had a daughter who was a lovely little girl. Nearly every afternoon after school mother and daughter would meet on the corner of Congress and Scott Street in front of the old Jones Drug Store. I knew both of them quite well, and I know that the daughter, who lived with another family, never did know what her mother did or where she got the money she would give her regularly. Many people knew about this situation and respected the mother for her great interest in her child.
My mother was not happy living in such a neighborhood and the first, and about the only, argument I can remember my mother and father having was over her desire to move to another part of town. For my dad this was the only home he had known since he became an adult. It was his mother's house, which he had moved his wife into when they were married. He saw nothing wrong with the neighborhood, but my mother kept the pressure on, and in early 1916 we moved to a house on South Stone Avenue and 14th Street, which was owned by Dick Brady from whom we rented.
I hated to move. I loved that old Main Street home. The day we moved I left my baseball bat in back of the front hall door on purpose so I could have an excuse to return and get it. I remember returning one afternoon and going into the old place all by myself. There was no furniture, but still it was home. I was ten at the time, and it was the only home I had known. I walked into every room in the house and reluctantly left it for good.
The old Elysian Grove was located only a block from our Main Street home, and with the passing of the Grove, which my father operated, we had no interests in that part of town, except for the Mexican kids whom I was crazy about. For several years I would come back and fly kites, play marbles and visit in their homes.
Old Main Street was quite a thoroughfare in its day. It was very wide and eventually the streetcar line was extended to run down Main from 17th Street to Congress Street. In the mornings on one or two days each week the fire department would exercise their fire horses at a full gallop, pulling the shiney red wagon with smoke pouring from its chimney. And that was exciting!
Between our old home and the Grove the Wishing Shrine was located. When we were children it was nothing more than a mound of tallow made over the years from candles burned by worshipping neighbors who regarded it as a sacred place. Tin cans served as candle holders to protect the flame from the breeze. Every evening at dusk Mexican women and children would go there to light candles. This was not an organized endeavor but a traditional custom. My Uncle Harry, who was born in Tucson in 1869, told me that as far back as he could remember the tradition was carried on by neighbors. It was said that people who have troubles of heart or health burn candles at the Wishing Shrine while praying for their love and/or improved health for their loved ones.
There are several versions of how the tradition started and why this particular location survived for well over a hundred years. One version concerns a priest who fell in love with one of his parishioners and took his life on this spot because he could not find it in his soul either to relinquish his position with the church or to live without his sweetheart.
Another version contends that two men were in love with a lovely damsel and decided to have a duel to determine which would win the maiden fair. Both were mortally wounded at this location, and the young lady started burning candles there every evening in memory of them.
In any event, the tradition is still carried on, and Teofilo Otero, who owned the property, gave it to the city, providing the city would create a permanent shrine and build a wall delineating the area and identifying it as a permanent sacred shrine. Large candelabras have now been installed. Any evening one can visit the Wishing Shrine and find candles burning there. At the time of religious holidays hundreds of candles are placed there by worshipping neighbors.
While my dad operated the Elysian Grove he always employed some type of musical group to play for the show productions or provide music at the beer garden as roving troubadours. These musicians were invariably Mexican. How they could play the old favorite numbers of those days, such as La Paloma, Quatro Milpas, La Golandrina and many more.
They were very fond of my dad, and many nights we were awakened at one or two o'clock by the gentle strains of the popular melodies of that time. The musicians would gather around my parents' bedroom window and serenade them for thirty or forty minutes as they were wandering home from the Grove.
Just prior to the closing of the Elysian Grove a film producer came to Tucson and worked out a lease with my dad and his partner for the old pavilion to be used as a studio for the production of moving pictures. The company, under the name of Chinese Six, also constructed a set for which they used hundreds of yards of white, lightweight canvas. One or two pictures were made at the Grove, but the company soon was having financial troubles which eventually caused them to default on their lease. My dad ended up with enough canvas to build a circus tent, so we kids made small tents of it and also used it as sleeping bags for our hiking and camping trips while we were Boy Scouts.
The man who lived across the street from us, George Adkinson, was a cattleman and owned the first automobile I ever saw. Its engine was under the front seat and had to be cranked from the side of the car. He and his family took Sunday drives, much to the envy of every kid on the block. And I think our parents were envious also. But our family was much too poor to afford an automobile, or for that matter even a horse and buggy.
Occasionally my dad borrowed or rented a buggy and took us for a drive along the Old Santa Cruz River, which used to run nearly year-round then. A favorite spot was Silverlake which was just a mile or so south of the Grove, along the Santa Cruz River. It was later washed out by one of those early-day floods and became only a pleasant memory.
