Grandpa Phil was quite a character. He was an avid yachtsmen (of course) and was one of the smartest people I've ever known. He had an understanding of science and electronics that boggles my mind. I think he could compete with some of the greatest technical minds of today. He also seemed to have an irrational fear of our house burning down.
While there were many an involved lie about our house, he had it built. He had to flee Scottsdale in '67 and go to Chicago due the big Mafia war involving various families in Arizona and elsewhere. He came back in '69 (although I seem to remember Grandma saying they visited 11 times in two years).
The house was built in the desert and back then everyone had septic tanks as Scottsdale was maybe 1/10th the size it is today. Sewers weren't built in our area until the '80s. There were some peculiarities of the house I'd like to share with you. It had a gigantic 13' pool, a putting green with fake turf and a shuffle board. The bathroom was huge and had a door to the outside patio. This is a common design feature.
What is odd however, is the bathroom was huge-the double vanity had to be 10' long with a gigantic mirror. However, you could not see what was going on in the toilet area. Makes sense as if I were using the bathroom with someone else I wouldn't want to see what was going on at the toilet either.
We were very water-use conscious. You had to be. It was a desert. We landscaped with mostly native plants, had a dirt (and rather long) driveway. Everything seems normal until you mention the 16 gallon flush toilet, the bullet proof sliding glass doors (THEY WERE SO HEAVY AND HARD TO MOVE), and the pitch of the front overhang which made it impossible to see if people were home or not until you were literally at the front door.
Adjacent to the carport there were two a utility rooms. One of the utility rooms housed only a water heater. The walls were fireproof. It seems you don't want an open flame during certain stages of meth cooking. One day, however, the lab went boom, Grandpa had chemical burns all over his legs and his daughter, 14 at the time, had to drive him to the emergency room. I believe this happened in early summer.
He explained his leg burns as the result of using gasoline to set weeds on fire near the open flame of the gas pool water heater (we NEVER used this). That's how he got chemical burns on his legs and instead of calling an ambulance, he had his 14 year old daughter drive him 7 miles south to the nearest emergency room. Yeah.
It's still not as good as the Mormon Mafia connection in Joseph City, Arizona (between Holbrook and Winsolow off old route 66). People laugh when I mention the Mormon Mafia. Think of it as everything a mafia could offer only for rich white people. If a president or a first lady needed a problem taken care of, they would seek out the services of the Mormon Mafia.
It seems a Mormon with an unverifiable past just showed up there one day in the '50s and leased a bunch of government land. (He didn't have a yacht, however). It seems he somehow conned the government into a constant supply of red phosphorus (apparently a key ingredient in meth production and very tightly regulated). He said he had to spray the ground with it (his 1,100 acres or so) to combat the radioactivity from Uranium mining in the area. He would spray red food coloring and water all over it to appease the feds.
Not a bad gig, getting the feds to supply you with all of the chemicals necessary to make some really killer meth apparently based on the German Air Force recipe which, from my understanding, pushes the limits on how strong a stimulant can get. He had a lab built underground underneath the cow milking area. Interesting shit.
But Grandpa Phil's fate wasn't so fortunate. It seems that some bikers didn't like the competition and kept him and my Grandmother hostages in their own home for a couple of weeks and got him to give up the recipe and put him out of business. That was a bad day for the family as they had gone from a pretty powerful force to be reckoned with to relative obscurity by a bunch of bikers. I am sure his pride suffered greatly. But that was good news for the Mormon Mafia which grew even more rich and powerful as they controlled a bigger share of the market. I don't think my family was completely cut out of the picture as Grandma used to put the stuff in her Christmas stolen and Oh my God, don't eat a piece of that if you plan on sleeping anytime in the next week or so! We invariably would play the card game Blitz after eating stolen. Hmm, a bunch of wired nazis eating meth-laced stolen and playing Blitz! I'm surprised more people didn't discover their roots sooner. I don't know who makes the stolen with her recipe now, but I am sure someone in the family does. That's why I avoid holidays with them. (If you are reading this, yes, I do hate you this much!)
It has been suggested that I was the batch tester for the family. They take someone whose behavior they are familiar with and then dose them with meth to watch the reaction. Grandma used to say "I made you some tea, for your digestion, here, drink it." I trusted my Grandparents. I didn't even think about it. Then I would wonder why 30 minutes later I was talking rapidly, loudly and had a yearning to clean things. I'd stay up for a couple of days thinking that this was normal. I would then wonder why I often wouldn't have any energy.
I know these things sound a bit crazy but it's my life as I recall it. I defy you to prove me wrong.