Desert Messenger

April 6, 2011

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Page 8 of 23

A���� 6, 2011 CONNOR FROM PAGE 8 repairs, a mess hall, and a small rec- reation room. The Air Force also used the Conner home for an administration building and for the three fl ight in- structors who trained 30 Women Air- force Service Pilots (WASPs.) Conner Field would be perfect for training the WASPs since part of the training was to see how well these women could adjust to more primitive circumstances. At that time elec- tricity was not avail- able in Quartzsite, plus there were no indoor bathroom fa- cilities, and the only telephones were in the offi ces of the Jus- tice of Peace, Deputy Sheriff, and at W. E. Keiser’s Telephone & Telegraph Offi ce. Even more primitive was the fact that the nearest beauty shop was over 20 miles away. The WASPs learned I was a li- censed cosmetolo- gist with a shop in my home. In spite of the situation, the brave ladies of the WASP exceeded all expectations. They were trained in small, high- winged, single engine, Piper Cub-type planes. One day as I was hanging clothes I watched a plane coming in for landing. It looked like a normal ap- proach. Then the plane suddenly went up, up and over, landing upside down. I was stunned and started running across the open fi eld towards the plane. By the time I arrived the mechanics were pulling Lou Shanks, one of my hairdo customers, out of the wreckage. ���.D�����M��������.��� Fortunately only her pride was hurt. An updraft had caused the plane to fl ip with only minor damage. Buck, Hazel and their son Powell lived in California with Hazel’s family while Buck continued to perform in western movies. Then on February 4, 1947, while in Yuma, Buck suffered a fatal heart attack. He was buried in Quartz- site beside George II. In 1949 Ralph and Virginia Under- wood purchased Conner Field and the quaint adobe that was once the gathering place of Buck and Hazel’s Hol- lywood friends. From time-to-time airplanes continued to use the airstrip. Ralph passed away in 1956 and Virgin- ia later moved to Yuma and sold the property. For the next 15 years I managed the property for the new owners, Mil- burn and Rachel Cooper of Phoenix, until 1976 when Milburn asked me if I was interested in buying the property. With my son I devel- oped Conner Field into Desert Gardens. Post Script: On May 20, 2008, Buck and his son George Washington Con- ner II were removed from their fam- ily burial site to the Hi Jolly Cemetery and reinterred near other Quartzsite old timers, when on January 29, 2011 was joined by the author of this story, Rosalee Oldham Wheeler. Conner Field is no longer listed as an aeronautically approved airstrip and the historical adobe was recently burned down as a training exercise for the fi re department. Alternative Therapies Barbara Lancaster, R.N., C.H.T., R.M.T. ~ Reiki ~ Hypnosis ~ Ear Candling ~ Mary Kay Consultant ~ Nutritional Products Relaxation Therapy by Lois Hot Rock, Swedish & Deep Tissue Massage • 928-273-8348 255 N. CENTRAL BLVD. PALM PLAZA #8, QUARTZSITE 928-927-5858 P��� 9

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