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Same Road, Different Destinations

August 17, 2022


This past weekend, I traveled to Prescott, Arizona, to visit friends. Many routes exist to get to Prescott, but I have history with Arizona State Route 169. (I am using this section of the road to represent the whole road. Please no comments on how this road doesn't actually get me to Prescott.) I know a road goes in two directions, but I only want to talk about traveling westward.

When I was 14, and not yet a legal driver, I knew this road as the way to our homes in Kirkland and in Skull Valley as we lived in both towns that year. I really disliked attending school in Prescott, but I loved living in these remote communities. We had no television reception, causing me to read more, dance more, write more, and create more. I found out that I COULD entertain myself, and that I was fine being alone with just my thoughts. I found me at the end of this road.

The next time I traveled this road, I was 26, and wanted to show my then fiance, Chuck, where I had lived. Not too many things had changed, and I pointed out significant landmarks and told stories of who I was with the man who would help me become who I am.


A widow at 53, I thought I would return to one of the places that taught me to be alone. One of my favorite teachers from grade school, Mr. Dick Bowerman, moved to Skull Valley after he visited us there years before to talk horses with my dad and fell in love with the area. Mr. B. and his wife, Bobbi welcomed me into their home. Being a lover of history (he was my 7th and 8th grade social studies teacher), he embraced the history of the area and gave me a tour of the areas I might have remembered and all the places of which he had learned and loved. The road helped me to reconnect with my mentor, my teacher, and a dear friend.

In the next few years, Prescott was the destination of many County Librarian meetings. Professional development was found on this road. And if I stayed an extra day, I could meet the Bowermans for breakfast and Liza for lunch. (She is my best friend from college and lives in Prescott now.)

Friday morning, aged 59, I thought about Mr. B. as I drove Route 169. He passed almost exactly one year ago at age 83. I did get to visit with Liza, and both of us had breakfast with Bobbi on Saturday morning. Among other things, we talked of Dick and the amazing man he was. Three older women coming together at this juncture in our lives -- which just happened to be on the same road.

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