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Thursday, Mar. 26, 2015

Now & Again: World travels

Monday, January 16, 2006

I decided I would finally share with readers about my lifetime travels as an "army brat". As a child of a military soldier I don't measure my life by years but rather by where I was in a certain grade. The only time this doesn't apply is when I was very young. For me to apply a year to a place in time where I have been I have to think first about how old I might have been while in a certain grade. Then determine the time of year and from that deteremine the year.

It all starts when my dad joined the army at the age of 17 in 1963. When he completed his four years he got out of the military. He met my mom and in 1968 they were married. Eleven months later I arrived and another 13 months later and my sister arrived.

When I was just over a a year old my dad decided to rejoin the army. Thus, began my life as an "army brat". His first tour of duty was in Wildflecken, West Germany. Back then private first class soldiers didn't make much (not that they make much now either) and they didn't provide family housing for them either. However, that didn't stop my dad from sending for his family to join him overseas.

My mom still recalls leaving the state of Pennsyvania for the first time in her life to go to a foreign country. We literally only had each other. Mom says, "I arrived in Germany with five suitcases and two babies." That was it, nothing more, nothing less. I was eighteen months old.

After a three year tour duty in Germany, my dad got orders for Fort Benning, Ga. This is were life goes my grade in school. I attended kindergarten at Columbus Elementary in Columbus, Ga. where we lived in the first home my parents owned, a trailer home.

Dad's next stop 18 months later, Aschaffenburg, West Germany. This is where I attended first, second, and third grades.

Fourth grade was a little strange. To the best of my knowledge we ended up back in Pennsylvania where we lived while my dad was on temporary duty in Maryland, in an effort to become an army recruiter so we wouldn't have to travel. We stayed with my aunt and uncle in Titusville, Penn. for a short while.

After several weeks there, we moved into a house in Youngsville, Penn. I was still in fourth grade.

Dad's attempt at becoming a recruiter didn't work out, so the army posted him at Fort Sill, Okla. next. This would be the third and final stop of my fourth grade year. I finished fourth grade and completed fifth and sixth at Hoover Elementary in Lawton, Okla.

By seventh grade my dad got orders for Germany again. Since we had bought our home and established ourselves in many activities and my mom had a job, my dad was going to try and spend the three year tour over there by himself. It only took an extremely short amount of time before he changed his mind and got us on a waiting list for military housing.

Housing came half way through my seventh grade year and as I celebrated my 13th birthday with my friends in Oklahoma, I was also saying goodbye. Next stop, Nürenburg, West Germany. After dad's three year tour of duty he got orders for Fort Bliss, Texas, but in a last minute change he ended up being posted at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

I was excited about this possibility because one of my good friends, who's dad was a General at the time was stationed there too. I would get to see her again. Which I did, but we didn't get to spend as much time together as we used to because she was going to a Catholic school in Leavenworth, Kan. and dad had moved us into a house out in the country across the Missouri River in Weston, Mo.

It was here in Weston, Mo. where I finally completed my high school education. It was the first time we had ever moved in the summer, so we started school the first day along with everyone else. I went from tenth to twelfth grade at West Platte R-2 and graduated in a class of 49 students.

While in Weston we moved two more times to different houses and were actually still unpacking on graduation day when mom and dad purchased a 25 acre farm for them to retire on.

So there you have it. I had moved ten times by the time I was 18 years old. After high school I moved quite a bit too but that was in my young college days when I couldn't make up my mind. I have lived in Cherokee now for the last eleven years and in my home for the last ten.

Unless I become a millionaire any time soon I won't be moving again. I am afraid if I had to move now I would just leave everything behind and start from scratch because of all the stuff I've accumulated over the last eleven years, which, by the way, includes stuff I've accumulated and saved over my lifetime of travels.

Nope, I have declared that I will have to be carried out of my house kicking and screaming if I ever have to move again.