We obviously didn’t know shit from shinola about water or household waste and for good reason. Both of us had lived in cities and suburbs where such matters were invisible to us. In fact, climbing mostly up hill 30 miles out of Tucson for our first visit suggested by a real estate agent, Oracle seemed to us a sparsely populated near wilderness where we breathed easier. Light traffic, oak, juniper, manzanita along with cholla and prickly pear cactus. Cooler. No tract homes. No stoplights. A handful of small businesses strung out on a street called American Avenue. Lots of open space. The Santa Catalina mountains as a backdrop.
The entrance to town back then was marked by an aging trailer park. 44 years later it still raises the hackles of some newcomers looking for the town to go a bit more upscale. But for us, like the price of water, it seemed a small price to pay for disincentivizing growth - not to mention a place for some folks to live on a shoestring. After the trailers we noted an auto repair shop, a quaint cafe called Mother Cody’s, an Exxon gas station. Across the road was a compact structure with a sign that read Oracle Inn, Bar and Restaurant.
We turned right, two blocks up an unnamed street to a small park then to a driveway just beyond. Winding, rutted. Strung out on a gentle ridge, invisible from the road, was a house with an odd second story on one end. To the left a cavernous doorless garage. We couldn’t contain ourselves, A bit ramshackle with lots of privacy. Inside, the green shag rug in the living room, tiny kitchen, and multiple cracked window frames failed to diminish our enthusiasm. The house was big enough for all the kids we hoped to raise there.
"Serendipity,” our agent declared. Maybe so but she didn’t think to require testing of the septic system much less inquiry into the leaky faucets - and neither did we.
Fred and Eunice, the owners, refused a face to face meeting on moral grounds. Eunice declared to our agent that we were “an immoral couple” because we weren’t married. She opined that our relationship would never last. (She passed away long before she could test her hypothesis.) Nonetheless, suspending their principles, they took our money. We never did meet either of them, even at the closing, but we got the deed to the property.
On move in day census figures put the population of Oracle at about 2,800.
Kaz and I moved to Oracle in 1979. The house we bought dated to the late 1940s. With little advance knowledge of the place, we set out to build a new life together, intending to settle in and raise a family.