My Memories of My Brother, Bobby
First, a note to you Mike, since you asked for this. I’m going to tell you what I can remember, since of course, everything I say will be tainted by my perspective. I’m not going to write it to you, though, because there may be things in here that you won’t want to know, but you asked for them, and you’re an adult. There may be things that your dad wouldn’t want you to know, but he’s not here, and so he doesn’t get a say.
Bobby Bogle was born on January 17, 1964. His parents lived in Tucson and were attending the University of Arizona. They were young, his mom had just graduated high school the year before. I wasn’t born for this, so I can only tell a few stories that I’ve heard.
He was actually named Robert Laurence Bogle, Robert after his dad. His dad’s name was John Robert Bogle, people called him Bob. He said that if his wife wanted to name their son after him, she had to pick his first name and call him that, no more going by middle names. Betty Jean Pickering had grown up in Chandler, Arizona with Bob and they married soon after high school. She was a pom-pom girl (captain of the team) at Chandler High, and he was the son of a successful farmer who attended military school in New Mexico (NMMI).
Bobby was full of energy as a little boy, despite or maybe because he was diagnosed with severe asthma at a very young age. His mom had to give him shots for a while and she remembers the doctor telling her that the drugs he needed were such powerful stimulants that they would take ten years off the end of his life, but without them, he would die.
Bobby’s parents had a dog named Squirt. Bobby loved to chase him around their house in his walker shouting, “Squee, Squee” and running over his tail as often as possible. (A walker was a little contraption that they used to put babies in before they could walk to keep them occupied. It was kind of like a bouncer on wheels and the baby could pretend to walk all over the place. It had a little tray for toys or cereal, as well.)
In October, 1966, Bobby’s brother, Jamie was born. Bobby adored his new little brother and, at the tender age of three, would comment on his energy with, “He’s so rambunctious!”
Several things happened in 1970, including me. Dad had finished his Bachelor degree in business and was working at a bank when he was called by his family to come home to Chandler to help run the farm. His dad, who was Adjutant General of the Arizona National Guard, had been in a car accident. It became evident that he needed some help to overcome his alcohol addiction. He had entered into a program in Minnesota and would be gone for a while.
The small family, two young boys, dad, and pregnant mom, moved back to Chandler. They first moved into a small house in town and while they were there, a couple of young men knocked on the door and asked them what they knew about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Always curious, the parents invited the young men in and they began to talk. The family soon moved to a house on the farm, a community known as Ocotillo, about 4 miles south of town. The missionaries asked if they could come again after they moved. Knowing that they rode bikes everywhere, Dad told them they could, but didn’t really expect them to.
Imagine their surprise when the missionaries really did set up an appointment and ride their bikes, repeatedly, all the way to Ocotillo. They kept coming and having conversations for about 8 months. By this time, a baby girl had been born in May. Mom and Dad named me Monique Fay, but the boys, now 6 and 3 wanted to call me Rocket so they could send me to the moon or Football so they could kick me. Apparently, I was in the way of their fun. In August, around the time of their 7th wedding anniversary, Mom and Dad were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we started to go to church. I vaguely remember that we went to Sacrament meeting, came home to eat and went back to church for Sunday School. Primary was held on a weekday afternoon.
My memory is a little spotty here, but I know we loved living out in the country. We had two dogs now, Lovey and Shadow. Lovey was a black lab and Shadow was some sort of black and white sheep dog. Lovey was the best dog in the world and I think all of us who knew her hold all black labs in a special place in our hearts. We had some random cats here and there as well, but Lovey was the true family pet. Shadow was hit by a car when I was still pretty young.
There was a ditch across the dirt road from our house and early on winter mornings on the way to catch the bus, we’d check it for ice and see if we could stand on it, sure that we could skate the ditch to the bus stop. It never worked. Along Alma School rd (now Basha rd) where the bus stop was, ran a big canal, all the way up to about Germann rd. Some of those mornings the fog would rise off the canal and it looked like we lived in a fairy land. This canal was the source of many adventures as we grew. We fished in it for crawdads, collected the tiny shells that littered the banks, and of course the best, Bobby and Jamie would blow up Bobby’s raft (a 2 seater with oars) and try to ride the rapids. The bridges over the canal were a definite obstacle and decisions had to be made about whether the water was low enough to make it under the bridge (laying down, of course) or the bridge had to be grabbed and climbed over. It was high excitement!