The lesson my father taught me about not walking away from a fight was not the only one my brother and I learned when we were very young. The S.H. Kress Co. opened its store on Congress Street about 1915. "Brud" and I visited the downtown area occasionally, even at that early age. We went into the Kress store, and we couldn't believe our eyes. Never before had we seen such a feast of beautiful and interesting things. This was the first variety store to open in Tucson, and it really impressed two kids from the wrong side of the tracks. We were most intrigued with the tiny electric flashlight bulbs they had. We each decided to steal one.
When we got home we showed them to our father, and, of course, he immediately wanted to know where they came from. When he asked us where we got the money to buy them, we fessed up and admitted we had stolen them. Well, we got a lecture and were told that the next morning we would stay home from school, and go with him to see the Kress manager to return the stolen flashlight globes.
I well remember walking to town with "Pop." I was wishing the store was ten miles away as I didn't relish the idea of facing the store manager. Brud and I went in and asked for the manager who was in his office. We were showed into the office and stood before his desk with the two bulbs in our hands. We had to admit we had stolen them and now were returning them. He thanked us and walked down into the store where our father was waiting. Our ordeal was over, but never to be forgotten, believe me!
The house on South Stone had a screen porch in the rear, and it was the bedroom for my brother and me. For the entire time we lived there we slept outside on the screen porch. Every home had one, and nearly everyone used them in the summertime. Without air conditioning, the houses were so hot that few could sleep inside. Many actually slept outside on cots placed on the lawns, as even the sleeping porches could be too warm for comfort at times. But, between the bugs and the summer rains, the yards were not the ideal place to sleep.
Most porches had canvas curtains that could be rolled up on hot nights and tied down when the wind and rains came. The nights in Tucson could be very cold in the wintertime; sometimes the temperature dropped to the low 20s. But we learned to live with the varying conditions and slept on screen porches until we were married, and even then we had screen porches for the summer months.
Late one fall evening while sleeping on the porch at the Stone Avenue house, we heard a tremendous explosion that shook the whole south end of Tucson. It awakened everyone in the family who gathered on the back porch to see if we could figure out what had happened. About that time we heard two men running across our yard and between our house and the one next door. We did not know what caused the loud blast until later when we heard police officers searching the neighborhood. My dad told them about hearing the two men run through our yard. The police then told us that the Aros house, a block and a half east of us, had been dynamited, and they were looking for the men who had set the charge.
The next morning when I went to school I walked right past the Aros home which had its entire front blown off. When I got to the Safford School I found that my class was being moved out of the usual room because all the windows were blown out and there was a large crack about six inches wide at the front corner of the room. Later large braces were placed against the outside walls of the building, the crack was closed with temporary repairs, and we moved back into our regular room.
The home that was dynamited was owned by Teofilo Aros, a rancher and cattleman from Sonora, Mexico, who had moved his family to Tucson right after the turn of the century. At one time he had been postmaster at Sasabe, Arizona, on the Mexican border. While the police continued their investigation, they never did make any arrests. It was rumored that some old enemy of Teofilo Aros was attempting to kill him and his family. A few years later his home was bombed again, but, luckily, neither of the blasts caused more than property damage.
The Safford School was so badly damaged, although it was almost a block away, that it was torn down the next year and replaced with the present Safford School.
My dad was a baseball nut all his life. In his younger days he was a first-rate player who turned down repeated offers to turn pro. Many old-timers told me that he could have easily made it to the big leagues if he had accepted any of the contracts offered him. He told me that Charles Comiskey, later owner of the Chicago White Sox (and owner of the team in St. Louis before moving to the Windy City) offered him a contract back in the mid-nineties.
Professional ball players in those days were rough, tough guys, and my father's mother, with whom he lived, discouraged his ambitions to play baseball for money because she thought such associations would be bad for him. However, from what I've been told on numerous occasions, my old man would have had no problems with those rowdies. He was a real man's man. He never went past the fourth grade in school because he had to go to work to help support the large family that my grandfather, Phillip, was adding to Tucson's population, which was 2,500 when my dad was born in 1872.
Manny quit school to work full time helping his father with his business, which consisted of some wagons and horses for hauling freight between Yuma, Tucson and Lordsburg, N. M., and some buggies used for local people trips.
When he was eighteen he got a job working in the blacksmith shop at the Southern Pacific railroad yards. His father had died the previous year and he, with his two older brothers, was supporting the family of ten kids plus mother, Rosa.
Manny's ball playing days, of course, began when he was old enough to swing a bat. He had a natural talent for the game, and by the time he was thirteen be was playing on the "town team" made up of the best players in Tucson.
When he was fifteen, a pitcher on one of the teams that came through Tucson, took a liking to Manny and showed him how to throw a curve ball. I've read newspaper articles stating that Manny Drachman was the first Arizonan to throw a curve ball. Manny not only was a darned good pitcher but also a hell of a catcher, the position at which he really excelled. Working in the blacksmith shop developed his strength to the point where he was said to be the strongest man in town, and he proved it on several occasions.
