Hello friends! I want you to know that only God Himself could get a “techno dinosaur” like me to learn a few computer skills so that I could create this personal web page and venture into the world of “social media” – joining sites like “facebook,” “Twitter” and “LinkedIn.”If you read this bio, you will soon understand why I was compelled to do so. I realize that, in the world of facebook, 99% of “non-family” members really could care less about the details of a “non-celebrity” person’s life. (The interested 1% may also include a few curious old friends who wonder: “What ever happened to Rob – or Robbie – Linkey?)
Therefore, I’ll keep the details of my life brief in this bio. (Not brief by facebook or Twitter standards; but, brief in that it shouldn’t take you a lifetime to read it. Plus, I want this bio to double as a eulogy so that I can save my wife and kids a little time when the big day comes. However, there are certainly a few things in here they probably won’t want to mention.) I know there are many people out there who knew a different Rob Linkey at different points in time and I wanted them to get a snapshot of the whole picture. And, if you’re not part of the 1% that may be interested in the sordid details of my past life, just skip to the last paragraph about why I entered the world of websites and social media.
I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona by two wonderful parents, Garth and Ellen Linkey, who I can’t wait to see again in eternity some day. My older sister Lonna and my two younger brothers, Jim and Garth Michael, miss them as much as I do. We siblings appreciate growing up in a home that was constantly filled with joy, love, music, laughter, and positive affirmations. It was that foundation of love, my wife Donna, and, most importantly, the overwhelming grace of God that lead me back out of a dark and rebellious five year period of my life, into the amazing light of God’s life, His love and His truth.
Let me begin in my mother’s womb (Just kidding, I’ll knock off at least the first nine months from this bio. All I can remember in the womb is that it was really dark.) Actually though, when I was an infant, my mom told me that one night she had accidentally rolled over me when she and I were asleep in the same bed. She said she heard a loud voice that said: “Wake up Ellen!” She tried to ignore it and she heard it again and when she raised up to see who was in the room, she heard a loud gasp and saw that she had been smothering me (I was blue). I believe it was an angel and God has certainly kept that angel busy protecting me for most of my life.
As a child growing up in Phoenix, I attended American Evangelical Lutheran School until the 5th grade and then I attended Mae Bartlett Heard Elementary School and then West Phoenix High School. (I still often think about many of my old school friends I knew during those years.) Our neighborhood and culture was similar to what was portrayed in the movie “A Christmas Story.” (I can’t tell you how many times I heard my mom warn me not to “shoot my eye out” when it came to playing with BB guns.) The streets were safe, the neighbors knew each other, we respected grown-ups and police officers and all the neighborhood kids would get together and play games like ”kick the can” and build “Christmas tree forts” every year.
As a kid, I was always an honor student and a young model citizen (At least until around my senior year of high school). In fact, I was such a “good” kid, I wanted to become an FBI agent and so I passed some written tests and underwent an extensive background check (that even included visits to grade school teachers by FBI agents) and, after graduating from High School at the age of 17, I went to work as a file clerk for the FBI in Washington D.C.. (A counselor suggested trying to get into this special program for young people to see if I really wanted to become an FBI Agent before I pursued the educational requirements of becoming an accountant or a lawyer as a prerequisite.)
I only worked in Washington D.C for one year (which is what I had committed to) because I soon realized that I didn’t really want to be an FBI agent. They didn’t have a life of their own; they were always getting transferred; plus, this is where my moral and spiritual rebellion really started to take root. How so? Let me give you an example: Every weekend became a giant party event attended by once “good” kids who were now free from the “shackles” of home and parents. I can remember being exceedingly drunk once at the age of 18 in Silver Spring, Maryland and hanging from an upper floor high-rise apartment balcony by my toes- which I can still do, by the way, at age 60. (I told you I kept that angel from heaven busy protecting me.)
