Linda as a child

Personal Bio

Personal Bio of Linda Kinney

I was born in Abilene, Texas, the second of four children and only girl in a military family. We were a very close lot, all born within six years. My dad had graduated high school only to go directly into the CCC's (Civilian Conservation Corps) along with Carl, one of his 7 brothers. They were assigned to Bolder, Colorado and helped in the construction of Red Rock National Ampitheater. In 1942, World War II broke out and the members CCC became part of U.S. Army. He laughed when he told the story. He said he was digging a ditch with many other men. An officer came by and said, "We are asking for volunteers to start a new branch of the military. It is called Army Air Corps." (This would eventually become Air Force). He said, "I'll do anything to get out of this ditch!" After the war he and my uncle Carl were discharged into civilian life. They started a dry cleaning business down the street for the cafe where my mom worked in Abilene, Texas. This was how they met and soon married. After two children, they decided it best to take advantage of the opportunity of re-enlisting within the allotted time period without loosing any rank. I was 3 months old. Mom had never traveled more than 150 miles from Abilene when Dad took his first assignment at Merced Air Force Base, California. This was the beginning of a long military career. All four of their children agree that we were very fortunate to have been raised in the military. In all those years growing up Dad was only separated from his family one year when he went to Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada. We lived or traveled through every state except Florida and Hawaii. 

Just after Alaska became a state in 1959, we were transferred to Eielson Air Force Base, about 50 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska where we lived for 5 years. I have many memories of living there. These experiences have inspired much of my painting. During these formative years my family did a lot of camping and searching out the opportunities available to us in nature. This was before the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope. It was truly like living in another time, pure wilderness. Some of my personal experiences include seeing the Northern Lights, visiting an operational gold dredging machine at Cripple Creek, and sliding down hills of gravel/sand residue left by the monster as it passed slowly gathering gold. All my brothers and each had a daily newspaper route and delivered them for 4 years in winter temperatures as cold as 50 and 60 degrees below zero (dressed appropriately, of course). I rode an old steam engine train at the age of 14 without parental supervision from Anchorage to Fairbanks, a distance of 360 miles through Mt. McKinley National Park. It is now renamed Denali National Park. I ‘snagged’ salmon as they came upstream to spawn at Hope, Alaska. One year we drove the only road north to Circle City, the end of the road at the Yukon River. We cooked by open campfire, and ate as we watched the midnight sun. It does not touch the horizon for 12 days. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months around the summer solstice, approximately June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere and December 22 in the Southern Hemisphere. That was an amazing experience. When I was 12, a cow moose and I surprised each other as I was sledding. I abruptly stopped as she came over to me and sniffed, then strolled away. My parents didn't believe me until the next day when there was an article in the newspaper about the moose who got lost in town. I have walked through fields of fresh snow untouched by any human or animal, as the light from the street lights made it appear as though I was walking on diamonds.

During those years growing up my family also lived in California, Kansas, Texas and Delaware. I have a large family and we love our time together talking about our unique episodes of life. These experiences have given me a love of sharing, bringing joy and laughter, as memories should do.