Arizona historian Jim Turner likes to say that almost everyone in the world knows something about Arizona, and some of it is even true.
If you’ve read Turner’s most recent book, “Arizona: A Celebration of the Grand Canyon State,” or seen his monthly column, “Life in the Old Pueblo,” in the Arizona Daily Star, you realize that he knows a great deal about Arizona and that he finds the true stories more fascinating than the fiction.
A former historian with the Arizona Historical Society and presently a “Roads Scholar” for the Arizona Humanities Council, he has spent a lifetime teaching and lecturing about the state he loves.
At 3:30 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 20), Turner will appear at the Arizona Senior Academy to talk about early Tucson in “A Day in the Life of the Presidio.”
It wasn‘t just a military fort, he points out, although soldiers stood guard. It was a walled town of families, crafts people, and merchants who carried on the business of life. How did they spend their days? How did they farm? What did they eat?
Drawing on the oral histories and memoirs of people who lived in the Presidio when Arizona was still part of Mexico, Turner tells a compelling story of their daily lives, devotions, and amusements. They were pleasant times, recalled Mariana Diaz, who was 100 years old when The Arizona Citizen interviewed her in 1873. If it had not been for the Apaches, she observed, we would not have known what trouble was.
Written by Caroline Bates, Academy Village Volunteer