Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Army Brat

While I was growing up I attended 12 schools in 12 years. I thought there were actually 13 of them, but I’ve lost count of one somewhere along the way. In any case, I wanted to reminisce about something and this is what came to mind.

So, with no further ado:

1st Grade Lubbock, Texas
2nd Grade Austin, Texas
2nd Grade Corpus Christi (during a 2 week family vacation)
3rd Grade Columbia, SC (School burned down)
3rd & 4th Grade Columbia, SC
5th, 6th & 7th Grade Oslo, Norway
8th Grade Ft. Leavenworth, KS
9th Grade Salina, Kansas (North HS - school was too crowded so they moved us)
9th Grade Salina, Kansas (South HS)
10th Grade Hagerstown, MD St. Maria Goretti
11th Grade Smithsburg, MD
11th & 12th Grade Fairfax, VA - James Robinson HS

What I want to say is about Army Brats. We settle in quickly. We have to. There are two ways of looking at it. We put down roots quickly, but they don’t always run deep. We can’t look down the street or across town and see friends from years before. They just aren’t there. After having lived in Oakland for over 20 years I figured that I ought to start calling it home.

From Lubbock I can remember the river we used to travel over. Looking down I could see water rushing, white water tumbling over rocks. I wasn’t frightened, but this is a memory that I’ve had from that time. I remember the frogs that would come out after the rains and the huge tumbleweeds almost as big as we were.

In Austin I can remember the most magnificent skies before a thunder storm. The thungerheads piling up in the really big sky. Just a wonderful place to live. I remember my grandmother and my grandfather and my Greatgrandma, Neddie, who lived up the hill on Balcones Drive. Way, way up at the top of the hill.

In South Carolina I can remember hearing the troops chanting as they marched around early in the morning before we had gotten out of bed. We had a huge pine tree in the yard we shared with another family. We lived in World War II converted hospital barracks. There was a cat walk that ran alongside the house that we loved to play in.

The longest we ever lived anywhere was in Norway. There are some things that I have taken from that country that I still hold dear. I love cucumber salads. I love herring. I love Norwegian sweaters. I love Norwegian snow. The Norwegian people are some of the most loving and gracious folks on the face of the earth. I was only there as a little girl, but I do remember so much from that country.

I remember hills in Fort Leavenworth. This was the only place I ever rode a horse and I took lessons the summer we were there. I rode ShopTalk. He was a beautiful brown horse and for some reason he liked me. He didn’t like anybody else. I adored him.

Salina, Kansas was flat. We were all military families with no fathers around and lived at Schilling Manor. Our fathers were in Vietnam or Korea.

Hagerstown, Maryland where I went to school as a sophomore at St. Maria Goretti. This was the first time I’d been around civilian kids.

Smithsburg, Maryland. I spent half of my junior year here.

Fairfax, Virginia. James S. Robinson H.S. Where I finished up my junior year and graduated from high school. I was in the first graduating class of 1973.

I finally got my driver’s license when I was 20 years old and had 4 learner’s permits in 3 different states…Kansas, Maryland and Virginia and in Germany.

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