One in a series
By Bill Guerra (email@example.com)
Roaming and exploring Benson and the surrounding countryside was a major preoccupation of our young lives. Like everyone, our experiences grew in much the same manner as our maturing personalities. As youngsters our adventures were mostly confined to immediate surroundings or to places and diversions we could reach on foot or to which older folks might take us. By the time we were pre-teens, thanks to the increased mobility and range provided by our bicycles, our greater world had shrunk just a little; now, the entire town and immediate vicinity were easily in reach. But it was as teenagers — and thanks to the cars we drove — that we were really set free!
Since television had not yet made its debut — at least, not (significantly) in Benson — our explorations led to many local discoveries and fun-filled excursions. The wash just behind the High School, in our jargon, was known as Cave Village. And just beyond that was the universally known landmark of White Rock. I recall once exploring the White Rock area with my brother Bob and our older cousin Jack Comaduran. We came across a wild bee’s nest constructed by its inhabitants in one of the small crevices below White Rock’s summit. Jack, armed with his single=shot .22 rifle, decided it would be interesting to send a round through the exposed comb. Amazingly, the single bullet sent the entire works crashing to the ground — and also turned the bees’ focus to the three interlopers who were the apparent cause of their engineering disaster. With the offended inhabitants in hot pursuit, we all three ran yelling and screaming down the hillside while simultaneously trying to swat the bees away from our heads and exposed skin! Lesson learned; don’t mess with wild bees!
(Years later, along with Joe Hayes and Gailen Allwood, we had a similar experience at the town dump, except this time it was a cave full of bats we flushed from one of the many earthen caves excavated into the arroyos that fed the San Pedro. Wow! We were totally engulfed by a cloud of these tiny flapping creatures; we madly attempted to beat them away as they unintentionally ran into us while trying to make their escape!)
For Coach Jack Wilson and his boys’ PE classes, White Rock was also the turnaround point for some of our daily workouts. The objective was to simply run across the valley floor, clamber up the slope to the peak, touch the rock and then turn around and run back. Coach Wilson, meanwhile, well positioned at the top of the bleachers, and squinting in the bright sunlight through hand-shaded eyes, checked off the runners as they ascended to the peak.