The pasture between our house and Uncle Pete’s house held various animals over the years. My earliest memory is of Aunt Karen’s Shetland pony. After he passed, sometimes that pasture would be full of yearling thoroughbreds, for a while it held a big bull that we bred with our milk cow. Either way, it was a source of entertainment. The horses would somehow find a way to open the gate, and we’d have a stampede on our hands. (Megan admitted later that she occasionally opened the gate for them, just for the thrill.) It was awesome to watch Mom hop in the station wagon or van, Dad would show up in the truck, and they would chase those horses back to the pasture. Often a farm guy would come along to help so they could block all of the exits and get them turned around. We would watch from as close as we were allowed to without getting in the way. The bull was more of a dare kind of thing. Which of the boys would go into the pasture with him? Or, who was going to get the cattle prod and chase him out of the cow pen when he would jump the fence?
The boys had bunk beds in their room and loved to pull the mattresses off and jump or roll off the top bunk onto them. Jumping off the roof was at least as fun. Anything and everything was a possible tool for fun. Including the time that we had been making political signs for Mom’s run for the school board. We cleaned up all the paint with gasoline and Dad told Bobby to take care of it. We had a barrel for burning garbage across the road by the ditch. Bobby dumped the gas on top of the garbage and told me to get back. I went to the middle of the road. He backed up as far as he could and tossed in a match. A tower of flame shot up. His face and hair were burned pretty good and I swear that’s why I’ve never had full eyebrows since. Mom actually had to take him to the doctor for the burns on his face and Dad had a chat with him about fire safety. It didn’t stick.
There were a few neighbor kids whose parents worked for the farm around. Jamie liked to play football with them, but that was sometimes too much running for Bobby’s asthma. He liked to play spies and would sometimes let me help him, if I was really quiet. There was a weird bush in the front yard (where that pistachio tree is now) that grew so that it was really shaggy and bushy, but hollow underneath. It was also pretty scratchy, but there was one spot where it grew up a little around the bottom and you could crawl under then you could almost sit up, once you were in the bush. We would climb under there and spy on the other kids, pretending they were criminals or some sort of bad guys.
Another game the boys would play in the front yard was (completely politically incorrect) Smear the Queer. This was usually a game to play when lots of friends were over. They usually played with a football and one person would throw the ball up into the air for everyone else to try to catch. You would think that nobody would want to catch it, but it showed how tough you were if you did. Who ever caught the ball was the queer and all the other kids would then try to tackle them before they crossed a random line. Once you crossed the line, you were safe and got to be the one to throw the ball up for the crowd. Kick the Can was a game that the girls could play too. Eventually, the boys even wanted the girls to play with them, cute neighbor girls and friends anyway. Kick the Can was like hide and seek, but the hiders tried to sneak back out and kick over a can that stood in the middle of the yard. If the seeker found you you were out, but if you kicked the can you would win the round and be the new seeker.
We never ran out of things to do, even though I’m sure we told Mom that we were bored so often she wanted to strangle us. We rarely walked to the Gonzales’s to see them. We would go in the backyard and climb the side of the play house, over the roof of the Gonzales’s shed, down through a hole in the roof and out the door. If we weren’t going to look for someone to play with, we were going to beg a butter tortilla from Frances. She made the best tortillas in the world and she made them every Friday for her family for the week. She eventually told us we had to pay a dime each for them, it was essentially like we were eating all their bread for the week. We saved our dimes as much as we saved money for the ice cream man.
One time, I remember we were going to Legend City with the Davis’s. Bobby and Von, always the jokers, emptied out some mustard containers and filled them with yellow yarn. They scared us all to death that they were going to squirt us with mustard and out shoots yellow yarn. Mom and Dad were in the front of the station wagon and Br. and Sr. Davis were in the middle seat, all of us kids piled into the back with Bobby and Von squirting us with fake mustard the whole way. I remember the log ride, but I think the car ride was even more fun. I’m pretty sure Bobby got Jamie later with some real mustard after he’d faked him out so many times.
