Take me Home to Holbrook, AZ
Because a past family letter spoke of my great desire to somehow return to Holbrook, Arizona, I thought it would be appropriate to refer to those years that we were in Holbrook. I was 10 years old when we left and 13 years old when we came home.
I remember well our missionary farewell. I spoke and said, “Since today is Father’s Day I’d like to pay a tribute to my Dad. I think he’s the best Dad in the whole wide world.” (Oh the wisdom of my youth–now I would say I know he’s the best . . .)
I recall walking home from Church that day and thinking about how much everyone was going to miss us. The next day I said something to David Clark about it and he said, “I’ll show you how much I’m going to miss you!” and he proceeded to put my head in the murky water that always collected in the potholes at the entrance to the circle we lived in. I was crushed! How could he do this when we were going to be gone for 3 years?
The years in Arizona were good ones for me: Playing softball the first summer we arrived so I was able to make friends before school started. Attending Zone Conferences with Dad. Realizing there were “other” people in the world apart from Mormons, whites, and Indians. Receiving love notes from Dad that said, “Dear Cadillac” and soon changed to “Dear Mercedes” (he said that a Cadillac was supposed to be the finest car but he knew a Mercedes was, so that’s how I became Mercedes). Driving to Winslow with Mom, Tammy and Jessie so we could go shopping at “Whipples.” John and Jackie coming down and bringing our dog Brandy who I would send outside when John Lacy came by because he was scared of her. Playing racquetball out back. Trying to learn to play basketball so I could live up to Jessie’s M.V.P. ranking the year before. Yvonne and Lamar’s visit when Becky and David sang us songs in their cute southern accents. Walking home from the sand dunes one Saturday because we called Ron “Ronald McDonald” and he got mad and made us walk. (I had bare feet so Jessie and Tammy shared their shoes.) Driving to Utah with Larry listening to loud music and speeding the whole way in the Mercedes. Spending two weeks with Marilynn at B.Y.U. one summer at the Riviera. Wendy coming home from Blanding where she was teaching. She always had cute clothes and would leave some behind so we could wear them. Tom’s stories of how many swats he got that day at school. Tammy’s loyal friendship and unselfishness that was her hallmark even then. Mom giving shots and not only taking care of he own family but also 250 other missionaries.
I’m grateful for the Holbrook years. It was there that my testimony grew and I knew without a doubt that the Church was true. It was there I learned to accept and love people. It was there I had a chance to play sports and realize how fun they were (and I wasn’t labeled a jock). And best of all for me, it was a time I believe we as a family became closer and drew together.