By April 25, 2018

Happy Anthem Independence Day!

Editor’s Note: Anthem Community Council was wholly controlled by Del Webb from the community’s opening in 1999 until April 30, 2008, when a board of volunteer residents took over. A certain columnist at the time declared April 30 to be Anthem Independence Day, an idea that never really caught on. Ten years later, here’s that column (with our apologies to newcomers who may not get some of the historical references).


By Chris Prickett — To commemorate the milestone of community management being passed from the guards to the inmates, Ms. Publisher feels I, being a 7-year-resident of Anthem, should do some sort of “remember when” piece. (When will they ever learn?) Oh, by the way, you need to start referring to this blessed transition as “Independence Day.” I think there’s going to be another half-day at school to honor the occasion.

First, couple disclaimers: 1) I am not a historian. A historian does research and checks facts. I, on the other hand, type the first thing that pops into my head and that usually is about me. 2) I am not a journalist. A journalist generally has some education in journalism and is held to standards of accuracy, fairness, objectivity and probably some other stuff. I just try to be funny and—based on the emails—I’m not quite up to snuff in that department either.

The Welcome Center’s giant golf ball
was an early-days icon.

Ah, the Good Ol’ Days

I still don’t know what Pulte did with our giant golf ball, but I won’t dwell on that or the other traumatic memories. Like the Chip Seal-gate, the time when rebellious residents barricaded their cul-de-sacs to prevent the collective corporate geniuses from resurfacing the roadways with a covering that was only slightly less jagged than broken glass. No, this is not going to be an uplifting, happy column.

I first laid eyes on Anthem on Oct. 18, 1999. Back then, the biggest complaint was the cobblestone section of roadway on Anthem Way that loosened your fillings when passing over it. This might have something to do with the plethora of dentists that now call Anthem home, but doesn’t begin to explain the abundance of nail salons… or does it? For the record, like so many others, my wife did conceive shortly after passing through the waterfalls at the main entrance.

Way back when, I used to go down the green water slide head first, and not get chastised by a kid who’s 10 years younger than my bald spot. That said, I did get a dirty look from John Sefton, but that’s the reason I did it in the first place.

We used to do comedy nights at Franco’s for We Care at Anthem. There was usually one professional and a handful of local wannabes filling the card. The real charity came in the form of generous laughs and applause from a sympathetic home crowd. As one of the wannabes, I’ll never forget walking on stage feeling like I was going to lose my dinner, and walking off with my feet two inches off the floor.

Dari Thai Café was Cool Cones & Dogs, there was no Starbucks or Wal-Mart and there was just one elementary school. Most of the baseball fields weren’t built, we had just one entrance to I-17 and nobody noticed that funny rotten egg smell behind the park-and-ride lot. Of course, back then there was no park-and-ride lot.

I also recall a warm summer evening in August, 2005 when I submitted my first column to In&Out. I begged and groveled in a manner not witnessed since my wedding night. Ironically, both responses were identical: “OK, one try but no promises.” Like my marriage, I’m still on a week-to-week basis.

There you have it: My obligatory, celebratory, Independence-Day-inspired, trip through the Way-Back Machine. All memories are mine, and mine alone, and have not been verified for accuracy, truthfulness, or entertainment value.

Over the Prickett Fence is a column in In&Out Magazine.


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