I followed Bobby all around the farm. He and Jamie would tell me all kinds of stories. There were peacocks that wandered around when we were young. They told me that the wings of a peacock were so strong, they could kill a man. This may have something to do with my bird phobia. We would hunt for and collect the peacock feathers all over the place. Bobby once offered the little kids $5 apiece if they could bring him a little feather off the top of a peacock’s head.
We would head over to the camp (the other side of Alma School rd. Our side was the park.) to play in the cotton piles. We were not supposed to play in the whole cotton, it messed up the long staple that our cotton was known for, but of course we did. We would make tunnels in the cotton trailers that were probably about 10x10x20ft. Once the seeds were removed, no one cared if we played in the piles of seed. It wasn’t as soft, but it was still fun. They did tell us to be sure that no one got trapped under piles or bales of cotton.
We also headed for the barn for some activities. The horses were for racing, not riding, so we just petted them. The haystack at the back of the barn was the perfect place to play pretend, though. It was about 15 feet high and jumping off of it was the ultimate proof of coolness. This was probably exactly where our parents intended us to go when Bobby got ahold of a brick of firecrackers. We didn’t want them to hear us setting them off, so he headed to the back of the barn. We are so lucky that we didn’t catch the whole thing on fire.
Behind the barn was a treasure trove of scariness. The chute for loading horses (or giving them shots, or whatever) had a pole across the top where a lady had hung herself, not really of course, but “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” There was a really old pontoon boat, haunted of course, and a haunted house, that once it was torn down, became the haunted foundation. Tractors were for climbing on and hoping that you could convince someone to take you for a ride. In the Fall, hay rides were the best. The boys would jump off the back of the trailer and “ski” behind it. Eventually, Bobby was the one driving the tractor.
Bobby always wanted spy sets or radios or something he could put together for his birthday or Christmas. When he didn’t have them, he’d find something else to take apart, just to see if he could put it back together again. He was so excited the year he got his telescope for Christmas. Of course, he was excited every Christmas. Every year, Mom would tell us that Christmas was going to be a little tight and not to get our hopes up too much for all of the things we wanted. Every year, one of the grandparents would slip Mom some extra money and we would at least get the big thing that we had asked for.
Every year, we would go to Grandma and Grandpa Bogle’s for Christmas Eve for chalupa and tamales. Grandma made the chalupa (with a little help usually) and she would buy tamales from one of the farm workers. We always got to open a present at her house, and it was usually pajamas to wear home. We always got one toy and pajamas from Grandma and Grandpa. We would play there with our cousins. Bobby was the oldest cousin and so he really preferred to play with Uncle Jacky (JC) or Dad’s cousin Bill.
On the way home, it felt like it was so late. We would search the skies for any sign of Santa Claus. Any airplane or helicopter was fair game. We were sure that we had seen Santa and that we had better hurry home and rush to bed so that he wouldn’t skip our house. We would all rush to bed and try to sleep, or not sleep, but listen for Santa. Bobby would usually wake up about 4:30 and come wake me up to go check out our stockings. He had tried to wake up Jamie first, but he was too tired. Jamie would hear us giggling and come out rubbing his eyes and asking if anything good was in our stockings. There was always a navel orange in the toe, some pecans or walnuts, chocolate, and some little toys or money. Our present from Santa was never wrapped, so we could obviously see it. Our stocking was usually next to it. We would dump them out, then refill them, so that Mom and Dad wouldn’t know what we’d done. We had to wait until at least 6:30 to wake them up. As they got older, it became 7, but I can’t remember a year that Bobby was at home that he didn’t wake up at 4:30. A couple more of the presents he loved were the raft that traveled the canal and a big Styrofoam remote control airplane.
We had chores too. Each of the kids had a night to clean the kitchen. That meant wash the dishes, including the pans, clean the counters, clean out the sink, and sweep the floor. Clean the kitchen meant clean the kitchen. Of course, we tried whatever we could to get out of it or put it off, but a dirty kitchen in the morning probably meant a swat with the belt. The boys had to keep their room and bathroom clean, but as they got older, their chores were more often outside. While I was inside whining about dusting or sweeping or mopping, they were out mowing the lawn or chopping weeds. Weeds had to be chopped from the garden, the yard, and the sides of the pastures across the street. Taking out the garbage was usually the boys’ job as well. One of our favorite (not) chores was milking the cow. She needed to be milked in the morning and at night and no one wanted the morning run before school. When she was in the pasture across the road, it was less of a deal, but then she was moved over to the barn. The boys would drive the station wagon over to the barn. Jamie decided he should teach me how to drive it too. I was about 8 and couldn’t reach the pedals, so he gave up.
