Republicans: Salesman for a Cause

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Baron and Morris Goldwater added to the family legend. A conservative Jeffersonian Democrat whose political views profoundly influenced his nephew Barry, Morris Goldwater helped organize the Democratic Party in Arizona, was mayor of Prescott for a record 26 years, vice president of the 1910 constitutional convention that steered Arizona into the Union, and served terms in both houses of the state legislature. Easygoing Baron, more merchant than politician, left Prescott in 1895 to open up still another Goldwater store in Phoenix. There, on New Year's Day 1907, he married Josephine Williams, a frail, spunky nurse who had trekked west from Chicago for the sake of her TB-wasted lungs. Doctors had given her only a few months to live. "But," says Barry, the oldest of her three children, "she decided she didn't want to die." As of last week, Josephine Goldwater was still hale, and an imposing personality, at 85.

Hobby Horseman. In wide-open Phoenix, the Goldwaters ran a wide-open household that verged on domestic anarchy. Barry and his brother Robert, 19 months younger, were given free rein to their capacity for mischief—even when summer-evening water fights ended up with lawn hoses spurting about indoors. Barry grew up in the style of a bourgeois Huck Finn: he never wore shoes regularly until high school and amused himself at dinner by tossing butter pats at the ceiling. Although their father was Jewish, the Goldwater children were raised as Episcopalians, and Barry still worships at Phoenix's Trinity Cathedral (to which he donates his $1,100 monthly royalties from the column).

Early in life, Barry became a compulsive hobbyist; he still is. "I don't think he ever read a book growing up," says his younger sister Carolyn, 48 (now, in her third marriage. Mrs. Bernard Erskine), "and I don't think he ever missed an issue of Popular Mechanics." By the time he was twelve, Barry had assembled his own radio transmitter and earned his license as a ham operator. He wired up everything in sight, from toilet seats to his bed headboard; repairmen at work in the Goldwater home invariably tripped over miles of electronic ganglia left over from Barry's long-forgotten experiments. Barry also developed a lifelong fascination with guns (he is a crack shot, now owns 30 pieces). One prize weapon was a 10-gauge shotgun, mounted on wheels. One night, to commemorate his mother's birthday, he hauled the homemade cannon up to the second-floor porch of the family house, facing the Central Methodist Church across the street. Barry loaded up with live ammunition, pulled the lan yard just as vespers ended, demolished the porch railing and salted the worshipers as they ran for cover. It was all, he says, accidental.

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