One of the Classic American Stories is that of “cool” people—artists, anti-establishment politicos, and other bohemians—finding ignored or abandoned places and revitalizing them, until they become so popular that the cool people can no longer afford and/or abide them.
Jerome, Arizona, is one of those places. I’ve never been there but, during my two-month residency in Harney County in 2010, I became friends with two refugees, Diane and Walt. They had moved to Jerome in the 1980s as refugees of another fantastic-turned-overwrought scene, 1960-70s San Francisco, where both were in the music business.
Diane was a generous host when I knew only a handful of people in Harney County, and we stayed in touch. She provided comments on parts of Get Your Pitchfork On! and I consulted on a few bits of her new book, Home Sweet Jerome, about the mining town-turned-hippie town-turned tourist destination that she and Walt still hold very dear. Diane donated a piece about grasshoppers to the GYPO blog, which continues to be one of my most popular internet-searched posts! Even if you don’t have a personal connection with the town itself, Diane’s story captures a generation perched between the Old West and the Modern Age, with lots of pot-smoking and under-the-cover-of-night shenanigans. Check it out!