Pilgrimage in 1930

In 1930 Leonora Stirling Holsapple (later to become Armstrong) boarded a ship in Rio de Janeiro for Spain.  She stayed in Madrid studying Spanish in order to improve her ability to translate the Baha’i Writings into Spanish as requested by Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith.  Much to her distress she fell seriously ill and was beside herself being unable to achieve her goals in the time set aside.  Meanwhile, she wrote to the Guardian in Haifa expressing her disappointment in the precious opportunity lost due to her illness, and he responded with an invitation to her to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  So from Barcelona she took a ship to Haifa.  Below is a photo that she took of The Greatest Holy Leaf – Bahíyyih Khánum – daughter of Bahá’u’lláh and great aunt of Shoghi Effendi.

The Greatest Holy Leaf photographed by Leonora Holsapple Nov. 1930 - Haifa


My Parents

Bob & Karin Leonard, 1st night pioneers in Kodiak, AK, July 1956

My parents were extraordinary.  My mother was only 19 when they married and lived in Oxnard in a tiny apartment where she worked for the telephone company while my father was at the Navy base.  Only a year later they pioneered, because of the exhortations of the Beloved Guardian, to Kodiak Island in Alaska.  He had specified many islands all over the world as goals of the 10 Year Crusade to be opened up to the Bahá’í Faith.  And they went.  Courtesy of the United States Navy, as Mom always said, and the choice being Kodiak or Japan, they chose Alaska which was still a territory in 1956.  (It actually became a state the year that I was born, but that’s jumping ahead a bit.)

Bob & Karin Leonard, Geyserville - 1950's

They were shipped up to Kodiak and placed in one of several hundred identical little box-like houses on the hill overlooking the Kodiak harbor, named Aleutian Homes.  They were pastel-sided two bedroom tract houses that all looked alike – identical one car garages – little wooden steps up to the front door.  No garden – just dirt road, dirt yard, wooden step.  I never knew why they didn’t live on the Naval Base, but it suited my Mom better to be nearer town and enabled the privacy of not having to live in the fish bowl with other Navy wives.  She got a cat named Morgan to keep her company while my Dad was on the Base working or flying in the Arctic as she knew he was doing.  Even though he was on secret reconnaissance flights over Russia and unable to tell her anything about it; she went gray by her early twenties.