He was five foot nine and weighed 202 pounds -- and he loved to fight! Nowadays anyone who loves to fight is considered a complete roughneck and someone to shun. But not in those days! What else was there to do in Tucson in those days but play ball, gamble and fight? If Tucson's team lost the ballgame, but Manny Drachman, or anyone else on the team, won the fight afterwards, the day was considered a great success.
Many of the big league players in the off season would play for teams representing the mining towns in Northern Mexico or in Arizona and New Mexico. Cananea, Sonora, always had a team which included a few big leaguers. The rivalry with the Tucson team, which my dad managed and played for, went on for many years, and the games between these two teams were always great affairs that the local fans loved to bet on.
One year Cananea's lineup included Chick Gandil, first baseman for the White Sox and later banned for life from organized ball because of his role with the infamous Black Sox of 1919. Burt Whalen, a big league catcher for the Boston Braves, was behind the plate for Cananea. He was a big man, about six feet two inches and 230 pounds.
At least thirty times old-timers who were there have told me the story of the game at the Elysian Grove ball park on the Sunday afternoon when the third and deciding game of the series was played (about 1903). I had been told the story by my dad once when I asked him about it, but Tax Shelton and others have made it sound much more glamorous and exciting.
Tempers were short all during the series and there had been one or two incidents between the players. On Sunday Tucson was being beaten and none of the local players or fans were very happy. About the fourth inning Whalen was on third base when the batter struck out for the third out. As Whalen came trotting in towards the plate my dad, who was catching, tossed him the ball, which he apparently did not see, and it hit him on the cheek.
Whalen grabbed Manny, who had turned around to walk towards the bench, and slapped his face. The whole crowd saw what had happened and let out a roar when Manny shook his finger in Whalen's face and said he'd take care of the matter after the game. While the crowd didn't know what was said, they knew Manny and were sure the matter was far from settled.
As luck would have it, Manny came up in the ninth inning with two outs and Cananea safely ahead. People told me that they were sure he struck out on purpose so he could get to Whalen, the Cananea catcher this day. He threw down the bat, reached up and removed the mask from Whalen's face and the fight started. The crowd was in an uproar. No one attempted to stop the fight. The players on both teams thought their battler, the best on each team, had the advantage and allowed the men to go at it.
After about ten minutes of brutal slugging my dad had driven Whalen back against the grandstand then, with a solid blow, knocked him cold. The crowd went crazy. They had long forgotten the outcome of the game and the series. They had won the fight, and that was a hell of a lot more important.
The fans picked up my dad on their shoulders and, not only carried him off the field, but clear up to a saloon and beer garden about a block away to continue the celebration.
When I told this story to Bill McKechnie, well-known manager of several National League teams and, at the time I first knew him, a coach for Bill Veeck's Cleveland Indians, he said, "Your old man must have been a hell of a man. That Burt Whalen was a big, powerful guy."
My mother loved to tell the story about how, on my second Christmas when I was a year and a half old, I disregarded a line of toys to pick up a baseball at the far end. That pleased my dad tremendously, she said, and he remarked that I was going to grow up to be a ball player.
So, my love for baseball was inherited, I guess. It's too bad I didn't inherit some of my dad's talent and strength. I played on kid teams, and when I went to high school I played shortstop and was the second string pitcher. We won the State High School Championship in my senior year, but I was just a pretty good semi-pro player after that. But no one, and I mean no one, ever enjoyed playing the game more than I did. I always wanted to be a big league ball player, and even today, if I could be any thing in the world, I'd choose to be a good big leaguer. I guess that tells you something about my intelligence but it also tells you I was completely crazy about playing the game.
I couldn't hit, I couldn't run, I couldn't throw, slide or even shave. I weighed 127 pounds when I finished high school and was "five eight and a half." But otherwise, I was a hell of a prospect!
While we were living in the house on South Stone Avenue my brother, Brud, was known to get up occasionally and walk around the house in his sleep. Our mother would, once in a while, place a tub of water alongside his bed where he would step when he left the bed, believing that stepping into the cold water would awaken him. However, whenever he knew the water was there he would not try to get up. Whether it had any effect on his dreaming habits is questionable.
One summer night about 1:00 a. m., while we were sleeping on the back porch, Brud let out a whoop, jumped out of bed, unlatched the back screen door and took off across the back yard, heading east. He hurdled a low fence at the back of the yard, with me in hot pursuit. I had yelled to my dad that Brud was running out of the house and I was going to try to catch him.
