Rarely does a day go by without there being pleasant experiences and surprises from friends. Last week, for instance, Roy Penix and his wife Rita were here from Utah and took the time to call to ask me out for dinner and then for breakfast. Roy was one of my brother’s classmates and best friends from the time they were mere boys and has kept in fairly close touch with me during the years since Clough’s death. He can’t really know how much I appreciate his friendship and his kindness in being around in the event I need to do a little extra talking or just want to hear from someone who was so close to our family.
I feel sure Roy was the main reason Clough entered the Navy during WWII because one was not about to get too far ahead of the other. The two of them were among my main heroes during that war and caused me to notice the handsome sailors where ever I have gone.
Roy brought home many wonderful memories as he gave me a DVD containing his life story as told by him and illustrated with so many pictures of our past. What a wonderful way to tell a story and to preserve history! He may not recall that both he and Clough were born in Hotel Dieu in El Paso and has no way of knowing how many memories of the old hospital and the new one I had collected over the years.
When he talked about his childhood, I remembered many of those stories as he had told them to us when we were neighbors at the courthouse. He spent much time with us and caught us up on his past. When his picture in uniform flashed in front of me, I was moved to tears by the memories that surfaced. That beautiful smile has remained untouched through the years and the youthful glint in his eyes can still be seen. He then told of experiences that none of us had ever heard, omitting some of his worst ones but letting us have the feeling of witnessing his actions during those years. I have a feeling that he hasn’t talked a lot about those years just as Clough rarely mentioned what happened then. Those boys served their country in style and then returned home to take up life as civilians.
Roy had begun to work on the railroad before he joined the Navy and returned to continue that work. As he stayed with his profession, he rose to high positions and just continued accomplishing much during his life. Clough had ajso worked on the railroad here but didn’t return to that work for several years after the war. He did, however, continue to follow his best friend.
Although Roy was Clough’s best friend, I am pleased to count him as one of my best friends also. I feel very privileged to know him and to have him take the time to remain in touch with Clough’s bratty little sister. Both of us are proud to be Rattlers and to have lived during some very special years in our country’s history. The woman from lma salutes the friend from Vaughn!