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6. The Big House

Right next door to our trailer home sat a huge building called the 'Big House'.  The massive structure looked as if it could tumble down any second but it had already stood sentry over the mission compound for decades. There must have been a stone foundation but most of it was made of adobe brick. There was a first floor dug a little into the ground and that is where Tim's classroom was. It stayed so nice and cool there with the natural surroundings. The fresh earthy smell was a welcome reprieve from the hot Arizona sun. Several windows let in light from the west.You couldn't help but look up often at the rafters above when they creaked with the footsteps of the older children. The classrooms up there were spacious with lots of large windows for natural light. Walking from room to room you could feel the openness with the outside coming in. There was absolutely no privacy in that building. Two stairways, one outside, one in, headed up a flight to the third floor with yet another creaky floor.

Leaving the big house was like descending the gangplank onto the dock after a smooth sail. The main entrance was off the center floor and there were several steps to descend to solid ground. Once safely ashore you could gaze back at this 'big as a castle' sandy formation sitting on a red beach somewhere.

The children in Tim's class were happy and eager. They didn't speak English yet and that was Tim's main focus. He made school fun and always held the philosophy that students should not hate school by the time they were in 3rd grade. I came by occasionally to teach some simple art classes. Supplies were limited but we always had lots of color crayons and tempera paint.
One of Tim's students was Michael Blackwater. His grandmother, Anna Blackwater, was one of the first converts to Christianity and the best rug weaver around. One day about 13 years later we received a graduation announcement in the mail. It was from Michael. He was planning on going to college.  

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