Sunrise: First thing tomorrow morning. To be repeated daily until further notice.

2015 All-Bearcat Picnic:
The date is set for the seventh annual picnic. Join us on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at the PERA Club in Tempe. The picnic is meant for all RHS classes, their families, and the faculty and staff. Bring your own food, drink, and name tags, but no booze!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Russ Cooper Tells His Story

Except for a stint in the army, my dad was a lifelong Kennecott guy. He and Mom were both only children who grew up in Hurley, New Mexico, where both of their dads also worked for Kennecott. My brother (Paul '72) and I were both born in Salt Lake City (more Kennecott) a few years before we all moved to Hayden. When the house we lived in there found itself in the way of the long conveyor belt that now runs between the crusher and the mill, we moved to Kearny to avoid being bulldozed off the hill. That was in either late 1958 or early 1959.

Kearny (a planned community!) was brand new then, with streets of mud, no fences separating the lots, and a hopeful little mulberry tree in each front yard for landscaping. A bunch of us went to third grade in a portable building that also served as a Baptist church. A real school, paved streets, chain link fences, and many acres of bermuda grass all followed soon enough.

One of my more interesting high school memories is from the very first week or two of my freshman year. That was the first year that the kids from Dudleyville and the other communities south of Hayden were bussed over to Kearny to go to school. So suddenly, instead of everybody already knowing everybody on day one because we had all grown up together, there was this odd "us" (the Kearny kids) and "them" (the Hayden kids) thing going on that none of us had ever experienced before. Obviously, "they" were going through exactly the same thing, except that they must certainly have had "us" and "them" totally backwards!

This whole thing was especially strange for me because I had gone through first and second grade in Hayden with some of some of "them." So a handful of these foreign invaders were actually my friends from a few years earlier. Audrey Burnam, Clarine Brandt, and Art Young come to mind. Long after any notion of "us" and "them" had been forgotten completely, Art and I wound up in the same chemistry class at the university in Tucson. I also remember running into Audrey at some sort of farewell shindig when we were all about to graduate. That was kind of cool.

I learned enough vocabulary at U of A to get an engineering job with Honeywell in Phoenix. Then I learned enough engineering at Honeywell to eventually set myself up as a freelance nerd for hire. That kept me about 110% busy writing embedded microcontroller firmware and PC programs right up until 9/11. Things kind of slacked off starting on 9/12 (literally), and I've been exploring the distinctions between semi-retired, retired, and just plain unemployed ever since. I like "semi-retired" the best. Fortunately, that's the way it's been going for the past few years.

In mid 1978 I bought a brand new Ford Mustang II. It was bright orange with a white top, black interior carpet, and black, orange, and yellow plaid upholstery on the seats. Whoa! Talk about your understated style and grace. That car was it. Well, far too soon after I got this fine vehicle, the girlfriend got somewhat more friendly and we wound up getting married later that year. That very strongly reinforced my great theory that you gotta have great wheels if you want to get the girl. Mysteriously, though, she continued to hang around even after we got rid of that car. Imagine that. I guess either my great theory was completely wrong, or else the Mustang wasn't so hot after all and what she really liked was my boat.

Carol was a music teacher when we met. Then she got a computer science degree and worked for Intel for a while. Then she got enough credentials to be a pastor for a while. Now (2009) she's just finished up a program to learn ASL interpreting. I don't know what she wants to be when she grows up.

Progeny: None. Hobbies: Flying (no longer) and woodworking (more and more). Ridiculous websites: http://www.ibab.org. Residence: Phoenix.

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