Brud crossed 14th Street, turning the corner on Scott Street heading north. As we passed a friend's house on Scott Street, our friend, who was sitting with his parents on the lawn, jumped on his bicycle and followed the two of us as we raced towards McCormack Street, which Brud crossed at full speed.
I finally caught him just as he was going up the walkway to the Carnegie Library. His eyes were wide open, but he had a scary look on his face. He obviously was having a nightmare. When I grabbed him and shook him, he said he had to return a book, which was past due, to the library. My dad and some neighbors soon arrived, amid a great deal of laughter.
We walked Brud home, and by the time we got there he was fully awake and couldn't believe that he had run a couple of blocks while sound asleep. We learned later that our mother had cautioned him, just before he went to bed, about returning the book that was past due.
A few years later while we were living in the house on Fifth Street, Brud had a nightmare that resulted in an injury to him. I was out of town at the time but my dad told me that very early on the morning of the Fourth of July firecrackers were being exploded in back of our place. Brud came down a short flight of stairs from an upstairs screen porch, yelling and acting like he was ducking shots aimed at him, saying, "Those men are shooting at me. I'm going to get them." With that he went over to the edge of the porch and kicked the screen door, breaking his big toe. He was lucky he wasn't more seriously injured with his nighttime wanderings.
While I was in high school, there were quite a few older fellows attending school with us who were veterans of the first world war, and, under a plan similar to the later G.I. program, they received financial help to complete their education and were known as "federal board" students.
One of them was Kenneth Yeazel. I got well-acquainted with him in 1923 and learned that he had built a radio set, which was something we had only heard about in those days. He invited my brother and me to come out some evening and listen to the programs. I hadn't learned to drive the Ford automobile that our father had bought, but Brud could drive. We were entranced with the idea that we could hear music and conversation transmitted and received without benefit of wires or telephone lines. We spent many evenings at Ken's garage in back of his home on East Speedway, glued to the earphone, which each of us would hold to our ear. At the time there was one station that broadcast music and also served as a radio phone operation between Catalina Island and the Southern California mainland. The conversations were not a bit private as anyone with a short-wave set could listen in.
After a couple of weeks of borrowing the family car and staying out quite late, our dad asked where we were going and what we were doing every night. When we told him we were going out to listen to a friend's radio, he would not believe that a young man attending school could build and operate a radio set, so we asked him to join us the next evening.
He and his partner, Ben Goldsmith, went with us to Ken's place to listen to the radio. It was a "first" for both my dad and for Ben. Ben just couldn't believe that the programs were being transmitted without the use of transmission lines. He even borrowed a flashlight and went outside looking for a telephone line connected to the little building containing the set.
My dad became very interested in radio after that and was surprised to learn that there were quite a few sets in Tucson, mostly crystal sets which could be easily built.
He was also a great sports fan. He was operating the Opera House at that time, and whenever the University of Arizona Wildcat football team played a game away from home, he would arrange to have the telegraph company install in the Opera House the equipment needed to receive telegraphic reports of the progress of the game. These he would read from the front corner of the auditorium without interrupting the silent movie.
The thought occurred to him that these reports should also be sent out over the radio. He arranged for Ken Yeazel to move his set into the basement area, under the stage of the Opera House, so the telegraphic reports of the "big game" would be sent over the airways. I have no question that this was the first time a sporting event was ever broadcast in Tucson. I assisted my dad who read the telegrams as they were received. I was the messenger between the Western Union receiver in the other corner of the basement and the broadcast area.
This was another "first" for my dad to add to his string. In all, he had three of them. He brought the first motion picture machine to Arizona, the first aeroplane and later was responsible for the first sports broadcast in the history of the state.
We were especially happy when our family acquired our new Ford car. The Drachman family had many family picnics on Sundays generally out ten to thirty miles at a canyon or at a mountain spot. Our cousins' families had cars for several years before we could afford one. We would split up in the other cars and have fun with our cousins, but we felt a little like second-class citizens until we had our own car.
Automobiles in those days were a novelty, and we generally walked everywhere. I thought nothing of walking to school either to high school or the university later. The walk to town was only a fifteen minute jaunt from our home. In fact I didn't learn how to drive a car with a shift stick until I was married. The girl I married was given a Studebaker by her father as a wedding gift, and she had to teach me to drive. When we got married we moved into a home that had just been completed on Palm Road between the university and Speedway. It was about a mile farther out than the family home, and I could no longer walk to work. My wife provided taxi service for me, taking me down in the morning, picking me up in the later afternoon, driving me down again after dinner to the theatre and then returning late at night to pick me up again.
Three years later, when Brud got married, he moved into a new house located a half mile further out than our place. There were no other homes or apartments available closer to town. Tucson, like every growing city, was being structured as it was because of the automobile that made it easy, convenient and inexpensive to live out away from the places of employment.