In D.C., I can remember having to work an odd shift on a Saturday in the Department of Justice building one week-end, which also happened to be the weekend of one of the largest anti-Vietnam War rallies in America. Pennsylvania Avenue was a sea of humanity and as I looked out one of the windows to observe the angry, massive crowd and listen to the chants of “Hell no! We won’t go!” Someone in the crowd saw me looking out of the window an immediately offered up an unfriendly hand gesture. This started a chain reaction and I can say that I have the rare distinction of being “flipped-off” by about 10,000 people at the same time. (I hope that wasn’t my 15 minutes of fame.)
When I came home from the FBI I decided that I would rather earn a few dollars working at low paying jobs instead of going back to school full-time. I decided that I wanted more time to “party hearty” because it looked as though I would soon be drafted into the Military. Back then, the selective service had an annual draft lottery that was based upon a person’s birthday. Out of 365 possible draft numbers I came out #5! This pretty much meant that “I was in the Army now” and would most likely be on my way to Vietnam. At this time, the war was still very volatile but the politics of the war had pretty much destroyed the “All American Boy” ideal of going to Vietnam for “God and Country.”
Because of the political chaos and public confusion that existed about the war in 1971, most of the reserve units were completely full of people who didn’t want to die for a cause that they were now unsure about. However, my Brother-in-Law, Bill, told me about some openings in his reserve medical unit that were possibly available if I could score high enough on the entrance tests. I managed to score well in testing and was able to avoid Vietnam by joining an Army Reserve Unit. (not a very noble stat in my life considering that so many other young men my age ended up giving the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. I am eternally grateful to them).
As a reservist, I did have about 6 months of regular Army active duty at Fort Polk, Louisiana for basic training and at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Texas for my medical training. It was in the company barracks at Fort Sam that myself, and all but two or three other soldiers ended up “experimenting” with marijuana and a few of us became “pot heads.” Our Sergeant even sometimes joined in the nightly festivities. However, prior to that, in basic training, the drill sergeants were mega strict (and quite insane). I worked hard in Basic Training and I was proud to have won the “Trainee of the Basic Combat Training Cycle” award for which I was competing against nearly 1100 other trainees at Fort Polk. At the Basic Training graduation, I was presented this prestigious award by the Leesville Parish chamber of commerce and an Army General firmly shook my hand to congratulate me and then proceeded to drop it like a hot potato when he discovered that I was in the Army Reserves. (The reservists back then were considered by many regular army personnel to be glorified “draft dodgers.” Such is not the case nowadays.)
When I arrived back home, I became an assistant manager at a Yellow Front (variety retail) store and my party lifestyle had reached a whole new and dangerous level. It became “uppers” by day to function at work (a whole lot of uppers) and Marijuana, alcohol and downers by night (every day and every night). Plus, I was smoking two to three packs of cigarettes a day on top of everything else! I soon started reading mind-science and self-help type books and began questioning the traditional Judeo-Christian world view that I was so convinced of as a child. One day I picked up a book called “The Late Great Planet Earth” by Hal Lindsey because I thought it would be about “metaphysical” and “cosmic” mind, earth and ecology stuff but I was surprised to discover that it was a book about Bible Prophecy. I read it quickly from cover to cover and “the light came on.” I realized that the Bible really is true and that I had been living in a dark, hopeless, self-centered world that consisted of lies and what the Bible describes as “pleasure for a season.” I asked for God’s help and I invited Jesus to come into my life and take control.
Right after this is when God brought Donna Reay into my life. We had hung around with the same party crowd but I had never considered that such a beautiful girl would ever be found in my arms one day. You see, she already had a boyfriend (who was also a “friend” of mine) and little did I know that she had been living a life of compounded sorrows and despair for years and that she had finally ended that destructive relationship with my “friend.” She didn’t like life, she didn’t like people and one day, out of desperation, she looked up in the sky and asked God (although she did not know Him) to bring a man into her life who would truly love her. That’s where I came into the picture – we were married within eight months.
