New beginnings are nothing new to Lucinda Campbell. She's been making them all her life.
Saturday afternoon, she rolled into town in her Ford Explorer, pulling a U-Haul trailer full of belongings ready to once again call Payson home.
"It's good to be back," she said, as she prepares to tackle the monumental task of settling back into her Easy Street home. "You can definitely say I've come full circle."
A graduate of Arizona State University, Campbell said it was her father, Bill, who encouraged her to get her degree in nursing.
"I didn't want to be a nurse," she said. "My father suggested that if I wanted my college education paid for, that might be a wise choice. I've never regretted it as long as I lived."
With nursing degree in hand, Campbell moved to Payson in 1988, going to work for what was then Lewis R. Pyle Memorial Hospital. By 1990, she was named director of nursing, the position she held until 1995.
"In 1995, when Payson Regional Medical Center went through reorganization, I was one of the casualties," she said.
She returned to the Valley, and worked for a home health agency for two years before she was offered an administrative position at a hospital in Texas. She's been director of nursing at a small rural hospital there ever since, but has always had an eye on returning to her hometown.
Earlier this month, she learned of an opening at Manzanita Manor, and called Administrator Ken Murphy.
She'd worked with Murphy at PRMC and he offered her the job over the phone."She's going to be evening charge nurse when she gets here," Murphy said. "I think it's great that she's coming back. We need good nurses."
Campbell said her reason for her homecoming was threefold.
"I was able to find employment here," she said. "My parents are two of the most wonderful people in the world and I wanted to be near them.
"And, I missed my friends dreadfully. My absolute two best friends in the world were in Payson, Arizona, and I was stuck in Texas. I wanted to come home."
Back in her old digs, Campbell said she's also ecstatic to be working with Murphy again.
"I've always found him to be highly intelligent, and he's an absolute riot the man is very funny," she said.
"I owe that man everything. He picked me up by my bootstraps when I got laid off at the hospital. He supported me at a time when I had absolutely no career direction. He showed me that I could still do it, got me back to work, and told me to quit bellyaching."
Until she begins at Manzanita Manor next week, Campbell said she's looking forward to reacquainting herself with her friends, the town, and all of the changes that have taken place in the past five years.
"It seems that the cultural and entertainment activities have grown exponentially," she said. "I just came from a dry Texas county in the Bible Belt. We only had 25 cable channels, and the closest movie theater was 45 miles away.
"I'm really looking forward to getting to know Payson again."