Brother’s friend was childhood hero

Last week was made special by a visit with Roy Penix and his wife, Rita, of Linden, Utah. Roy was one of my brother's best friends and most definitely was a hero of mine. He moved to Tucumcari with his family, the Houston Penixes, from the Duran area when a number of families were transferred here by the Southern Pacific.

They lived across the street from the courthouse, and his sister, Ida Ann, became a close friend as we played in those halls when we were just beginning school. Roy and Clough became good friends and remained so as long as Clough lived. Roy went into the Navy in World War II and set the stage for Clough to follow a short time after his graduation in 1944.

When the war ended Roy, who had already worked for the railroad a short time before enlisting, returned to a job and remained with the railroad for over 40 years, retiring from the San Francisco office as Signal Engineer of Construction. He held numerous positions throughout his career and always kept advancing until he decided to retire and enter a new chapter.

As he, Rita, and I sat at the table visiting, we shared many memories of the past. Fortunately, Rita was a patient listener and just let Roy and me exchange stories. I could see that young sailor as he visited Clough on his first leave and even before as he and Clough would spend time together. We were both very comfortable with our memories and were also a little overwhelmed by so many memories beginning over 70 years ago. We laughed and talked as he recalled the great times he and Clough had in those canyons at lma. He remains amazed by all he saw in those canyons and by the life we lived out there. He is one of the few remaining friends who can share such memories and who really knew my family so well.

We agreed that we were privileged to live in "the best of times." Although WWII was a terrible event, it opened many avenues for those of us for whom those young people had fought. Those who came home went to work creating a better life than they had left behind and just forged ahead without complaint. They had won the freedom to dream and to make those dreams come true.

Roy has been kind enough to keep up with me through the years and to see that his friend's "little sister" is okay. Having him and my brother for heroes when I was very young gave me a boost into adulthood. Having him take the time to stop for a visit was a most thrilling experience. He played a major role in our history, not only in the war, but also in his life on the railroad. What an honor to know such a person.

Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.

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