I’m surprised Donna married me because, even though I had sincerely given my life to God, my lifestyle hadn’t really changed much on the outside during that first year. Donna never really enjoyed the party scene anyway and only hung around and participated because she wanted to be accepted and because I was still heavily involved with my addictions. (She loved me and she knew I loved her.) Fortunately (by God’s grace) something was happening on the inside of me and I found that the same old “stuff” wasn’t so much fun anymore. Slowly, certain friends and addictions started dropping out of my life and one Sunday morning, Donna was watching Pastor Richard Jackson of North Phoenix Baptist Church on TV and said: Why don’t we try going to church there? I immediately said OK and we both started living committed lives to the Lord (with only a few bumps in the road over the next year).
Just prior to that time, I had become a Realtor and then, out of the blue, I decided to test for the Phoenix Fire Department. I made it into the Training Academy and began one of the most unique and rewarding careers a man could ever want. (Talk about keeping that guardian angel busy – I should have died more than a couple times in my 29 year career.) Soon after we had our first two kids, Sarah and Emily, I went on an intensive quest for truth concerning God, Jesus and the Bible. I began reading and studying just about everything I could get my hands on. We moved to Cottonwood, Arizona and I would commute to Phoenix every three days to work at Fire Station #1. I would listen to Christian teaching tapes during the commute to and from the fire station and I would spend my days off in the Cottonwood Library, studying and taking notes concerning the truth that I had been seeking and discovering. I wanted my friends, family and co-workers to find out how wonderful, great and true God was but I was aware that most of the people I knew believed some major lies that were real hindrances to receiving the “Good News.” In my mind, I was convinced that they would never listen to me if I tried to “preach” at them in a classical sense. (I realize now that a spiritual encounter with the living God can quickly settle many arguments with few words spoken. However, most people really do need some mental “prep” work and the lies that were believed in the past will try to regain ground if they are not summarily dispelled by the truth.) So, I started writing day and night to systematically address these strongholds of deception and I ultimately ended up spending two years and thousands of hours writing a 300 + page book for a handful of people. I only made about 20 copies at the time (all I could afford) and some lives were changed by it. Even some of those who never verbally acknowledged a change of heart starting asking all kinds of questions and many doors were opened and some good seeds were planted.
After our daughter Mary was born in Cottonwood, we moved back to Phoenix and started going to a small non-denominational church called “Faith Family.” We attended church there for 13 years and made many life-long friends; it was our “home away from home” for our growing family that eventually stopped at NINE. (We added Mary, Rachel, Sherrie, Esther and David – the” man child”).
Our kids are wonderful, smart and the greatest blessings of our lives. I now also have great sons-in-law and seven beautiful grandchildren . Through the years, we have attended and gleaned from other Christian fellowships and denominations. I have learned that each group has their own strong points and weak points but each one has at least “a remnant” of kind and caring people who love God with all of their hearts. One of my kids once asked me: What denomination are we Dad? I told her that we were “Non Denominational, Messianic, Bapti-Lutha-Costal-Renes.” Church is not a building or a denomination. It is a real relationship with a living Savior who took the entire weight and punishment of sin and evil upon His own shoulders so that we wouldn’t have to. And, because He Himself was sinless, He conquered death itself and He offers eternal life to anyone who will believe and receive it. You can’t earn it and you can’t buy it. ITS FREE!
That brings me to this last paragraph about why I created a personal website and entered the world of social media. (If any of my old friends took the time to read the lengthy bio / testimony above, they’ll know that I left out a “plethora” of other stupid things I did and would never want to write about.) Anyway, there are two main reasons why I decided to enter “Cyberspace” and become involved in “social media.” One reason is because I am still involved in Real Estate in Payson Arizona and social media connections have become a must to enhance websites, communicate with clients and increase web traffic (my real estate website is at www.rimcountryhomes.com ). The second, and MAIN reason I made this leap is to let my old and new friends know that I still think about many of them and I especially want them to know that I have put the entire book I wrote some thirty years ago (which I made reference to above) on the internet. It is still EXTREMELY RELEVANT and it can be viewed or downloaded for free without having to give any email address or personal information whatsoever. I would be honored if you would take the time to at least read the “landing page” and check it out. It may just change your life. If you like it, please share the link with others. The website for the book is: www.Lies-Deception.com Thanks for your time and friendship.