Investor, Teacher, Caretaker, Spy

Since the Great Depression, Izora Hill has helped the mentally ill, raised five children, worked as a cook, a teacher, a laundress and a janitor, invested in real estate, run for office, advised political leaders and spied on them. She achieved success as

"But the [state] people were concerned about the pigs and chickens running around."

Sunday afternoons, after Izora has done the lunch dishes and left them on the rack to dry, she leaves the residents in the care of her daughter and steals off to see her siblings, who gather at her sister Alice's house next door. Alice is 88 and still has a few hogs, although she's slowed down considerably from the days when she sold hundreds of pigs each year.

The property line between the two sisters is immediately clear. Although Izora's acreage is cluttered with junk, the junk is ordered into areas and piles.

Alice's junk is randomly strewn on her property, along with cans and other pieces of trash.

"Just a raggedy old house," says Alice, "but it suits me fine. I'm a junker." She is wearing a blue housecoat, no shoes. Like her kid sister Izora, it's hard to tell whether Alice is black, or Indian, or white.

Of Izora's nine brothers and sisters, only four survive. The siblings seem to resent Izora a bit, seem mildly jealous of her. Their parents indulged Izora most, Alice says, while the rest of them "had to work like mules."

Izora listens, looking amused, doesn't say anything.
Izora's sisters Margaret and Helen sit on one couch. Alice relaxes by the dining-room table. Their brother, Lawrence Callahan, sits opposite them.

"Oklahoma is OK-la-ho-ma, Oklahoma, OK," says Lawrence, who was once was a janitor for former senator Paul Fannin.

"Yeah, then why did you leave," retorts Margaret, pulling on a cold beer.
Later, when the others are gone, Izora and Alice, the closest sibs, talk about things that matter. Like real estate. Alice has nine parcels, including a nice property in Cave Creek.

Izora still owns her house in South Phoenix, which she purchased for $250 in 1938.

County records show she owns nine parcels of vacant land, mostly in western Maricopa County, in addition to the Rainbow Valley property. Her total real estate holdings were assessed last year at about $130,000.

Izora and Alice are waiting for the day the state builds a prison near Rainbow Valley; maybe that will drive up their property values a little more.

Of course, neither wants to sell.
Neither sister can think of anything she would like to purchase, what with all the used stuff both have picked up through the years.

Izora's children, now adults, say they've suggested she spend some money, maybe take a little trip somewhere. After all, she's worked so hard, for so long, at so many things.

Izora Hill finds the suggestion silly.
"Why would I want to go to another country? It's just another place, with the same situations.

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