The First 5 C’s

Jun 01, 2023

The First 5 C’s
Many people have different experiences when it comes to learning the 5 C’s of Arizona.  In my case, it was during Arizona History class back in the early 1980’s at Alhambra High School.  It was during this course, I learning about Arizona becoming a state (2/14/1912), the structure of Arizona’s Government, and even a field trip to the State Capital building.   It was also during that class, that I was taught the Arizona 5 C’s.

The first question any student (well, at least I did) would ask:  “Will the 5 C’s be on the test?”  “Of course,” was the answer, “These 5 C’s played an important role in Arizona’s economy back in the early years of the state but even today continue to play a strong role in our Arizona culture.”  So…the answer was yes, it will be on the test.  Therefore, I had to try to find a personal experience with each “C” to be sure I remembered it.  (By the way, what I remember most about my Arizona History teacher was not only his passion for the material, but also how he would make you leave the classroom if you yawned…”I see you yawning which means you’re thirsty, so please get up and get a drink and return to your seat immediately to stop your yawning.”  I never researched that medical theory.)

OK, how do I remember the 5 C’s.   First, Cotton.  Living in far West Phoenix with Glendale just across the street, the family often would find ourselves driving around Glendale (in areas fully developed now.)  The acre after acre of cotton farms were prominent all over the land west of Phoenix.  Wait, the same holds true for the second C:  Citrus.  As extended family visited our Phoenix area, the one spot my mom wanted to take them was Sun City, which was a well-known 55+ community.  As a kid heading to Sun City for yet another trip, we would see the fountain, the Milwaukee Brewers (old) Spring Training Stadium, and of course, I would notice all the citrus trees that lined the streets.  Granted, not exactly the acres of trees like existed in Mesa, but for me, I could use Sun City as my citrus example.

Moving on to the next “C” Copper.  I had an advantage in remembering this one as my dad worked for Karlson Machine Works, Inc., (off of 7th Street) where (as I remember…he passed away when I was 11) he would travel all over the state selling to Copper mines.  On occasion, he would let me ride along where I could see the mine…and if real lucky, could watch an explosion from a safe distance.  Half Done.  I thought about the 4th one:  Climate.  While climate is not a word I used (understanding weather doesn’t start with a “c”), I thought about moving from Wisconsin in the early 1970’s.  I remembered how I constantly heard my parents say on the phone:  “It doesn’t feel that hot because it’s a dry heat.”  OK, I can remember climate.

The last one, cattle, will be harder.  (I hoped I wouldn’t accidentally say cows on the test.)  I didn’t have a personal experience to lean on (as well as being very allergic to animals) so this is the one I’m going to have to memorize.  I read in the text about the state having over a million head of cattle in the early days as it was a big supplier to the country.  OK, I can remember this one and hopefully get all five correct.  I cannot remember that exact test but do remember passing the course…Arizona 5 C’s!