Of course, during this time, the other kids were coming along. Elise in 1973, Merilee 1975, Emily 1977, Tom 1979, Chris 1982, Megan 1984, and Ty 1987.
I think about the time Bobby was 12, he got a job working on the cotton crew. This meant being out in the cotton field about the time the sun came up to chop weeds out of the cotton. Bobby would leave with Dad in the morning (during the summer). I think they usually got home a little after lunch and then showered and slept. Of course, whatever Bobby did, Jamie wanted to do too, so it wasn’t long before he was on the chopping crew as well. We were all taught to check the irrigation lines and restart any that had stopped. These were just curved, black plastic pipe that hung over the bank from the ditch to the field. With the right technique, they would draw the water from the ditch to the field. Probably around 14, Bobby started driving a tractor. He’d been driving a truck for a while, but the tractor was a big deal, plowed rows had to be straight, cotton that was being picked could not be wasted.
I’m honestly not sure what Bobby learned first, to drive a truck or a tractor, or to fly a plane. D-daddy had a cool flight simulator at the office that we loved to play with. The boys could drive the truck or car, as long as they avoided the paved roads. They sometimes had to run Dad out something that he’d forgotten, or a lunch if he couldn’t make it home. Dad had a phone in his truck long before normal people did. The first one actually looked like the old tan office phones. He was always out on the farm and it was helpful to be able to get ahold of him.
Bobby took his scout training very seriously. He learned to shoot, what knot to tie in what situation, how to survive in the wild, and he valued it all. I think he liked to watch the old show MacGyver and try to decide if he could have done the same things MacGyver did, or if he would have done them differently. We used to have a tether ball pole that was used to swing on when the tether ball went flat. The pole broke off near the base and just a little jagged bit stuck up from the ground. One day, when Mom and Dad were gone, I ran into it and cut my toe pretty badly. Bobby cleaned the wound, bandaged it up, elevated it (with about 8 pillows, I think) and when it still seemed to be bleeding, called Mom and Dad on the car phone. I think they were at the movies. The phone was set to honk the horn when it rang, and so they came out of the theater to a horn blaring across the parking lot. They rushed home, but Bobby had taken care of everything.
As Bobby got older, his adventurous spirit did not die, it expanded. He loved to emulate what he’d seen on tv. He may be the very reason for the phrase, “Do not try this at home.” Because he would. Dukes of Hazzard taught many great driving lessons and there were plenty of country roads to experiment on. The railroad tracks made the perfect ramp for jumping whether in town, or out. The 6-million Dollar Man jumped off many a building. Luckily, Chandler didn’t have many buildings that could cause too much damage. The guest house to the swimming pool at Grandma’s and the house to the trampoline worked as substitutes. I believe that fire ran a close second to the excitement of flying through the air.
Bobby was well ahead of me in school. I remember when the boys were going to John Hancock academy in Mesa, I was so sad and wanted to go to school too. It was 1974 and I was too young. Mom tried signing me up for preschool, but it wasn’t good enough. Eventually, she let me start kindergarten and I remember the song the boys would sing about the principal, to the tune of the Army song. “Over land, over sea, over Mr. Gaddy’s knee, there’s a wuppin a waitin for me. Might be red, might be blue, might be Mr. Gaddy’s shoe, there’s a wuppin a waitin for you.”
Soon we transferred to Erie school. Bobby was probably in 5th or 6th grade when I started. I remember they were just opening Willis Jr. High. Although we always rode the bus, I remember we used to be part of a car pool for seminary. We always wanted to go to Elmer’s for a rocket pop (the conical tri-color suckers). We would go downtown for the CHS homecoming parade, Maxwell Street days, eating at Serrano’s or Ortega’s, a 5 cent ice cream at Thrifty was a great treat. (That was even cheap for back then.) We loved to go to Dudding’s drug store, which we did a lot for Bobby’s meds, or anyone else’s. There were awesome gumball machines and a fortune telling scale. A night out to Bob’s Big Boy was pretty special.